November Previews: Netflix and Amazon Prime

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
Ron Howard returns to the sort of family drama terrain that he pursued in films like Cinderella Man and Parenthood with this adaptation of J. D. Vance’s best-selling memoir. Telling of Vance’s hard-knock childhood in Ohio, with his mother Bev (Amy Adams) a heroin addict, the story also sees him in his years at Yale, having achieved Ivy League success against the odds. Gabriel Basso serves the story well as the older college-era Vance, though its Glenn Close, as his grandmother Mamaw, with grey curls and a choice collection of T-shirts, who steals the show.

The Crown S4 (Netflix)
Everyone’s favourite peak into the Royal Family returns, with the fourth season of the show created by writer Peter Morgan. This has the potential to be the best season yet – with the introduction of Gillian Anderson (brilliant bit of casting) as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. With Olivia Coleman in her second and final season playing the Queen, it will also see Josh O’Connor come into his own as Prince Charles, looking for a bride and finding Lady Diana Spencer (Pennyworth’s Emma Corrin). Highly addictive television that’s a cut-above most other productions.

Uncle Frank (Amazon Prime)
Alan Ball, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of American Beauty, and the creator of Six Feet Under and True Blood, returns with this personal character study. Paul Bettany plays the titular uncle, a gay man living in New York in the 1970s who has never come out to his conservative South Carolina family – until time spent with his niece Beth (Sophia Lillis) and a death in the family changes everything. Bettany is brilliant in this heart-wrench of a role, sensitively handled by Ball in a story that deals with guilt, grief and sexuality.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond (Amazon Prime)
Like the zombies at its heart, The Walking Dead just seems to shuffle on remorselessly, as this latest spin-off series from the popular horror-themed show plods onto screen. Unlike Fear the Walking Dead, the first TWD spin-off and now in its sixth season, World Beyond is a limited two-series show, so that at least lessens the commitment required. Set in Nebraska, ten years after the zombie apocalypse, the focus is four teenage protagonists – the first generation to come-of-age since the undead started roaming. Aliyah Royale and Alexa Mansour lead the cast.

All shows available from November 2020 onwards.

James Mottram