New TV shows for winter

As the clocks go back, the prestige TV shows come out, so I checked out the first episodes of The Undoing, Roadkill and The Sister to find not one but two Scandiqueens

“Sounds like we’re digging in for a long answer”

With a company that includes Noma Dumezweni and the empress of jumpers Sofie Gråbøl, I was initially a little disappointed that neither appeared in the first episode of new HBO show The Undoing. But when your leads are Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, your writer is David E Kelley and your director is Susanne Bier, then there’s little to complain about. Based on a Jean Hanff Korelitz novel and set in the dripping wealth of the Upper East Side, the tantalising promise of murder and adultery is skilfully woven across this opening episode and I’m definitely hooked. 

Any show that casts Helen McCrory as the Prime Minister, even a Tory one, has to be good right? And also has Sidse Babett Knudsen in the cast too, I mean it should be great. Sadly, David Hare’s Roadkill doesn’t feel like it is deserving of these two fine talents. It centres on Hugh Laurie’s Peter Laurence, a corrupt Tory MP who believes he is on the rise, but as political and personal issues keep peskily bobbing to the surface, nothing is quite as smooth as his oily demeanour. Subplots clunk around in this first episode though, with some really shonky characterisation that severely detract from the ostensible seriousness of the drama.  

And last up for now is Neil Cross’ new drama The Sister, which is being stripped over the next four night on ITV. Luther has been reliably excellent over the last few years but this is a spookier, more psychological affair suitable for leading up to Hallowe’en. It looks intriguing as a hobo-ish Bertie Carvel turns up on the doorstep of (sadly playing straight) Russell Tovey to ominously warn that things are happening in the woods. For as we gradually learn through a tricksy structure of flashbacks,Tovey’s Nathan was involved in the disappearance of his wife sister a few years back. There may be no Nordic goddesses hidden in the supporting cast but I’ll definitely be tuning in for the rest of this one. What are you going to be watching this week?

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