Women are taking the lead…
TV watching season is officially upon us, and Bodyguard isn’t the only female-fronted show set to dominate your autumnal viewing schedules. Here’s our pick of what to watch…
Wanderlust tells a story not typically allowed on primetime TV: what happens when a marriage gets sexless, but the woman isn’t satisfied. Starring Toni Colette as therapist Joy Richards, this refreshing six part drama takes on masturbation, orgasms, open relationships and everything in between.
Starts on BBC One on 4 September, 9pm
Black Earth Rising
Chewing Gum creator Michaela Coel takes a dramatic right turn as the star of this eight-part thriller about justice, white guilt and international war crimes. Coel plays a young woman rescued from the Rwandan genocide, who is drawn into a web of deceit and danger.
Coming to BBC Two on 10 September, 9pm
Think the Hollywood edition of Black Mirror and you’re halfway to wrapping your brain around Maniac, Netflix’s eight-part black comedy from True Detective director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Emma Stone and Jonah Hill play two strangers thrust into a drug trial which meddles with their minds. Things get very weird.
Coming to Netflix on 21 September
Australian author Helen Fitzgerald’s page-turner about motherhood becomes a twisty four-part psychological thriller. Jenna Coleman is a new mother caught in the complicated family business of travelling to Australia with her husband as he fights for custody of his other child from a previous marriage. Once there, tragedy strikes.
Coming to BBC One later this autumn
The differences between dating men and women from the perspective of someone who does both is the rich terrain upon which Desiree Akhavan sets her new comedy. The Iranian-American writer, director and actor stars as Leila, a gay New Yorker in London who breaks up with her girlfriend (Maxine Peake) and starts dating men.
Coming to Channel 4 in October
Jodie Whittaker becomes the first female incarnation of TV’s favourite face-changing, time-travelling alien. Joining the Time Lord will be a trio of new companions, a diverse writing and directing team led by Broadchurch’s Chris Chibnall and rumoured stories involving segregation-era America and 17th-century witchcraft.
Coming to BBC One on 7 October
Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge brings her trademark dark wit to this cat-and-mouse spy drama. Jodie Comer (Doctor Foster) stars as expert assassin Villanelle, while Sandra Oh, formerly of Grey’s Anatomy, is the sardonic MI5 agent on her tail. Expect things to get deliciously vicious.
Coming to BBC One in September
Anna Friel’s TV renaissance continues apace in this emotional new three-parter. Friel plays Vicky, the mother of 11-year-old Max convinced he is in the wrong body and wants to live as Maxine. Vicky must navigate Max’s social transition as well as her fraught relationship with her ex-husband, Stephen (Emmet J. Scanlan).
Coming to ITV this September
Women on the Verge
Sharon Horgan’s latest offering chronicles the gloss-free stories of three 30-something career women in Dublin whose lives have gone askew. Horgan – who also stars as therapist Dr F- worked closely with Lorna Martin, the author of Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown which this dark six-part comedy was based on.
Coming to UK TV this October
The first human space mission to Mars is the centre of Channel 4’s epic new drama written by House of Cards creator Beau Willimon. Natascha McElhone stars as an ambitious aerospace magnate, Laz Ingram, alongside Sean Penn, and the show will follow the impact the mission has on the people left on earth as well as the impact of colonising another planet.
Coming to Channel 4 this October
Little Drummer Girl
Fans of The Night Manager strap in for another John Le Carré BBC adaptation. This six-part 70s set thriller sees Florence Pugh (Macbeth) play a young actress, Charlie, who gets entangled in a spy plot, after falling for a dubious stranger - Big Little Lies villain Alexander Skarsgård. The cast is equally heavy-weight, including Charles Dance, Max Irons and Night Manager alumni Simona Brown.
Coming to the BBC later this Autumn
House of Cards
All eyes will be on the sixth and final series of the high-stakes political drama as Robin Wright takes her place in the spotlight – after Kevin Spacey’s removal from the show - in every sense. Sworn in as the new POTUS at the end of series five after her husband’s resignation, it’s time for Claire Underwood’s presidency to take effect in an ever-changing world.
Coming to Netflix on November 2
Words: Helen Bownass and Colin Crummy
Images: BBC, Netflix, ITV, Channel 4, UK TV