TV, stream and download: The top shows you won't want to miss for the week ahead
Here are the week’s new shows on Netflix, Amazon and other download sites
FILM OF THE WEEK
For The Sake Of Vicious
Hard-working nurse Romina (Lora Burke) arrives home after a long shift, carrying a Halloween costume for her seven-year-old son, who is at her mother’s house.
The family will go trick or treating once Romina has changed out of her uniform.
No sooner has the nurse walked through the front door than she discovers her landlord Alan incapacitated and bloody on her kitchen floor next to Chris, the father of a patient.
After a brief struggle, Chris begs Romina to revive Alan so he can extract a confession, proving that the unconscious man raped his little girl.
Against her better judgment, Romina becomes an accessory to a kangaroo court, where Alan repeatedly pleads his innocence and reiterates evidence which saw a jury acquit him.
Set almost entirely within the four walls of Romina’s home, For The Sake Of Vicious is a brutal and increasingly gory home invasion thriller with impressively gruesome effects on a limited budget.
Co-directors Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen allow suspense to build gradually in the opening 45 minutes, keeping us guessing about Alan’s guilt as the balance of power see-saws violently between accused and captor.
Shadow and Bone
Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grisha novel trilogy forms the basis for a new fantasy series that’s sure to appeal to fans of The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.
The action takes place in a war-torn world where super-powered orphan Alina Starkov may have the skills needed to free her people. However, as the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looms, Alina is forced to become a member of the Grisha, an elite army of soldiers. While in training, she discovers that nothing is as it seems, she can trust nobody and that dark forces are wreaking havoc – as a result, it becomes clear that even Alina’s knowledge and use of magic may not keep her safe for long. Jessie Mei Li and Ben Barnes star, while support comes from Daisy Head, Zoe Wanamaker and Kevin Eldon.
Mare Of Easttown
Oscar winner Kate Winslet returns to the small screen for the first time in a decade since her Golden Globe-winning performance in the title role of Mildred Pierce to play a small-town Pennsylvania detective in this seven-part mystery, which begins this week on Sky Atlantic and streams exclusively on Now TV.
Mare Sheehan (Winslet) keeps the peace in the close-knit community of Easttown, where secrets are passed down from one generation to the next. She is at loggerheads with her rebellious daughter Siobhan and tensions are exacerbated when a murder on Mare’s patch turns friends and neighbours against one another. Detective Colin Zabel is called in to assist with the investigation as Mare’s family life implodes. She turns to childhood best friend Lori, her mother Helen and local writer Richard Ryan (Guy Pearce) for emotional buoyancy.
If the cast is anything to go by, this sci-fi movie should be a real winner – Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Toni Collette and Shamier Anderson all feature. Directed by Brazilian film-maker Joe Penna, who also co-wrote the script with Ryan Morrison, it focuses on the crew of a spaceship en route to Mars.
However, someone has accidentally stowed away, causing severe damage to the craft’s life support systems. As their resources begin to dwindle, those on board must find a way to deal with their new circumstances or face certain death. While the ship’s commander and biologist favour a solution based on clinical logic, a medical researcher with a very different idea tries to stand up for what she believes in.
Many natural history TV series focus on the wondrous menagerie of creatures, which inhabit our world, often unseen by human eyes. In this five-part celebration of Planet Earth from National Geographic, which streams on Disney+, the landscapes and seascapes take centre stage, transporting viewers to vast blue glaciers, shifting arid deserts and lush, humid rainforests. Set to an original score produced by Neil Davidge, a long-time collaborator with Massive Attack, the episodes are entitled Frozen Calm, Night Lights, Tropical Serenity, Desert Solitude and Peaceful Patterns.
Mythic Quest: Everlight
Ahead of the May 7 debut of the second series of Apple TV+ comedy Mythic Quest, this special half-hour episode addresses the difficulties of returning to normal life after the Covid pandemic. Alongside returning cast members, Everlight is blessed with a vocal performance from special guest star Academy Award winner Sir Anthony Hopkins. Video game developers led by creative director Ian Grimm return to the office to manage the biggest multiplayer video game in history. The team look forward to the annual Everlight party after a year filled with isolation and loss. As festivities gather momentum, Ian and lead engineer Poppy Li discuss their plan to favour an underdog in a forthcoming live action roleplay tournament.
Steelers: The World’s First Gay Rugby Club
Founded in 1995, Kings Cross Steelers is the world’s first gay-inclusive rugby union club, which gave birth to a movement that now includes more than 60 teams worldwide and two biennial international tournaments: the Bingham Cup and the Union Cup. Australian news reporter Eammon Ashton-Atkinson, who joined the Steelers in 2016, makes his feature directorial debut with a documentary portrait of the club as players and female coach Nic Evans attend the 2018 Bingham Cup in Amsterdam. The film focuses on Evans’s fight against misogyny in a male-dominated sport alongside the personal journeys of two very different players: Simon Jones, who has recently come out, and Andrew McDowell, who performs in drag away from the pitch.
Arlo The Alligator Boy
As a prelude to the 20-episode animated TV series I Love Arlo due later in the year on Netflix, this feature-length musical adventure directed and co-written by Ryan Crego introduces us to a half-human half-alligator hero, who yearns to find a place where he belongs. Arlo Beauregard (voiced by Michael J Woodard) lives a sheltered life in a swamp with his human surrogate mother, Edmee. She tells Arlo the truth about his past: he has a long-lost biological father in New York City. The plucky youngster embarks on an odyssey to track down his old man, accompanied by a colourful coterie of misfits including Alia, Bertie, Furlecia, walking fish Marcellus and Teeny Tiny Tony.
In October 2020, Apple TV+ unveiled the first six instalments of the natural history series Tiny World, narrated by Paul Rudd, aka Ant-Man from the Marvel Comics cinematic universe.
The show celebrates the smallest creatures on the planet and their ingenious survival techniques in treacherous conditions. This second salvo of episodes, succinctly entitled Meadow, Desert, Pond, Rainforest, Reef and Dune, employs ground-breaking video technology to follow the hazardous journeys of new species including a bumblebee, dragonfly, duckling, harvest mouse and ground squirrel.
Alexander McQueen blazed a trail through the fashion world and his impact is still felt today, 11 years after his death. This extraordinary feature-length documentary from Ian Bonhomie and Peter Ettedgui examines the designer’s life and career, from his early years as the youngest of six children born to a teacher and taxi driver in Lewisham, through his time spent as an apprentice on Savile Row to his amazing catwalk success. Other achievements covered include his five-year spell as chief designer at Givenchy, the founding of his own label and his four British Designer of the Year awards. But it doesn’t shy away from McQueen’s troubles, with friends and family members offering candid insights into his personality.
Yee-ha! Here’s a western series with a difference – instead of featuring traditional cowboys, it focuses on the animated adventures of the tight-knit Cassidy family, who run a farm that doubles up as a dinosaur sanctuary. Ma Jane and Pa Bo think they’re in charge, but it’s their eldest adopted son Jon who is the real dino-whisperer in the pack, which also includes super-caring wannabe doctor Min and junior inventor Miguel.
Joining in the fun are their pet reptiles raptor Blitz, big-hearted brontosaurus Clover and tiny triceratops Tango, who help the children explore the great outdoors while trying to steer clear of the local T-rex. In the first episode, the youngsters learn a valuable lesson about asking for help after being confronted by a couple of crazy critters.
In 2024, the deadliest strain of Covid has accounted for more than 110 million deaths worldwide. Citizens are ordered to stay indoors permanently. A morning temperature check on mobile devices identifies anyone with a fever, who is dragged unceremoniously from their home by Hazmat-suited agents. Former paralegal Nico (KJ Apa) is immune to the virus and is allowed outside during daylight hours to work as a bicycle courier. Nico dreams of running away to the coast with girlfriend Sara, who he has never been able to touch. When a daily temperature check puts Sara in jeopardy, Nico races against the clock to engineer their escape. His daredevil actions ensnare him in the tangled webs of wealthy couple William and Piper Griffin (Bradley Whitford, Demi Moore). Songbird is a dystopian thriller set in near-future Los Angeles under martial law, which cranks up dramatic tension once gun-toting marshals arrive outside Sara’s apartment.