Culture

Too much TV, too little time? Our pick of what to watch

LOS ANGELES: There’s more new television to watch than is humanly possible, but everyone has to make a time-allocation decision in the end, and that’s what we’re here to help with. Consider the list below a tip sheet to get you going on the fall TV season. Each of the shows has something of note to offer, and some have the potential to be season standouts.

Happy viewing. The snacks are on you. “The Little Drummer Girl”: For fans of AMC’s gripping, hugely entertaining “The Night Manager,” there’s happy news: executive producers of that Emmy Award-winning series based on a John le Carre novel are also behind this le Carre adaptation. The six-part miniseries stars Alexander Skarsgard (“Big Little Lies,” “True Blood”) and Florence Pugh (“Lady Macbeth”) in a 1970s tale of espionage and intrigue. He’s a mystery man.

She’s an actress with secrets of her own. Hovering over all is spy mastermind Kurtz (Michael Shannon).

As with any respectable international thriller, it was filmed on location in scenic locations including London, Prague and at Athens’ Acropolis and Temple of Poseidon.

Le Carre, who published “The Little Drummer Girl” in 1983, will co-produce the drama.“The Romanoffs”: The Amazon Prime Video drama series makes the cut, thanks to its pedigree and ambitions. It was created, written, directed and produced by Matthew Weiner of “Mad Men” and marks his return to series TV after his Emmy-showered drama ended in 2015.An eight-episode anthology series, “The Romanoffs” promises a kaleidoscope of tales about people who fancy themselves descendants of the Russian royal family that fell victim to revolution.

The cast changes from episode to episode, starting with Marthe Keller and Aaron Eckhart in “The Violet Hour” and Corey Stoll and Kerry Bishe in “The Royal We.”

The bar is set for high – if not excessive – expectations in “The Romanoffs,” which was shot on location in Europe, the Americas and Asia.“My Brilliant Friend”: HBO’s first non-English language series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, the first of four books by the anonymous author called “Elena Ferrante.” The acclaimed saga tells the story of two women starting in their 1950s childhood in Naples, Italy.The production’s impressive, from the casting of the actors playing friends Elena and Lila as girls (newcomers Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti) and as teens (Margherita Mazzucco, Gaia Girace) to its recreation of the unforgiving neighborhood that served as their incubator.

There’s fidelity to the novel in the first episode. That’s a promising start for the extended series that will adapt the novels in full and which, it’s hoped, will air here.

“The Kids Are Alright”: ABC’s comedy about a working-class, Irish-Catholic family in the 1970s is sharply written, charming and boasts laugh-out-loud scenes.Created by Tim Doyle, whose background mirrors that of the fictional Clearys, “The Kids Are Alright” gives the lovingly strict parents of eight sons their dignity as well as foibles as they navigate parenthood in a tumultuous decade.

Mary McCormack and Michael Cudlitz are best known for drama but shine as mom and dad, with McCormack getting the best punchlines in the debut and delivering them with aplomb. A sample: “We do not have the wherewithal in this family for any of you kids to be special.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 18, 2018, on page 12.

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