20 of the best new TV shows you should watch

From peak Amy Adams to the return of Matt Groening, these are the series you can’t afford to miss this summer.

Words

Emma Fraser

Westworld is over, the final season of Game of Thrones is still a year away. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to watch on television – quite the opposite. Comedy, drama, fantasy, documentary and several shows from the international market; here at LWLies we’ve got you covered when it comes to selecting the best new TV. This is the summer of the creepy small town mini-series, but if that’s not your speed then there are plenty of alternatives to keep you entertained over the next few months and beyond.

1. Who is America?

Showtime (US) and Channel 4 (UK); episodes available now

It’s 20 years since Sacha Baron Cohen first appeared as Ali G on The 11 O’Clock Show, but politicians and public figures are still falling prey to Cohen’s disguises. No longer the “voice of da yoof”, Cohen adopts a variety of guises while attempting to catch out former Vice President candidate Sarah Palin, Vice President Dick Cheney, and disgraced US Senate Candidate Roy Moore. “Evil, exploitative and sick” sounds like a great pull quote courtesy of Palin’s fury at being duped.

2. Picnic at Hanging Rock

BBC 2 (also available on BBC iPlayer); episodes available now

Natalie Dormer has traded a crown and Westeros for a private boarding school in 1900 Victoria, Australia. When a group of schoolgirls go missing at the annual Valentine’s Day picnic, this community is thrown into chaos. Sexual politics, class and teenage desire all play a part in this tale of ethereal intrigue. This mini-series is based on the Joan Lindsay novel of the same name, which was first adapted by Peter Weir in 1975. Weir’s version influenced Sofia Coppola, a number, fashion brands such as Dior and Alexander McQueen, as well as season two of The Leftovers. There is also the matter of whether author Joan Lindsay based this on real events as she wrote it as fiction, claiming the idea came to her in a dream; a mystery within a mystery.

3. Sharp Objects

Sky Atlantic (also available on Now TV and Sky On Demand); episodes available now

Amy Adams takes on Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn’s first novel, ‘Sharp Objects’, in this eight-part mini-series. Adams plays Camille, a reporter returning to her small hometown in Missouri, to investigate the recent unsolved murders of young girls. Confronting the past, her dysfunctional family and the rage that has been bubbling beneath the surface, Adams gives the kind of performance that will have you wondering why she hasn’t won an Oscar yet. As with another recent HBO hit, Big Little Lies, Jean-Marc Vallée directs the entire run, bringing his signature flashback-fragment style to the chilling drama.

4. Castle Rock

Hulu; coming soon

Creepy small towns are on trend, as are the works of Stephen King. Castle Rock puts a different spin on this. Rather than a direct adaptation, this ten-part miniseries explores the fictitious Maine town, which features in many King scary tale. What draws evil to a town like this? And who is the mysterious prisoner hidden in the bowels of Shawshank Prison? The cast also includes a couple of actors that have already played iconic King characters; original Carrie, Sissy Spacek and recent Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård. King serves as an executive producer, alongside JJ Abrams.

5. Killing Eve

BBC; coming soon

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hot streak continues, switching comedy for a sprawling game of cat and mouse across Europe. Jodie Colmer plays international assassin Villanelle, hot on her trail is Sandra Oh, as bored MI5 security officer Eve. Eve becomes obsessed with catching the woman leaving a trail of dead bodies in her wake. Get ready for this to become your new obsession too, it has already been a smash critical hit in the US, as well as gaining an Emmy nomination for Oh. It’s funny (which you’d expect from Waller-Bridge) and incredibly stylish, featuring plenty edge-of-your-seat action.

6. Dietland

Amazon Prime; episodes available weekly

This is writer Marti Noxon’s second entry on this list – she also created Sharp Objects – and Dietland is an adaptation of Sarai Walker’s hit novel of the same name. Plum (Joy Nash) is a ghostwriter for Kitty Montgomery (Julianna Margulies), the editor-in-chief of fashion magazine ‘Daisy Chain’. Plum is also saving to have weight loss surgery, explaining “I don’t hate myself. The world hates me. For being like this.” A drama with a big serving of dark humour, this is an exploration of the issues women face including the pressure to be perfect.

7. Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger

Amazon Prime; episodes available now

Marvel’s domination across all platforms continues with another TV series to add to its already long list. Teenagers Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) gain superpowers after an incident when they were kids. Powers of light and dark – or Cloak and Dagger – work better together than apart, but first they must figure out how to control them. Romance complicates things and this series moves the action away from the superhero epicentre of New York City to New Orleans. This is part of the MCU, but don’t expect answers to the ending of Avengers: Infinity War, this is very much its own separate story within the same world.

8. Party Down

STARZPLAY on Amazon Prime; full series available now

One of the best comedy series’ of the last 10 years is finally available to watch on UK television as part of the STARZPLAY add-on package for Prime subscribers. From Veronica Mars and iZombie creator Rob Thomas, Party Down follows a group of cater waiters in Los Angeles, most of who have a desire to make it in Hollywood. Starring Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen, Jane Lynch and Megan Mullally, each episode takes place at a different event. These range from a porn awards after party, a seniors single mixer to Steve Guttenberg’s birthday. Hilarious, biting and featuring a slew of guest stars you will definitely recognise. This is a comedy series for the ages.

9. Eat. Race. Win.

Amazon Prime; July 27

Documentaries and movies about the Tour de France have focused on the insidious side of the sport, but enough of Lance and his antics already. Eat. Race. Win. is taking us behind-the-scenes of the biggest sporting event of the year. Following Danish chef Hannah Grant (who specialises in performance nutrition) as she prepares meals for a competing pro cycling team, this documentary series goes behind closed doors to see what it takes to win. You are what you eat – and these athletes are pushing their bodies to the extreme in order to win the yellow jersey.

10. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

Amazon Prime; August 31

Jim from The Office got ripped for Michael Bay’s 13 hours and stayed that way to take the Jack Ryan baton from Chris Pine; he is now the fifth actor to play this role. In this new version Ryan is once again thrust into a very dangerous world, one he is used to seeing from the safety of his desk in his role as CIA analyst. John Kransinski has the physicality to play a spy, the book smarts to be a convincing desk player. Alas there will be no Jim mugging for the camera, but at least he will be able to make a sound.

11. Succession

Sky Atlantic; coming soon

Succession follows the Roy family: patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is contemplating his future as head of one of the biggest international media conglomerates with four children vying for power. Sound familiar? That’s because this ‘King Lear’-esque drama was created by Veep and In the Loop co-writer Jesse Armstrong. The first episode is directed by The Big Short’s Adam McKay, who also serves a producer on the series.

12. A Discovery of Witches

Sky One; September

Vampires and witches are coming to Oxford University in the Sky adaptation of the best-selling fantasy All Souls trilogy series by Deborah Harkness. Matthew Goode plays scientist Matthew Clairemont, who also happens to be a vampire. Salem witch descendent Diana (Teresa Palmer) and science historian accidentally unlocks an enchanted manuscript while doing research at the university, setting in motion a chain of events that reopens long standing feuds within the supernatural world.

13. Good Girls

Netflix; season one available now

It’s now just the women of Ocean’s 8 who are taking the “I wanna rob” mantra of Emma Watson in The Bling Ring to heart in 2018. On Netflix catch the first season of comedy-drama Good Girls, which sees Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman and Retta teaming up to take control of their messy lives via robbing a supermarket. What could go wrong? Think Breaking Bad, but with less meth and more charm.

14. Sacred Games

Netflix; season one available now

Netflix has gone big with its first original Indian series. Sacred Games tells the story of a determined police officer (played by Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan) who is given 25 days to save Mumbai. Focusing on the underbelly of the city, this is cops-and-crime-lords drama that also details four decades of political strife. Based on a best-selling novel by Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games has already caused controversy due to the portrayal of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

15. Mr Sunshine

Netflix; July 7

Netflix has also turned to the international market when it comes to content to air on a weekly basis, rather than releasing it all at once. This is so it can be aired alongside the country it has originated from. This is the case with a lot of US television including The Good Place and Ru Paul’s Drag Race. South Korean series Mr Sunshine is also being show in this way. A period series taking viewers back to 1905 when Korean-American soldier Eugene Choi (Lee Byung-hun), returns to Korea after spending his formative years in the US after the Shinmiyangyo incident of 1871. A turning point in global history, Mr Sunshine features romance in the unlikeliest of places.

16. Last Chance U: INDY

Netflix; July 20

The first two seasons of Last Chance U followed the American football program at East Mississippi Community College. A change of location has the series heading to Independence, Kansas to track the progress of the Pirates of Independence; underdogs that have suffered years of losses. Head Coach, Jason Brown sets about getting this team to their first conference title in 30 years. Like Friday Night Lights come to life.

17. Disenchantment

Netflix; August 17

Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening is bringing his signature style to Netflix with an adult animated comedy fantasy series. Set in the crumbling medieval kingdom of Dreamland, Disenchantment takes a different approach to tales of princesses in far away lands. These is no damsel in distress, though: Bean (Abbi Jacobson) likes a drink and is not afraid to draw her sword. She is joined by feisty elf Elfo (Nat Faxon) and her own personal demon Luci (Eric Andre).

18. Ghoul

Netflix; August 24

In another first for Netflix, Ghoul, produced by Blumhouse (Get Out, The Purge), is the first Indian horror series to hit the streaming platform. Set in a remote military interrogation centre, a prisoner turns the tables on those asking the questions. The location of this three-part miniseries means escape will not come easy – there are some demons up that can’t be locked up.

19. Deutschland 86

Channel 4; coming soon

For those hankering for 1980s Cold War drama now that The Americans has come to an end, look no further than Deutschland 83. East German border patrol guard Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay) is tasked by the Stasi to go undercover as a West German soldier. Martin is far from a trained spy and the mission quickly goes array. A second outing is coming, set three years later — hence the title change. The first series features a fantastic ’80s soundtrack and a wardrobe that will have you coveting retro adidas and Puma.

20. The Innocents

Netflix; August 24

As if being a teenager wasn’t complicated and confusing enough, throw in some shapeshifting abilities to really mess things up. In this new eight-part Netflix series, teen runaways June (Sorcha Groundsell) and Harry (Percelle Ascott) find themselves in danger when June’s abilities attract unwanted attention. One character interested in June is played by Guy Pearce, his role is shrouded in mystery, but it is safe to say that June should be wary.

Published 18 Jul 2018

Tags: Amazon Amy Adams Jean-Marc Vallée Matt Groening Natalie Dormer Netflix Phoebe Waller-Bridge Sacha Baron Cohen

Read More

How Phoebe Waller-Bridge is popularising the female gaze

By Roxanne Sancto

The Fleabag and Killing Eve series creator is putting complex, dangerous, relatable women on screen.

Last Chance U and America’s all-or-nothing sporting dream

By James Luxford

Netflix’s college football documentary series offers a fascinating look at the business of sport and academia.

How Big Little Lies reveals the underlying pressures of American society

By Roxanne Sancto

The hit HBO show focuses on the emotional realities of three mothers.

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design