SHERLOCK — Series 4.
The extended gaps between new Sherlock episodes aren’t doing the show any favours. The waiting used to increase excitement due to the rarity of new adventures with the modern-day Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman), but thanks to weaker episodes creeping into the run any disappointments are exacerbated by the 18-month gaps between series. Let’s just hope this latest trio of mysteries is a return to form.
UK & US TV: 1 January, BBC1/BBC America.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA.
Kenneth Lonergan’s drama wowed audiences at Sundance last year and has been making critical waves ever since, with five Golden Globe nominations and growing Oscar buzz. The movie concerns an uncle (Casey Affleck) looking after his nephew after the boy’s father dies, so here’s Britain’s chance to see if all the Stateside acclaim is warranted. Co-stars Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler & Gretchen Mol.
UK Release: 13 January.
Tom Hardy stars in this new BBC period drama as adventurer James Delaney, a 19th-century man presumed to have died in Africa. However, Delaney resurfaces on the streets of London with fourteen stolen diamonds and a desire to avenge the death of his father…
UK TV: 7 January, BBC1.
LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS.
I’m told the books were huge hits (but have yet to meet a British child who knows who author Lemony Snicket is), and I quite liked Brad Silberling’s 2004 movie, but an expensive TV series does seem like the best way to tackle a story with this kind of scope and ambition. The trailers, unfortunately, feel like cheapskate versions of the ’04 movie at times, when the show is having to reenact scenes we’ve seen done on a $140 million budget, but it nevertheless looks entertaining and appreciably different to anything else around.
UK TV: 12 January, Netflix.
HOMELAND — Season 6.
Is it a good show or a bad show? The debate rages. But it’s definitely very well-made, and I like how they put Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) into different geopolitical hot spots, and use the show to tackle tough questions torn from tabloid front pages. The producers say season 6 will be smaller scale and more psychological, which feels like a good way to go. Specifically, Carrie is now working in NYC for a foundation providing aid to Muslims, and the story takes places between the election day and inauguration of a new female president (Elizabeth Marvel) who wants to “wholesale reform” the CIA.
UK TV: 23 January, Channel 4.
21 years after Trainspotting was released in 1996, where the poster adorned every British teenager’s bedroom wall, and it seemed like the “Cool Britannia” movement was now taking on Hollywood movies… there comes a high-risk sequel. Luckily, it’s not directly based on Irvine Welsh’s literary follow-up Porno, and they’ve managed to get everyone back (with Ewan McGregor patching things up with director Danny Boyle). Is there a good story to tell about these characters, now they’re in middle age? Didn’t anyone tell Boyle that “T2” is synonymous with Terminator 2? Find out later this very month!
UK Release: 27 January.