Nine TV shows to watch this January
(Image credit: Apple TV+)
From the glitzy The Gilded Age to a James Gunn prequel series to The Suicide Squad and a darkly comic psychological thriller, Amy Charles picks the series not to miss this January.
(Credit: Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO)
The Gilded Age
Creator of Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes has turned his attention to late-19th Century New York for another period drama examining the complex minutiae of high society, and the potential pitfalls it faces as the world changes. The Gilded Age begins with Marian Brook (played by daughter of Meryl Streep, Louisa Jacobson), moving to New York City from Pennsylvania, to live with her aunts (played by Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski). This pair are as old money as it comes, and become embroiled in a social war with their neighbours the Russells (Morgan Spector and Carrie Coon), a nouveau riche couple who made money through the railways. The cast is stacked with Broadway stars including Denée Benton, Nathan Lane and Audra McDonald, and from the trailer this show looks to be just as soapy, escapist and glamorous as Downton, but this time with not one, but two wise-cracking old-school matriarchs.
The Gilded Age premieres on 24 January on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and on 25 January on Sky Atlantic and Now TV in the UK.
Loosely based on the horror podcast of the same name, Archive 81 is a supernatural thriller with convergent timelines. Archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie, The Circle), who has a tragic past, is restoring damaged videotapes, which feature an investigation into a cult that was filmed in the mid-90s at the behest of a secretive businessman. The filmmaker Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) came to a grisly end 25 years ago, and in the process of working on the tapes, Dan comes to believe he can save her. Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black) and Martin Donovan (Tenet, Big Little Lies) co-star.
Archive 81 is released on 14 January on Netflix.
Written and directed by The Suicide Squad director James Gunn, this new HBO series zones in on one of the members of the supervillain crew, played by John Cena, and tells his origin story. As his name suggests, Peacemaker is obsessed with keeping the peace, no matter how many people are hurt in order to achieve it. The trailer suggests that viewers should expect to see a lot more of Gunn’s trademark irreverence, as well as the high-octane, violent action sequences seen in The Suicide Squad. However in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gunn said that while “there are a lot of similarities to The Suicide Squad … there are also a lot of things that are very different, in that it’s quieter in some ways… it’s even more grounded, more natural and more real. But it’s still within a big science-fiction storyline.” The rest of the cast includes Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black), Freddie Stroma (Bridgerton), and Robert Patrick, best remembered as Terminator 2’s shape-shifting bad guy, who plays Auggie, Peacemaker’s plain-speaking and never-satisfied father.
Peacemaker premieres on 13 January on HBO Max in the US.
In this new comedy-thriller, a high-school reunion goes very, very wrong when, amongst the frivolity and excess of reuniting with old friends and foes, a murder is committed. The host, almost universally disliked popstar Xavier (Dave Franco) is found dead, and Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) is tasked with uncovering who killed him; making it more high-concept is the fact that each episode will show the night from the perspective of a different partygoer while using a different film genre that matches the particular characters’ personality. The cast is packed with great comic actors including Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz, Ilana Glazer and Jamie Demetriou. In a statement when the teaser trailer was released, co-creators Chris Miller and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) said “This is one of the most surprising, original and fun projects we’ve ever made… Our goal was to tell a comedic whodunnit story in a new and exciting way.” Watch the trailer here.
The Afterparty premiers on 28 January on Apple TV+.
(Credit: BBC / Slim 80 Days)
Around the World in 80 Days
Warm up the wintry evenings with this joyous adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic novel, which travels the globe in magnificent period fashion. Starring David Tennant (Doctor Who) as Phileas Fogg, this family-friendly adventure feels perfect for now. Set in 1872, it begins with the eccentric Fogg making a £20,000 (the equivalent of over a million pounds today) bet that he can circumnavigate the globe in the titular time limit. Tagging along is French valet Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma), and young journalist Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue (Leonie Benesch) who is documenting his progress for a British newspaper. Created by Life on Mars’ Ashley Pharoah and with a score co-written by Hans Zimmer, it is “big television” that “zips around the planet”, as the Guardian put it – and with a second series already confirmed, it’s certainly worth hopping on and enjoying the ride. Watch the trailer here.
Around the World in 80 Days is available on PBS Masterpiece in the US, BBC iPlayer in the UK, France 2 in France and ZDF in Germany.
(Credit: Ali Goldstein/ Amazon Studios)
As We See It
“I’ve spent my entire life trying to hide the autism thing,” Jack, (Rick Glassman, Undateable), tells his helper Mandy in the trailer for new series As We See It. “I think you are such a beautiful person that you shouldn’t have to hide who you are,” Mandy (Sosie Bacon, Mare of Easttown) replies. “That makes me want to throw up,” retorts Jack. It’s an exchange that seems to give some idea about the irreverent approach to neurodiversity of this coming-of-age comedy drama following three twenty-somethings, all of whom are on the autistic spectrum, as they navigate work, friendships and love in the modern world. Centring on Jack, Harrison (Albert Rutecki) and Violet (Sue Ann Pien), each played by actors who identify as living on the autistic spectrum, it’s based on the award-winning Israeli series On the Spectrum, and could help to redress the tired tropes used to depict in the autistic community in previous films and TV series.
As We See It is released on 21 January on Prime Video.
As Netflix continues to invest more and more in content from all corners of the globe, this new Japanese series, which tackles globally relevant issues of political corruption, could be the latest non-English language show to hit big on the platform. Based on the award-winning 2019 film of the same name, and created by its writer-director Michihito Fujii, it stars Ryoko Yonekura (Doctor X) as Anna, the titular reporter searching for the truth as she embarks on a major investigation that could implicate people in the highest echelons of power.
The Journalist is released on 13 January on Netflix.
(Credit: Colleen E Hayes/ Netflix)
The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window
Over the last few years, the books market became flooded with murder mysteries with unreliable female narrators. Then came the film and TV adaptations of the same novels; you know the ones: The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, Woman in the Window, the list goes on. Now, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window puts a darkly parodic spin on this sub-genre, with The Good Place’s Kristen Bell taking on the leading role as Anna, who heartbroken and living alone, and with a habit of drinking very, very large glasses of wine, witnesses a murder – or so she thinks. The result is a psychological thriller with laughs: speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Bell said of reading the script for the first time “It was like nothing I’d ever heard before, and it made me laugh… It was so outside the box and absurd that I knew I had to be involved.” Watch the trailer here.
The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is released on 28 January on Netflix.
(Credit: BBC/Two Brothers)
Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan is the charismatic lynchpin of this gripping six-parter set in the Australian outback. As it begins, his character, simply known as The Man, is driving across the desert and realises he’s being pursued by an enormous truck. After being driven off the road, he then wakes up in hospital, with absolutely no idea who he is. Helen, a police officer played by Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$), is determined to help him rediscover his identity, but as The Man and his companions search for the truth, others search for him. Written and executive produced by TV thriller maestros Jack and Harry Williams (The Missing, Baptiste, Liar), it has received acclaim from critics including The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan who wrote that “it’s well worth watching this fun, stylish and confident caper, which clearly still has numerous twists up its sleeve and characters to play with.” Watch the trailer here.
The Tourist is available on BBC iPlayer in the UK.
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