Story Gautam Viswanathan
The weekend is here, and that surely means you have quite a bit of time to kill. We’re sure you’ve already made your plans for the two days of chill that are ahead of you, but if you haven’t (or for that fact, even if you have), few things are more blissful than a few hours binge-watching your favourite TV show.
When the founder of any corporate empire begins to look at a successor, it is inevitable that his children begin to squabble over his fortune, as they attempt to vie for his attention and ensure they alone are granted the right to take over.
Now in its second season, Succession takes a look at the fictional Waystar Royco media empire, whose founder and patriarch, Logan Roy’s health has become increasingly uncertain. His children know he is not long for this world, and each of them plots their own path to power. But all of them have their own demons to fight: Alan, Roy’s oldest son, wants nothing to do with the company, but his younger siblings – Siobhan, Romulus and Kendall – have attitudes that make Logan have doubts over whether his son and daughter are the right people to take over. Siobhan – who works as a political fixer – has views that don’t gel with the ethics of her father, while her brother Ken is struggling to deal with his substance abuse issues.
Starring: Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Peter Friedman, Natalie Gold, Matthew Macfayden, Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, Dagmara Dominczyk, Arian Moayed
Where to watch: HBO, Amazon, Hulu
James May: Our Man in Japan
Hosted by British motoring legend James May – arguably the least excitable or irritable of the famed Top Gear trio – heads to Japan, in this new series that follows in the wake of the closure of The Grand Tour, to describe and show to viewers the Land of the Rising Sun as only he can.
Featuring 10 episodes, each with a runtime of between 47 and 53 minutes, the trip sees May learn much about the rich past and long history on Japan. His experiences vary from witnessing the ancient – the forging of Japanese samurai swords and trying his hand at Zen archery – to the modern, which involves hanging out in a cat café, trying to order dishes from a food ticket restaurant, attending a J-pop concert, and of course, checking out automated toilets and taking part in a giant robot duel.
While it is a pretty safe bet to assume which era of activities he would most enjoy, what’s most enjoyable is how he attempts to get to grips with Japanese culture, and proceeds to at least try and enjoy the ones he does not fancy, being made very conscious of the man that he is essentially a middle-aged Brit in a foreign land. There is a bit of seriousness to the series as well: May visits the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, and reminds us of just how fortunate many of us are.
Starring: James May
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
The Man in the High Castle
The final season of this alternate history series, in which the Nazis didn’t lose, but win the Second World War comes with even more thrills and tensions than the three previous seasons. Viewers are once again put back in a dystopian North America, which has been carved into a smaller Japanese zone, with its capital at San Francisco, while New York is the American capital of the Greater Nazi Reich.
However, the once former Axis countries are now turning on each other. The Germans, in their quest for world domination, assassinate many of the top echelon of the Japanese Pacific States, using their far superior technology to gain the upper hand. The Japanese, on the other hand, still shocked from this masterstroke, take out their frustrations on the hapless American residents in their sector. This in turn only drives more people towards the Americans’ underground resistance, which has been under operation for quite some time. While the Japanese are busy exacting their reprisals on the Americans, the Germans, led by Reichsmarschall John Smith, one of the senior-most officers in Nazi America, now puts the next step of his master plan into operation. His views, however, don’t seem to match with those of his superiors back in Berlin, now the capital of world Nazism. Released on November 19th, the final series of The Man in the High Castle is a definite watch this weekend.
Starring: Alexa Davalos, Rufus Sewell, Rupert Evans, Joel de la Fuente, Brennan Brown, Bella Heathcote, Chelah Horsdal, Jason O’Mara, Michael Gaston, Frances Turner
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
Adapted from Polish author’s Andrzej Sapkowski’s sensational novel of the same name, this TV show is the second format into which The Witcher has been adapted.
If the TV show, which stars Superman star Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, the protagonist of the series, is any bit as good as the video game adaptation of Sapkowski’s work, which was released in three instalments by Polish game developers 32Red and CD-Projekt Red, then fans of the fantasy genre are in for a treat.
Dealing with supernatural monsters and spirits often found in Eastern European folklore, The Witcher opens our eyes to a culture and civilisation many of us have not really explored in detail. All of the eight episodes of Season 1 are out, and 2020 is the perfect time to binge watch this amazing show.
Starring: Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Eamon Farren, Anya Chalotra, Joey Batey, My-Anna Buring, Royce Pierreson, Mimi Ndiweni, Wilson Radjou-Pujalte, Anna Shafer, Mahesh Jadu
Where to watch: Netflix
Despite the interest that the ninth film in the Star Wars saga attracted, many felt the story of clan Skywalker was now tired and drawn out. It is, after all, quite something to create a nine-film series around a spacefaring family, and the final movie – although enjoyable – was essentially all of the bits fan loved of Star Wars tossed into a blender and served up to us.
It was time, therefore, to take George Lucas’ creation to new, unexplored areas of this galaxy far, far away. The Mandalorian features a lone bounty hunter from the planet Mandalore – home to some of the galaxy’s most feared warriors across the ages, as well as famed bounty hunters such as Jango Fett and his son Boba.
Set in the period between the fall of the Galactic Empire, and the rise of the First Order, on the fringes of the galaxy, where lawlessness and thuggery have always thrived, the premise of the titular character, Din Djarin, a lone gunman and bounty hunter, is to retrieve his cargo, a little green alien, who is of the same species as the legendary Jedi Master Yoda, and bring him to his enigmatic hirer, ‘The Client’.
It sounds simple enough, but Din’s task is anything but: others want the child too. Whether it is to serve their own needs, or that of a greater power is not known, but revealed as the story goes on. The plot alone makes for an amazing show, and The Mandalorian looks poised to become another hit in the Star Wars saga.
Starring: Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, Omid Abtahi, Taika Waititi, Nick Nolte, Gina Carano, Amy Sedaris, Jake Cannavale, Ming-Na Wen, Mark Boone Jr, Natalia Tena, Clancy Brown, Richard Ayoade, Ismael Cordova, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow
Where to watch: Amazon Prime