If you have one hour: His Dark Materials — Showmax
The mess of 2007’s Phillip Pullman adaptation of The Golden Compass gets a clean up thanks to HBO’s lavish adaptation of the author’s bestselling young adult fantasy series His Dark Materials. In a world where everyone has an animal avatar, and access to knowledge is controlled by the secretive Magisterium, one girl may have the key to changing the world and unlocking a terrifying secret. It’s an epic and beautifully executed production that does the justice necessary to its source material that fans have been waiting for. New episodes are available on Tuesdays.
If you have two-and-a-half hours: The King — Netflix
Australian director David Michôd is best known for his gritty family crime drama Animal Kingdom. Here he turns his attention to the story of Henry V, who must put aside his childish love of carousing and drinking and the bad influence of his best buddy, John Falstaff, to take on the French and save the English crown. It’s risky territory considering it’s all been immortalised by Shakespeare and seen several film adaptations, including ones by Laurence Olivier and Orson Welles’s legendary Chimes At Midnight, but Michôd does his gritty, if sometimes muddy, best thanks to stars Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton and a goofy cameo by Robert Pattinson.
If you have five hours: The Devil Next Door — Netflix
In 1986 a retired Ford car factory worker, John Demjanjuk, was found in Cleveland and deported from the US. Demjanjuk was accused of being the Ukrainian Treblinka concentration camp gas-chamber operative Ivan the Terrible who had murdered thousands of Jews and tortured others with a glee and gusto that haunted the dreams and stories of survivors of the Holocaust. This five-part docuseries uses archive footage from Demjanjuk’s trial in Israel and interviews with family members, lawyers from both sides of the case and reporters and observers to dig deep into the story and pose difficult questions that don’t have easy answers.
If you have eight hours: The Deuce, Season 3 — Showmax
David Simon’s brilliant, dark and troubling drama about the rise and fall of the New York Times Square sex industry in the 1970s and 1980s comes to a close with a third season that sees its characters having to face up to the changes wrought by technology and gentrification. It’s a fitting end to a show that’s managed to maintain interest for three years thanks to its memorable characters, razor-sharp dialogue and keenly observed world in which the lines between good guys and bad guys are always satisfactorily blurred.
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