Six to See this September
What new movies and television shows are most deserving of your attention this month? Our editor, Dan Owen, selects his top six choices for UK audiences...
FX’s horror anthology returns for another run that’s probably going to follow a familiar downward spiral. American Horror Story has never really been a great show, but it’s tough to ignore and the potential for reinvention always lured you back ‘one last time’. Unlike previous seasons, we don’t know much about season 6 (not even the suffix), but there are strong rumours it’ll revolve around the real-life mystery of the Roanoke Colony disappearance in the 1590s. Could this year be turning back the clock to the 16th-century? All we know is that co-creator Ryan Murphy has promised it’ll be “more rogue” and revolve around children. Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Denis O’Hare, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer and Lady Gaga will all return as new characters. Joining them will be Cheyenne Jackson, Leslie Jordan, and Cuba Gooding Jr.
The long-running British sci-fi comedy returns for its eleventh series, with a twelfth also on the way. Red Dwarf still has its passionate fans, but it’s one of those shows that peaked long ago and, despite rectifying some of the problems that dogged its later runs (like bringing back a live studio audience), I haven’t completely enjoyed more than the occasional episode since 1993. That was a very long time ago. The show’s revival on digital channel Dave has clawed back some of its dignity, and I love the higher production values, but the actors are now deep into middle-age and the show never felt the same once co-creator Rob Grant left. I watch more out of brand loyalty than anything else, but always go in with an open mind.
The original movie from 1960 is a classic Western, that some would say is untouchable. But it was also a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 masterpiece Seven Samurai, so I’m more open to the idea of Antoine Fuqua giving the premise another whirl. When the town of Rose Krick comes under siege, the townsfolk enlist the help of seven men—bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), gambler and explosives expert Josh Farrady (Chris Pratt), sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), assassin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Mexican outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
Who did Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) bludgeon to death with his wire-laced baseball bat? We find out this month, as AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead returns for a seventh run. Similarly to American Horror Story, this has always been a show that delivers brief spurts of quality rather than sustained and complex storytelling. A lot of characters have died over the years, but how many of the deaths really affected you? The show is more jump-scare and make-up marveling than anything else, but still worth watching for those occasional arcs when things come together better than you might expect them to.
It felt like Marvel was struggling on the small-screen with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter (which may not return now), but their partnership with Netflix has been a huge success. Interestingly, rather than try and bring big screen thrills to weekly TV, with mixed results, being on Netflix has resulted in a darker and more complex area of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been exemplary superhero stories, and there’s no reason to think Luke Cage will be any different. Mike Colter returns as the eponymous hero, a barman with impervious skin and super-strength, now residing in Harlem, NY. He won’t be living the quiet life there.
It’s hard to get excited by a new Tim Burton movie these days, because his style’s become predictable and he hasn’t made a truly good movie since Sweeney Todd in 2007. Burton still produced hits—big ones, when you remember Alice in Wonderland made over $1 billion in 2012—but I’m always very cautious to get excited. On the face of it, an adaptation of 2011’s dark children’s fantasy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children sounds like perfect material for Burton. And he’s called upon the incredible Eva Green (the highlight of his Dark Shadows flop) to play the eponymous headmistress of a school for kids with supernatural abilities. Think of it as Burton does X-Men, co-starring Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson.