Netflix: The 10 best new shows and films to watch in September

The Spy, Evelyn, and Unbelievable debut; Elite and Explained return for second seasons

The official trailer for The Spy, starring Sacha Baron-Cohen. Video: Netflix

 

The Spy

From Friday, September 6th
The Spy is the latest espionage drama written by showrunner Gideon Raff, the creator of the Israeli series Prisoners of War which inspired the multi-award winning Homeland. Based on a true story and starring Sacha Baron-Cohen in serious actor mode, playing studious office clerk Eli Cohen who ends up working as an undercover Mossad agent in Syria.

While embroiled in this fatal spy-game (donning an unfortunate Borat-esque moustache), Eli finds it difficult to shake off his new identity and sinks further into this dangerous world of duplicity and deception, becoming someone he even fails to recognise.

On Netflix in September: Sacha Baron-Cohen in The Spy
On Netflix in September: Sacha Baron-Cohen in The Spy

Elite season 2

From Friday, September 6th
Season two of this scorching Spanish school drama sees some new faces joining Las Encinas to stir things up. The second series centres on the secrets and lies that bind the students together from the dramatic events in season one. Those bonds will inevitably begin to tear apart as the newcomers begin to infiltrate the lives and already complicated relationships of the private school kids.

On Netflix in September: the cast of Elite
On Netflix in September: the cast of Elite

Evelyn

From Tuesday, September 10th
Director Orlando von Einsiedel (The White Helmets) covers more personal terrain in this documentary that features his family embarking on a walking tour of British beauty spots from their childhood holidays. They do this in remembrance of their brother and son Evelyn, who, struggling with his mental health, took his own life as a young teen.

This raw, moving journey sees the siblings and their parents attempt to work through their anger, sadness and pain as they piece together moments in their lives with Evelyn. The insurmountable grief that clouds memories become as unassailable as the mountains that surround them. An uncompromising, heart-searing film, it shows a family unfiltered and in flux, emotionally devastated, grasping at each other for answers to unspoken questions.

The Mind, Explained

From Thursday, September 12th
Narrated by Emma Stone, this documentary series examines what actually happens in our brains when we are dreaming, suffering from anxiety or dealing with our daily stresses and fears.

On Netflix in September: The Mind, Explained, a documentary series narrated by Emma Stone
On Netflix in September: The Mind, Explained, a documentary series narrated by Emma Stone

Top Boy

From Friday, September 13th
With the show shelved by Channel 4 in 2013, Top Boy’s saviour came in the unlikely form of R n’ B popstar Drake. The singer, dismayed by its cancellation, bought the rights to the show back in 2016 and pushed Netflix to create a new series of the gritty crime drama.

Picking back up where the final series left off, Dushane (Ashley Walters) returns to the Summerhouse housing estate endeavouring to reinsert himself into the drug world and reinstate himself as a formidable gang leader. He is joined by his erstwhile rival and friend Sully (Kane Robinson) fresh from prison and willing to fall back into his life of crime. While the pair have been in exile, a new crop of ruthless young dealers have taken over the estate, including pretender to the throne, Jamie (Michael Ward), who is not about to relinquish his newly acquired powerful position to the returning pair.

Unbelievable

From Friday, September 13th
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article An Unbelievable Story of Rape, this new Netflix true-crime series follows the story of 18-year-old Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever) who, after reporting her rape, is accused of fabricating the crime.

The series, created by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and co-authored by heavyweight screen-writing duo Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, depicts the harrowing aftermath of Marie’s confession and the subsequent investigation made by two female detectives who team up to explore separate rape cases they believe were committed by the same man.

Starring Toni Collette and Merritt Wever, the hard-hitting drama questions how rape cases are treated by the justice system and the trauma experienced by those brave enough to report their assaults.

Criminal

From Friday, September 20th
This highly ambitious police procedural series will see 12 individual stories set in the U.K., France, Germany and Spain, with each separate show filmed in the country’s native language. Taking place within the interview room, it’s a stripped-down claustrophobic drama that focuses on the psychological games played during the interrogation process between the detectives and the suspects. Ratcheting up the tension, it plays on the mental conflict endured by both sides. Featuring an all-star cast including David Tennant and Hayley Atwell in the U.K. version, guest stars such as Babylon Berlin’s Peter Kurth in the German incarnation and Call My Agent’s Nathalie Baye in the French series, it’s a unique, inventive pan-European experience encompassing the skills of Netflix’s wide-reaching talent roster. If successful, it may lead to more shared programming within the streaming service. 

On Netflix in September: David Tennant in Criminal
On Netflix in September: David Tennant in Criminal

Between Two Ferns: The Movie

From Friday, September 20th
Over a decade since its original inception as a spoof interview series, comedian Zach Galifianakis’s cult creation, Between Two Ferns has become a full-length movie. With Galifianakis reprising the role of the curmudgeonly host of the low-rent chatshow, the movie sees him attempting to revive his reputation after being thought of as a laughing stock by the comedy community. Owing more than a nod to the self-referential genius of the Larry Sanders show and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Between Two Ferns continues the legacy of the showbusiness satire with its snarky take on Hollywood’s vacant publicity machine.

Explained season 2

From Thursday, September 26th
Netflix teams up again with news and lifestyle website Vox to offer bitesized glimpses at subjects that inform our world. Last season covered everything from cryptocurrency to the female orgasm with documentaries narrated by a whole host of celebrities, including Jerry Springer, Christian Slater and Carly Rae Jepsen. This season will tackle wide ranging topics such as the lure of cults to our love of athleisure wear.

On Netflix in September: Explained, a series of bitesized documentaries from Vox
On Netflix in September: Explained, a series of bitesized documentaries from Vox

The Politician

From Friday, September 27th
The debut creation from Ryan Murphy’s whopping $300 million deal with Netflix sees the auteur in familiar territory. Murphy knows what his audience wants – a slurring, seething Jessica Lange, looking like a cheap beauty shop Bardot, and a frosty, WASP-ish Gwyneth Paltrow battling against each other in a story about petty high school politics.

The Politician is a cavalcade of camp; an alluring mix of the acerbic Election and Murphy’s own surreal masterwork, Popular. It’s a frantic tale about student Payton Hobart (Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt), an overachieving annoyance, who dreams of one day becoming president of the United States. Believing this path to glory can only be accomplished if he successfully gains a place in Harvard, Hobart decides to run for student body president to plump up his application. Ably assisted by his ambitious mother, Georgina (Gwyneth Paltrow), he strives to eliminate his handsome, more popular rival, River (David Corenswet), while trying to please various, demanding high school cliques. With shades of the recent college admissions bribery scandal, Murphy has once again managed to capture the zeitgeist with this timely tale of greed, privilege and perceived perfection.

As with every Ryan Murphy production, The Politician is stuffed with a thrilling supporting cast including Judith Light, Bette Midler, Zoey Deutsch and Bohemian Rhapsody’s Lucy Boyton who plays terrifying ice queen Astrid, determined to destroy Peyton’s chances at winning.

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