Published Sep 08
The best of international series on Showmax this September
Lovecraft Country S1
In the 1950s, Atticus Freeman, a young African-American, sets out on a road trip with his friend and uncle to find his missing father. This catapults the three into a struggle for survival against the dual terrors of Jim Crow-era America and terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a paperback written by pulpy horror author HP Lovecraft.
Based on the cult novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is a collaboration between Misha Green (creator of Underground, named Best New Cable/New Media Show of 2016 by the African-American Film Critics Association) and Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out), executive produced by JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost, Super 8, Westworld).
The fantastic cast includes Black Reel nominee Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Da 5 Bloods), Teen Choice nominee Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of Prey, Friday Night Lights), four-time Emmy nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (When They See Us, The Night Of), Golden Globe nominee Courtney B Vance (The People Vs OJ Simpson, Law & Order), BAFTA winner Wunmi Mosaku (Luther, The End of the F*ing World, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Neon Demon).
Lovecraft Country has an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is #3 on IMDb’s Most Popular TV chart. As Newsday put it, “To call Lovecraft Country ‘wildly original’ seems almost a quaint understatement. But it is wild. And original. Little doubt about that.”
Eps 1-4 arrive on 8 September, eps 5-8 on 6 October, and eps 9-10 on 20 October.
Set in Naples and based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novels, My Brilliant Friend is the story of a life-long friendship spanning 60 years. Season 2, based on the second novel in Ferrante’s series, sees Lila (Gaia Girace) stuck in a brutal marriage to the wealthy Stefano Caracci (Giovanni Amura), while Elena dallies with suitor Antonio Cappuccio (Christian Giroso) and her growing attraction to the magnetic Nino Sarratore (Francesco Serpico).
My Brilliant Friend, helmed by multi-award-winning Italian directors Saverio Costanzo (Hungry Hearts) and Alice Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazaro), has a 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is at 236 on IMDb’s list of the top-rated TV of all time, where it has a score of 8.6/10. The series was recently renewed for a third season.
The Hollywood Reporter included it in their roundup of the 10 Best Shows of 2020 So Far, saying the series “portrays post-war young-womanhood in all its victories, devastations and frailties. This season’s story told with seemingly no expense spared, is where the girls’ paths start to truly diverge, as one pursues dreams beyond their impoverished neighbourhood and the other finds herself irretrievably chained to it.”
Season 1 won Best Drama Series at Monte-Carlo TV Festival 2019 and an Italian Golden Globe for Best Breakthrough Actress for Ludovica Nasti as Lila. The series was also nominated for 2019 Critics Choice, Peabody and Shanghai International TV Festival awards.
This spinoff of the hugely popular first responder drama 9-1-1 stars multiple Golden Globe nominee Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation) as a New York firefighter who relocates to Austin, Texas, where he’s tasked with putting together an entirely new squad following a tragedy. The cast includes Teen Choice nominees Liv Tyler (Harlots, Lord of the Rings) and Lyndsy Fonseca (Desperate Housewives, Nikita, Kick-Ass).
9-1-1: Lonestar was one of the ten most-streamed shows on DStv Now in the first half of 2020, and the highest-rated new series of the year for its parent network, FOX, which recently announced its renewal for a second season.
As Rotten Tomatoes says, 9-1-1: Lone Star “packs an entertaining punch and is a great showcase for the handsomely self-aware Rob Lowe.”
It’s 1932, and despite the Great Depression, LA is booming. But when the kidnapping case of the decade comes knocking on down-and-out detective Perry Mason’s door, his relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and, just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
HBO’s biggest debut in nearly two years, Perry Mason reboots the award-winning 1950s-60s series based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s detective stories. Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Matthew Rhys (The Americans) is Perry Mason. Tatiana Maslany, herself an Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee for her leading role in Orphan Black, and Oscar nominee John Lithgow (The Crown, 3rd Rock from the Sun) co-star.
Indiewire hailed Perry Mason as “one of the most beautiful series ever made… One of the best I’ve ever seen. Really.”
New episodes late on Tuesday nights, binge the full season from 15 September.
World On Fire S1
Set in 1939, on the eve of the German invasion of Poland, World on Fire follows the interwoven stories of ordinary people caught up in catastrophic global events beyond their control.
The critically acclaimed World War II drama has an 84% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has already been renewed for a second season.
The impressive cast includes BAFTA winner Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings), Oscar winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, Mad About You), Oscar and BAFTA nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Harlots), and Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women) who’s set to star as Prince Eric in the upcoming Disney live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
“It's hard to recall any dramatic work that captured the terror of this invasion with such immediacy,” says Wall Street Journal.
BBC hailed it as a “must-watch”, with Scott Bryan calling it “deeply haunting… a remarkable form of storytelling; from different sides, different locations, people from different classes, sexualities...", and Hayley Campbell praising its depiction of “war, on a personal level… focusing on civilians rather than soldiers; this huge global thing shrunk right down”.
New episodes late on Thursday nights, starting 24 September.
Senator’s aide Allegra Dill (MTV Movie Awards nominee Rosario Dawson from Sin City, Luke Cage and Jane the Virgin) returns to her border-town Texas home to investigate the death of her sister – a local cop killed by a car bomb. What begins as a search for a killer turns into an all-consuming fight to bring her corrupt hometown to its knees.
Kenyan Teen Choice nominee Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class) and Golden Globe nominee Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) co-star in this latest offering from Emmy nominated writer/producer Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot, Homecoming), based on the Edgar-winning crime novel by Ross Thomas.
Briarpatch has a 78% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Hollywood Reporter saying, “Anchored by a strong Rosario Dawson performance and flavoured with wit and a real sense of place, Briarpatch is a charmer: It keeps those aspects of Mr. Robot that were most audience-friendly, and jettisons the rest.”
New episodes late on Monday nights, binge the full season from 28 September.
I May Destroy You S1
I May Destroy You centres on Arabella (BAFTA winner Michaela Coel from Chewing Gum), a carefree, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when her drink is spiked with a date-rape drug, she must question and rebuild every element of her life.
I May Destroy You is #23 on Rotten Tomatoes Best TV of 2020 (So Far), with a 97% critics rating and a critics’ consensus that reads, “I May Destroy You is at once brave and delicate, untangling the trauma of sexual assault with dark humour and moments of deep discomfort, all held together on the strength of Michaela Coel's undeniable talent”.
In their five star review, The Guardian raved, “It is the drama of the year so far… Michaela Coel’s exploration of consent, race and millennial life… works on every level... An extraordinary, breath-taking achievement without a false note in it, shot through with humour and with ideas, talent and character to burn at every perfectly plotted turn.”
Including it in their roundup of the 10 Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far, The Hollywood Reporter called it, “The most ‘2020’ show of 2020”, adding that it’s “representative of the mood of the moment – the combination of anger, confusion, uncertainty and unexpected humour; the exploration of intersections of gender and race, sexuality and violence, youth and hard-earned experience.”
New episodes late on Wednesday nights, binge the full season from 11 November.
Please note this release schedule is subject to change.