10 of the best dramas this autumn

10 of the best dramas this autumn

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Thursday, 20th September 2018
(Credit: BBC)
(Credit: BBC)

There's a spooky revival, plenty of action and some mind-bending story-telling in this coming autumn season. Scroll down to see our top picks of what's on the small screen. 

1. A Discovery of Witches, Sky One and Now TV, Fridays, 9pm

Based on the novel of the same name by Deborah Harkness, this Welsh-made production stars Matthew Goode (The Crown) and Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) as a lovestruck supernatural couple. The series takes place in a world where witches, vampires and daemons exist in secret, alongside unsuspecting humans. Diana Bishop (Palmer) is a reluctant witch, thrown into the path of smouldering vampire Professor Matthew Clairmont (Goode). Together they face the ramifications of their interspecies relationship, all the while delving into the mysterious world of paranormal communities.

2. Doctor Who, BBC One, 7th October, Time TBC

This season marks a progressive first for the sci-fi series and a step forward for gender equality everywhere with the arrival of a female Doctor. As Jodie Whittaker steps into the new rainbow t-shirt and culottes of the iconic Doctor, women and little girls all over will rejoice. Her new companions (now called “friends”) include Bradley Walsh (Law & Order: UK), Mandip Gill (Casualty) and Tosin Cole (Lewis). That’s our Halloween costumes sorted then.

3. The Cry, BBC One, 30th September, 9pm 

Adapted from the 2013 novel of the same name by Helen FitzGerald, Victoria and Doctor Who alumni Jenna Coleman stars in this four-part thriller about a young mother who’s baby is abducted. The story follows Joanna, who travels to Australia with her husband Alistair (Asher Keddie) and new-born baby, seeking to gain custody of Alistair’s other daughter from his ex-wife when the unthinkable happens. The show focuses on the aftermath, with the guilt between the two parents snowballing and tearing their lives apart.

4. House of Cards, Netflix, 2 November, Midnight

Following the removal of Kevin Spacey last year, it seemed unlikely that the show would continue. Luckily for fans, the showrunners have pulled a rabbit out of their writing hats and may well have made the best season yet. When it was confirmed that Spacey would not be returning to the series (his character has been written out) it was announced that the focus would shift entirely to his on-screen wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). After playing the conniving wife for several series, Claire has patiently ascended through the ranks of the White House, as both Second and First Lady. Now, after shedding the baggage of her husband Frank, she takes her place as the 47th President of the United States in the new series.

5. Maniac, Netflix, 21 September, Midnight

Black Mirror fans are going to love the aesthetic of this dark comedy. Featuring a barely recognisable Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), as well as Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street) and Emma Stone (La La Land), the series follows Annie Landsberg (Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Hill) -two dysfunctional loners taking part in a futuristic pharmaceutical trial, each for different reasons. With the promise of all of their mental and physical illnesses being cured permanently, with no side-effects, it all seems too good to be true. In the creepy florescent lab, under the watchful eye of Dr Manterley (Theroux), they’re about to find out that it definitely is.

6. The Good Cop, Netflix, 21st September, Midnight

Tony Danza (Broad City) and Josh Groban (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) star as a father and son cop duo, with very different views on the law. Tony Caruso Sr (Danza) is a disgraced former NYPD officer fond of breaking the rules. His son, on the other hand, Tony Caruso Jr (Groban), is a straight-laced, obsessively honest NYPD detective who lives by the rules. As unofficial partners, they face the tough streets of New York, with Tony Sr giving his son advice on everything from “handling suspects to handling women”. Not your usual crime procedural, that’s for sure.

7. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Netflix, 26th October, Midnight

This series is a lot darker than fans of 1990s classic Melissa Joan Hart vehicle Sabrina The Teenage Witch incarnation might expect. Based on a 2014 comic book series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and set in the 1960s, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) just wants a normal life. Instead, she has to reconcile her life as half-human, half-witch with a high-school education and everything else that comes with being a teenager. On the up side, there’s a Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch, Teen Beach Movie) for a new generation, on the down side, no animatronic cats as of yet.

8. Death and Nightingales, BBC Two, TBC late-2018 

Ann Skelly and Jamie Dornan (Credit: BBC)
Ann Skelly and Jamie Dornan (Credit: BBC)

Set in 19th century Ireland, this is a tale of love, betrayal, deception and revenge. Based on Eugene McCabe’s modern Irish classic, the story revolves around a tense 24-hour period in atmospheric Fermanagh. Beth Winters (Ann Skelly, Little Women) wants to escape the confines of her restricted life under her Protestant step-father Billy (Matthew Rhys, The Americans). On her 23rd birthday she takes action and decides to run away with the dashing Liam Ward (Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Grey). This is a world of neighbourly spies, of confessions and double dealing which Beth is willing to risk everything to try an escape. The question is, can she break Billy’s hold on her?

9. The First, Channel 4, TBC October 2018​

A British-American production with an all-star cast The First follows the fictional first human mission to Mars, set in a not too distant future. It will explore the themes of colonisation as well as the physical and mental tolls taken on astronauts and their loved ones. The cast includes Oscar-winner Sean Penn (Milk), as well as the captivating Natascha McElhone (Designated Survivor). Though details of the story are limited, if the trailer is anything to go by it will be a rousing serial in the vein of all-American space blockbusters like Interstellar and Gravity, but with a much more Earth-bound, real feel.

10. Killing Eve, BBC One and BBC Three, Saturdays, 9.15pm or boxset available via BBC iPlayer

It wouldn't be a top 10 list without the inclusion of a drama that has blown away audiences on both sides of the pond. Based on Luke Jennings's Codename Villanelle novella series, and developed for BBC America by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve is already a smash hit Stateside and is finally hitting screens in the UK this autumn. Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) plays bored desk-bound MI5 officer Eve Polastri, who becomes obsessed with notorious assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer, Thirteen). Psychopathic Villanelle, in turn, is enthralled by Polastri. It’s funny, twisted and full of surprises. All episodes are now available on the BBC's iPlayer. Binge-ahoy!

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There's a spooky revival, plenty of action and some mind-bending story-telling in this coming autumn season. Scroll down to see our top picks of what's on the small screen.