Pick of the week
Lee Child’s ex-military odd job man returns in a TV incarnation that continues to be more engaging than the film adaptations. The mountainous Alan Ritchson, an actor whose career depends entirely on his continuing appetite for gym work, continues to be an oddly disarming lead, combining lunkhead menace with sly wit. As we rejoin him, he’s haggling in a thrift store; essentially an incredibly hard hobo. But trouble’s afoot – he learns that members of his former unit are being murdered, one by one. Soon, Reacher is back with Karla Dixon (Serinda Swan) and David O’Donnell (Shaun Sipos), using a mix of investigative smarts and comical ultraviolence to hunt the killers.
Prime Video, from Friday
Peter Morgan’s increasingly hysterical (in all senses of the word) royal saga concludes with this final batch of episodes. Some of the criticisms of season six so far seem unfair – any scripted drama is entitled to reinterpret literal truth, which The Crown has done throughout its run. But other complaints seem reasonable (did anyone not snigger at Diana’s ghost or Prince William stropping around Balmoral listening to Radiohead?). It’s hard to argue standards haven’t dropped but, as the Firm seeks to re-establish itself after the loss of its most popular member, surely we’ll all be rubbernecking furiously.
Netflix, from Thursday
This melodramatic and mildly implausible crime thriller’s inciting incident involves an arguing couple and a bottle attack. It shows that Madrid aerobics instructor Oskar (Miguel Herrán) isn’t a stranger to violence. But he bites off more than he can chew when it leads him into the orbit of the Farad family. Oskar is looking to expand his exercise business, so an invitation to their mansion in Marbella seems like a godsend. But soon, the source of their wealth becomes clear and he finds himself embroiled in the world of international arms trafficking. Oops.
Prime Video, from Tuesday
There is something uncanny about the work of the foley artist, whose job is to establish a soundbed for drama using any props necessary. This creepy drama stars Madison Walsh as Jo, who creates sound effects for a true-crime podcast hosted by her partner Farid (Michael Musi). While Farid is exploring a gruesome murder, Madison is isolated in her deceased mother’s home, readying it for sale. But the disturbing sounds she hears aren’t exclusively created by her. Soon, both are discovering grim parallel secrets that threaten to destroy their relationship.
ITVX, from Thursday
Carol & the End of the World
How would you react to an impending apocalypse? Carol, the star of this new adult animation from Community and Rick & Morty writer Dan Guterman, is preparing to die as she has lived. A creature of quiet, reserved habit, she’s standing aside from the suddenly hedonistic masses and carrying on much as before. It’s smart and perceptive in its downbeat way, exploring happiness, the unusual routes everyone takes towards it and how we view people with different ideas about what it means. Martha Kelly (Euphoria) stars as Carol.
Netflix, from Friday
The Serial Killer’s Wife
There’s horror in suburbia as the life of Beth Fairchild (Annabel Scholey) falls apart during a surprise birthday party she’s arranged for her husband Tom (Jack Farthing). At first it seems like a misplaced practical joke when the police arrive to arrest Tom in front of all the neighbours – the couple are, of course, blissfully happy. But as unsettling secrets about Tom are revealed, Beth’s initial fierce defence of her husband begins to crumble into something slightly more uncertain. Adapted from a novel by Alice Hunter, it’s a gleefully overripe melodrama.
Paramount+, from Friday
Icons Unearthed: Marvel
Another series of this deep dive into various wildly successful film and TV institutions returns, this time examining a franchise that, with its endless capacity to shape-shift and diversify, has come to define the streaming era. How did the sprawling multiverse known as Marvel first assemble? Obviously, the story begins with the comic books but Brian Volk-Weiss’s series is more interested in the screen versions – with The Avengers film as its endpoint, the show explores the genesis of each character as a separate creative and narrative entity.
Amazon Freevee, from Friday