From a sexy Western with robots to a Dutch cyber-thriller to the return of Black Mirror, you should make time for these programmes, writes Ben Dowell.
Star Wars’ JJ Abrams is behind this ambitious new series about a futuristic, Old West-themed, adults-only amusement park populated by lifelike artificially intelligent robots that have been programmed never to murder the paying customers. Let’s see how long that lasts. The wealthy guests in turn can do whatever they want, even if it means ‘killing’ the townsfolk. “It’s OK, they’re only robots,” they’re told. Or are they? The cast is outstanding: Anthony Hopkins (in his first ever regular TV role), Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Tessa Thompson and Sidse Babett Knudsen to name but a few. Previewers have drawn attention to the graphic violence against women but have generally been impressed at the sheer quality of a show that blows the haunting, if low-budget, 1973 film of the same name by Michael Crichton out of the water. Airs Sundays on HBO in the US (Credit: HBO)
Agent Carter star Hayley Atwell plays Hayes Morrison, a lawyer and former First Daughter with a drug problem. In order to avoid jail for a cocaine possession charge (and to prevent harming her mother’s senate campaign) she takes a job offer from her ‘sexy nemesis’, a New York district attorney, to head up his new wrongful conviction unit. A spoiled brat to begin with, she begins to grow up and take her work seriously. Conviction promises heart as well as soapy appeal and also stars Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore and Emily Kinney. Airs Mondays on ABC in the US (Credit: ABC)
Sarah Jessica Parker’s first major TV role since Sex and the City boasts the writing talent of Sharon Horgan, the creator of the biggest – and best – British sitcom for years, Catastrophe. That show, about a transatlantic romance, was a deeply gritty and honest examination of a relationship; this time she is focusing on the end of one and it looks just as snappy, funny and profound. Parker plays a mother of two, Frances, whose decade-long marriage to Robert (Thomas Haden Church) begins to fall apart – though very slowly. Can they get back to liking each other again by calling time on their marriage? And how does that work? Molly Shannon and Tracy Letts also star. Premieres 9 October on HBO in the US (Credit: HBO) Read more