What’s new to streaming? With the winter weather keeping us all indoors, what better way to spend your time than binge-watching a boxset or two? Aesthetica recommends five new television series across various streaming platforms that will grab you and keep you gripped.
Anne (ITV Hub)
A hard-hitting four-part drama, Anne is the ITV at its best. It tells the true story of Anne Williams (Maxine Peake), a mother-of-three from Formby, Liverpool, who lost her son Kevin in the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, when over ninety football fans died in horrifying circumstances. Relentlessly campaigning for justice, Anne spends the next twenty-four years working with others to find out the truth of what happened on that fateful day. Scripted by Kevin Sampson, it’s a tough but rewarding watch about an inspirational figure.
Jamie Dornan heads the cast of this absorbing and offbeat six-part mini-series by Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing, Liar). Set in the vivid, dusty Australian outback, the first episode sees Dornan’s protagonist chased down by a truck and wake up after the accident with no memory of who he is – or who he was. Co-starring Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$), who plays the rookie traffic cop trying to help him recover his identity, the show has a real Coen Brothers vibe, mixing dark humour, extreme violence, and moral complexity.
Not since the days of Ronnie Barker in Porridge has prison been used for humour so well on television. But Rob Williams’ dark comedy for Channel 4 tackles that head on. Seen through the eyes of the officers who work in Long Marsh Prison, the show stars Nina Sosanya, Stephen Wight and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, of Derry Girls fame, playing ‘screws’ with very different ideas about how to run a prison. As wryly amusing as it is, Williams, who previously wrote BBC One’s The Victim, ensures that details feel accurate and authentic to prison life.
Announced in the post-credits sting for Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, with bounty hunter Boba Fett returning to Jabba the Hutt’s palace to claim the throne for himself, this limited series is now with us. Temuera Morrison plays the iconic Fett in a story that answers some long-held questions for Star Wars fans – notably how did this armour-clad warrior survive after his seeming demise during 1983’s Return of the Jedi? Ming-Na Wen reprises her role as loyal warrior Fennec Shand, but the real joy here for aficionados is the way the show expands on the Star Wars universe, just as The Mandalorian did.
After Life Season 3 (Netflix)
Ricky Gervais’ Netflix comedy returns for a third series on 14 January. A show that feels like it shouldn’t work – but most resoundingly does – this sensitive take on grief sees Gervais’ local newspaper writer struggle to cope with the aftermath of his wife’s death. Bittersweet in its tone, it’s one of Gervais’ most poignant works – a mature exploration of life’s big questions. Penelope Wilton and Ashley Jensen, Gervais’ former co-star from Extras, also feature in this must-see show.
Words: James Mottram