TV Review: The Fall (BBC) – Season One-Three

Created and written by Allan Cubitt, The Fall originally aired from 2013-2016 on BBC and follows Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), who is brought in to assess the progress of a murder investigation that has remained active for longer than 28 days. When it becomes apparent that a serial killer is on the loose, local detectives must work with Stella to find and capture Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), who is attacking young professional women in the city of Belfast.

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TV Review: Harlots (BBC) – Season Three

Originally premiered on ITV Encore in July 2018, Harlots was recently picked up by BBC, with the three series airing from August-November 2020. Written, directed and produced by an all-female team, the series is created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman and based on The Covent Garden Ladies by Hallie Rubenhold. The 18th-century drama is set in London and follows brothel owner Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay) as she fights back against the new pimps in town, Isaac (Alfie Allen) and Hal (Ash Hunter), Lucy Wells (Eloise Smyth) as she joins forces with the new owners of the town’s molly-house, Elizabeth Harvey (Angela Griffin) and her son Fredo (Aidan Cheng), while Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville) continues to suffer the abandonment of her family and the experimental treatments of her doctors as she befriends the young Kate (Daisy Head).

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TV Review: The Undoing (Sky Atlantic) – Miniseries

Aired on Sky Atlantic in October 2020, The Undoing is written by David E. Kelley and directed by Susanne Bier. Based on the 2014 novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, the series follows a wealthy New York couple, therapist Grace (Nicole Kidman) and doctor Jonathan (Hugh Grant), whose lives turn upside down when their family gets involved in a murder case.

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TV Review: 9-1-1 Lone Star (Sky Witness) – Season One

A spin-off to 9-1-1, the Sky Witness series 9-1-1: Lone Star, created for Fox by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Tim Minear, aired in the UK in September 2020. Focusing on a set of fire, police, and ambulance departments located in Austin, Texas, the series follows a team – Owen (Rob Lowe), Michelle (Liv Tyler), TK (Ronen Rubinstein, Grace (Sierra McClain), Judd (Jim Parrack), Marjan (Natacha Karam), Paul (Brian Michael Smith), Carlos (Rafael L. Silva), and Mateo (Julian Works) – as they work to save people’s lives while trying to solve their own personal problems.

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TV Review: Prodigal Son (Sky One) – Season One

Created by Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver, Prodigal Son aired on Sky One in August 2020 and centers on FBI profiler Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne). Now a consultant for the New York Police Department, Malcolm is forced to confront his father, the infamous serial killer Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), known as “The Surgeon”, after a copycat serial killer uses Whitly’s methods of killing. As a child, Malcolm was responsible for enabling the police to arrest his father, and has not seen his father in ten years. Now, he finds himself drawn back into constant contact with his father as he must both use Whitly’s insights to help the police solve particularly horrible crimes and battle his own inner demons.

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TV Review: The Sister (ITV) – Season One

Directed by Niall MacCormick and adapted by Neil Cross from his own novel, Burial, The Sister is a four-part series that aired on ITV in October 2020. It follows the character of Nathan (Russell Tovey) when, almost a decade into his new devoted married life, is rocked to the core when an unwelcome face from the past, Bob (Bertie Carvel), turns up on his doorstep with shocking news.

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TV Review: Ratched (Netflix) – Season One

Created by Ryan Murphy and Evan Romansky, Ratched serves as a prequel to Ken Kesey‘s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, following the titular character, Nurse Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson). Airing on Netflix in September 2020, the series begins in 1947 when Mildred arrives in Northern California to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital, where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind. On a clandestine mission, Mildred presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be, but as she begins to infiltrate the mental health care system and those within it, Mildred’s stylish exterior belies a growing darkness that has long been smouldering within.

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TV Review: Brave New World (Sky One) – Season One

Based on the classic novel of the same name by Aldous Huxley and aired on Sky One in October 2020, Brave New World is set in a utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family and history itself. As citizens of New London, Bernard Marx (Harry Lloyd) and Lenina Crowne (Jessica Brown Findlay) embark on a vacation to the Savage Lands, where they become embroiled in a harrowing and violent rebellion. Bernard and Lenina are rescued by John the Savage (Alden Ehrenreich), who escapes with them back to New London. However, John’s arrival in the New World soon threatens to disrupt its utopian harmony, leaving Bernard and Lenina to grapple with the repercussions.

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TV Review: The Third Day (Sky Atlantic) – Miniseries

Created by Felix Barrett and Dennis Kelly and aired on Sky Atlantic in September 2020, The Third Day follows the individual journeys of a man and woman who arrive on a mysterious island off the English coast at different times, where they encounter a group of islanders set on preserving their traditions at any cost. Sam (Jude Law) arrives in the “Summer” after being mysteriously drawn to the island, and Helen (Naomie Harris) arrives in the “Winter” seeking answers.

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Documentary Review: The Social Dilemma (Netflix)

Directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis, The Social Dilemma aired on Netflix in September 2020 and explores the rise of social media. Focusing on its exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, the documentary looks at the damage it has caused to society, how its design is meant to nurture addiction, its use in politics, its effect on mental health, and its role in spreading conspiracy theories.

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Documentary Review: American Murder – The Family Next Door (Netflix)

Aired on Netflix in September 2020, American Murder: The Family Next Door is a true-crime documentary directed by Jenny Popplewell. The film tells the story of the 2018 Watts family murders, which took place in Frederick, Colorado. It uses archival footage including social media posts, law enforcement recordings, text messages and home video footage to depict the events that occurred.

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TV Review: Life (BBC One) – Season One

Written by Mike Bartlett and set in the world of Doctor Foster, Life premiered in September 2020 on BBC One and follows four people living in a converted Victorian house in Manchester which is divided into four flats. Gail (Alison Steadman) has become discontent with her marriage, Belle (Victoria Hamilton) is recently divorced, David (Adrian Lester) is recently widowed, and Hannah (Melissa Johns) is pregnant. As they all encounter new and disruptive influences in their lives, their stories begin to interweave in this series about the problems that happen in life that you just have to deal with.

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TV Review: The Haunting Of Bly Manor (Netflix)

The follow-up series to The Haunting of Hill House (although not connected) and created by Mike Flanagan for Netflix, The Haunting Of Bly Manor is loosely based on Henry James‘s work, particularly his 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.

The story tells of Dani (Victoria Pedretti), a young governess who is hired by a man (Henry Thomas) to look after his niece and nephew – Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) – at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she meets chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve), and housekeeper Mrs Grose (T’Nia Miller). But she soon begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises.

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TV Review: 9-1-1 (Sky Witness) – Season Three

The third season of Sky Witness’s 9-1-1, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear and follows the lives of Los Angeles first responders: police officers – Athena (Angela Bassett) – paramedics – Hen (Aisha Hinds) and Chimney (Kenneth Choi) – firefighters – Bobby (Peter Krause), Buck (Oliver Stark), and Eddie Diaz (Ryan Guzman) – and dispatchers – Maddie Kendall (Jennifer Love Hewitt). The latest season picks up 5 months after the events of the last season as a massive tsunami hits the Santa Monica Pier.

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TV Review: Criminal: UK (Netflix) – Season Two

The second series of Netflix’s police procedural anthology series created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith aired in September 2020. Set within the confines of a police interrogation room, the series follows a group of London investigators – Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Hobbs (Katherine Kelly), Detective Inspector Tony Myerscough (Lee Ingleby), Detective Constable Hugo Duffy (Mark Stanley), Detective Constable Vanessa Warren (Rochenda Sandall), and Detective Constable Kyle Petit (Shubham Saraf) – who engage in intense games of psychological cat-and-mouse with their suspects to find the answers that they need to solve their cases.

The latest series sees the team question Julia Bryce (Sophie Okonedo) when a routine interview with a convicted killer’s wife takes a provocative turn, arrogant businessman Alex (Kit Harington) who is accused of rape by a woman who works for him, Danielle Dunne (Sharon Horgan) who is the head of an online group that unmasks sexual predators, and Sandeep Singh (Kunal Nayyar), a shrewd convicted killer wanting to cut a deal.

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TV Review: Criminal: UK (Netflix) – Season One

A police procedural anthology series created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith, the first series of Criminal: UK aired on Netflix in 2019. Set within the confines of a police interrogation room, the series follows a group of London investigators – Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Hobbs (Katherine Kelly), Detective Inspector Tony Myerscough (Lee Ingleby), Detective Constable Hugo Duffy (Mark Stanley), Detective Constable Vanessa Warren (Rochenda Sandall), and Detective Constable Kyle Petit (Shubham Saraf) – who engage in intense games of psychological cat-and-mouse with their suspects to find the answers that they need to solve their cases.

This first series sees them question Dr. Edgar Fallon (David Tennant) who is suspected of sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter, Stacey Doyle (Hayley Atwell) who is accused of poisoning her sister’s partner, and Jamal ‘Jay’ Muthassin (Youssef Kerkour) who must help the police locate an abandoned trailer full of immigrants.

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TV Review: Appropriate Adult (ITV) – Miniseries

Originally aired on ITV in 2011, Appropriate Adult is a two-part miniseries that focuses on the way in which the Gloucester serial killers Fred (Dominic West) and Rosemary West (Monica Dolan) were brought to justice in 1994. During his time under police investigation, Fred was granted an appropriate adult, which role was given to housewife Janet Leach (Emily Watson). When she first attends a police interview with Fred, he confesses to killing his daughter. He then privately tells Janet that there were more victims, but appropriate adults cannot share conversations. Janet is given the opportunity to leave the case due to its distressing nature, but she resolves to continue in hopes of finding Fred and Rose’s other victims.

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TV Review: Des (ITV) – Miniseries

Aired in September 2020, ITV’s Des is a three-part miniseries that tells the true story of Dennis Nilsen (David Tennant), the Scottish serial killer who was arrested in 1983. When Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) is called to the leafy North London address, he discovers the drains clogged with rotting flesh and bones. As he waits for Nilsen to return from work, he expects the culprit to deny accountability. But when Nilsen freely admits that it’s not just one or two bodies but “15 or 16”, the police must work quickly to try to secure a conviction and identify the victims, as biographer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins) begins a game of chess with `Des’ in an attempt to understand his motives.

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TV Review: Harlots (BBC) – Season Two

Originally premiered on ITV Encore in July 2018, Harlots has recently been picked up by BBC, with the first series airing from the beginning in August 2020, and the second continuing in September 2020. Written, directed and produced by an all-female team, and created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman, the 18th-century drama is set in London and follows brothel owner Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton) and her two daughters, Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Lucy (Eloise Smyth). Continuing from the drama of series one, Margaret and Nancy (Kate Fleetwood) must race to find witnesses to give evidence against Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), as Charlotte settles into life at Quigley’s house while secretly plotting against her.

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TV Review: Harlots (BBC) – Season One

Originally premiered on ITV Encore in March 2017, Harlots has recently been picked up by BBC, with the series airing from the beginning in August. Written, directed and produced by an all-female team, and created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman, the 18th-century drama is set in London and follows brothel owner Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton). As well as her two daughters, Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Lucy (Eloise Smyth), Maragaret also runs her business from the family home. But when it is attacked by rival Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), a war breaks out over the city’s most profitable commercial activity: sex.

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