Agatha Christie’s Ordeal By Innocence, Season 1

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime

Created By: Agatha Christie, Sarah Phelps

Starring: Bill Nighy, Anthony Boyle, Anna Chancellor, Morven Christie, Alice Eve, Matthew Goode

Based on the Christie novel of the same name, this imported BBC series is a wicked, murderous, familial delight. Though much is changed from the original text, the story retains its iciness. It’s about the mysterious murder of a matriarch and the family’s attempt at piecing together their loss; wrongful accusations abound, as do love affairs. Typical Agatha Christie, but it’s played wonderfully here. The series is only three episodes long, so it’s easy to sit through, and is made delightful thanks to a creepy Bill Nighy and a cast of wonderful British actors. Anthony Boyle as the accused son Jack is a standout. The Gothic tone and visuals accentuate what might otherwise feel like a routine murder story.

Succession, Season 1

Where To Watch: HBO Now

Created By: Jesse Armstrong

Starring: Brian Cox, Kiernan Culkin, Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, Alan Ruck

I was late to the Succession train, which is a damn shame, because this series is incredible. It’s hard not to see shades of the Trumps in the story of this wealthy, business-minded family, who run a giant media conglomerate and who are as dynastic, ego-fueled, and off-color as that other disastrously powerful family tree. There are also echoes of King Lear in Succession, which follows Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the founder of Waystar Royco, and his children, who are stepping up to bat as their father ages out of his controlling role. Naturally, this creates a competitive streak amongst them, one that is both hilarious and darkly twisted. It’s a disturbingly American story about power and greed and media control, and the pilot directed to perfection by The Big Short’s Adam McKay. It takes a while to rev up, but once it hits its stride mid-season, it’s hard to look away. The first season just wrapped, so you can catch up now while the water cooler appeal is still fresh.

Mary Kills People, Seasons 1-2

Where To Watch: Hulu

Created By: Tara Armstrong

Starring: Caroline Dhavernas, Jay Ryan, Richard Short

If you’re a huge fan of NBC’s beloved Hannibal series like me, you’ve got to check out Mary Kills People, which features the great Caroline Dhavernas (Alana Bloom on Hannibal) in a starring role. The Canadian series has a stellar premise: Dhavernas plays Dr. Mary Harris, an ER doctor who, on the side, runs a secret assisted suicide side business with her partner, Des (Richard Short). That business is investigated by an undercover cop (played by Jay Ryan, who will soon star as the grown-up Ben Hanscom in It: Chapter Two) who threatens to unravel Mary’s work, while she continues to maintain her innocence. Dhavernas is a terrific actress who lends her steely professionalism to the role, while still maintaining a relatable pathos. It’s great to see her flourish here, in a series that fully supports her talents as an actress. Although, to be honest, it only makes me yearn to see more Hannibal, but that’s a forever mood.

Girls Incarcerated, Season 1

Where To Watch: Netflix

Created By: Nick Rigg, David George, Jordan Hochman

A biting accessory to the comedy series Orange is the New Black, Netflix’s Girls Incarcerated offers a more brutal, biting look at life behind bars for young women. This is not an easy series to watch, and I will admit that it make me deeply, extremely sad. But it’s mandatory viewing, in my opinion; the sort of series that sends a shiver down your spine and a pang through your heart. It focuses on a group of girls at Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility in Madison, Indiana (which has since been shut down) as they navigate the daily life of an incarcerated youth. Most of the girls are in their mid to late teens, and most come from broken homes, coming up in a system that sets them up for failure and oppression. Though they strive to better themselves, and yearn for more than their present circumstances allow, it’s hard to feel too hopeful for any of the young women we meet; that is the heartbreaking power of the series. I’m still haunted by Najwa Pollard, a 16-year-old Madison inhabitant who can’t leave the facility because she has no stable family life waiting for her on the other side. Girls Incarcerated is full of stories like hers, all of them depressing, but many tinged with glimmers of hope. It’s a hard series to watch, and an even harder one to forget, but there’s something beautiful and truthful about the show that makes it feel vital.

Schitt’s Creek, Seasons 1-4

Where To Watch: Netflix

Created By: Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy

Starring: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy, Chris Elliott

Imagine Arrested Development, but Canadian, and that’s a good starting comparison for Schitt’s Creek. The show is about a video store magnate (Eugene Levy) and his soap actress wife (Catherine O’Hara) who lose their wealth when their business manager fails to pay their taxes. The couple have no choice but to move to the Canadian town of Schitt’s Creek, which they bought for their son as a gag gift years earlier. They move into the local motel with their children – son David (played by Levy’s real-life son, Daniel, who co-created the show with his father) and daughter Alexis – and, as you’d expect, hijinks ensue. Levy and O’Hara are complete delights as the clueless family foundation, but their kids are the real highlight of the show. It’s a familiar premise, yes, but the high caliber of talent breathes a new life into what could otherwise be staid territory. Put Catherine O’Hara in everything, please!

Pages: Previous page 1 2

Cool Posts From Around the Web: