Movie star’s splashy new TV show
OF THE four Hollywood Chrises, Chris Pine has to be in the top 50 per cent - it's difficult to choose between him and Chris Evans, don't make me.
They both just seem like such outstanding guys who sign up to interesting projects, or actively campaign for social progress or pull off overalls like a boss, and neither of them are trying to sell you on their personal fitness app, forgetting he's an A-lister and not a former Bachelor.
So it's a big deal when one of the Hollywood Chrises is leading his first regular TV gig - well, if you count a miniseries as a regular gig, which I am.
Maybe embracing the long-form storytelling possibilities of TV, after you've become a mega movie star is what gives Chris Pine the edge.
Your move, Chris Evans.
I AM THE NIGHT
(Stan - weekly from Tuesday, January 29)
Reuniting with his Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, Chris Pine takes on TV leading man status as a washed-out journalist in the 1960s in this based on a true story miniseries.
I Am The Night loosely draws from the autobiography of Fauna Hodel, a woman connected to one of the leading suspects of the infamous Black Dahlia murder.
This series, set around 15 years after the gruesome slaying, follows Fauna as she tries to trace her past to a family steeped in secrets. It's not before her path merges with Pine's Jay Singletary as they start to ask the same questions.
A gritty neo-noir series, I Am The Night starts unevenly but remains alluring thanks to a dynamic and committed performance from Pine who really throws himself, sometimes literally, into the role. What a star.
(ABC and iview - Sunday, February 3 at 8.30pm)
This British-Australian co-production scored big audiences when it debuted in the UK last year, with some six million people tuning into the broadcast and another 10 million on the BBC's streaming player.
Starring Ewen Leslie, Asher Keddie, Alex Dimitriades and Doctor Who and Victoria star Jenna Coleman, it's based on a book by Helen FitzGerald and adapted by Jacquelin Perske (Love My Way, Seven Types of Ambiguity).
Coleman and Leslie star as a young Scotland-based couple visiting family in Victoria when the unthinkable happens - their young son disappears.
The four-part drama explores the breakdown of a family in the wake of tragedy as the family comes under intense media scrutiny and personal pressure.
(Netflix - from Friday, February 1 at 7pm AEDT)
It would be easy to describe Russian Doll as Groundhog Day-esque but that would be selling it short.
Co-created, co-written and starring Natasha Lyonne, the Netflix series is centred on a woman named Nadia who keeps dying before her days are reset to the night of her birthday party. So unlike Groundhog Day, each time loop can run for days, until she dies, often in hilarious, slapstick ways.
As the eight-episode series progresses, more and more layers of the enthralling mystery are peeled back (hence the name Russian Doll) as the acerbic and antagonistic Nadia tries to desperately break the cycle.
Co-created by Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland (Sleeping with Other People), Russian Doll is a smart, incredibly well-written show with a twisty DNA and you're going to want to binge it all in one go.
(BBC First on Foxtel and Fetch - Sunday, February 3 at 8.30pm)
Luther is the only crime series that makes me check my windows are closed and my doors are locked - that is the dark power of this series, for better or worse. In the London of Luther, you're always only moments from being a random victim to a deranged killer.
After a three-year break, Idris Elba, the best Bond we'll never have, has again stuffed his arms through that tweed coat and shoved them in his pants pockets, returning as the grizzled and tough cop driven by his moral code, but always finds himself having to compromise, just a bit.
This season also marks the already announced return of Ruth Wilson's Alice Morgan, the sociopath Luther met on the pilot episode and has been drawn to repeatedly. Her so-called off-screen death obviously didn't take. Well, thank god, because their chemistry is electrifying and I'm always here for more Luther-Alice action.
GRAND DESIGNS HOUSE OF THE YEAR
(Lifestyle on Foxtel and Foxtel Now - Thursday, January 31 at 8.30pm)
You know what's better than watching a Grand Designs episode where you follow the years-long journey of an architectural marvel or folly (sometimes by restoring an actual folly) in the making? The annual special Grand Designs House of the Year episode.
Take a tour through some of the most imaginative and beautiful houses in the UK, gaping at staircases as structural wonders, perfectly placed windows or the most stunning angle on a roof.
It may sound shallow or bourgeois, but there is something so breathtaking about incredibly designed homes - we can only hope to come across one on Airbnb.
RON IDDLES: THE GOOD COP
(Crime + Investigation on Foxtel and Foxtel Now - Thursday, January 31 at 7.30pm)
Ron Iddles, the Victorian cop with a 99 per cent solve rate fronts this new true crime series starting this week, taking Australians through some of the country's most fascinating cases.
Iddles, with his extensive knowledge of how the criminal mind works, will walk viewers through, step-by-step, how he caught some of the wiliest and most depraved bad guys in a decades-spanning career. If Sherlock Holmes was a real person, he'd be impressed.
The first case is the 1983 disappearance of 16-year-old Michelle Buckingham, whose body was found weeks later, dumped by the side of the road.
(SBS and SBS On Demand - Wednesday, January 30 at 8.30pm)
If you're into Michael Moore's particular brand of political filmmaking, Fahrenheit 11/9 is a documentary that's going to make your anxiety levels rise. The title is a play on his September 11 doco, Fahrenheit 9/11, this time referring to the date of Donald Trump's election.
Moore is a skilled and persuasive filmmaker and if you already subscribe to his politics, then this is the kind of doco that will terrify you, as he draws parallels between Trump and the rise of Hitler.
He also probes the Flint water crisis and the March for Our Lives movement, painting a nihilistic portrait of a country well beyond saving.
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