Pick of the week
Not content with simply parodying superhero tropes, this irreverent and wildly entertaining spin-off from The Boys also takes aim at the high-school drama. Jaz Sinclair stars as Marie Moreau, an eager teen with a tragic past and a terrifying talent for “blood bending”. She’s accepted into Godolkin University where, she quickly discovers, corruption and self-interest is bred into aspiring members of the Seven. Her self-loathing influencer roommate Emma tries to prepare her but it takes a night out with the college’s cool clique to reveal the darkness at the heart of Godolkin. Brilliantly unwholesome, hilariously gruesome and a neat spoof of corporate American values.
Prime Video, from Friday 29 September
Who Killed Jill Dando?
In some ways, it is surprising that Netflix has taken this long to make a documentary about the 1999 murder of TV presenter Jill Dando. The case had everything a true-crime series needs: celebrity, shocking violence and, given that it remains unsolved almost 25 years later, an open-ended mystery. This three-parter deep-dives into it, following various leads – Dando’s stalker, Serbian paramilitaries, organised crime gangs threatened by Crimewatch – that were thrown up by the investigation. It’s immaculately sourced, hearing from police detectives, Dando’s brother Nigel and her ex-partner Bob Wheaton.
Netflix, from Tuesday 26 September
The Fake Sheikh
Wearing a dishdasha and a Rolex watch, investigative journalist Mazher Mahmood, AKA “the fake sheikh”, was a fixture of the UK media landscape for years. In fact, it now seems surprising that his stings – which ranged from worthwhile corruption exposés to utterly pointless celebrity entrapments – continued to work. As this three-part series documents, he eventually pushed his luck too far and ended up in prison for perverting the course of justice. An interesting refresher on a shameful episode in British journalism.
Prime Video, from Tuesday 26 September
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Wes Anderson feels like a perfect match for writing and directing an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved story about a man (Benedict Cumberbatch) who teaches himself to see without using his eyes. And so it proves: the mannered milieu of the story works perfectly with Anderson’s increasingly self-parodic production quirks. The story itself is a parable exploring avarice, charity and human potential – Sugar uses his powers for good, winning a fortune in the world’s casinos and using the money to fight poverty. A stellar cast includes Ralph Fiennes and Dev Patel.
Netflix, from Tuesday 26 September
With 9/11, Covid and plentiful political turbulence, we’re in a golden era for conspiracy theorists. This series harks back to a more innocent age, when a favoured topic for speculation involved the question of whether or not humans are alone in the universe. Travelling to Texas, Japan, Zimbabwe and more, we meet people who believe they’ve made contact with extraterrestrials. The tone is earnest and – as the higher echelons of US government seem to be taking the possibility of alien life more seriously – that seems appropriate. The truth is out there.
Netflix, from Wednesday 27 September
Origins of Hip-Hop
With Chuck D’s BBC series Fight the Power and Netflix’s Ladies First, 2023 is the year when hip-hop (as befits the world’s dominant musical genre) truly became documentary fodder. However, this latest effort, narrated by Nas, doesn’t feel nearly as definitive as its title seems to proclaim, boasting an odd mixture of the seminal and the marginal among its contributors, who include Grandmaster Flash, Busta Rhymes, Eve, Ja Rule and Ice-T. Still, it’s a sign of a complex and fascinating story that it can be told in many different ways.
Lionsgate+, from Friday 29 September
A heist drama from India in which Shukla, a superficially slick politician with a taste for chunky jewellery and aviator shades, finds himself in the crosshairs of an unlikely band of criminals who all have their own reasons for wishing him harm. This poses problems for them – discipline is hard to maintain when some of the gang are driven by emotion and others by greed. But Shukla (Jimmy Shergill) has a tendency to be his own worst enemy. In a bizarre twist, it turns out his blind spot is his misplaced faith in astrology. Peculiar but not without intrigue.
Netflix, from Friday 29 September