OK, fine: it’s officially autumn. The mornings are dark, the big jumpers and tights are out, and we’ve found ourselves spending a rather indecent amount of time thinking about stew. Winter is coming – but so is some great TV.
From new seasons of old favourites to brand-new shows we can’t wait to get stuck into, there’s some cracking telly starting between now and Christmas. Without further ado, here’s our pick of the best.
The first series of sci-fi drama Humans, in which Stylist cover star Gemma Chan starred as Mia, an anthropomorphic robot called a “synth”, was Channel 4’s biggest drama hit in the past 20 years. Series two picks up a few months after the first season concluded Elster’s children unlocking the secret to synth consciousness – and it sounds like the relationship between humans and synths hasn’t got any less tangled in the meantime. Unconfirmed reports have begun to surface of synths behaving oddly, and the true impact of synth technology on society has yet to be truly understood.
Almost the entire cast from the 2015 series is set to return for series two, as well as a few important new characters, including café owner Ed (played by Nashville’s Sam Palladio) and AI expert Dr Athena Morrow (Jessica Jones’ Carrie-Ann Moss).
Starting 30 October, Channel 4
In the early 1950s, women were still expected to be subservient to their husbands. But what if your wife was one of the most important women in the world?
New Netflix series The Crown tells the story of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her wedding in 1947 to the present day. And – if the trailer is anything to go by – the early episodes will focus heavily on the relationship between the young Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy, previously best known for playing Anne Boleyn in 2015’s Wolf Hall) and Prince Phillip (Matt Smith), as he struggles to come to terms with his wife’s power.
According to showrunner Peter Morgan, the series will explore “the terrible impact becoming queen had on [Elizabeth] and all her relationships. This is a couple for whom divorce was not an option”.
Directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) and with a budget of £100 million, the extravagant and explosive show has reportedly already got the House of Windsor worried about what it might reveal.
Starting 4 November, Netflix
Adapted from the bestselling Zadie Smith novel of the same name, this one-off 90-minute drama tells the story of Natalie and Leah, two friends who grew up together in Willesden, north-west London (NW, of course, being the postcode for north-west London).
Leah has a philosophy degree and a lovely husband, but her life is far from glamorous, and she feels like she’s at a crossroads. Natalie, in contrast, is wealthy and ambitious – but she feels distant from the friends and family with whom she grew up.
The script has been adapted from Smith’s book by Rachel Bennette, who has previously written for shoes including Lark Rise to Candleford and Lewis.
“Zadie Smith wrote such an honest book about not just north-west London but the whole city, and the complex people that inhabit it,” says Phoebe Fox, who plays Leah. “Her women in particular are so finely drawn; and Rachel Bennette has done a beautiful job in bringing them to life in this adaptation. It’s such a pleasure to be a part of bringing all this to the screen.”
Airing early November, BBC Two
The third series of the acclaimed drama kicks off after a car crash brought season two to a dramatic climax. Noah (Dominic West) and Alison’s (Ruth Wilson) affair has finally been exposed, and Noah has finished serving his three-year prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit – but the impact of their actions continues to reverberate throughout their respective families.
Aside from West and Wilson’s racing chemistry, The Affair’s most compelling feature has always been its conflicting narratives. Audiences see the same story told from multiple different perspectives, Gone Girl-style, meaning you can never be sure who to trust. Season three will apparently see a fifth perspective added to the mix – that of Noah’s latest love interest, played by French actress Irène Jacob. Ooh la la.
Starting 20 November, Sky Atlantic
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
After a nine-year hiatus, Lorelei and Rory Gilmore will be back on our screens in November. A show based primarily around the loving relationship between a small-town teenage girl and her mother doesn’t necessarily sound like a sure-fire hit – but in Gilmore Girls, any cosy sweetness was always shot through with just the right amount of tart humour and emotional tension.
This reunion run will consist of just four 90-minute episodes, each focusing on a different season. Details on the plot of the new series are still thin on the ground, but we do know that Rory’s main love interests from the show’s original run – Logan, Dean and Jess – are set to return. And based on the trailer, Rory and Lorelei will be back to their fast-talking best. Want to whet your appetite? You can read the first page of the reboot script right here.
Starting 25 November, Netflix