Gripping Netflix crime drama to binge tonight
ALAS, the Winter Olympics is over and you might find yourself going through withdrawal. Beyond dreaming about triple Lutz, you're going to need some new content to amuse and distract, especially now that the "will-he-won't-he" Barnaby Joyce saga has resolved itself too.
So feast your eyes on the second half of The Walking Dead season eight which drops this week, as do new seasons of Ash vs the Evil Dead and iZombie. And over on BBC First is a Benedict Cumberbatch TV film, The Child in Time, based on an Ian McEwan book.
Elsewhere, from political thrillers to crime dramas to family comedies, we've got you covered.
(Netflix - now)
Netflix has tagged its new series as an exploration of the stories behind the headlines, but it really is more of a traditional crime drama. Adapted from a Russian movie, Seven Seconds starts off with a police officer driving down an icy road while on the phone. He hits something and spins off the road, discovering a crushed bicycle under his personal car. When he calls his colleagues, they discover the body of Brenton, a teenage African-American boy nearby, seemingly dead. The cops leave the scene and a cover-up ensues.
In the aftermath of the incident, Seven Seconds becomes a vehicle to examine contemporary race relations in New Jersey, and America more broadly, with one corrupt cop's claim that the officer who hit Brenton would be crucified in the current age. More importantly, the series is a showcase for Regina King, who plays Brenton's mother with a portrayal that goes way beyond grief.
(Stan - Tuesday, February 27 from 4pm AEDT)
After an inconsistent second season and nearly a two-year break, the thoroughly addictive Unreal is back, and it's brought back its A-game. The scripted series about the outrageous behind-the-scenes shenanigans of a Bachelor-esque reality TV show, anchored by powerhouse performances from Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby as Quinn and Rachel, two producers that pull the strings as their personal lives implode, over and over again.
Realising the show's appeal lies in the relationship between Quinn and Rachel, Unreal has sought to capitalise on that dynamic this season, and introduce the series' first bachelorette (cue loads of topless, hot men), a super-smart Silicon Valley boss who's not easy to manipulate. For all those fans who loved the first season but tuned out halfway through the second, come on back, it's worth it.
FRESH OFF THE BOAT
(Fox8 on Foxtel - Sunday, March 4 at 7.30pm)
One of the most consistent family comedies of the past few years, Fresh off the Boat always manages to charm and entertain. Set in the mid-1990s, it's steeped in nostalgia but it has so much more going for it than some pop cultural references to Michael Bolton and Kenny Rogers. Based on chef Eddie Huang's memoirs, Fresh off the Boat are the adventures of the Huang family, navigating the American way of life in Orlando, Florida while still retaining their Asian identity.
There's a lot of humour and warmth to be found without ever resorting to mockery. Four seasons in, the show still feels new and relevant, and will resonate with viewers from all backgrounds.
ATLANTA ROBBIN' SEASON
(SBS Viceland - Friday, March 2 at 9.20pm)
Renaissance man Donald Glover's highly acclaimed and multi award-winning series Atlanta returns for its sophomore season this week, now called Atlanta Robbin' Season. Set in the Atlanta music scene, Glover plays Earn, a college dropout trying to make his way as manager to his cousin, up-and-coming rapper Paper Boi. The first season was what the kids would call "lit", with its fresh approach to storytelling, including the incredible "B.A.N." episode.
With that kind of set-up into its second instalment, you can expect Glover to deliver - what's incredible is how effortless Atlanta seems. It's the perfect distillation of Glover's sensibilities and tone as a filmmaker and artist - wry, clever and always a little left-field.
(Seven - Monday, February 26 at 9pm)
Hot on the heels of The Good Doctor's success, hospital shows are back in vogue, though The Resident does have a cynical side with its indictment of the US medical system and chase for profit.
Featuring attractive young doctors (are there any other kind on TV?) saving lives and hooking up with each other, The Resident stars Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge) and Manish Dayal (Halt and Catch Fire) as young guns under the tutelage of the chief of surgeon (Bruce Greenwood), who's not immune from his own hubris.
With The Resident, you know what you're getting - that certain kind of American network drama that's not going to shock you or make you think very hard. And sometimes, for some people, that's all you want.
THE LOOMING TOWER
(Amazon Prime Video - Thursday, March 1 from 8pm AEDT)
Based on the nonfiction book of the same name, The Looming Tower is a thrilling scripted drama starring Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, Alec Baldwin and Bill Camp that looks at the years leading up to the September 11 attacks.
With mistrust and ego battles between the FBI and CIA, the series looks at how intelligence failures may have contributed to Al-Qaeda's rise and its brutal retribution. It also tracks the series of attacks in the late-1990s, such as the Nairobi Embassy bombing, and the ultimately unsuccessful race to stop Osama bin Laden's deadly agenda.
The Looming Tower is an ambitious series, seeking to play out the very real, very consequential actions of the flawed people charged with protecting American interests. It's a solid and engaging show, made by people who know what they're doing.
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