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Top Boy to The Changeling: the seven best shows to stream this week

Pick of the week

Top Boy

Dushane (Ashley Walters) knows the best criminals go straight at the first opportunity, but his one-time comrade Sully (Kane “Kano” Robinson) is determined to establish dominance. This friction defines the final season of the gripping gang drama. After killing Jamie, Sully is hellbent on elbowing his way past Dushane, but is he cool enough for leadership? A horrific introduction to the methods of a new heavy-duty Irish drugs connection, Jonny (a terrifying Barry Keoghan), looks set to test him. Top Boy continues to do a fine job of locating these brutal conflicts within the struggles of embattled communities – the gangster world is contextualised but never glamorised.
Netflix, from Thursday 7 September

***

The Changeling

Initially, you might think this is a charming New York romance drama. But with a hint of something darker lurking in the periphery, before long there is a pivot into full-blown horror that might be explained by postpartum depression … or could be something much more sinister. Adapted from Victor LaValle’s 2017 novel, LaKeith Stanfield’s Apollo falls in love with librarian Emmy (Clark Backo). Their backstories contain foreshadowing traces of tragedy that manifest in a story that plays with themes of racism, magic, family inheritance and submerged trauma. Intriguing.
Apple TV+, from Friday 8 September

***

Is She the Wolf?

A dating show with a savage twist, this Japanese series features a group of 10 young people, all apparently looking for love. But among the women of the group (why it’s only the women is never explained), there is at least one saboteur – a so-called “wolf” who is forbidden from falling in love and whose presence in the game merely acts as a source of mischief and misdirection. To add to the underlying air of oddness, the show is shot and presented as an eventful glossy drama. It’s never quite clear who is fooling whom.
Netflix, from Sunday 3 September

***

Justified: City Primeval

Timothy Olyphant in Justified: City Primeval.
Back with a bang … Timothy Olyphant in Justified: City Primeval. Photograph: Disney

A return for Timothy Olyphant’s frontier lawman Raylan Givens, who is still poised and charismatic but a little older and greyer now - as well as the father of a teenage girl, Willa (Vivian Olyphant). A chance encounter sends Givens to Detroit where he tangles with sociopath Clement Mansell (AKA the Oklahoma Wildman). Cue a three-way battle of wits between Givens, Mansell and the perp’s cunning lawyer Carolyn Wilder. Givens frequently seems lost in the harshness of Motor City but that adds to the character’s melancholy, anachronistic charm.
Disney+, from Wednesday
6 September

***

I Am Groot

I Am Groot.
Grinning all the way … I Am Groot. Photograph: Marvel Studios

The youth outreach branch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe returns, as the charming but slightly spooky half-human, half-tree baby Groot indulges in more intergalactic adventuring. Still voiced (somewhat surprisingly) by Vin Diesel, Groot manages to connect the short-term, hair-trigger impulses of childhood with the immensity of space. What emerges is amusing and mildly head-spinning in a way that will entertain children and adults. Expect a pursuit by gigantic animatronic snowmen and an encounter with the biggest ice-cream truck in the universe.
Disney+, from Wednesday 6 September

***

The Killing Kind

Based on Jane Casey’s novel, this dark thriller explores the toxic relationship between defence barrister Ingrid Lewis (Emma Appleton) and her stalker client John Webster (Colin Morgan). When Lewis wins a case involving Webster and his ex-girlfriend, she finds herself drawn into his life. And when her best friend Belinda is killed in mysterious circumstances, Webster persuades Lewis that she is in imminent danger and needs his protection. But who is threatening her? This is not TV concerned with plausibility, but it is ripe, pulpy melodrama all the same.
Paramount+, from Thursday 7 September

***

Love & Death

This miniseries is another telling of a true-crime tale that was dramatised just last year in Candy on Disney+, which starred Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery, a Texan woman accused of murdering a love rival with an axe. This version stars Elizabeth Olsen in the same role and Jesse Plemons as her lover Allan Gore. Like Candy before it, Love & Death makes much of the soft-focus, idealised suburbia in which such a heinous crime seemed so aberrant. Olsen is a convincing lead – equal parts dreamy and deadly – but the show still feels slightly superfluous.
ITVX, from Thursday 7 September