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From fighting Nazis in swinging London during the 1960s to a booze-forward cocktail competition, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
FoxWhen it comes to Halloween specials, the only one with more staying power than It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror.” It’s an annual tradition of the decade-spanning series that gives showrunner Al Jean and his writers an opportunity to step outside the established reality of the show (such as it is) and offer parodies of various scary films and TV series. This year, however, is a particularly good one for “Treehouse” fans, because you’re technically getting two such episodes.
Alas, you’ll have to wait until next week to get the traditional three-story instalment, but this Sunday brings us a full-episode homage to author Stephen King’s It, with Krusty standing in for Pennywise and various characters being terrorized as both kids and adults.
HBO CanadaYou’d better tame those dragons and shore up your alliances, because the Game of Thrones spinoff is wrapping its first, tumultuous season. So far, we’ve had everything from shocking assassinations to incestuous hook-ups to massive, jarring time jumps and, of course, fire-breathing lizards aplenty. Even so, season one has felt like a bit of a slow burn amidst all the narrative table-setting—but you can bank on nothing less than fire and blood in the finale. And of course, this being GoT, even main characters aren’t guaranteed to make it out alive and uncharred. Whatever happens, HBO has already renewed the show for season two, which is when House Targaryen’s civil war for the Iron Throne will really ignite.
CBCThis four-episode British drama is set in London circa 1962, bringing viewers into a city swinging with new music, hip fashion and an irresistible hedonistic spirit. Meanwhile, London is also seething with antisemitic violence incited by homegrown neo-Nazis hellbent on inflicting their twisted beliefs on the rest of the U.K. Newcomer Agnes O’Casey stars as Vivien Epstein, a young Jewish hairdresser who fits right into the city’s mod scene, while secretly infiltrating the British neo-Nazi hierarchy on behalf of Jewish antifascists.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Jo Bloom, the series also stars Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful, Years and Years) as Colin Jordan, the real-life leader of Britain’s post-Second World War Nazi movement, who explicitly used the symbols of the Third Reich as a means to threaten and intimidate. Tom Varey (The Village) plays Jack, Vivien’s true love, a young Jewish man who has devoted his life to fighting fascism, yet fears he won’t be able to protect Vivien from the dangers they face.
NetflixWhen it comes to horror, Guillermo del Toro is an undisputed master. From acclaimed indies like Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone to big studio pics like Blade II, Hellboy and Crimson Peak, the man builds singular cinematic worlds packed with not only scares but heart, humour and striking visuals. Now, he’s at it again.
Beginning Tuesday and dropping two episodes daily for the rest of the week, the Mexican filmmaker unveils a collection of sinister, standalone tales meant to showcase how the world can be both beautiful and horrible at the same time. Each is helmed by a different director (Del Toro does not step behind the camera at all for this one), with a different cast, including the likes of Rupert Grint, Tim Blake Nelson, Eric André, Andrew Lincoln, Kate Micucci, Charlyne Yi and Nia Vardalos. The first instalment is titled “The Murmuring” and sets the tone with a story based on an original Del Toro short story.
NetflixThe hilarious Fortune Feimster is back with her second Netflix standup offering, recorded at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Unsurprisingly, it’s another collection of fun topics, including falling in love with her wife, the epic proposal she planned that didn’t come to pass, and the amount of good fortune (pun intended) she’s experienced over the past few years.
Feimster’s previous Netflix special, Sweet & Salty, was filmed in her home state of North Carolina, a decision she made because so much of the routine’s material was about her childhood, meaning the crowd could relate. Similarly, this time around, she had a very good reason for choosing the Windy City.
“With this one, as I was putting it together and the narrative was starting to [form], I realized a good chunk of the special involved meeting my now wife, Jax, and getting married and us figuring out our lives together, so Chicago felt like the perfect place because I met her in Chicago,” Feimster told The Hollywood Reporter in September. “I like having that personal tie to it, and there were people in the audience who were there the night we met.”
While the comedian’s previous special focused on finding herself, she told THR: “This one is about me trying to figure out how to be an adult…”
NetflixAfter Netflix’s Jeffrey Dahmer series set viewers abuzz last month, the streaming service dramatizes the exploits of another real-life serial killer. Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain star in this new film about Charles Cullen, the nurse who murdered upwards of 40 patients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over his 16-year career.
NetflixIf you caught The Real Housewives of Dubai and are still stuck on how catty those women seemed to be straight out of the gate, Netflix is rolling in with a viable alternative. This series is what would happen if Bling Empire and RHDubai had a baby, encrusted it in 24-carat diamonds and put it in a gold-plated nursery. That’s how much wealth promises to be featured on this United Arab Emirates-set series. In the premiere, we’ll meet 10 of the UAE’s biggest trailblazers, a combination of “self-made” millionaires, well-known figures from the area and expats from India and Australia. The streamer teases that it’s one group of friends that brings countless drama, with a rich backdrop of exclusive clubs, expensive vacations and lavish parties.
“Setting new global benchmarks in trade, business and innovation, Dubai is the land of wealth and opportunity for those brave enough to make it,” reads the official release. “Playing an instrumental role in the success of these individuals, experience the beautiful city of Dubai, through the eyes of some of its most successful personalities.”
NetflixShake your spirits with the latest competition series from the Canadian team behind Blown Away. Drink Masters pits 12 contestants from across North America against each other and a clock in a bid to make the ultimate cocktails. These elixirs aren’t just something to imbibe, though. With each expertly crafted drink, the judges (Frankie Solarik and Julie Reiner) expect a full-blown experience, which means what surrounds the cocktail is just as important as the drink itself. The series shot in Hamilton, Ontario, on a soundstage meant to look like a swanky bar, with a full kitchen of interesting ingredients only a short run away. In the end, whoever infuses, stirs and blends their way to the top through some high-stakes challenges will win a cash prize and the title of Ultimate Drink Master.
Prime VideoHalloween is just around the corner, which means all the classic scary movies and series are making the rounds on the various networks and streaming services. If you’re in the market for a new one, this six-part psychological thriller from the United Kingdom may be just the thing.
It follows Lucy (Call the Midwife alum Jessica Raine), a woman who wakes up every morning at 3:33 a.m., a.k.a. right in the middle of what many spiritual people refer to as the devil’s hour. As a result, she can’t quite shake the feeling that something isn’t right. And when she comes into contact with a dangerous and reclusive serial killer named Gideon (Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi), her suspicions all turn out to be true. With her eight-year-old son becoming withdrawn and emotionless, her mother speaking to empty chairs and her house being haunted by the echoes of a life that isn’t her own, Lucy needs to figure out what’s happening before it’s too late. Unable to help herself and not knowing where else to turn, she begins to form a Silence of the Lambs-like bond with Gideon.
But is Lucy’s predicament all a game to him? And is he more dangerous than what’s haunting her?
“An aspect of it is that you should listen to your nightmares, because they may be communicating with you in some way,” Capaldi told Radio Times. “Jess plays a character who Gideon has absolutely targeted. He is coming for her, he is coming for her child, he will not be stopped. But the reason that he’s doing it is not what you think… or maybe it is.
NetflixThis latest film adaptation of the 1928 novel follows a 17-year-old German soldier (Felix Kammerer) whose initial enthusiasm at defending the Fatherland during the First World War soon turns to abject terror as he faces the reality of life in the trenches and the grim brutality of combat.