From Blue Planet II, to Stranger Things and Louis Theroux, Eddie Mullan picks the programmes worth seeing this month.
Blue Planet II
A lot has changed since the original awe-inspiring Blue Planet documentary series was broadcast in 2001, introducing us to strange new creatures and animal behaviour that had previously never been captured on film. The award-winning programme gave us an unprecedented look at the least known part of our planet – our oceans.
Sir David Attenborough returns to narrate and present this follow-up, with the show’s producers and crews spending more than 1,000 hours in the deep sea, filming across every continent and ocean. The team used new camera technology to get closer to the action and the aquatic characters than ever before, which you can get a taste of in the five-minute prequel to the series. Premieres October on BBC One (Credit: BBC One)
It’s 1984 and things are only going to get stranger for the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana as we return for a new installment of the horror drama. The first season made stars of the young cast and got us all nostalgic for 80s movies with its analogue synth soundtrack and references to films like The Goonies, ET, Poltergeist and Stand by Me.
Fire up the Eggos for some good news, because after defeating the Demogorgon, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) will be coming back, along with Will (Noah Schapp) who was rescued from the Upside Down at the end of season one. Here’s the bad news though, which we learned when Shannon Purser posed as an audience member at a Q&A and asked a panel if her fan-favourite character Barb would be returning in season two. Unfortunately not – we can but hope justice for Barb will be served. Premieres 27 October on Netflix (Credit: Netflix)
Louis Theroux Dark States
The documentarian Louis Theroux is back in the US with a trilogy of films in which he immerses himself in some of the most disturbing and dysfunctional aspects of American society. With intimate interviews and hard-hitting stories, Louis explores some of the uniquely devastating challenges facing some US cities today: murder, sex trafficking and opiate dependency.
Following a crackdown on over-prescription of strong painkillers, many Americans have turned to a cheaper and stronger opiate: heroin. In the first film, Louis follows addicts in an Appalachian community in West Virginia that is being devastated by widespread heroin use and where one in 10 babies in the city is born dependent on opiates. Prepare for some difficult, but compelling viewing. Premieres 8 October on BBC Two (Credit: BBC Two)
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Have you ever had to go experience a ‘double-goodbye’? You make a hasty exit from someone’s house, then realise you forgot something and have to return for a second round of farewells. Been at a dinner with someone talking loudly on their mobile phone? Had to go watch someone else’s children act in a play? Modern life is full of those kinds of grave injustices and we need someone to speak up.
Pretty, pretty good news then, as Seinfeld co-creator Larry David is the hero we need and returns after a six-year hiatus, as an over-the-top version of himself in a tongue-in-cheek depiction of his life. In season nine, Larry has a new venture that elicits promising feedback from a number of prospective investors – until a string of missteps undermines the plan. Cue the music. Premieres 1 October on HBO and Sky Atlantic on 2 October (Credit: HBO)
Every year on 5 November – often known as Guy Fawkes Night – the English mark the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 with bonfires and fireworks. However, while Fawkes played a pivotal role, the man who dreamt up the plot was Robert Catesby, a 33-year-old Warwickshire gentleman and a committed Catholic at a time when Protestant England persecuted Catholics relentlessly.
With an all-star cast including Kit Harington (playing the role of Catesby), Liv Tyler, Peter Mullan and Mark Gatiss, this explosive 17th-Century thriller delves into the history behind the plot evolution, selection of the team to carry it out, gathering of resources, and obstacles they came up against. Premieres October on BBC One (Credit: BBC One)
In ancient Rome, Suburra was a crowded, dirty place, notorious as a red-light district. This is where Julius Caesar was born and the big wigs from the worlds of politics, criminality and religion gathered in secret. Based on the novel of the same name and a prequel to the 2015 neo-noir mafia film, Suburra: The Series, is the first Italian Netflix Original and is set over 20 days of turmoil in modern day Rome – exploring how the Church, politics and criminality collide in a quest for power.
At the heart of this story is three young men with different backgrounds, ambitions and passions, that will have to forge alliances across divides to get what they want most. Could this complex crime series be the new Narcos? Almost certainly. Premieres 6 October on Netflix (Credit: Netflix)
If you liked the aesthetics and unsettling atmosphere of David Fincher’s 2007 crime saga Zodiac, then this might just be your next big obsession. Fincher directs the first episode of this new detective series which delves into the origins of criminal profiling.
Produced by Charlize Theron and based on the 1997 classic crime book Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, the series stars Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallant as FBI agents in 1979, who interview some of America’s most notorious imprisoned psychopaths and let the police know what they discover to try to crack ongoing cases. Premieres 13 October on Netflix (Credit: Netflix)
If you’ve found the Nordic noir offerings a bit unrealistic lately, this Danish thriller set in a rough harbor town where crime and drug use are out of control, might bring you a bit closer to reality. Norskov’s mayor dreams of regenerating the town, but when he struggles to relieve it of a major drug problem the mayor asks two of his childhood friends who followed very different paths to reunite and help clean up their hometown.
One of his old pals is police investigator Tom Noack (Thomas Levin), who returns from living abroad to clean up his home town. However, he soon realises that the reach of corruption has struck much closer to home than he could have imagined. Premieres in the UK on 11 October on Channel 4 (Credit: Channel 4)
The Last Post
Starring Jessie Buckley and Jessica Raine, this six-part drama gives a close-up view of army life as we follow a unit of Royal Military Police officers and their families as they deal with the challenges of politics, love and war in the dangerous environment of British-controlled Aden (Yemen) in the mid-60s. Written by BAFTA winner Peter Moffat, The Last Post is based on childhood memories, his father’s career as an officer and his mother’s struggle with being what the army wanted her to be. Premieres 1 October on BBC One (Credit: BBC One)
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
The serialised comedy thriller adapted from the novels by Douglas Adams and set in the unexpected world of the rude and presumptuous detective is back for a second series. Season one featured time travel with body-swapping, but this next chapter shifts more into the fantasy genre. We pick up with the sci-fi sleuth having been trapped in a government organisation for the last two months, unfortunately re-immersed in the nightmares of his childhood, and separated from his friends Todd (Elijah Wood) and Farah (Jade Eshete).
The vast dangers lurking in the magical realm navigate a path to Earth, becoming a threat and it’s up to Dirk (Samuel Barnett) and the gang to stop them in their tracks. But first things first – they need to find each other. Premieres 14 October on BBC America (Credit: BBC America)