TV Review: The Salisbury Poisonings (ITV) – Miniseries

A three-part series created by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson and originally aired in June 2020, The Salisbury Poisonings tells the true story of the 2018 Novichok poisoning crisis in Salisbury, England, and the subsequent death of Dawn Sturgess (MyAnna Buring), highlighting the efforts of DS Nick Bailey (Rafe Spall) and Deputy Director of Population Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, Tracy Daszkiewicz (Anne-Marie Duff).

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TV Review: Little Boy Blue (ITV) – Miniseries

The four-part drama which originally aired in 2017 tells the true story of the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones from Liverpool in 2007. The series follows his parents, Melanie (Sinead Keenan) and Steve (Brían F. O’Byrne), and how Rhys’s murderer and associates were eventually brought to justice with the help of Detective Superintendent Dave Kelly (Stephen Graham).

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TV Review: I Know This Much Is True (Sky Atlantic) – Miniseries

I Know This Much Is True aired in May 2020 on Sky Atlantic. Directed by Derek Cianfrance and based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Wally Lamb, the miniseries follows middle-aged Dominick Birdsey (Mark Ruffalo) who recounts his troubled relationship with his paranoid schizophrenic twin brother, Thomas, and his efforts to get him released from an asylum.

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TV Review: Little Fires Everywhere (Amazon Prime) – Miniseries

Adapted from the 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng and created by Liz Tigelaar, Little Fires Everywhere is set in 1990s Shaker Heights where everything is planned and everybody plays by the rules. Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) embodies this spirit more than most, but when Mia (Kerry Washington), an enigmatic artist and single mother who’s always on the move, arrives with her daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood), their idyllic bubble bursts. As Mia rents a house from the Richardsons and begins working in their home, all four Richardson children – Lexie (Jade Pettyjohn), Izzy (Megan Stott), Moody (Gavin Lewis) and Trip (Jordan Elsass) – are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community, as Elena becomes determined to uncover her secrets.

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TV Review: The Last Dance (Netflix) – Documentary

Aired on Netflix in April 2020, The Last Dance is a sports documentary directed by Jason Hehir that charts the quest of the 1997 Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, to win a sixth NBA title in eight years. Named the “The Last Dance” by coach Phil Jackson, this was also the last ever time that the world would see the greatest player of all time, alongside his extraordinary teammates (including Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr), in full flight.

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TV Review: Normal People (BBC) – Miniseries

Based on Sally Rooney‘s New York Times best-selling novel, Normal People is written by Rooney and Alice Birch, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald, and aired on BBC One in April 2020. The series tracks the tender but complicated relationship between Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) as they weave in and out of each other’s romantic lives. From their school days in a small town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College, a strange and indelible connection grows between them.

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TV Review: Gangs of London (Sky Atlantic) – Season One

Created by Gareth Evans (The Raid) and Matt Flannery and aired on Sky Atlantic in April 2020, Gangs of London is set in the heart of London when the most powerful criminal in London, Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney), is assassinated – and nobody knows who ordered the hit. With rivals everywhere, and the help of newcomer Elliot Finch (Sope Dirisu), it’s up to the impulsive Sean Wallace (Joe Cole) to take his father’s place. But Sean’s assumption of power causes ripples in the world of international crime within the streets of London.

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TV Review: After Life (Netflix) – Season Two

Created, directed by, and starring Ricky Gervais, the second series of his hugely successful Netflix series After Life aired in April 2020. The six-episode series follows Tony (Gervais), whose life was turned upside down after his wife (Kerry Godliman) dies from breast cancer, as he still struggles with immense grief. But he’s determined to move forward, as we see Tony try to become a better friend to those around him.

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TV Review: Ozark (Netflix) – Season One

Created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams for Netflix, the first season of Ozark follows financial advisor Marty (Jason Bateman), his wife Wendy (Laura Linney), and their children, who are forced to relocate from Chicago to a summer resort community in the Lake of the Ozarks after a money-laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel goes wrong. To make amends, Marty proposes to set up a bigger laundering operation, but they soon become entangled with local criminals and the Kansas City Mafia.

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TV Review: Breeders (Sky One) – Season One

Created by Chris Addison, Simon Blackwell, and Martin Freeman, Breeders is a comedic look at the trials and tribulations of parenthood. Premiering on Sky One in March 2020, the series follows two parents (Freeman and Daisy Haggard) who struggle with parenthood, exploring the paradox that every parent knows but never admits: you would willingly die for your children, but quite often you also want to kill them.

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TV Review: Quiz (ITV) – Miniseries

A three-part drama which aired on ITV in April 2020, Quiz tells the story of Charles Ingram (Matthew Macfadyen), a former British army major, who won the jackpot on the quiz show, ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?‘, hosted by Chris Tarrant (Michael Sheen). Written by James Graham, and is based on his play, Quiz, and the book Bad Show: the Quiz, the Cough, the Millionaire Major by Bob Woffinden and James Plaskett, what followed was a criminal trial in which he and his wife (Sian Clifford) were convicted of cheating their way to success.

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Documentary Review: Beware The Slenderman (Sky Crime)

A 2016 HBO documentary film directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, currently on Sky Crime, Beware the Slenderman is a documentary about the 2014 true-crime story of when two 12-year old girls (Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier) attempted to murder one of their friends, stabbing her 19 times, in an attempt to appease Slenderman, a fictional monster from a horror website. Shot over 18 months, the documentary contains interviews with the families of the two would-be murderers and plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their crime and the effect that the internet can have on society’s most impressionable consumers of media.

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TV Review: Cursed Films (Shudder) – Season One

From writer and director Jay Cheel and a Shudder original series, Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series which explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously cursed horror film productions, including The Exorcist, The Omen, Poltergeist, The Crow, and Twilight Zone: The Movie. From plane accidents and bombings, the rumoured use of human skeletons on sets, to stunts going tragically wrong, these stories are legendary amongst film fans and filmmakers alike. But where does the truth lie?

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TV Review: Noughts + Crosses (BBC One) – Season One

An adaptation of the first book in the Noughts & Crosses novel series by Malorie Blackman, the BBC series is set in an alternate history where black “Cross” people rule over white “Noughts”. Against this background of prejudice and distrust as powerful rebellion mounts on the streets, a passionate romance builds between Sephy (Masali Baduza) and Callum (Jack Rowan) which will lead them both into terrible danger”

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Documentary Review: Tiger King – Murder, Mayhem and Madness (Netflix)

Released on Netflix in March 2020, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is a true-crime documentary about the life of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, popularly known as Joe Exotic, a mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country-western singer. The documentary focusses on the deeply interconnected society of the stranger-than-fiction world of big cat owners, which also includes Joe’s biggest rival, Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, who accuses Joe of abusing and exploiting wild animals and threatens to put them out of business. The rivalry eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot, as the documentary reveals a twisted tale where the only thing more dangerous than a big cat is its owner.

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TV Review: The Act (Amazon Prime) – Miniseries

Created by Nick Antosca and Michelle Dean and currently streaming on Amazon Prime‘s StarzPlay channel (which you can currently get for 99p for three months), The Act is based on the true story of Gypsy Blanchard (Joey King) and her overprotective mother, Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette). Gypsy has been told her whole life that she is critically ill and wheelchair-bound, but soon begins to realise that her mother, who is suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, has been lying to her. Eager to gain her independence and escape the toxic relationship with her mother, Gypsy opens a Pandora’s box of secrets, one that ultimately leads to her mother’s murder.

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