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Five things to watch this August – from the return of 'Physical' to powerful new series 'Painkiller'

reese witherspoon the morning show
Your TV watchlist for August is hereApple TV+ / Erin Simkin - Apple

September means one thing: back-to-school energy. Indeed, TV programmers have always approached this month with a new-year attitude, saving up some of their most exciting releases of the year for post-summer scheduling. It’s why, fittingly, this month sees the final season of school-based drama Sex Education. There is also another final outing – that of the critically-acclaimed London crime series Top Boy, starring Ashley Walters, which is back for one last series.

Meanwhile, two entirely different but equally popular shows debut their third and second seasons this month. The Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston-fronted The Morning Show returns after the bombshell series two finale more then two years ago, and the cult-favourite fantasy drama The Wheel of Time is back for a no-doubt equally impressive second round. Plus, there is the much-anticipated TV adaptation of Victor Lavelle’s critically acclaimed novel The Changeling, which makes its spooky, atmospheric arrival on 8 September.

Sex Education

sex education season 4 emma mackey as maeve wiley in sex education season 4 cr thomas woodnetflix 2022 wsp04919arw
Thomas Wood

In the cultural landscape, it feels as though there was a world before Sex Education and a world after it. It seems strange to remember a time when Ncuti Gatwa and Emma Mackey were not household names, or one in which Gillian Anderson had not had a much deserved (and very sexy) renaissance. We owe this, and a more sensitive, smart and forgiving portrayal of young sexual experiences to this landmark show, which bows out this month with its fourth season. With Maeve in America and Otis and Eric finding their feet in a new sixth-form, Sex Education is pulling out all the stops for its final hurrah and seems determined to go out on a high.

Sex Education season 4 starts streaming on Netflix on 21 September.

The Morning Show

jennifer aniston in the morning show
Erin Simkin

Unflinchingly smart, brave and addictive, The Morning Show has never pulled its punches and has been appointment television ever since its 2020 debut. Now, two years after its cliff-hanger finale, riddled with bombshell announcements, awkward declarations of love and a Covid-era breakdown, the newsroom-based drama returns for a third season. The cast continues to impress, featuring a career revival from Billy Crudup and brilliant performances from Karen Pittman, Greta Lee and Julianna Margulies, all in support of the two powerhouse leads that need no introduction: Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Now the cast swells to include Jon Hamm, playing media mogul Paul Marks, set to shake things up in the already dramatic workplace.

The Morning Show season 3 starts streaming on Apple TV+ on 13 September.

Top Boy

top boy season 3 l to r simbiatu ajikawo as shelley, ashley walters as dushane in top boy season 3 cr ana blumenkronnetflix © 2022

A cult favourite since its first arrival on our screens, more than a decade ago, this month will see the very final instalment of this beloved show. Raising the careers of Ashley Walters and Kane ‘Kano’ Robinson, this hard-hitting East London crime drama has had its own choppy history: the original show (now referred to as Top Boy: Summerhouse) ran for two seasons before being cancelled by Channel 4 in 2014. It was revived by none other than Drake in 2017, whose support for the show saw the last two seasons picked up by Netflix. It is here that Top Boy will debut its fifth and final season (somewhat confusingly referred to as the third season of the Netflix version), with impressive guest stars like BAFTA-winning Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Brian Gleeson (Bad Sisters). Promising a dramatic finale, the series-wide question may finally be answered: who will be top boy?

Top Boy season 3 starts streaming on Netflix 7 September

The Wheel of Time

The ultimate in fantasy escapism, The Wheel of Time has everything you would expect: epic battles between good and evil, wise warriors, mysterious objects, fantastical creatures and mystical forces at play over fictitious universes. Based on the cult novel series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and starring Rosamund Pike and Sophie Okonedo among a vast and talented cast, The Wheel of Time’s first season was a highly anticipated release, and its success has heralded a second season. After all, with 14 books to cover, we could be looking at the new Game of Thrones.

The Wheel of Time season 2 starts streaming on Prime Video on 1 September

The Changeling

Victor Lavelle’s superlative 2017 novel of the same name was both a critical smash and a bestseller. It was also that curious thing – a fantasy horror book and a literary novel. It is little wonder that its smart, twisted and unique premise has made its way onto an eight-part limited series for Apple TV+, starring LaKeith Stanfield and Clark Backo, and directed by Melina Matsoukas of Queen & Slim fame. The Changeling is set in an alternate New York City and tells the story of Apollo (Stanfield) who must journey through a fantasy world in order to find his missing wife and abducted son and understand the mysterious circumstances behind her disappearance. The series looks set to be as gripping and unexpected as the novel.

The Changeling starts streaming on Apple TV+ 8 September

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