The 10 best Netflix and Amazon Prime shows to watch in October

Operation Finale, Dancing Queen, The Romanoffs, Making a Murderer 2 and more

Ms Alyssa Edwards tongue-clicks her way onto her own reality show in ‘Dancing Queen’ on Netflix

Ms Alyssa Edwards tongue-clicks her way onto her own reality show in ‘Dancing Queen’ on Netflix

 

Operation Finale

Netflix, October 3rd
Starring Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac, Operation Finale is the story of the mission to capture Nazi war criminal, and chief architect of the Final Solution, Adolf Eichmann. Isaac plays Peter Malkin, the Mossad agent who is tasked with bringing Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) to justice after locating his whereabouts in Buenos Aires. It’s a weighty thriller that relies more on the intense verbal exchanges between the two leads than any tightly wound action sequences. Kingsley’s Eichmann paints himself as a faceless, powerless bureaucrat following orders within the regime as Isaac’s Malkin wrestles with his private pain and the rawness of a nation coping with the anguish of their devastating history. Watch the trailer here

Dancing Queen

Netflix, October 5th
Dancing Queen
follows the self-described Grand Dame Diva of the South, RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar Alyssa Edwards, tongue-popping her way into her own reality show as she promotes her day job of training the next generation of twirlers in her successful dance company Beyond Belief. Not only does it focus on the behind-the-scenes Dance Mom dramas that occur, but it is also an opportunity to get a glimpse behind the glamour of the charismatic queen, with attention given to Edwards’s life in Texas and off stage as Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson. Navigating between the personal and the public, Dancing Queen promises to go beyond the back-rolls banter and show the real life beneath the wig. Alyssa’s Secret may finally be revealed. Watch the trailer here

22 July

Netflix, October 10th

Paul Greengrass’s ‘22 July’. Photograph: Erik Aavatsmark
Paul Greengrass’s ‘22 July’. Photograph: Erik Aavatsmark

With the addition of auteur directors and critical darlings such as Alfonso Cuarón, Noah Baumbach and Paul Greengrass to its roster, Netflix seems to be attempting to make a concerted effort to be taken seriously as an Academy Awards contender. Given its tricky time at Cannes and its drive to move audiences away from the multiplex, this remains to be seen, but the films that are premiering on the streaming service this autumn and winter are generating considerable industry heat. Paul Greengrass’s 22 July is one of them. The film is a sobering, unflinching look at the massacre in Utoya, Norway in 2011 n which 69 people (mostly young teenagers) were murdered by far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. As with United 93 and his films about Bloody Sunday and Omagh, Greengrass attempts to unknot a story of trauma, politics, journalism and history. It continues his study of extremism and the shift in global politics that forged a man like Breivik – although Greengrass ensures to carefully concentrate on the story of the justice process and those who survived rather than giving over time to the empty rhetoric of Breivik and his ilk. 22 July is not a documentary but, as with United 93, it’s a film that tries to corral viewers’ thoughts about the difficult times we live in and the patterns that are now beginning to emerge. Watch the trailer here

The Romanoffs

Amazon Prime, October 12th

Corey Stoll and Janet Montgomery in The Romanoffs. Photograph: Amazon Prime
Corey Stoll and Janet Montgomery in The Romanoffs. Photograph: Amazon Prime

Prestige TV doesn’t get more impressive than this anthology series from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. Starring a colossal cast of acting heavyweights and glitzy luminaries such as the captivating Isabelle Huppert, Aaron Eckhart, Corey Stoll, Diane Lane and Mad Men alumni Christina Hendricks, John Slattery and Jay R Ferguson, it’s the story of various people united in their belief that they are descendants of Russian royalty, the illustrious Romanov family. This strain of delusion and grandeur is the basis for eight self-contained stories set in various locations from Russia, New York, Mexico and Paris, encapsulating the craving for notoriety and purpose that infects the human condition. Unlike other streaming shows, The Romanoffs will not be available in one greedy gulp but will rather be eked out over the course of seven weeks in a traditional manner, not only restricting the diet of insatiable bingers but also ratcheting up the anticipation for Weiner’s return even further. Watch the trailer here

The Haunting of Hill House

Netflix, October 12th
Netflix is making the most of the spooky season with some spine-chilling films and series popping up throughout October. The Haunting of Hill House is a retelling of the Shirley Jackson novel which, in a modern twist, shows the after-effects of the house of horrors on its inhabitants rather than just depicting the events of the haunting itself. Told within a series of flashbacks weaving in and out of the present day, it sees the adult siblings of the Crane family forced to relive the murky, terrifying past of a childhood spent in the Gothic environs of Hill House, as one family member formulates a memoir about their experiences. It’s a psychological horror series fuelled by the bonds of family that can oscillate between being suffocating and overwhelming as well as fortifying and comforting. A sense of soul-destroying dread permeates the series, which plays on the fears that even though the family may have escaped the house, they are still trapped within those memories that will haunt them forever. Watch the trailer here

Apostle

Netflix, October 12th

Dan Stevens in Apostle. Photograph: Netflix
Dan Stevens in Apostle. Photograph: Netflix

Director Gareth Evans (The Raid) puts down the machete and moves back in time with this occult horror folk-tale. Set in the early 1900s, Apostle stars Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as Thomas, a prodigal son who, upon his return to London, discovers his sister has been taken away by a strange cult living on a remote island. Determined to rescue her, he travels to the Utopian community to find religious “prophet” Malcolm (a zealous, bearded Michael Sheen) carrying out all kinds of ye olde bloodletting and lobotomy antics on his willing disciples. Thomas becomes further ensnared in the lives of the islanders before unearthing a disturbing secret hidden within their “paradise”. Apostle is the demon child of The Witch and The Wicker Man crowned with moments of modern gore that will appeal to fans of less-subtle slasher fare. Watch the trailer here

Making a Murderer Part 2

Netflix, October 19th

Brendan Dassey appears in court at the Manitowoc County Courthouse in Wisconsin in 2007. File photograph: Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent/AP
Brendan Dassey appears in court at the Manitowoc County Courthouse in Wisconsin in 2007. File photograph: Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent/AP

The second season of the Emmy award-winning global smash Making a Murderer arrives on Netflix this month. Since its debut in 2015 the story of Steven Avery and the murder of Teresa Halbach has taken hold of audiences hooked on the true-crime genre; the series’ powerful narrative even influenced viewers to attempt to appeal Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey’s conviction. This season will chronicle the experiences of Avery and Dassey within the complex American justice system as prisoners serving life sentences for crimes they claim they did not commit. Armchair sleuths have been observing the case since 2015 and, with new evidence mounting, it will be interesting to see if these concerns are addressed by filmmakers Laura Riccardi and Moira Demos as well as addressing the effects that the original series had on Halbach’s family and the moral questions arising from the idea of turning real-life into whodunnit entertainment. Watch the trailer here

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Netflix, October 26th

Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Photograph: Netflix
Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Photograph: Netflix

With nary a talking cat nor a Britney Spears cameo in sight, Netflix have reclaimed Sabrina from her cheery Teenage Witch years on Nickelodeon and have instead conjured up a darker incarnation of the magical coming-of-age story. This Sabrina Spellman is more Rosemary’s Baby than a sitcom sweetheart. In this adaptation, 16 year old Sabrina (played by Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka) wrestles with the idea of her dual nature as a half-mortal, half-witch as well as dealing with the usual plethora of average high-school traumas. Tonally, the series, with its Gothic girl gangs and eerie demonic depictions, pays homage to the body horror and teenage dramas of Carrie and The Craft rather than the light comic tone of its predecessor. Watch the trailer here

Been So Long

Netflix, October 26th
Based on the stage show by Che Walker and Arthur Darvill, Been So Long is a modern-day musical starring the captivating Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) and Arinze Kene (The Pass). Set in Camden, it is the story of Simone, a whip-smart single mother who meets an intriguing, if not troubled stranger on a night out, who through their encounter opens up a world of possibility and fizzing romance to her that turn the dark city streets into a neon-lit wonderland paved with joy. With a soundtrack influenced by the history of London’s music scene that features everything from punk and acid house to soul, funk and disco, Been So Long is a fresh, contemporary take on the musical genre.

Dovlatov

Netflix, October 26th
Following six days in the life of the Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov (Milan Marc), Alexey German Jnr’s film is a dreamy ode to 1970s bohemian life in Leningrad. Stuffed full of smokey salons, soundtracked by jazz and fuelled by cheap spirits, Dovlatov is not a straightforward biographical story but rather a beautifully shot meditation about the artist’s place in society whether above or within the political machine, and the spectre of the underappreciated or undiscovered talents that lie forever buried in obscurity. Watch the trailer here

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