March Previews: Netflix and Amazon

MThis month we take a look at streaming releases that delve into the human condition – tender portrayals of contemporary life, grief, loss and growing up under dramatic circumstances.

Still from Ricky Gervais in Afterlife.

After Life S1 (Netflix)

Ricky Gervais returns with his first original series since the less-than-memorable Derek, writing, directing and starring in this six-part series about bereavement. He plays Tony, a local newspaper reporter close to suicide after the premature death of his wife, Lisa. His only route to survival is adopting a policy whereby he says whatever he wants whenever he wants. Among the familiar Gervais collaborators on board is Extras’ Ashley Jensen, who plays the nurse to Tony’s dementia-stricken father (David Bradley). Fans of Gervais’ maudlin, moody comedy should tune in.

Still from The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind(Netflix)

British-Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, famed for his Oscar-nominated lead in 12 Years A Slave, goes behind the camera for the first time with this heartfelt adaptation of the book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. This Malawi-set drama, set at the time of the devastating famine of 2002, tells of how the then 14 year-old Kamkwamba (played by newcomer Maxwell Simba) literally took junkyard scrap to create a windmill to bring life-saving electricity to his village. Ejiofor, who co-stars as William’s father, directs with real tender assurance.

Kate Beckinsale in The Widow.

The Widow S1(Amazon Prime)

Kate Beckinsale is the latest A-List movie star to join the streaming TV revolution, with this eight-episode thriller written by Harry and Jack Williams, the creators of The Missing. She plays Georgia Wells, a British woman who refuses to believe her husband died in a plane crash over the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Travelling to the country on a dangerous, foolhardy mission, she must fight against the odds – a stranger in a strange (and hostile) land. Also featuring Charles Dance and Alex Kingston, it’s a twist-heavy road that viewers will be expected to travel.  

Esme Creed-Miles in Hanna.

Hanna S1(Amazon Prime)

Joe Wright’s 2011 film starred Saoirse Ronan as a teenage assassin trained by her father and on the run from the CIA. In other words, all very ripe for a TV spin-off. Created and written by David Farr, who brought us the celebrated drama The Night Manager, this is basically a reboot of the film, drawing on the same high concept. Esme Creed-Miles – daughter to actress Samantha Morton – stars as Hanna, who is under threat from an off-book CIA agent. Also joining the cast are the erstwhile co-stars of The Killing, Joel Kinnaman and Mirelle Enos.  

James Mottram

All shows available from March 2019 onwards. For more details, visit: https://www.netflix.com/gb/and https://www.amazon.co.uk/amazonprime

Lead Image: Kate Beckinsale in The Widow.