By Adam Ray Palmer
*This is a monthly newspaper column
Hello virtual friends! I hope you are all keeping well and staying safe indoors wherever possible. In these unprecedented times, my usual entertainment column will not be printed in the STN – but it shall live online which is where you are reading it now!
So, for some light relief, this month I am looking at what you can catch on the small screen instead of cinema. Let me tell you, you’re in for a treat!
AFTER LIFE: SEASON 2
What a beautiful series, the first season and the second. I just needed to get that sentence out the way. Ricky Gervais returns as Tony, a man who has enormous heartache after his wife dies unexpectedly. His once nice-guy persona is shot to pieces, as he uncontrollably diverts his personality into an impulsive, devil-may-care attitude; taking his old world by storm.
In season two, it’s much of the same as the first season, but a lot more real. And that word, “real”, is the exact definition Ricky Gervais himself gave me as answer on Twitter – and he couldn’t be more correct. The authenticity of this series is astonishing. Without even knowing the feeling of losing a close loved one, you can’t help but marvel at the emotional acting, and tear up yourself. The writing is simply exquisite and a joy to kill an evening with. This is a lockdown must.
On Netflix worldwide now – certificate 15
GANGS OF LONDON
Gangs of London tells the story of London being torn apart by the turbulent power struggles of its international gangs and the sudden power vacuum that's created when the head of London's most powerful crime family is assassinated. Strong narrative, right? Well, you may think that this isn’t an original story and we have seen it all before, and perhaps you’ll be semi-correct. However, this series has sneaky joker card… Gareth Evans.
Evans is the writer/director behind the brilliant The Raid in 2011 and so I knew full well what this series would consist of. With the backdrop of a wealthy London rather than the streets, Evans sets out his stall early. He makes it clear we aren’t playing with knife crime or petty muggings; this is high stakes and double-crossing. Evans is known for his tough violent scenes, but also his wizardry skills of editing and direction. Gangs of London is high-octane, thrilling and utter carnage. Keep an eye out for the performances by Brian Vernel, Sope Dirisu and Narges Rashidi – top drawer.
On Sky One and catch up now – certificate 18
Remember the beautiful, near perfect La La Land? Well, the writer and director is back with a brand-new limited series for Netflix. Damien Chazelle directs Jack Thorne’s The Eddy which follows a French club owner who deals with the everyday chaos of running a live music venue in the heart of Paris. The eight-episode mini-series stars newcomers in Leïla Bekhti, Yannick Bouanga, Vincent Heneine and has a well-known supporting cast from André Holland (Moonlight) and Tahar Rahim (The Kindness of Strangers, The Looming Tower).
We all know Damien Chazelle loves his music, and every project he has been involved with has included an epic soundtrack. We have mentioned La La Land already but also his masterful Whiplash in 2014 too. The Eddy is no different – this is a love letter to the jazz scene of Paris courtesy of the magician of words, Jack Thorne and the whimsical direction of Chazelle. His delicate framing of the human presence is also on show again in The Eddy, as he longingly frames the characters’ faces for a significant amount of time – whilst music is paramount in his work, so is the fragility of the social world. From 8th May, go watch this beauty.
On Netflix: 8th May 2020 – certificate 12A