It’s autumn, and there’s loads of great new telly. But how do you decide what to watch? Mathematically, that’s how! Gabriel Tate works out the equations for the hottest new shows.
‘The Thin Blue Line’ + ‘Coppers’ = ‘Babylon’
This Danny Boyle-backed series walks its own thin line – tottering along the tightrope of comedy-drama, and just about managing to balance side-splitting stupidity with heavy-hitting reality. The series picks up from January’s hit pilot (directed by Boyle), and examines the difficult relationship between the Met police (‘Babylon’ is Jamaican slang for the corrupt establishment) and the social-media-savvy masses. US indie film actress Brit Marling and voice of the Yellow Pages ads James Nesbitt star as a PR guru and a police commissioner, respectively. They both navigate the corridors of power in different ways, and come up not only against the camera-phone-toting public, but also this fictional London’s suspiciously mop-haired mayor. At times brutally satirical, at others deeply humane, ‘Babylon’ is an explosive combination. London should be on high alert for this one. Channel 4, mid-November.
‘Emmerdale’ + ‘Skins’ = ‘Glue’
Not just a chance to see hot young Brit talent romping in the hay, ‘Glue’ is also a captivating horsey whodunnit. Jack Thorne (‘Skins’) writes, while Rizzle Kick Jordan Stephens excels in his debut screen role. ‘Glue’ depicts rural rather than urban youth, with jockeys and farm labourers looking for excitement in a claustrophobic community. An enjoyable sticky affair. E4, series has already started.
‘Great British Bake Off’ + ‘384 Years’ = ‘The Great Fire’
And you thought ‘bin-gate’ was bad. Understand the real meaning of baking drama with ‘The Great Fire’, a top-to-bottom look at the 1666 disaster which wiped out 70,000 London homes. This spectacular four-parter tracks events from the point of view of everyone from King Charles II to Thomas Farriner, the fire-starting baker who certainly deserved a withering glare from Mary Berry. ITV, mid-October.
‘Holby City’ + Anaesthetic = ‘The Knick’
Television is the only place you’ll be able to see new work from ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘Magic Mike’ director Steven Soderbergh – at least for now. His gripping, gruesome HBO series casts Clive Owen as medical pioneer John Thackeray, a doctor at a New York hospital in 1900. Who’s addicted to opium. And strapped for cash. And uses hacksaws on patients without anaesthetic. God bless the NHS, eh? Sky Atlantic, mid-October.
‘Batman’ + ‘Oliver’ = ‘Gotham’
Reckon you already know what turned Bruce Wayne into Batman? Well, think again. This big-budget affair joins young Master Bruce as an orphaned boy whose parents have been murdered. Enter rough-and-ready investigating cops Gordon and Bullock. The pilot was praised in the US for its cinematic ambition, and there may well be better to come – the show also spins original coming-of-age yarns for The Joker, The Penguin and a kittenish Catwoman. C5, mid-October.
‘The Killing’ + ‘Festen’ = ‘The Legacy’
Get your fix of Nordic noir courtesy of this Danish family saga. Following her fall from grace, renowned artist and matriarch Veronika Grønnegaard finds her family estate becoming a battleground for her four adult children, all of whom are still dealing with the psychological inheritance of their alltoo- groovy ’60s upbringing. Like a TV-friendly version of Lars Von Trier’s film ‘Festen’, ‘The Legacy’ is an unflinching portrait of a family in turmoil, within which there’s much to admire. But no knitwear. Sorry, wool fans. Sky Arts 1, November.
‘Monty Python’ + ‘Most Haunted’ = ‘Remember Me’
Michael Palin playing it straight? If the very thought gives you the willies, then just watch his younger self be brilliant in Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film ‘Brazil’ or C4’s 1991 political thriller ‘GBH’. In ‘Remember Me’, a thriller with supernatural overtones, he plays a resident of a care home who witnesses a violent death/passing-on/ceasing-to-be. Mark Addy (‘Game of Thrones’) and Jodie Comer (‘My Mad Fat Diary’) are among those drawn into the mystery. And you thought the Python reunion was a ghoulish second coming. BBC1, late autumn.
For more great viewing take a look at the top ten new films on Netflix UK.