This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Here are some of my best TV series and film choices that will keep you entertained during the Autumn. Snuggle up on the sofa, under a blanket (no heating this winter) and just sit back and enjoy. We all need a bit of escapism right now.
HOUSE OF THE DRAGON | NOW TV (HBO Max)
Of course, the one most of the younger generation has been waiting for is House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones. I was not going to watch it as I haven’t watched the original series; however, it is meant to be stand-alone, but it would help if you had a bit of background knowledge. Or, as in my case, watch it with your son so that he can explain it all.
I could have been in it as my hair is the right colour. I loved Matt Smith with his long white hair.
LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER | AMAZON PRIME
Coming soon – September 2nd. I cannot wait as I loved the Lord of the Rings films.
However, no Frodo, no Aragorn, and no Gollum?
This is the literal “Lord of the Rings,” also known as Sauron, the Dark Lord who conceives of and claims ownership over the Rings of Power. The series will follow his rise and eventual fall. Don’t read all the previews; just watch and judge it yourself. I think it will fill a few winter evenings.
THE SUSPECT | ITV
Do you remember Aidan Turner in Poldark? Well, you will hardly recognise him in this new series because of his heavy beard.
Leaving all that aside, I have only watched one episode of this crime thriller, but it has already had me on the edge of my seat with my heart thumping.
Dr Joe O’Loughlin, is a successful psychologist who, when we first meet him, is being celebrated for a courageous rooftop rescue and basking in the adoration of his lovely family, delightful home and the world in general. A few too many coincidences for my TV taste buds but I am sticking with it because the eyes have it for me. Yes, I am a fully signed up member of the Aidan Turner fan club!
MARRIAGE | BBC IPLAYER
This one is like Marmite. I couldn’t get into it, but I know others who persevered and loved it. Starring Nicola Walker and Sean Bean, it follows a marriage but seemingly all the boring bits like buying a chicken. However, as I said, I couldn’t get into it, so I am not one to review it. I would say, don’t let the children watch it as it is enough to put them off marriage.
THE CONTROL ROOM | BBC IPLAYER
Iain De Caestecker stars as Gabe, a man whose nerves are frayed and whose heart rate appears to be off the scale in this anxiety-inducing, fast-paced thriller.
In the three-part miniseries, Gabe is an emergency call handler who, while on the job, receives a call from a woman in distress who appears to know him from his past, setting him off on a quest to find her.
It has more twists and turns than a snake with an itch.
RIDLEY | ITV
Just started on ITV and starring Adrian Dunbar. I have only watched one episode, and immediately, the keyboard warriors are out giving it a bad review. However, I will keep trying as I love the cast.
Inspired by real-life retired detectives rejoining police forces in a consultancy role given increasingly over-stretched resources, the series opener introduces us to Detective Inspector Alex Ridley (Dunbar), who has just retired from the police after years of dedicated service. Now living an isolated life in the north of England, Ridley has suddenly transitioned from the top end of policing to falling asleep on the sofa fully clothed, his belongings still unpacked in taped boxes.
When Ridley’s old colleague Jean Dixon pays a visit, we soon find out that Ridley has in fact been “cut adrift” from the force in his prime after the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a house fire. Shouldering both the weight of his grief and the loss of his livelihood, Ridley has suffered a breakdown; but when Dixon informs him about the homicide of a local sheep farmer, Jesse Halpin, it’s clear that he has unfinished business to attend to.
MY LIFE AS A ROLLING STONE | BBCiPLAYER
If you love the Rolling Stones and grew up listening to and dancing to their music, then tune into this documentary.
STATE OF HAPPINESS | BBC IPLAYER
Did you watch Season 1? It’s not necessary, but it might help understand human relationships. Meanwhile, this is a stand-alone story. Season 2 picks up the story in 1977 – five years after the national oil company Statoil founding – and ends in 1980. The second season tackles the transforming years when a burgeoning industry is growing out of control. Environmental politics is put on the agenda for the first time. Then industrial safety follows in 1980, as the hotel platform Aleksander Kielland capsized and 123 people died, trapped inside.
BEAUTY QUEEN OF JERUSALEM | NETFLIX
The plot of the series tells the story of the Armoza family, intertwined with the story of Palestine during Ottoman rule, then under the British Mandate of Palestine, followed by the subsequent periods of depression and war.
At the centre of the series’ plot, which takes place simultaneously on two timelines wherein present and past stories are presented alternately, are Gabriel Armoza (Michael Aloni), his wife Rosa (Hila Saada), and their three daughters: Rivka, Rachel, and his eldest and favourite daughter: Luna (Swell Ariel Or). The relationship between Gabriel and Luna starkly contrasts with his lack of love for his wife. Rosa’s jealousy of her daughter leads to difficult conflicts in the family.
Apart from the CGI of the city of Jerusalem, which is so fake, the story is terrific and takes us through a decade of history in Israel before WWII, highlighting how the divisions between different sects of Jews affected life in a country shared with Muslims and under British rule.
Based on the international best-seller of the same name, written by Sarit Yishai-Levi.
THE NEWSREADER | BBC IPLAYER
This TV series gives a fictionalised account of some of Australia’s biggest media moments. It is a period drama that begins with a scene dramatising what people who work in the media know is very dramatic: the pressure to meet a looming deadline.
Based in the world of television news circa 1986, the scene is nothing if not quintessentially Australian, involving a go-get-em young TV reporter named Dale (Sam Reid) scrambling for footage of Paul Hogan after a video cassette is chewed up in the editing room.
It is a great series which also highlights the difficulties of coming out as gay at that time.
THE LINCOLN LAWYER | NETFLIX
Brilliant series. Just loved it.
Mickey Haller is left to take over the firm when his former law partner is killed, including a high-profile murder trial. With the biggest case he’s ever had to tackle out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, Mickey discovers there may be more at stake than he thought. Based on the bestselling novels by Michael Connelly.
They better renew this for a second season.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN | AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Based on a true story, this series is a passionate plea to let people be who they want to be; a story about a group of women who don’t fit in with social norms but who just want to be something, to do something that they want, even if that means mistakes will follow.
The series is much better than the trailer, so do give it a chance, as after episode 2, it does really step up.
FIVE DAYS IN MEMORIAL | APPLE TV
We all knew about Hurricane Katrina, but who knew this story….
A city is half-submerged. It’s 13 days after Hurricane Katrina detonated along the Gulf of Mexico coast and trashed New Orleans, and a search team is about to make an unnerving discovery at the Memorial Medical Centre. This drama, starring Vera Farmiga, recounts what occurred at one hospital when Katrina’s wrath descended. For five days, staff and patients were trapped without power, a situation so desperate medical staff made controversial decisions. It’s wrenching stuff.
THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS | BBC IPLAYER
For all your summer potboiler needs, here’s the return of the Australian drama that had viewers hooked two summers ago, perhaps despite themselves. It stars Downton‘s Laura Carmichael as Agatha, a dowdy English nanny who, as we watched appalled, abducted the baby of yummy-mummy influencer. We may have assumed this dark tale was over, but no! Agatha is now causing trouble behind bars. This looks set to continue the trend for watchable Aussie dramas after The Tourist and The Newsreader.
ANGEL OF DEATH SEASON 2 | MORE4
This chilling polish thriller follows Piotr as he tries to convince the public of his ‘innocence’. With scenes unveiling the cold calculated movements of the suspect as he uses any means necessary to sway public opinion. However, Commissioner Polkowska and witnesses who testify against the accused in court are determined to convict him. The convolutions of the trial will leave you questioning whether the victims’ truths and evidence gathered is enough to convict the Opole killer.
The plot thickens as dramatic events from Piotr’s past are revealed with the mysterious appearance of Lila. Piotr and Lila are bound by a dark experience from their youth – thus her return may be a chance for Piotr to confront the truth about himself. This twisted story reveals the suffering that follows the apprehension of the perpetrator. Whilst delving into the psychopathic mind of Piotr in a way that promises to make your skin crawl. Will Piotr get his family back together and prove his innocence or will Polkowska find enough evidence to put him in jail for good?
There is no trailer yet but here is the trailer for Season 1.
THE CAZALETS | BRITBOX
And if you want to step back in time for a gentle period drama try the Cazalets. Based on the best-selling novels by Elizabeth Jane Howard, and set amongst the dramatic upheaval of a privileged Sussex family in WWII-era England. Discover the tribulations of life and hidden secrets of the Cazalet dynasty.
Here is the first episode:
FILMS NOW AVAILABLE
OPERATION MINCEMEAT | AMAZON PRIME
Another Sunday afternoon movie and a true WWII story to boot. A star-studded cast so what more could you want?
TOP GUN MAVERICK | AMAZON PRIME
If you missed this summer epic in the theatres then for £13.99 you can buy it on Amazon Prime. No need to say anything as we all know that this is pure entertainment.
ROGUE AGENT | AMAZON
This is a true story and is so crazy that you cannot quite believe it could happen. The film stars James Norton and Gemma Arterton.
Based on the shocking true story of Robert Freegard’s insidious crime spree in the 1990s and early 2000s, this thriller, Rogue Agent, turns James Norton into Gemma Arterton’s duplicitous and dangerous lover and takes audiences on a twisted, yet surprisingly straightforward journey. Opening in 1993, the film’s prologue of sorts sets the stage for Freegard’s greatest con, as Arterton’s Alice Archer tells the audience about the trick he used to gain someone’s trust: Look them in the eye long enough to learn their eye colour.
And wait until the credits come up as there is another big reveal to the story.
HUSTLE | NETFLIX
After discovering a once-in-a-lifetime player with a rocky past abroad, a down on his luck basketball scout (Adam Sandler) takes it upon himself to bring the phenom to the States without his team’s approval. Against the odds, they have one final shot to prove they have what it takes to make it in the NBA.
A great Sunday afternoon movie.
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