Thursday, June 2nd
Returning after a decade to a different global political landscape, Borgen with its liberal ideals and thoughtful ethical arguments feels like entering into the realm of fantasy. Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) has taken on the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs working alongside a new young woman prime minister. With her divorce settled and her children grown she is more dedicated to her work than ever as she becomes embroiled in an environmental battle for the Arctic when oil is discovered in Greenland. As Russia and Denmark are locked in this international struggle for control, the experienced Birgette begins to feel out of her depth with her disillusionment becoming the focus of one time journalist/political adviser Katrine Fønsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) who is enjoying her role as television’s resident Nyborg expert.
Smart, sophisticated, subtle and effortlessly stylish, Borgen is a blissfully grown-up affair which is such a rarity compared to the bleak reality of playground politics.
The Umbrella Academy - Season 3
Wednesday, June 22nd
The Hargreeves siblings’ kaleidoscopic trip continues. Having survived an apocalypse and dodged sudden death, the family are thrown into another metaphysical tailspin when upon returning to their headquarters they discover it has been occupied by another troupe of superheroes, the Sparrow Academy. After jumping through time they managed to create a twisted new reality, with the Sparrows acting as the Hargreeves’s devious doppelgangers. As the two groups square off against each other they realise that trying to outsmart another version of themselves poses unique difficulties and that results could be catastrophic for the future of the Academy. New faces in the cast include Cazzie David as Jamye, Euphoria’s Javon Walton as Stan and the introduction of a mysterious floating, telekinetic cube who is part of the Sparrow crew. Season three of the unstoppable Umbrella Academy is set to be as surreal and whimsical as ever.
The Boys - Season 3
Friday, June 3rd
The clever celebrity culture satire about the unchecked powers of the privileged and the unfortunate plebs enthralled by them has become darker with every new season. The third series touches on the repercussions of the Me Too movement and our desire to conflate actors with the characters they play, which seems especially timely following the Depp vs Heard defamation case. After a year of relative calm and quiet with Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) taking a break from superhero head-smashing with his Government work, he is back to his old tricks upon hearing rumours about an anti-Supe weapon that could even the playing field between the two factions once and for all. Meanwhile the self-obsessed Homelander (Antony Starr) is seemingly becoming unglued tormented by his dual life as a demigod to the public and his private, violent tendencies (including the rape of Butcher’s wife Becca) with Billy and Homelander finally confronting each other in an explosive showdown.
Hacks - Season 2
Friday, June 10th
Thankfully the second season of this caustic comedy has arrived across the Atlantic more quickly this time around. If season one adhered to the classic sitcom fish-out-water conceit with Ava (Hannah Einbinder) having to adapt to Deborah’s (Jean Smart) rarefied showbiz world, then season two pushes their odd-couple, generational culture-clash partnership to the limits as they head off on tour together.
After losing her lucrative casino residency, Deborah is forced out on to the road crossing the country attempting to hone the spiky, more honest material “woke millennial” Ava has helped shape. With the two in close, uncomfortable quarters including a fancy tour bus manned by no-nonsense, time-obsessed Alice (Laurie Metcalf) old wounds and new malignancies fester. The underlying theme of how the entertainment industry views women, especially comedians is further examined with the bickering pair discovering common ground to be exasperated by.
Although there is no fear of Hacks losing its fangs on its second outing. The one-liners remain razor-sharp as the uneven partnership deepens so too do the insults, misunderstandings and annoyances which have a devastating almost unbearable quality to them. Smart is truly magnificent as Vance the old-school Joan Rivers-style, complicated insult comedian who has survived years in an industry eagerly waiting to write her off and Einbinder’s Ava is the perfect foil, as the oversharing, anxious, young writer itching to make her mark.
Wednesday, June 1st
This surprisingly authentic workplace mockumentary has won over audiences with its incisive look at the lives of a group of teachers in an underfunded, overcrowded school in West Philadelphia. The staff of Abbott Elementary are made up of those cheery optimists who haven’t yet been ground down by bureaucracy and cynicism, those who have one eye on the exit door, the batch of dedicated educators and those who are just trying to get through the day. Written and starring Quinta Brunson, it’s a tribute to her mother’s days as a teacher and the influence she tried to have on her student’s lives. Abbott Elementary doesn’t shy away from the realities of the teaching experience especially in state schools where there isn’t always a learning moment or a neat resolution but there is also a lightness of touch to it which will please fans of Superstore, Brooklyn 99 and Parks and Recreation with the emphasis on feel good comedy rather than anxiety inducing commentary.
Only Murders In the Building - Season 2
(Tuesday, June 28th)
Only Murders in the Building became a word-of-mouth sensation when it debuted back in 2021. It was a charming lockdown comfort blanket for some, giving viewers a modern take on Manhattan Murder Mystery-style shenanigans without the worrisome Woody Allen association. Starring the dream team Steve Martin and Martin Short and the intriguing element of Selena Gomez, it gently poked fun at our true crime obsession as the trio of armchair detectives get tangled in a real-life crime situation in their apartment complex.
This season they are desperately trying to piece together the murder whilst having come to the attention of the police and pesky podcasters. As they try to get used to their nascent celebrity there is also the small matter of being continuously framed by the actual perpetrator who is two steps ahead of the oddball gang. The new series features a whole host of guest appearances from those clamouring to get in on the action including Hollywood star Shirley McClaine, comedian Amy Schumer and model, Megan Thee Stallion botherer and general party gonk Cara Delevingne. With its smash-hit status, Only Murders in the Building may have stepped up a gear to become a knowing, self-referential show but it still retains its quintessential, classic New York comedic appeal.
Physical - Season 2
Thursday, June 2nd
Some viewers may have been deterred by Physical’s tone which veered between pitch-black comedy and almost melancholic drama, coming from the mind of Desperate Housewives producer Annie Weisman and I, Tonya’s Craig Gillespie this is not surprising, but those who persevered got to see the fantastic Rose Byrne at her most versatile.
The show follows the life of would-be mogul Sheila, a 1980s San Diego housewife and fitness fanatic who is filled with self-loathing. As she works towards becoming the next Jane Fonda with her videoed exercise routines she wrestles with her eating disorder and the presence of her deadbeat husband. Having achieved some success, Sheila is ready to tackle the outside world and what obstacles are standing in her way of accomplishing her dreams.
Physical is an intimate, sobering look at a woman dealing with her internal demons in the pursuit of unattainable perfection.
Friday, June 24th
Starring Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids), Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (Pose) and Joel Kim Booster (Sunnyside) Loot is the highly anticipated ensemble comedy series from Master of None’s Alan Yang and 30 Rock writer Matt Hubbard. Rudolph plays spoiled socialite Molly Novak who lives in the rarefied world of private jets, giant gigayachts and palatial houses but when she discovers that her husband of 20 years has betrayed her, she spirals becoming the latest tabloid casualty. Slipping further into emotional turmoil she is saved from rock bottom by straight-talking Sofia Salinas (Rodriguez) who informs the billionaire that the charity she runs in Novak’s name is suffering due to her deteriorating public image. Molly and her team including her personal assistant Nicholas (Kim Booster) and her pop-culture crazy cousin Howard (Ron Funches) decide to become more involved with the charity with Molly going on a journey of self-discovery and remembering what her life was like before the trappings of wealth.
The Midwich Cuckoos
Thursday, June 2nd
The Midwich Cuckoos is another retelling of John Wyndham’s unsettling sci-fi novel, although this time the haircuts in this particular village of the damned are less bowl-like and more bouffant. In this modern version, adapted by The Night Manager’s David Farr, the quaint English commuter town is afflicted by a mysterious phenomenon whereby its residents of childbearing age become pregnant after collectively falling unconscious one night. Local psychotherapist Dr Susannah Zellaby (Keeley Hawes) and police officer DCI Paul Kirby (Max Beesley) try to investigate this strange event and end up facing off against these zombie-like children with their eerie clipped English accents and oversized hair. A communal horror story, The Midwich Cuckoos fable still feels relevant and unnerving as it exposes fears around the unknowable adventure that is parenthood and ideas surrounding “nature v nurture”.
We Own This City
Tuesday, June 7th
The Wire’s David Simon and his writing/producing partner George Pelecanos are back analysing police corruption and brutality in this adaptation of Baltimore Sun investigative journalist Justin Fenton’s searing opus. Chronicling the rise and fall of Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, the gritty, graphic six-part series examines the moral malaise of the city and how racism, extortion and bribery became the potent stew that clouded the judgement of its police force. Boasting an all-star cast including The Punisher’s John Berthnal, Succession’s Dagmara Dominczyk and Wire alumnus Jamie Hector, it’s a dense, difficult and unsparing look at the toxicity of a failing system that was supported by the complacent and powerful. As usual with Simons and Pelecanos work it looks at the far-reaching consequences of this institutional rot and what it says about the state of the US.