1st seasons of The Outsider & Primal; new seasons of Insecure & Westworld; Emmy-nominated true crime & more
Express from the US every Monday
Currently the most popular show on IMDB, sci-fi drama Westworld is a dark wild west odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the birth of a new form of life on Earth. And this season, they’re knocking it “out of the park”.
Returning for season 3 are Golden Globe nominees Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores) and Thandie Newton (Maeve), Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Wright (Bernard/Arnold), People’s Choice nominee Tessa Thompson (Charlotte), Screen Actors Guild nominees Luke Hemsworth (Ashley) and Rodrigo Santoro (Hector), and Oscar nominee Ed Harris as The Man in Black.
New faces this season include Golden Globe nominee Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s Twelve, Black Swan), Emmy winner Lena Waithe (Ready Player One), Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy) and Grammy winner Kid Cudi. (Psst! Early trailers also feature certain as-yet-unannounced actors … Are they? Aren’t they? With Westworld, seeing is never believing.) Westworld has won seven Emmys and been nominated for four Golden Globes, among other accolades.
Emmy and BAFTA-winning writer Andrew Davies (House of Cards, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Les Misérables) brings Jane Austen’s unfinished last novel vividly to life.
Sanditon’s a place that’s changing fast.This once-sleepy fishing village is transforming into a fashionable spa resort. Changing alongside it is the impulsive and unconventional Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams from Reign), who swaps her quiet rural home for the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make.
As Indiewire put it, “Sanditon is sexy escapism for winter, tart and political, gorgeous and honest. Austen would have loved it.”
Imagine going out for a burger and coming home with $1 million. That’s the tantalising prize McDonald’s offered its US customers in the ‘90s, and who could resist, right? But when you play and play and never seem to win big, it can start to feel like the game is rigged. Of course, you know it isn’t. Or is it?
Mcmillion$ is the story of the biggest scam in the history of fast food. It ran for over a decade, had links to organised crime and netted $24 million worth of illegal profits. But it wasn’t until the FBI received an anonymous tip-off in 2001 that anyone began to suspect something was rotten over at McD’s. Dogged and unorthodox investigative work, undercover sting operations and fake interviews turned up a network of co-conspirators from ordinary folks to psychics, strip club owners, shifty ex-cons and even the Mafia. But despite the numbers involved, the trial was less sensational than it might have been, and received relatively little publicity. That was because of its start date – 10 September 2001, just one day before the 9/11 attacks, which would dominate the news in subsequent months. Now, McMillion$ constructs a detailed account of the scam and how it was uncovered.
McMillions has a 87% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes: The Wall Street Journal calls it “a terrific story and a captivating, snowballing, six-part docuseries”, while The Hollywood Reporter says, “McMillion$ tells a quirky and frequently hilarious tale filled with enough twists and turns that you’ll swear it came from the keyboard of a Carl Hiaasen or Elmore Leonard.”
THE CASE AGAINST ADNAN SYED
Binge from 10 April
18 years after he was sentenced to life plus 30 years in jail, this true-crime investigation takes a fresh look into the case against Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The four-part HBO docuseries from Oscar, Emmy and Bafta-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil) follows on from the breakout investigative journalism podcast Serial, which brought international attention to the trial and to Syed’s continued insistence that he did not kill Hae.
The Case Against Adnan Syed was nominated for a 2019 Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program and has an 82% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As Daily Telegraph (UK) put it, “As testament to a tragedy, Berg’s documentary was wrenching. As a quiet indictment of true crime and its ghastly razzmatazz, it was devastating.”
First on Showmax | Binge from 13 April
From the creator behind the Emmy-winning series Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky, Primal follows a caveman at the dawn of evolution and a dinosaur on the brink of extinction. The two creatures, one on the way out and one on the way in, become each other’s only hope of survival in a treacherous world.
Primal has an 8.7/10 score on IMDB and a 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is, “Epic in every sense, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal is a stunning feat of visual storytelling.”
“Epic yet intimate, Primal is awash in eye-popping imagery,” says Hollywood Reporter. “Primal is vicious stuff. It’s a rarely pausing saga of bone-breaking, head-severing, tooth-extracting, face-smashing brutality… Tartakovsky has long been a distinctive force in TV animation and this is another winner, a spare storytelling experiment that plays like nothing else in the current landscape.”
From 22:30, Mondays from 14 April
Created byA Black Lady Sketch Show exec producer Issa Rae and Black-ish exec producer Larry Wilmore, Insecure centres on friends Issa (Rae in a Golden Globe, Emmy and Critics Choice nominated performance) and Molly (Black Reel awards nominee Yvonne Orji). The show has a 97% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus hails Insecure as “an insightful, raunchy, and hilarious journey through the life of a twentysomething black woman that cuts through stereotypes with sharp wit and an effusive spirit.”
As The Peabody Awards put it, “Rae delivers a ground-breaking series that captures the lives of everyday young black people in Los Angeles with a fresh and authentic take. Breaking away from tired and familiar representations of ‘diversity’ on television, this series offers a fun and intimate portrayal of work, relationships, and the ordinary experiences of the two young black women at its center.”
Insecure was nominated for two Emmys for cinematography and for Show of the Year at the MTV Movie and TV Awards. It was also named TV Program of the Year at the 2018 American Film Institute Awards.
NOUGHTS + CROSSES
From 2330 on Thursdays. Binge from 16 April
“Over 700 years ago, the Aprican Empire invaded Europe. Aprica colonised the continent and reached as far as Albion. Albion has been under Aprican rule ever since.”
So begins Noughts + Crosses, a controversial six-part BBC One series based on Malorie Blackman’s multi-award-winning novel.
South African Masali Baduza (Trackers) and BAFTA winner Jack Rowan (Born To Kill, Peaky Blinders) play Sephy and Callum, two star-crossed lovers in the tradition of Romeo and Juliet. Sephy is the privileged daughter of the Home Secretary, Kamal Hadley, while Callum’s mother, Meggie, is the Hadleys’ housekeeper. While Sephy and Callum grew up together, they may as well have lived in different worlds.
Shot largely in Cape Town, the series also stars Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, The Leftovers) and South African actress Bonnie Mbuli (Invictus, Wallander) as Sephy’s parents, Kamal and Jasmine, with BAFTA nominee Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet, Emily in Friends) and Tribeca winner Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter) as Callum’s parents, as well as Josh Dylan (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, The End of the F***ing World) as his brother Jude.
From 23h30 on Thursdays, from 23 April
Repeatedly the most popular show on IMDB in March, HBO miniseries The Outsider is based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King and follows police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn from Bloodline), who is still grieving the recent death of his own son when the mutilated body of 11-year-old Frankie Peterson is found in the Georgia woods.
The mysterious circumstances surrounding the horrifying crime lead Ralph to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo, nominated for two Oscars and two Golden Globes this year for Harriet), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable.
The cast also includes Golden Globe winner Jason Bateman (Ozark), Emmy nominee Bill Camp (Joker, The Night Of), Oscar nominee Mare Winningham (The Affair, American Horror Story), BAFTA winner Paddy Considine (In America), Critics Choice nominee Julianne Nicholson (Masters of Sex, I, Tonya), and Screen Actors Guild nominee Yul Vázquez (Russian Doll).
Bateman is also among the show’s directors, along with Emmy nominee Andrew Bernstein (The West Wing, Fear the Walking Dead, Ozark). Creator Richard Price was also behind the Emmy-winning The Night Of and was a writer for The Wire and The Deuce, among others.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…
LOVE DAILY S1– Romance anthology | 2019 Writers Guild of America nominee for Short Form New Media Original | Binge now
HACKERVILLE S1 – Crime | HBO’s first European co-production, from the creators of the Emmy-winning Deutschland 83 | Binge now
LOVE ISLAND UK S6 – Reality TV | The Cape Town edition of the BAFTA-winning hit show Rue from Euphoria is obsessed with | TBC
To see everything on Showmax in April, click here. Please note this release schedule is subject to change.