Sex, Succession and Sci-Fi Nightmares: The Fall 2021 TV Must-Have | Television

Kevin can fuck himself

Annie Murphy jumps straight from Schitt’s Creek to another juicy-titled series, this time a daring meta-TV experience. Part a classic sitcom with canned laughter, part a black crime drama, Murphy plays Allison, a sitcom character who constantly has to put up with her doofus husband’s sexist jokes. But by the time she’s away from him, the show turns into a different beast, and she plots to fend off Kevin by any means necessary.
Amazon, August 27.


Your next obsession… Suranne Jones in Vigil. Photography: BBC

This thriller from the production company behind Line of Duty is likely to be your next BBC obsession. A man is found dead aboard submarine HMS Vigil, and DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) must board the top-secret ship for the most claustrophobic investigation of her life. The crew attributes this to suicide, they suspect foul play – and everyone dodges her questions. Martin Compston and Rose Leslie are also on the bill.
BBC One, August 29.

Northern water

From left to right, Jack O'Connell as Patrick Sumner and Stephen Graham as Captain Brownlee in The North Water.
Monstrous… Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham in The North Water. Photograph: Nick Wall / BBC / See-Saw Films

Colin Farrell, Stephen Graham and Jack O’Connell direct this intense cooler in the Arctic based on the 2016 novel by Ian McGuire. Dr Patrick Sumner (O’Connell) leaves his military career in disgrace and finds himself on a whaler with Farrell’s harpooner, Henry Drax, whose monstrous nature matches their frigid surroundings. There will be fat.
BBC, September 10.

The morning show

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon return to the Apple TV + drama about the Me Too-style revelations rocking an American TV network. After a breathtaking season one finale, will Alex Levy (Aniston) be forced to reveal his complicity in the serial sexual misconduct of his longtime co-host Mitch (Steve Carell)?
Apple TV +, September 17.

Sex education

The second season of Netflix’s hilarious teen sex sensation ended with Shakespeare’s most exciting play in history, staged inside a giant vagina. How do you overcome that? Well, the third manages to ramp it up instantly: by opening up with a mega montage of – what else? – sexual intercourse.
Netflix, September 17.


Based on the Isaac Asimov series of books from the 40s and 50s, which is said to have influenced a small movie franchise called Star Wars, Foundation is finally coming to our screens in Apple’s brilliant adaptation starring Jared Harris. With a sprawling plot and a massive budget, this tale of exiles rebuilding a troubled galactic empire is sure to dazzle, and perhaps disorient, its viewers.
Apple TV +, September 24.

To help

Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham star in Help.
Blisters … Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham in Help. Photography: La Forge

Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham team up for Jack Thorne’s heartbreaking drama about a Covid-overrun Merseyside nursing home. Graham plays Tony, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and Comer is Sarah, who takes her first job at Bright Sky Homes and is soon forced to carry a trash bag instead of PPE. A dazzling account of a failed system by the government.
Channel 4, September.

Y: The last man

Humanity (especially the “man” part) is on the brink in this post-apocalyptic sci-fi series. Our plague-time hero is Yorick Brown, who discovers he’s the last man on Earth – with only his pet monkey for company – following a mysterious episode that killed all mammals with a Y chromosome. Ben Schnetzer stars, with Diane Lane as mother, in this long-awaited graphic novel adaptation.
Disney +, September.


Babou Ceesay as Wolfe.
Renegade… Babou Ceesay as Wolfe. Photograph: © Sky UK Limited

For fans of maverick movies and witty yet gruesome crime dramas, Paul Abbott’s new series starring Babou Ceesay as renegade medical examiner Wolfe Kinteh is sure to be intriguing. Over six episodes, North England’s foremost crime expert breaks the rules while solving complex crimes, alongside Sherlock’s Amanda Abbington.
Max Sky, September.

Pollock in black and white

Colin Kaepernick
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick tells his story.
Photograph: Ted S Warren / AP

Sports giant Colin Kaepernick is teaming up with directorial superstar Ava DuVernay for a new drama based on the premier’s school days and his early forays into activism. Taking us back to his pre-NFL life, he’ll follow Kaepernick as a black adoptee into a white family, struggling with notions of race and justice. The man himself provides the narration.
Netflix, October.

The narrowing next door

The narrowing next door.
Sinister? … The narrowing next door. Photograph: Beth Dubber / Courtesy of Apple

Podcasts have become a trending TV property in recent years, but few pod-to-show adaptations have lived up to the hype (see: Homecoming on Amazon; Dirty John from Netflix). Could Apple turn the tide with its dark, comedic new show about a creepy psychiatrist, starring Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd in ’80s specs?
Apple TV +, November 12.

My name is Leon

Kit de Waal’s powerful novel about adopted brothers is coming to television, with Small Ax’s Christopher Eccleston, Lenny Henry, and Malachi Kirby among its cast. Set in ’80s Birmingham, the one-off drama tells the story of nine-year-old Leon, a mixed race boy who remains in care while his younger white brother is adopted.
BBC, November.


Buckle up so more billionaires misbehave as the TV megahit returns for a third round. Brian Cox’s brutal and troubled patriarch Logan Roy about to let his son Kendall (Jeremy Strong) take him down? Or is there still an epic power struggle ahead?
Sky Atlantic / Now, date to be confirmed.

Alma is not normal

Siobhan Finneran, Sophie Willan, Lorraine Ashbourne and Nicolas Ashbury in Alma's Not Normal.
Siobhan Finneran, Sophie Willan, Lorraine Ashbourne and Nicolas Ashbury in Alma’s Not Normal. Photograph: Matt Squire / BBC / Attente TV

Sophie Willan’s comedy was among the best of 2020 although it only consisted of a single pilot episode, drawing on the writer’s experience with childhood trauma, the care system, family addiction. and sex work. Now it’s back for a full series, with Willan in the lead role and Siobhan Finneran in the role of his mother.
BBC Two, to be confirmed.

Scenes from a wedding

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are directing HBO’s update of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 Swedish miniseries, whose timeline approach is said to influence Richard Linklater. Expect a forensic and artistic study of grief from a story spanning 10 years in the life of psychology professor John and divorce lawyer Marianne.
Atlantic sky, to be confirmed.


Gemma Whelan of Game of Thrones and The End of The F *** ing World stars her first prime-time lead role in this new drama from Homeland writer Patrick Harbinson, based on a series of novels by the former policewoman Kate London. Whelan plays a detective investigating two unexplained deaths in a Tower of London and the subsequent disappearance of a police officer.
ITV, to be confirmed.

The fall of House Maxwell

Ghislaine, Robert and Elizabeth Maxwell.
The life of a magnate… Ghislaine, Robert and Elizabeth Maxwell. Photograph: Steve Wood / Rex / Shutterstock

Before Ghislaine Maxwell’s name was indelibly linked to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, she was a social figure and philanthropist who grew up in the shadow of her parents. This landmark documentary by Emmy-winning drama director Colin Barr, Maxwell, about the last days of his media mogul father Robert – examines more than half a century of unsanitary family history, with testimonies and unpublished archive footage.
BBC Two, to be confirmed.

Stath rents apartments

Expect more rental-themed anarchy in the third series of Jamie Demetriou’s winning comedy Bafta. The hapless real estate agent Stath has been ousted from his family business, Michael & Eagle, and has a baby on the way with colleague Carole (Katy Wix). Will his fortune be revived after the death of boss Julian?
Channel 4, to be confirmed.

Ridley Road

Tom Varey as Jack Morris and Agnes O'Casey as Vivien Epstein in Ridley Road.
Good shots… Tom Varey and Agnes O’Casey in Ridley Road. Photograph: Ben Blackall / BBC / Red Productions

A Jewish woman infiltrates a neo-Nazi group in 1960s London in this new quartet based on a book by writer Jo Bloom and adapted by Sarah Solemani. Rory Kinnear, Rita Tushingham and Eddie Marsan star in the premonitory drama.
BBC One, to be confirmed.


Olivia Colman and David Thewlis play the couple behind the Mansfield murders in this grim tale of one of the most bizarre true crimes of recent times. Susan and Christopher Edwards killed her parents, buried them in their back garden – then spent years siphoning their money, mostly to buy autographs from Hollywood stars, including Gary Cooper. They have not been discovered for 15 years. Written by Ed Sinclair, Colman’s husband.
Sky Atlantic / Now TV, to be confirmed.

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