Published: 12:54, 27 May 2020
| Updated: 13:55, 27 May 2020
Looking for something new to watch?
Here are the week’s new shows on Netflix, Amazon and other download sites:
Netflix, from Friday, May 29
We heard about this sitcom some months ago and have been eagerly awaiting it ever since. Now it’s here, let’s hope it lives up to its promise. Steve Carell (who also co-wrote the series with Greg Daniels, whose previous projects include the American version of The Office, Parks and Recreation and The Simpsons) takes the lead role of General Mark R Naird, a decorated pilot who wants to take charge of the US Air Force. Instead he’s offered the job of running the newly created Space Force; although sceptical about its possibility of success, Mark accepts, moves his family to Colorado and sets about landing a man (or woman) on the Moon (again). At its heart, this is basically a workplace comedy, just one that is - literally - out of this world. John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz and Lisa Kudrow co-star.
National Theatre/YouTube, from Friday, May 29
The latest classic production plucked from the National Theatre’s archive for our enjoyment on the institution’s YouTube channel comes from 2013. It was written by James Graham, whose TV adaptation of his play Quiz recently aired to great acclaim on ITV. The title comes from the name given to the House of Commons by MPs and the story takes place between the general election of 1974 and the 1979 vote of no confidence given to James Callaghan’s Labour government. It is not, however, based on real events, merely inspired by them. Devastatingly sharp and witty, This House has been named one of the greatest plays of the decade; the cast featured in this production includes Phil Daniels, Reece Dinsdale, Charles Edwards and Vincent Franklin.
A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
Inspired by a magazine article, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is a heartfelt love letter to self-acceptance, which embraces us like a warm hug. Investigative reporter Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is commissioned by his long-time editorto write an article on beloved children’s TV host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) for a forthcoming issue on inspirational people. Director Marielle Heller meticulously recreates TV studio sets that became a place of comfort to generations of American children. Two-times Oscar winner Tom Hanks is mercurial as beloved children’s TV host Fred Rogers, perfectly capturing his melodic vocal delivery and boundless bonhomie, which continues when cameras stop rolling. Rhys is a pleasing counterpoint as the embittered writer, who wrongly considers himself broken. Together, they make the dialogue sing.
FILM OF THE WEEK
Amazon Prime and other streaming services
Shot in stunning black and white, The Lighthouse is a stylish and unsettling horror, which was deservedly nominated for Best Cinematography at this year's Academy Awards. Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) arrives on an isolated island off the coast of 1890s New England as monstrous waves crash onto the jagged landscape. He will serve the next four weeks as lighthouse keeper alongside a cantankerous old coot called Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), who makes mysterious night-time visits to the lantern room. There is friction between the two men as Wake delegates the most physically gruelling and arduous tasks to Ephraim such as carrying heavy canisters of kerosene across the island's rocky terrain. As tensions rise, Ephraim experiences hypnotic visions of a beautiful mermaid (Valeriia Karaman) and a menacing one-eyed seagull. Director Robert Eggers demonstrated a masterful, vice-like grip of our attention, plumbing the pent-up frustration and sexual desires of two salty sea dogs at the mercy of elemental forces and their febrile imaginations. Dafoe and Pattinson are handsomely matched, trapped in a vicious cycle of mutual admiration and toxic masculinity that will propel them both to the brink of self-destruction.
SERIES: Little Fires Everywhere
Like Oprah Winfrey and Richard and Judy, Reese Witherspoon has her own book club. Every month she chooses a tome for its members to read and discuss, and each one has to have a female character at its heart. In September 2017, she promoted Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Her production company, Hello Sunshine (which was also behind Witherspoon's previous TV hit Big Little Lies), snapped up the rights to turn the novel into a series - and this is the result. The plot focuses on the Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who throw its members' lives into disarray. Race, belonging, motherhood and liberalism are all covered in a thought-provoking psychological thriller. Witherspoon heads the cast which also includes Kerry Washington, Joshua Jackson and Rosemarie DeWitt.
SERIES Snowpiercer: The TV Series
Bong Joon-Ho is one of the hottest directors around thanks to his Oscar-winning black comedy The Parasite, but this dystopian thriller is a spin-off from his earlier hit, Snowpiercer. The story takes place on the titular vehicle, a huge, perpetually moving train that circles the planet while transporting every remaining member of the human race. Class warfare, social injustice and politics are just some of the heavy, thought-provoking subjects tackled by the programme, which spent three years stuck in development hell. Just when it seemed as if the small-screen Snowpiercer would never see the light of day, everything fell into place, including an outstanding cast that includes Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs and Mickey Sumner; a second series, which will feature Sean Bean, is in pre-production.
COMEDY Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
For many years, Tasmanian-born stand-up Gadsby ploughed her trade in her native Australia, building a loyal following. She also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but it wasn't until her first Netflix special, a filmed version of her 2017 tour Nanette, that her audience began to expand. It went on to win an Emmy, as well as numerous plaudits from critics who were impressed by its openness and honesty. Gadsby's follow-up project, Douglas, named after one of her beloved dogs, is now making its debut on the service. As before, the comedian will be sharing some personal stories, observations and insights. Some of her views and perspectives may surprise onlookers, but they're certainly never less than entertaining.
More by this authorAngela Cole
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