The Spy (Netflix)
Sacha Baron Cohen is famed for his outrageous comedy characters – Ali G, Borat and Brüno – so it’s something of a surprise to see him in The Spy, playing a relatively straight role. A six-part show scripted by Gideon Raff, who famously made Prisoners of War which was then rebooted in America as Homeland, Baron Cohen plays Israel’s most famous spy Eli Cohen, who worked for Mossad in the 1960s, going deep undercover to obtain Syrian military secrets. Whether Baron Cohen is the right actor to take on such a role is up for debate, but coming from the book The Spy Who Came From Israel by Uri Dan and Yeshayahu Ben Porat, there’s much to digest.
The Politician (Netflix)
Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, Nip/Tuck and American Horror Story, has something of the Midas touch when it comes to television. So it’s understandable that there’s huge attention on his upcoming eight-episode Netflix show, The Politician. A comedic spin on what it takes to become a decision-maker, the show stars Ben Platt as Payton Hobart, a wealthy Californian student who has known, from the age of seven, that he will one become President of the United States. Navigating his way through high school in an attempt to secure a place at Harvard, Payton’s journey brings him in touch with a range of characters, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Lucy Boynton and Bette Middler.
Undone (Amazon Prime)
Created by Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg, previously of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman series, Undone is Amazon Prime’s first dip into adult animation. Made using the Rotoscoping technique, whereby live-action footage is ‘painted’ over with animation, as previously deployed in Richard Linklater’s Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, the story follows Alma (Rosa Salazar, recently the lead in Alita: Battle Angel), a San Antonio woman who begins the series by surviving a car accident. Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk co-stars in what feels like a very unique project.
The Transparent Musicale Finale (Amazon Prime)
Amazon’s hit show Transparent was rocked in the wake of #MeToo. Allegations of sexual misconduct against leading man Jeffrey Tambor — who played the show’s central character, the transgender woman Maura — led to his firing. Now the show returns for a wrap-up finale, minus Tambor of course, whose character has been written out. Much of this one-off special revolves around matriarch Shelley Pfefferman (Judith Light) writing and staging a musical about her family, with Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffman also returning to their roles as the grown-up kids. Should be quite a performance.
All shows available from September 2019 onwards.
1. Still from The Politician.