Nolly — Showmax
Russell T Davies, the creator of 2021’s excellent ‘’80s HIV/Aids drama It’s A Sin, turns his attention to the trials and tribulations of ITV soap opera diva Noele Gordon in this campy and loving limited series. It tells an intriguing, forgotten story while also paying tribute to the British television industry of the 1970s and ’80s. Helena Bonham Carter is at her offbeat best as Gordon who, after 17 years at the top of the soapie pyramid, was written out of her role on the show Crossroads, much to her disbelief and the outrage of the British public. As she struggles to come to terms with being out of step with the tastes of a new generation, Nolly is forced to resign herself to being the victim of forces she can’t control and Davies makes a convincing case that she was unfairly cast aside and mistreated.
Asteroid City — Buy from Apple TV+
Wes Anderson is already in Venice screening his new short film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar but his latest feature, released earlier in 2023, offers characteristic production design and deadpan dry humour for fans and newcomers alike. In a remote midwestern town, a group of disparate but equally broken strangers is brought together by an annual stargazing competition where, in the shadow of the threat of a nuclear holocaust and a visit from an extraterrestrial traveller, they form uneasy bonds. Anderson uses postmodern narrative trickery that places the story within another story about the writing of a television play but the characters, played with cool detachment by a host of regular collaborators, manage to convey some of his most affecting work to date.
The After Party Season 2 — Apple TV+
Creators Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s energetic over-the-top murder mystery parody provides plenty of enjoyable fun in its second season, in which Tiffany Haddish returns to lead a mostly new cast of comedians in a genre-winking series of episodes that pay homage to the enduring popularity and tropes of classic whodunnit setups.
Scouts Honour — Netflix
For decades the Boy Scouts was regarded as an upstanding, solid and socially responsible institution that instilled strong and virtuous values in its members, which would help them live their best lives and benefit those they might come into contact with. However, as this uncomfortable truth-telling docuseries reveals, with the help of interviews with whistleblowers and experts, the Boy Scouts of America, like that other erstwhile institution of moral rectitude, the Catholic Church, was far more nefarious and destructive than its public image would have people believe. For decades the organisation actively sought to cover up widespread sexual abuse that destroyed the lives of victims and took immense courage and dedication to finally expose.
Takeshi’s Castle — Prime Video
The maddest version of all the madness the game show format could possibly offer is to be found in this cult-classic spin on it from Japan. Hosted by legendary Japanese comedian and director Takeshi Kitano, it features a host of desperate contestants who, in an effort to storm the host’s castle, engage in a series of frighteningly risky physical challenges for the promise of a grand prize of 1-million yen. This version has clips from the show’s long run given added what-the-hellness by hilarious ironic commentary from British comedians Romesh Ranganathan and Tom Davis.
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