1st seasons of Lovecraft Country, I May Destroy You, Perry Mason, World on Fire; new seasons of Ramy, My Brilliant Friend
LOVECRAFT COUNTRY S1
In the 1950s, Atticus Black, a young African-American, sets out on a road trip with his friend and uncle to find his missing father. This catapults the three into a struggle for survival against the dual terrors of Jim Crow-era America and terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a paperback written by pulpy horror author HP Lovecraft.
Based on the cult novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is a collaboration between Misha Green and Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out), executive produced by JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost).
The fantastic cast includes Black Reel nominee Jonathan Majors, Teen Choice nominee Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of Prey, Friday Night Lights), four-time Emmy nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (When They See Us, The Night Of), Golden Globe nominee Courtney B Vance (The People Vs OJ Simpson, Law & Order), BAFTA winner Wunmi Mosaku (Luther, The End of the F*ing World), and Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Neon Demon).
Lovecraft Country has an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is #3 on IMDb’s Most Popular TV chart.
Ramy stars 2020 Golden Globe winner and stand-up comedian Ramy Youssef as Ramy Hassan, a first-generation Egyptian-American millennial in suburban New Jersey grappling with how to be a good Muslim in the Tinder era.
Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, True Detective) joins the cast this season as Sheikh Malik, while Hiam Abbass (Succession, Blade Runner 2049) returns as his mother.
The show is up for three Emmys this month – Best Actor in a Comedy and Best Director for creator Youssef, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Ali.
Recently renewed for a third season by Hulu, Ramy won the Audience Award at SXSW 2019 and a Peabody Award in 2020, where the jurors praised the series as a “touching, thoughtful, and very funny sitcom… The ground-breaking series is masterful in its weaponization of the tension between faith and secularism, East and West, and men and women.”
Youssef has also been nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor in a Comedy and a Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy this year, while Ali is up for a Black Reel award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy.
S2 is currently at #24 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the Best TV of 2020 So Far, with a 97% critics rating. As Rolling Stone put it, “There is no other show quite like Ramy, because there is no other character quite like Ramy… Superb.”
MY BRILLIANT FRIEND S2: THE STORY OF A NEW NAME
Set in Naples and based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novels, My Brilliant Friend is the story of a life-long friendship spanning 60 years. Season 2, based on the second novel in Ferrante’s series, sees Lila (Gaia Girace) stuck in a brutal marriage to the wealthy Stefano Caracci (Giovanni Amura), while Elena dallies with suitor Antonio Cappuccio (Christian Giroso) and her growing attraction to the magnetic Nino Sarratore (Francesco Serpico).
My Brilliant Friend, helmed by multi-award-winning Italian directors Saverio Costanzo (Hungry Hearts) and Alice Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazaro), has a 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is at 236 on IMDb’s list of the top-rated TV of all time, where it has a score of 8.6/10. The series was recently renewed for a third season.
The Hollywood Reporter included it in their roundup of the 10 Best Shows of 2020 So Far, saying the series “portrays post-war young-womanhood in all its victories, devastations, and frailties. This season’s story told with seemingly no expense spared, is where the girls’ paths start to truly diverge, as one pursues dreams beyond their impoverished neighbourhood and the other finds herself irretrievably chained to it.”
9-1-1: LONE STAR S1
This spinoff of the hugely popular first responder drama 9-1-1 stars multiple Golden Globe nominee Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation) as a New York firefighter who relocates to Austin, Texas, where he’s tasked with putting together an entirely new squad following a tragedy. The cast includes Teen Choice nominees Liv Tyler (Harlots, Lord of the Rings) and Lyndsy Fonseca (Desperate Housewives, Nikita, Kick-Ass).
9-1-1: Lonestar was one of the ten most-streamed shows on DStv Now in the first half of 2020, and the highest-rated new series of the year for its parent network, FOX, which recently announced its renewal for a second season.
As Rotten Tomatoes says, 9-1-1: Lone Star “packs an entertaining punch and is a great showcase for the handsomely self-aware Rob Lowe.”
PERRY MASON S1
It’s 1932, and despite the Great Depression, LA is booming. But when the kidnapping case of the decade comes knocking on down-and-out detective Perry Mason’s door, his relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and, just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
HBO’s biggest debut in nearly two years, Perry Mason reboots the award-winning 1950s-60s series based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s detective stories. Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Rhys (The Americans) is Perry Mason. Tatiana Maslany, herself an Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee for her leading role in Orphan Black, and Oscar nominee John Lithgow (The Crown, 3rd Rock from the Sun) co-star.
Indiewire hailed Perry Mason as “one of the most beautiful series ever made… One of the best I’ve ever seen. Really.”
This 2020 Emmy-nominated drag reality show from HBO has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The six-part series sees renowned drag queens Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley inspire small-town residents from across America to step outside their comfort zones for a night of no-holds-barred, full-on drag – and a life-changing journey of self-discovery. Sometimes all it takes is a little love – and “a lotta werk” – to take someone from who they are to what they can be.
AV Club describes the show as “a charming and engaging reality series… well worth watching,” while Salon.com notes that, “on a deeper level, it’s a show about loving – truly loving – your neighbour.”
HBO has already renewed We’re Here for a second season.
LAZOR WULF S1
He’s a wolf. With a laser on his back. And he’s the coolest thing in Strongburg.
Created by Henry Bonsu, Lazor Wulf, Adult Swim’s latest series, is an acid vision of modern life and friendship, voiced by a predominantly black cast including rapper Vince Staples, comedian Quinta Brunson from A Black Lady Sketch Show, and WWE wrestler Ettore ‘Big E’ Ewen, with Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard) as the voice of God.
LA Times describes the show as “African American, retro, futuristic and strange… relaxed, but at the same time packed with tension.”
WORLD ON FIRE S1
Set in 1939, on the eve of the German invasion of Poland, World on Fire follows the interwoven stories of ordinary people caught up in catastrophic global events beyond their control.
The critically acclaimed World War II drama has an 84% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has already been renewed for a second season.
The impressive cast includes BAFTA winner Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings), Oscar winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, Mad About You), Oscar and BAFTA nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Harlots), and Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women) who’s set to star as Prince Eric in the upcoming Disney live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
“It’s hard to recall any dramatic work that captured the terror of this invasion with such immediacy,” says Wall Street Journal.
BBC hailed it as a“must-watch”, with Scott Bryan calling it “deeply haunting… a remarkable form of storytelling; from different sides, different locations, people from different classes, sexualities…”, and Hayley Campbell praising its depiction of “war, on a personal level… focusing on civilians rather than soldiers; this huge global thing shrunk right down.”
LOVE ISLAND UK S6 – THE CAPE TOWN EDITION
Love Island UK S6 was filmed at a villa in Constantia, Cape Town.
Laura Whitmore of Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! fame is this season’s new host for the drama-packed reality show, where single hopefuls flirt, date, break up and make up while trying to capture the hearts of viewers, who will vote for their favourite couple to take home the £50k prize money.
Senator’s aide Allegra Dill (MTV Movie Awards nominee Rosario Dawson from Sin City, Luke Cage and Jane the Virgin) returns to her border-town Texas home to investigate the death of her sister – a local cop killed by a car bomb. What begins as a search for a killer turns into an all-consuming fight to bring her corrupt hometown to its knees.
Kenyan Teen Choice nominee Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class) and Golden Globe nominee Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) co-star in this latest offering from Emmy nominated writer/producer Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot, Homecoming), based on the Edgar-winning crime novel by Ross Thomas.
Briarpatch has a 78% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Hollywood Reporter saying, “Anchored by a strong Rosario Dawson performance and flavoured with wit and a real sense of place, Briarpatch is a charmer: It keeps those aspects of Mr. Robot that were most audience-friendly, and jettisons the rest.”
I MAY DESTROY YOU S1
I May Destroy You centres on Arabella (BAFTA winner Michaela Coel from Chewing Gum), a carefree, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when her drink is spiked with a date-rape drug, she must question and rebuild every element of her life.
I May Destroy You is #23 on Rotten Tomatoes Best TV of 2020 (So Far), with a 97% critics rating and a critics’ consensus that reads, “I May Destroy You is at once brave and delicate, untangling the trauma of sexual assault with dark humour and moments of deep discomfort, all held together on the strength of Michaela Coel’s undeniable talent”.
Including it in their roundup of the 10 Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far, The Hollywood Reporter called it, “The most ‘2020’ show of 2020”, adding that it’s “representative of the mood of the moment – the combination of anger, confusion, uncertainty, and unexpected humour; the exploration of intersections of gender and race, sexuality and violence, youth, and hard-earned experience.”
The show stars Nigerian actress Weruche Opia, daughter of veteran NTA broadcaster Ruth Benemesia-Opia and star of 2014 hit movie When Love Happens.