Double Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank stars in this 10-part space drama about humanity’s first-ever mission to Mars. She plays American astronaut Emma Green, whose captaincy is brought into question after a mishap on the way to the moon and her husband (The Good Wife’s Josh Charles) is hospitalised after collapsing at home.
Penny Dreadful and Pure Genius creator Andrew Hinderaker’s latest slice of high-concept television is a lavish looking, 10-part space drama with the heart and soul to match. Hinderaker and co-writer Jessica Goldberg (The Path, Parenthood) offer up thought-provoking conundrums, intimate struggles and complicated characters amongst the thrilling set-pieces.
CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT (NETFLIX)
This four-part documentary series takes a look at the events that led up to and the aftermath of the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger in January 1986.
“We get perhaps the most comprehensive and humanized version of events yet, featuring rare archival footage; recollections of journalists; thoughtful profiles of each of the seven crew members, and insightful, deeply moving interviews with surviving family as well as some of the principal figures in the launch, including some who are haunted to this day,” wrote the Chicago Sun-Times’ Richard Roeper.
Criminal season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
One of Netflix’s best dramas of 2019 is back for a second season. Set entirely in adjoining interrogation and observation rooms, each episode focuses on the cat and mouse games that go on between those being held for questioning and those whose job it is to “find the perpetrator of a crime”.
In such a claustrophobic environment, each “dance” takes centrestage, with both sides attempting to use deceit and manipulation to get the upper-hand, which will either result in formal charges being laid, or those under suspicion walking away. Those in the spotlight this time include Kit Harington’s real estate agent, Sophie Okonedo’s housewife (whose husband has been accused of murder) and Sharon Horgan’s vigilante.
THE GOES WRONG SHOW (AMAZON PRIME VIDEO)
Inspired by Mischief Theatre’s award-winning Broadway and West End stage shows, this six-part BBC series sees the well-meaning amateurs of the Cornley Dramatic Society taking on a variety of half-hour plays. But whether it is a horror story, wartime drama, legal thriller, period romance, deep south melodrama or Christmas fable, every week sets collapse, special effects fail and actors forget their lines.
“Obviously things going wrong is funny, but the main pleasure in the chaos is the sheer precision of it,” wrote The Guardian’s Tim Dowling.
Amazon Prime Video
The Goes Wrong Show is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video
KEEPING FAITH (ACORN)
Broadchurch and Doctor Who star Eve Myles stars in this eight-part BBC thriller about a fun-loving lawyer who is drawn into a complicated mystery after her husband leaves for work one day and never gets there. While searching for clues as to what happened, she becomes the prime suspect in his disappearance.
Described by The Guardian as “like Big Little Lies relocated to rural Wales”, it won Myles a Bafta for her performance.
Part police procedural, part fantastical underworld relationship drama, as the Chicago Tribune’s Nina Metz puts it, “Lucifer is a sardonic half-grin in TV form starring Tom Ellis [Miranda] in the title role”. This fifth season picks up where season four ended.
“Lucifer decides that he has to go back to Hell because the demons are rising up and planning on taking over humanity and there’s only one person that they’ll listen to, and that’s him,” Ellis told the Tribune.. “So heartbreakingly he decides to leave Chloe” – the police detective with whom he’s smitten – “just as she tells him that she loves him.”
The Third Day is now screening on SoHo and Neon.
THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS (TVNZ ONDEMAND)
Downton Abbey‘s Laura Carmichael and The Hunting’s Jessica De Gouw star in this six-part Australian drama about two women who have a chance encounter in a Sydney supermarket. They come from vastly different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common – explosive secrets that could destroy everything they hold dear. “With a complex screenplay and exceptional cast… [this] is a credible, nail-biting drama,” wrote The Guardian’s Luke Buckmeister.
THE THIRD DAY (NEON)
Brought to us by the evil genius who gave the world Utopia, this six-part rural horror offers some of the most unsettling, unnerving and unrelenting drama you’ll see on a screen this year. A social worker-turned-garden-centre-owner with troubles of his own, Sam (Jude Law) ends up on the isolated island of Osea after accidentally stumbling across a young woman’s suicide attempt.
Director Marc Munden makes terrific use of reflections, changes in light and Law’s permanently furrowed brow to keep the audience on the edge of their seat. Clever framing and sometimes woozy hand-held camera work also keep the viewer off-kilter and draws you into Sam’s “plight”, although Kelly’s twisty turny script throws in plenty of red herrings, misdirections and an overall sense that things might not be quite what they seem.