Netflix has changed the game. Spending huge sums on original content and allowing famous Directors to pursue their passions with little to no objection or control. Suddenly famous faces and names from the Hollywood mainstream are queuing up to star in their own six-parter. The script has been flipped, roles reversed, sure, Holywood is still king and the subject of any young actors dreams, but, as cinema struggles on, streaming has become second nature to most.
The results, by the way, are there for all to see. It’s virtually impossible to keep up with all the latest must-watch series’ and the New Year always heralds a swathe of quality content. From the BBC to HBO, Netflix to Hulu, this year looks set to be another gigantic one for the small screen with a host of exciting projects in the works. Here’s a rundown of some TV for 2020 that’s caught our eye, from the oldies but goodies to the brand spanking shiny new gems.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Always a welcome sight in the scheduling, Larry David makes his return to our screens for Season 10 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, three years on from the last series. The trailer teases all the usual antics and returning cast of characters including Cheryl Hines, Ted Danson, Jeff Garlin and Richard Lewis plus Laverne Cox and the welcome addition of Jon Hamm, with everybody telling Larry to “Get the f*ck out!” Should be fun times.
The Stephen King love-in continues with The Outsider and what looks like being a successful adaptation, thanks in large to a solid cast. The story centres on Little League coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) who has been accused of the rape and murder of a young boy, with the weight of evidence suggesting his guilt. However, Maitland’s alibi, that he was out of town at a conference when the grisly crime occurred checks out and a puzzling mystery unravels.
The Trip to Greece
Having made the move to Sky, The Trip is set to return at some point this year with the talented twosome taking a well-earned break in Greece. Coogan and Brydon will pick where they left off, as the bickering continues on an island-hopping jaunt through the culinary landscape of Assas, Kavala, Athens, Plyos and many more for what should see their recipe for success replicated once more. Cue impersonations of Michael Caine aplenty.
Impeachment American Crime Story
Next to get the American Crime Story treatment is the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, as the fascination with outrageous and significant 90s drama continues. Clive Owen is slated to take the role of the President, while Beanie Feldstein (What we do in the Shadows) will play Lewinsky. It’s an adaptation of Jeffrey Toobin’s book ‘A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President’, and the release date is currently being put back, perhaps to avoid coinciding with the chaos that’ll likely accompany the actual Presidential elections later this year.
The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe
Being one of the icons of the 20th Century, it’s no wonder that Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe continues to live in the public consciousness. This new BBC series based on Keith Badman’s book The Final Years of Marilyn Monroe is set over the course of 1962 and focusses on the troubled final days of her life. Aged just 36, Monroe was in the midst of her most challenging time, as her substance abuse gripped, the major studios pulled away and her controversial relationships including a rumoured affair with JFK weighed heavy.
This eight-part drama series from the BBC will delve into the crimes of French Serial Killer Charles Sobhraj, a career criminal who preyed on Western tourists following the Hippie Trail in Southeast Asia during the 1970s. Handsome and highly intelligent, Sobhraj was manipulative and deceptive hence the moniker and held a deep hatred of hipsters that led to him committing a string of grisly murders. French actor Tahar Rahim best known for his role in the brilliant, A Prophet will take on leading man duties in what looks like TV for 2020 that’s well worth a watch.
This left of field drama series from Amazon, starring big-screen legend Al Pacino in his first major ‘TV’ work, will follow a group of Nazi hunters in 70s New York who set out to uncover the war criminals hiding in plain sight in the US following the Second World War. It’s loosely based on the actions of some real-life Holocaust survivors and Nazi Hunters who sought revenge, although the conspiracy to set up a Fourth Reich in the States, the premise for this series, we’ll assume is fictional. Jordan Peele takes on Exec Producer duties which bodes well.
The English Game
Details are pretty thin on the ground for this one, which is essentially a period insight into the birth the beautiful game, which was created, conceived and contemplated from this tiny little island we call home, before going on to become the most popular sport in the world, being played on every street corner and watched in every nook and cranny of every continent. Julian Fellows is in charge, whether that’s a good thing or not, we’ve no idea, sounds promising though.
If like us you were fans of Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 post-apocalyptic sci-fi film, then you might be interested to learn about this adaptation coming to the telly. It’s set seven years after the world has become a giant frozen tundra, with the focus on humanity’s survivors, who all inhabit a massive and very long, non-stop train circling the globe. With more drama than you’ll find on the Orient Express, this might have the legs to be an ongoing success.
The BBC has picked up the rights to broadcast The Investigation, the Swedish crime drama that tells the story of the murder of journalist Kim Wall in 2017, a freelancer who wrote for The New York Times and Vice alongside a host of other publications. Wall disappeared after setting out to interview Danish entrepreneur Peter Madsen on his submarine in Copenhagen, and the ensuing investigation became a complicated and murky affair.
Once again and in typical Netflix fashion, not too many details are in circulation regarding The Stranger, however, it’s another Harlan Coben adaptation. The series is centred on Adam Price (Richard Armitage) a man with a seemingly perfect life, good job, big house, beautiful wife, whose world comes crashing down after an encounter with a stranger reveals a secret that will turn his idyllic life upside down.
Not sure what to make of this, given it’s delving into the territory of one of the great masterpieces of cinema (the 1947 Oscar-winning film of the same title), but the BBC has a decent track record, so we’re willing to give this a whirl. The three-part adaptation drawn from Rumer Godden’s classic novel sees Brit Gemma Arterton and an all-star cast tell the tale of the lives of those living in a nunnery in the Himalayan mountains and all the forbidden desire and sexual repression that comes with it.
Zoe Kravitz stars as the beloved record shop owner, in an interesting choice for the gender-flipped role of Rob, as her mother Lisa Bonet actually featured in the hit film as one of John Cusack’s exes. Based on that film and essentially adapted from Nick Hornby’s hugely successful book, the story follows a pop-culture geek who tries to make sense of life and love through the medium of music and film. Hit or miss, they’re certainly some big shoes to fill.
Alan Partridge Travelogue
There’s no doubt that ‘This Time with Alan Partridge’ was a successful return to the small screen for Steve Coogan’s masterpiece, but fans of Scissored Isles and The Places of My Life will be delighted at the prospect of Partridge once again hitting the road for a travelogue series. The premise is that Alan will travel the UK by car meeting an array of characters as he documents the historical British landscape, expect hilarious observations and a heap of awkward interviews.
One of the cinema’s great villainesses is getting the small screen treatment thanks to Netflix. ‘Ratched’ follows the origin story of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, showing her journey as she transforms into the sadistic character we know and sort of love. Sara Paulson of American Horror Story fame plays Nurse R. Fans of dramas that sits the darker end of the spectrum will love this.
Westworld, it’s just been announced, is slated to return in March for Season 3 and will be boosted by the heavyweight presence of the legendary French actor Vincent Cassell and Aaron Paul. Plot details have been kept well and truly under wraps, however, the suggestion is, much of the action looks set to take place outside the park! The new trailer highlights a series of significant events that have taken place across the globe between ‘real-life’ now and 2058. More questions than answers as usual.
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