Words by Joe Griffin
January 14th, 2016
Ah TV; the duvet of culture – comforting, reliable and (in this day and age) increasingly well-made. Chances are you’ve consumed more than your share of the tube in the past month or so (along with the choicest Roses in the tin) but that’s no reason to scale back. Indeed, with prestige TV very much alive and well, it’s not just a pleasure to watch TV, but your cultural duty! 2016 looks very promising from our couch, and here are some hand-picked highlights to get excited about…
In the fight between Netflix, premium cable TV and network stations, the only real winners are TV fans. Following from a belter of a year, Netflix continues to throw huge budgets at original series. The most promising is The Get Down, a musical drama set in New York in the 1970s. Expect eye-popping style, a beautiful young cast and a killer soundtrack, echoing the era’s flavours of disco, funk and the early days of hip hop. The cast includes Jimmy Smits, Jaden Smith (yes, son of Will and Jada) and Mamoudou Athie (as rap legend Grandmaster Flash) with the mighty Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) producing. It’s slated to debut on Netflix this year but if you can’t wait you can check out the trailer below.
You probably know author Robert Galbraith by their other name – J.K. Rowling. Under the name Galbraith, Rowling has crafted a series of novels about a war veteran turned PI, Strike, and his plucky assistant, Robin. This is altogether darker fare than Harry Potter (and indeed The Casual Vacancy), but the book trilogy has received strong reviews for its characterisation and unflinching storytelling. Expect the BBC adaptation in autumn to be respectful and stylised. We wait with baited breath for casting news.
International productions are becoming increasingly common on Irish and British TV, and this series is the most expensive French drama ever produced. (Some of you will be relieved to hear that it has been shot in English.) The salacious, lavish Louis XIV drama will appear on BBC Two in the spring (or for those of you in France, the first episode already aired on 16th November) and was developed by Canal+ (Borgia, The Returned and Six Feet Under). Expect political intrigue, affairs and – for the more genteel tastes – some very nice gardens and interiors. Versailles has already been picked up for a second season so we’re expecting great things.
Tom Hardy is that very modern breed of star that’s happy to flit between TV and high profile film roles. Taboo, a passion project for the actor, will take place in the East India Company, which traded between Britain and India and China from the 17th to the 19th Century. Stephen Knight (Peaker Blinders) created, Ridley Scott will produce and the BBC series will co-star Game of Thrones’ actors Oona Chaplin and Jonathan Pryce. The miniseries, which started filming in London last November, will be shown on BBC One in Ireland and the UK and on FX in the US.
Prepare to feel old: It’s been a full 13 years since Cold Feet was on the air and its first season dates way back to 1997. The show gave (in its early seasons at least) gentle wit and relationship drama, as well as early career boosts for Helen Baxendale (who went on to appear in Friends) and James Nesbitt (who went on to appear in everything). The original supporting cast are returning too, so at the very least we’ll get to see how everyone has aged. The cast is due to start filming this month so stay tuned for more. And if you want to refresh your memory, you can watch a very old trailer below…
And while you’re waiting for these new releases you can check out the best TV shows on Netflix in 2015!
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