Summer sun shines on the small screen

Joe Holloran looks at some of the finest offerings from the small screen this summer.

Joe Holloran
8th October 2019
If critics are to be believed today, we are living through a new ‘Golden Age of Television’. A cursory glance at the list of the shows nominated at this year’s Emmys and BAFTA’s makes this assertation hard to argue. So, let’s take a look at a few of the televisual highlights of this summer.

First up is the second season Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s modern masterpiece Killing Eve. A great example of trans-Atlantic creative endeavour, Killing Eve stars the legendary Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) as former MI6 operative and hybristophile Eve Polastery, and the master of accents herself, Jodie Comer. Truly one of the finest young British acting talents of her generation. Picking up immediately after the season one finale, season two continued the twisted, tormented and darkly humorous adventures of the psychopathic contract-killer Villanelle as she attempts to come to terms with her obsession for her hunter, Eve, and how to move on from the shocking, dramatic events of the previous season. I will say no more for fear of spoiling one of the best shows of the last decade. Suffice to say, if you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.

Vicky McClure stars in the hit BBC show Line of Duty. Image:IMDB

Next is continue the BBC crime/thriller theme with the firth season of Jed Mercurio’s acclaimed police procedural drama Line of Duty. Starring Nottingham’s own Vicky McClure (This is England) and former professional footballer Martin Compston (Monarch of the Glenn, Greenock Morton FC.) as detectives Fleming and Arnott respectively. The latest season of only six episodes – quality over quantity – sees our two protagonists investigate a conspiracy of collusion between an organized crime group and the recently MIA undercover officer D.C. Corbett (Stephen Graham). Considered by many to be the spiritual successor to ITV's Broadchurch, Line of Duty showed that after many decades and countless adaptations, there is still life in the police procedural drama. With original, intelligent and often dark scripts brought to life by impactful and nuanced performances from all involved, it is easy to see why Line of Duty latest season drew in the biggest UK TV audiences of the summer. If you missed it airing on BBC One first time around do not fret, it can be watched in full on the BBC iPlayer for free.

One of the most entertaining shows of the summer for me came in the form of the second part of the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Released in one go back in April the nine-part season one conclusion continued the dark adventures of teenage half-witch Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) and her family and friends (mortal and witch alike) in the quiet town of Greendale. I like many others, were concerned when the show was initially announced.

Kiernan Shipka (left) & Michelle Gomez (right) bring Satanism to high school. Not the Nickelodeon show you remember watching as a kid. Image:IMDB

I worried it would be a simple re-making of the 90’s Nickelodeon series, which was better left alone. Thankfully we doubters were proven wrong. Filled to the brim with demons, Satanic imagery, high school dramas and evil intentions all brought to life with a script full of genuine teen-angst and self-aware humour, the show was a deep, dark breath of fresh air to combat the summer heat. High school never looked so cool.

So, there you have it, my little rundown of the summers best small screen offerings. Winter may be upon us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a little trip back in time a few months by seeking out these (and some other great) shows you may have missed, and treating yourself to a small piece of this, the new ‘Golden Age of TV.’

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