Want to hunker down in front of a screen but stuck for something to watch?
Here are the films, TV shows and special streaming events on our cultural radar right now, plus some of our favourites from recent weeks that you can catch up on…
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September 22, 2023
Sex Education Season 4
It is, as the creators say, “back with a bang.” That’s right, TV’s raunchiest show is bounding back onto our screens for one final, climactic season. Will Maeve and Otis get together? Will Eric continue to be fabulous? Will the other supporting cast members get their happily ever afters? It’s all to play for, and promises to be hugely entertaining (and of course, very cringe-worthy).
What is the John Wick universe without Keanu Reeves’ titular assassin? Turns out, it’s actually loads of fun: this prequel series, set in the 1970s, tells the origin story of Winston Scott, owner of the series’ famous Continental Hotel. There are guns, there are explosions, there are nifty action sequences; perfect fodder, in other words, for franchise faithfuls.
Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story
35-year-old Otto Baxter has Down’s Syndrome and also happens to be a megafan of horror films. Over the course of 90 minutes, we watch him write, direct and star in his own horror-comedy-musical set in Victorian London – a process that took him six whole years to complete - and find out more about his own touching story.
Joanne and Vogue’s Sex Drive
Best friends Vogue Williams and Joanne McNally (yes, the ones from hit podcast My Therapist Ghosted Me) are on a quest to discover how to have better sex. Naturally, this means going to Ibiza and sampling the best of the island’s off-the-wall sex positivity practices – from steaming their ‘yonis’ in a field to trying out an erotic nightclub in Ibiza’s West End.
September 15, 2023
Welcome to Wrexham Season 2
Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, pictured above, are back for a second kick of the ball in the follow-up to the hugely successful first series, which went viral around the world. As ever, they’re battling to turn around the fortunes of Wrexham AFC, which they bought to great fanfare in 2020. This time around, the club is back on the hunt for promotion.
The Other Black Girl
Based on the hit book by Zakiya Dalila Harris, this Disney+ show is a thriller with a twist. Our hero is Nella (Sinclair Daniel), the only black person at publishing house Wagner. When Hazel (Ashleigh Murray) joins, Nella is initially thrilled, but things soon turn dark and she becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding both Hazel’s past and Wagner’s less-than-squeaky-clean record.
Road trips have never been so deadly. In Prime Video’s newest thriller, Jenna Coleman plays Liv, a dutiful wife who finds out her husband Will (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) has been cheating. To make it up to her, Will offers to take her on the holiday of a lifetime, travelling through America’s harshest and most beautiful landscapes. For him it’s a chance to repair their marriage; for Liv it’s a chance for revenge.
Domina Season 2
Nobody does political intrigue better than the Romans — they practically invented it. To that end, wind back the clock for the second season of Sky’s Domina, which documents the rise of Gaius Octavius (Matthew McNulty), the first Emperor of Rome, through the eyes of his third wife Livia Drusilla (Kasia Smutniak). This season, there are rebellions to contend with, revenge to extract and the future of Rome itself to fight for... juicy.
September 8, 2023
Love and Death
As it turns out, Elizabeth Olsen excels at playing slightly unhinged mothers. Here, she’s Candy Montgomery, who achieved notoriety in the 1980s for murdering her former lover’s wife Betty – striking her forty times with an axe. The story was serialised by Disney+ earlier in the year; now, watch HBO’s take on ITVX. And of course, Olsen is mesmerising.
2023 is LaKeith Stanfield’s year: fresh from appearing in Disney+ film Haunted Mansion, he’s now heading up Apple TV+’s new Gothic/ fantasy thriller. Stanfield plays Apollo, a used book dealer whose wife, Emma, goes missing after giving birth to their first child. His quest to find her will mean dealing with both witches and police officers… as you do.
Our Lives: Our Sea Forest
Tune in for some rampant wholesomeness. This documentary follows 73 year old diver Eric Smith and his daughter Catrine, as they work to restore the lush undersea kelp forest in Sussex. It’s been decimated by deep sea trawling, but has been making a remarkable comeback – thanks in no small part to their determination.
The Killing Kind
When it comes to bad decisions, dating the man you’re defending on a stalking charge is definitely up there. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Ingrid (Emma Appleton) does - only for, surprise, her client/ lover John (Colin Morgan) to turn on her. Eek.
September 1, 2023
Heart of Invictus
Has Prince Harry put the family infighting to bed? It certainly seems like it: his latest Netflix show, Heart of Invictus, focusses on his annual Invictus Games for injured servicemen. The show’s focus is very much on the people taking part: there are interviews with veterans, discussions of mental health and a celebration of the human spirit.
Boxer Ricky Hatton enjoyed a truly stellar career, but his fall from grace was sudden and shocking. In this documentary, he opens up – alongside his family and former colleagues – about his mental health struggles, the difficulties of adjusting to life after boxing and falling out with pretty much everybody.
In an age of endless reboots, do we really need another? Well… yes. This UK revival of Takeshi’s Castle features Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan as hosts, a beautifully batty bunch of Joe Publics as competitors, and the obligatory terrifying obstacle courses for people to fall off spectacularly. Ahh, bliss.
The Wheel of Time Season 2
Can the lore get even more complicated? Yes it can. Prime Video’s fantasy blockbuster The Wheel of Time has returned for a second season, and things are looking dire for Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and her band of budding sorcerers. After the events of season one, there’s a new set of villains to contend with, Moiraine has lost her powers and the Dark One is still lurking in the shadows.
August 25, 2023
The Price of Truth
This fascinating documentary from Channel 4 follows Dmitry Muratov the editor of the Novaya Gazeta – one of the only independent newspapers left in Russia – in his fight to report the truth. Filmed before, during and after the Ukraine war, it’s a sobering look at the dangers of being a member of the free press, and the dangers of abolishing it.
The Star Wars universe continues to grow at (almost) the speed of light: Disney+’s latest offering sees fan-fave Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in the spotlight. A former Jedi, rebel leader and now peacekeeper of sorts, Ahsoka is hunting down some rebellious Sith before they manage to threaten the fragile New Republic.
Invasion Season 2
Apple TV+’s drama is back for another bite at the apple – as are its pesky aliens. Season two shows the perspectives of five people around the world and how their lives are impacted by the alien invasion of Earth. And this time (having been repelled in season one), the aliens are angry.
Who is Erin Carter?
More cheese on this one than a quattro formaggi pizza. Swedish actress Evin Ahmad stars as Erin, a supply teacher who recently moved to Barcelona with her family. But when she is recognised by an armed robber, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to her than meets the eye – and the stage is set for an almighty action thriller.
August 18, 2023
Sanditon series 3
The last series of back-from-the-dead Austen show Sanditon is finally on our screens. Will Charlotte Heywood and Alexander Colbourne finally get it on? Will Georgiana find her mother? Will Edward Denham turn over a fresh page? It’s Austen, so there will (presumably) be a happily ever after… watch this space.
Combining penis straws with jokes about the end of the world: welcome to the BBC’s latest off-beat sitcom. In it, a bunch of hens retreat to an isolated Welsh cottage for the party to end all parties — until a global pandemic of crab measles (we don’t know what it is, either) kills the entire male population, and the only bloke left is the stripper they hired.
Emergency season 2
Join London’s top-notch trauma teams to see what really happens at our hospitals. Filmed over a fortnight, the show takes us from the ambulance teams responding to emergency calls, all the way through to the surgeons saving peoples’ lives, and the rehabilitative care patients undergo in hospital.
At Home with the Furys
Prepare to raise your eyebrows past your hairline in this hilarious new reality TV show from Netflix. In it, boxing legend Tyson Fury has retired and is adapting to family life — but with six kids, a long-suffering wife (left) and influencer brother Tommy to deal with, it isn’t going to be quiet. Who knew toddlers could swear so much?
August 11, 2023
Heart of Stone
Everyone’s favourite Wonder Woman Gal Gadot hams it up as international spy Rachel Stone in Netflix’s new thriller. She’s been tasked with stopping a mysterious weapon named The Heart from landing in enemy hands (see what they did there?) and picks up a rag-tag team to help her.
We Are Newcastle United
Wrexham kicked football documentaries back into the spotlight. Prime Video’s take is narrated by club legend Alan Shearer, and takes us behind the scenes of the Magpies’ multimillion-pound acquisition by a Saudi company.
This major Netflix docuseries pays tribute to the often-overlooked women of hip-hop, working 50 years worth of history into four fascinating episodes. Featuring interviews with none other than Queen Latifah – as well as a slew of other artists – the show aims to lift up established names such as Saweetie and Cardi B, and pay tribute to overlooked ones from the past, such as producer Drew Dixon.
Only Murders in the Building Season 3
It’s back and more delightful than ever. Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short reprise their roles as podcasting amateurs-slash-crime sleuths Mabel, Charles and Oliver to solve yet another murder. This time around, the casualty is star actor Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd).
August 4, 2023
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
The icon that is Sigourney Weaver makes a rare TV appearance in Prime Video’s last TV offering. Adapted from the book of the same name and set in Australia, it stars Ripley (aka Weaver) as June Hart, the aunt of Alice, who takes her in after she’s orphaned. She owns a flower farm – very Insta-friendly – but she’s also hiding secrets.
Heartstopper Season 2
Slide into this wholesome TV series like a hot bath and let it warm the cockles of your heart. In season two, Charlie, Nick, Elle and Tao are back for more adventures in love: there’s a trip to Paris on the cards, new friends, the prospect of coming out to family members and the challenge of deciding their future.
Reality TV veterans have something new to binge this year: a Channel 4 reboot of the hit show Alone. The premise is simple. A selection of garden-variety Brits are dumped into the Canadian wilderness and forced to survive with only basic camping gear and their own wits to rely on. Oh, and there are bears.
Physical Season 3
The final series of this Apple TV+ comedy sees Rose Byrne return for one last time as Sheila Rubin. She’s come a long way – after therapy, she’s finally silenced the critical voice inside her head – and she’s hard at work converting the masses to aerobics. Until she gets sucked into an Anchorman-style rivalry with fitness rival Kelly Kilmartin.
July 28, 2023
Laura Whitmore Investigates
Incels, rough sex, cyber-stalking… Laura Whitmore’s new TV show is not an easy watch. But it’s still fascinating: over the course of three episodes, Whitmore takes a deep dive into some of the most troubling issues plaguing society today, and what (if anything) can be done to fix them.
Drag Me to Dinner
Drag queens cooking dinner: what could possibly go wrong? This Disney+ show combines the best of Ru Paul’s Drag Race with Come Dine With Me. With judges including Neil Patrick Harris and Bianca del Rio, queens will be going head-to-head in a series of dinner party related challenges. Flawless.
Good Omens Season 2
The end of the world beckons once more. David Tennant and Michael Sheen reprise their roles as partners in crime (and, perhaps, romance?) Crowley and Aziraphale in this delightfully bonkers sequel. This time around, the Archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) has lost his memory… which is unfortunate, as he also has valuable information about how to prevent the Apocalypse.
The Witcher Season 3 Part 2
Don those leather trousers (complete with a leather jacket) and take up your silver sword, for Henry Cavill is back one final time as Geralt of Rivia. In the final three episodes of this season, danger abounds. Ciri (Freya Allan) still has a bounty on her head, and as her quasi-parent it’s only right that Geralt set out to kill the people on her trail.
July 21, 2023
The Bear Season 2
Savour the perfection of a show at the top of its game. The Bear season one was a word-of-mouth Disney+ hit about a team running a Chicago sandwich shop; season two picks up with Carmy and the team attempting to completely renovate their joint and turn it into a fine dining restaurant. It’s as high-stress as ever, but the performances (and plot) are delicious.
Tennis is finally getting its MeToo moment in this Prime Video series. An astonishingly good Ella Lily Hyland plays Justine, a star player whose career was cut short by injury. Five years later, she makes waves when she accuses her former coach Glenn (Aidan Turner) of sexual assault.
Special Ops: Lioness
You can’t get much more star-studded than this Paramount+ show: Zoe Saldaña, Morgan Freeman and Nicole Kidman get suited and booted to tell the story of a real-life US Military programme. Saldaña plays Joe, a highly trained operative trying to balance her personal life with her professional life as a soldier in the war against terror.
World on Fire Season 2
Return to a time when Spitfires streak through the skies and people across Europe are doing their best to survive. Season one was praised for depicting the lives of ordinary people during a time of war; season two picks up the baton, reintroducing old faces (Lesley Manville) and bringing on board new ones (Mark Bonnar).
July 14, 2023
The Afterparty Season Two
The first season of this show combined a high-concept murder mystery with episodes that nodded to every screen genre under the sun. The Apple TV+ series has now returned for another murder investigation, which is as twisty as ever and the cast is still top notch. It’s fresh and fun, and worth a look.
The Secrets of Hillsong
In 2021, America was rocked by shocking revelations in Vanity Fair about celebrity pastors Carl and Laura Lentz. The article explored the rise and fall of the Hillsong megachurch they worked at, and that church’s history of covering up misconduct to protect itself. Now that story has been made into a Disney+ documentary.
For young viewers in the Nineties, Quantum Leap was a must watch, with Scott Bakula leaping into different lives to right various wrongs. It has now been rebooted three decades on with a new scientist stepping into the Quantum Leap accelerator in the form of Raymond Lee’s Ben Song, below. Oh boy.
The Horror of Dolores Roach
This blood-soaked Prime Video series is not for the faint of heart. Very loosely adapted from the Sweeney Todd myth (and based on the hit audio series of the same name), The Horror follows Dolores Roach, an ex-crim who sets up a massage parlour underneath an empanada shop. And things take a grisly turn.
July 7, 2023
Bad boy of TV Ross Kemp is back after a stonking 15-year break from acting. Instead of investigating gangs, he’s playing a police officer (a nice change of pace) in this new Channel 5 show. He’s playing Police Detective Tony Warden, who is called into investigate when a young woman witnesses a brutal copycat killing happen on her estate… in the only area without CCTV camera coverage. Dun dun dun.
Then You Run
Vivian Oparah’s star continues to rise: months after starring in hit film Rye Lane, she’s back for Sky caper Then You Run. Oparah plays Stink, part of a group of four gal pals who find themselves in deep trouble when a trip to Europe goes very wrong. How wrong? Well, there are drugs, there are gangsters and there are several panicky car chases. Delicious.
The Effects of Lying
There’s already a bit of BAFTA buzz around this British indie film – and for good reason. Ace Bhatti is Naveen, a dutiful father who has the day from hell when he discovers various members of his family in crisis. With his life imploding, Naveen has to decide who he really is and learn to take responsibility for his own happiness. Will it be heartwarming? Yes. Will it be teary? Probably. Will it be good? Definitely.
A Thin Line
When environmental protests go wrong… Paramount+’s latest thriller is all about eco-hacktivist sisters Anna and Benni Krohn. They run an anonymous platform exposing crimes against the planet, but when they’re exposed, both go on the run – and while Anna ends up joining the feds, Benni joins a terrorist organisation. And you thought you didn’t get on with your siblings.
June 30, 2023
Idris Elba is back and he’s foiling crime once more! No, not as Luther – this time around, he’s playing the blandly-named Sam Nelson, a business negotiator who finds himself negotiating with actual terrorists when the plane he’s on is (wait for it) hijacked. It’s supremely daft, but that’s part of the fun: sit back and sink in.
The Witcher Season 3
Let Henry Cavill’s smoulder set fire to your TV screen once more. He’s reprising his role (for the last time) as monster-hunter Geralt, the perpetually grumpy hero tasked with foiling the forces of darkness. Reunited with surrogate daughter Ciri (Freya Allan) and sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), the trio are on the run from the many, many forces who want Ciri’s powers.
How quirky do you like your Netflix films? If the answer is ‘very’, then you’ll love this off-the-wall sci-fi fantasy show, because it kind of defies categorisation. Based on a hit graphic novel, it follows Nimona (Chloe Grace Moretz), a shapeshifting teen who falls in with a disgraced knight on a quest to redeem himself. It’s queer as heck, it’s colourful and it’s bags of fun; don’t miss it.
Jack Ryan Season 4
He’s hard as nails and he’s back for one final round of shooting, bursting dramatically through windows and foiling international conspiracies. John Krasinski takes the reins as the titular Jack Ryan in his last outing: this time around, he finds himself tracking a drug cartel as it forges an alliance with a terrorist organisation.