Muse’s Small Screen Summer

The Muse team guide you through the essential viewing over the summer break, including the excesses of reality TV, the high emotion of a sporting centrepiece, and the tight grip of a good drama

Atlanta

Image: Fox

Two years after being aired in the US, this summer you can finally stream Atlanta legally on British soil. This explosive show is the brainchild of the multi-talented Donald Glover who wrote, directed and also stars. The comedy drama follows the story of Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks (Glover), trying to make something of his life and prove himself to his family and baby-momma Van (Zazie Beetz). Earn decides to manage his rapper cousin, who goes by the name of Paperboi and is an up and coming rapper on the Atlanta trap scene. Understatedly hilarious, existentialist and just plain weird, this show is hard to pin down. After the repetitiveness of exam season, the shapeshifting nature of this show will be a welcome breath of fresh air. Each episode is totally different from the last and sometimes even the whole format is flipped on its head. Atlanta takes familiar elements from TV shows you know and love and warps them into something new and only just recognisable. JO

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Image: Netflix

If having your gob well and truly smacked by Avengers: Infinity War earlier this year wasn’t enough, then why not turn your attention to some small screen supers. While Preacher returns for a third series, Netflix is offering us more muscle from the man mountain that is Luke Cage. The second series of the Mike Colter-starring show will hit the streaming giant in its entirety on 22 June. With the whole series released at once, Marvel’s Luke Cage is a perfect t for a rainy summer’s day. Rubbish weather? No uni work? Binge a whole 13-episode series in a day and you’ll be one of the most up-to-date MCU fans out there. With this being the MCU, we can expect some tie-ins to other Marvel properties, with Finn Jones set to make an appearance as the much-maligned Iron Fist. The often negative reaction to the character from his own series, and The Defenders, may concern showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, but he will be hopeful that audience’s will have more goodwill towards the character now he’s a part of Luke’s world. Several series regulars will return, including Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple. AY

Love Island

Image: ITV

Sun’s out, guns out, bums out. Well, at least in Majorca. If you can’t get away this summer then never fear, Love Island is back and already promises to be a hit. After the extreme but unexpected success of the 2017 series, this year has a lot to live up to. Love Island is a programme which follows a large group of twenty-somethings as they share a house with the sole intention of coupling up. It’s basically the new Big Brother but with more boobs, abs and sex. Participants are a mix of beautiful, beautiful and beautiful people, so if you’re not feeling body confident please remember that this programme does not accurately represent the normal population. Between tasks each night, which resemble pumped-up drinking games, islanders can be seen gossiping, chatting and having frequent ‘DCs’ with their newly established partners. It’s easy to choose your favourites and great fun to pick your baddies. If that wasn’t enough, YOU can vote them out. It’s a whole lot of fun and the dictionary definition of glitzy/trashy escapism. Intrigued? Join the hype and turn on your television at 9pm every night. MS

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

Image: Amazon

First there was Alec Baldwin. Then there was Harrison Ford. Then there was Ben Affleck. Then there was Chris Pine. Now, in the latest attempt to translate the massive popularity of Tom Clancy’s books to the screen, Jim-from-The-Office, and acclaimed A Quiet Place director-star, John Krasinski stars as Jack Ryan himself. The move to TV is an interesting one. Back in 2014, Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit failed to find room in a spy market still dominated by Bond and Mission: Impossible. The move to a longer format could be the key to making Jack Ryan find a profitable home. It will presumably allow for more of Clancy’s books to be used. Developing the character over several episodes will also allow audiences to get to know him quicker than they would in an attempted franchise starter. With superheroes left, right and centre, audiences could be forgiven or getting a little tired of companies trying to launch new franchises. Therefore, skipping all that and just allowiing the stories room to breathe on screen seems like a smart idea. Amazon has acquired the rights to the series, meaning bingeing is on the cards for this new iteration. AY

World Cup

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Here we are again. Four years after Mario Götze’s trophy- winning volley, one of the largest and potentially stunning sporting events in the world is back. If you aren’t in the mood for a serious drama, or you’re not really into superheroes, or comedy, or reality TV, or in fact any ‘normal’ television shows, then have no fear because you will still have something to watch this summer. In theory, any of the 32 teams could lift the really rather nice trophy, but smart money would be on quite a select group. Will German efficiency trump Brazilian flair and passion as it did so emphatically in the 7-1 semi-final in Belo Horizonte? Could Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, two of the most gifted ball-kickers ever to walk the Earth help drag their nations to glory? Or will a strong French side be able to put their final loss at the 2016 Euros behind them? Or perhaps, who cares? The World Cup is notable not just for the sporting prowess on display; it is also major TV event. As is now commonplace, BBC and ITV will share the coverage, fighting it out in the ratings using their array of pundits and presenters. The pressure will be on even more this year, with Amazon disrupting the sporting status quo by having recently acquired  the rights to Premier League action. AY

Sharp Objects

Image: HBO

Amy Adams is great, isn’t she? From Arrival to Enchanted to Nocturnal Animals, she’s proven she’s got a fantastic range and real talent that constantly gets ignored by the academy. Though now, she’s going to grace the smaller screen in HBO’s Sharp Objects based on Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name. You may recognise Flynn’s name as she was the writer of the acclaimed Gone Girl. Sharp Objects is very much in this vein; the novel follows a news reporter who returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder and reconcile with mother, played in the show by the fantastic Patricia Clarkson, as well as get to know her strange half-sister. It should offer thrills you come to expect from Flynn after Gone Girl; gory and disturbing murders, troubled and fractured psyches and a female focused narrative looking at the darker side of American life. The book does contain fairly graphic murders and self-harm so viewer discretion is advised. It’s coming to HBO very soon in the US and will hopefully make its way across the pond shortly. ET

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Image: Netflix

After being released on Netflix in 2015 and stealing all our hearts, our time with the human bubble-gum wrapper Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) is coming to a close. The first half of the final season is available to watch, so now that exams are over, no need to resist the urge to join Kimmy and her pals on whatever insane adventures they get up to next. Let’s recap quickly: The show has followed Kimmy and her journey of recovery after being held captive in an underground bunker for 15 years. Though it can be dark and poignant, the relentlessly positive attitude of the titular character is something that audiences cannot help rooting for. Mix that together with a brilliantly written supporting cast constantly spouting sharp one-liners and you have a hit show. Last season ended on a pretty down note, with our favourite mole woman failing college and getting rejected from her dream job as a crossing guard. At the start of this season, Kimmy has accepted a new job at a tech start up and will now have to navigate the dangerous world of the wrorkplace. The over-the-top nature of the show makes it the perfect tool for tackling satire, and this season it does not shy away from politically and culturlly divisive topics, most notably the #MeToo movement. JO

Queer Eye

Image: Netflix

If you don’t already know what Queer Eye is, then a) why did you not read the last Nouse edition, and b) where have you been? Found on Netflix, Queer Eye is a new version of the makeover show. It features the ‘Fab Five’, a bunch of friendly gay guys, as they enter the life of (usually) straight men who are in desperate need of a bit of pizazz. Last series saw them successfully reunite Tom with his ex-wife, even though he claimed they couldn’t “fix ugly”, and mentor A.J. in the run-up to coming out to his widowed stepmother. Each episode focuses on one person and the Fab Five work their absolute socks off to improve their life. As well as Antoni teaching them a few cooking skills and Jonathan showing them which moisturiser to use, the participants also get an entire house revamp and a new fashion wardrobe. Watch these men transform the lives of the humble, lost or nervous. You won’t be able to resist the pride the Fab Five exude at the end of each episode when they sit down and watch the result of the few days they spent with the makeoveree. Queer Eye is the most wholesome content I’ve watched in a long time and shouldn’t be missed. If you didn’t catch the last series then you have just under a week to get up to date, before the show starts. MS

The Innocents

Image: Netflix

Finished 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things and Riverdale? Craving a binge-able show to fill your summer? Look no further than Netflix’s next YA series: supernatural teen romance The Innocents. Not only is it a perfect choice for a rainy summer day indoors, it is also UK based and made which is relatively rare for Netflix originals. The eight part series will air in August and follows teenagers June (Sorcha Groundsell) and Harry (Percelle Ascott) who run away together from their repressive family lives. The revelation of their shapeshifting powers unleashes powerful forces intent on hunting them down, which will either drive them together or apart. Not much information on the story has been revealed, but the trailer promises a gripping story which looks more interesting than your average teen sci-fi flick. JO

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Image: BBC

The gap between film and television is growing smaller by the day. So the trend in adapting films into TV shows is as popular as ever. Some have been great, (Westworld and Fargo), and others less so, (Snatch). So, it will be interesting to see in which direction this one will go. Peter Weir’s 1976 original is a peculiar masterpiece. It’s steeped in atmosphere with very little plot, and the whole film is shrouded in unsettling ambiguity. The new series will have to pad out the narrative immensely to fulfil the demands of a television run. Perhaps viewers may finally get some answers that the original was not inclined to offer. Weir’s film had a dreamlike and surreal quality but, judging by the trailers, the new team have dialled up the melodrama that the original lacked. A bit of melodrama can be fun and a story about the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls in 1900 lends itself to a more dramatic telling. Natalie Dormer is taking the lead with many fresh faces taking on the younger roles. I hope for the best, but it may well be utter trash. Even then, it may reignite the love for the oft looked over original. It’s already being shown in the US but will be shown on the BBC later this year. ET

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