From The Terror to the return of Atlanta and Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Eddie Mullan picks the programmes worth seeing this month.
In the first season of Donald Glover’s Atlanta, Justin Bieber is depicted as African American, an NBA player drives an invisible car, and an entire episode is dedicated to a fake talk show with parody adverts skewering those aimed at black people. Sometimes surreal and often hilarious, the world of Atlanta is tinged with sadness, as young Princeton dropout Earn (Glover), tries to provide for his family by becoming manager to his emerging rap-star cousin Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), and faces hard times as he comes up against unscrupulous characters.
The long-awaited second series adopts a dark backdrop the writers have dubbed ‘robbin’ season’ the period before the holidays when people have presents delivered to their doorstep and more cash in their pockets. Few shows would have the chutzpah to generate laughs amid oppressive situations that even Kafka might have deemed ‘a bit much’ – but Atlanta pulls it off.
This chilling cross-genre drama is inspired by the harrowing true story of the British Royal Navy’s perilous search for a navigable trade route to Asia in 1845. In the bid to forge the Northwest Passage, the two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror get trapped in the Arctic ice, with the crew facing bitterly cold conditions, dwindling supplies and infighting.
Pushed to their limits, the men find themselves isolated at the end of the earth – and if that’s not bad enough, they discover there’s some kind of monster out in the bleak, white expanse. Starring Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies and Ciarán Hinds, The Terror is produced by Alien director Ridley Scott. Premieres 26 March on AMC
Donald Sutherland steps into the role of oil tycoon J Paul Getty, in a series that treads the same stranger-than-fiction story as Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World – infamous for Kevin Spacey being removed from the film. Both projects centre on the bizarre 1973 abduction of Getty’s grandson, but with the major difference in the way the kidnapping is portrayed.
Brendan Fraser sports a cowboy hat as private investigator James Fletcher Chace, dispatched by the billionaire to negotiate the release of the missing teenager. Danny Boyle directed the first three episodes, written by frequent collaborator Simon Beaufoy. Premieres 25 March on FX
Super-slick con man Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) left prison and took cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate Pete Murphy and ‘reunited’ with Pete’s estranged family. A twisty and absurd premise, but the first season of the Bryan Cranston-produced crime caper was an enjoyable watch.
In season two, Marius is on the verge of making a fresh start, when two thugs believe him to be the real Pete, threaten to kill the family (headed by Margo Martindale) unless he takes them to Pete’s estranged mother, Maggie (Jane Adams), and the millions she stole from them. Now in deeper than ever, Marius must find Maggie while keeping up the Pete con, all the while wrangling a way to snatch the money for himself. Premieres 9 March on Amazon Prime Video
Ignoring Dan Conners’ death in the show’s finale 20 years ago, this nostalgic return of the hugely popular 90s sitcom brings the beloved Conners family back to our screens. Roseanne Barr joins the original cast, which includes John Goodman, Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki and Scrubs’ Sarah Chalke as new character Andrea, who took over the role of Becky in later seasons from Lecy Goranson, who returns to her original role.
Over its original nine-season run, the show was no stranger to controversial topics such as sexuality and drugs, and its honest depiction of a working-class family and overweight parents – whose waistlines crucially weren’t ever the punchline – was a rare thing indeed. It will be interesting to see how the revival tackles the present day political climate and issues of identity and immigration that divide many American families sitting around the kitchen table. Premieres 27 March on ABC
Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Hard-drinking and super-strong private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is haunted by a dark past that keeps her from truly becoming a hero, but can she put her life back together after murdering the mind-control villain and her tormenter Kilgrave (David Tennant)?
Now known throughout New York City as a super-powered killer, a new case makes Jessica confront who she really is, and look to her past to explore the reasons why. Expect plenty of flashbacks and lashing out in season two. Premieres 8 March on Netflix (Credit: Netflix)
In season five, we join programmer Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) as he again tries to prove his competence as leader of compression algorithm company Pied Piper, alongside geeks Dinesh and Gilfoyle as they try to create a peer-to-peer decentralised internet, while still butting heads with Hooli boss Gavin Belson (Matt Ross).
Fan-favourite Erlich Bachman (TJ Miller) may have left the show, but luckily there are plenty of big egos to take down a notch and bad ideas to lampoon in start-up culture to keep Mike Judge’s biting satire on the tech mecca going for years.
If you’ve no other reason to watch a third season of the alpha-male melodrama, it’s been announced that John Malkovich will guest star as a Russian billionaire. Who wouldn’t want to see him bring back his Teddy KGB accent from 1998 film Rounders? Nyet?
Season three finds US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and billionaire hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) still determined to destroy one another – but the two must also battle for their own survival amid new forces and powerful enemies. In a risky move, Chuck’s wife and Axe’s performance coach Wendy (Maggie Siff), finds herself in the dangerous position of going all-in for both of them.
Will they? Won’t they? If you’re still interested, Judd Apatow’s down-to-earth look at the complicated world of modern dating comes to an end with the third season of Love. Just like real-life relationships, the show has been messy, at times cringe-worthy, and damn addictive.
Self-destructive slacker Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and nice-guy goofball Gus (Paul Rust) are finally in a fully committed relationship. On paper, they shouldn’t work – so it’ll be interesting to see if a happy ending – and what that would even look like – is in store for the unlikely couple.
The Ruth Ellis Files: A Very British Crime Story
Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in Britain, for the crime of the cold-blooded murder of her lover David Blakely. Film-maker Gillian Pachter takes a forensic look at the police investigation of the seemingly open-and-shut case that shocked the nation in 1955, and discovers worrying assumptions and problematic omissions.
There is also a key witness who was never questioned by the police: Ruth’s 10-year-old son who left behind an audio cassette that pieces together what the boy knew. Experts shed new light on an alleged accomplice and Pachter tracks down those who met Ruth and David, in a bid to look beyond the law at the complex world of post-war Britain that made and broke Ruth Ellis.