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A Hollywood parody, a tragicomedy and a Nordic thriller : three art-house TV series not to be missed

 

Taking a break from the current blockbusters (The Crown, The Young Pope), Numéro shares its favourite auteur TV series as 2016 draws to a close…

Norskov (SF Films) : the thriller coming from the cold  

 

A new drama series straight in from the cold, Norskov continues the excellent line of Scandi-noir shows begun with The KillingThe Bridgeand Borgen. Created by Dunja Gry Jensen, it starts out on a fairly classic note – an inspector goes back to his home town – but moves off on an instantly efficient tangent : a unique atmosphere and biting tension has this detective show serving up a chiselled and crystalline narrative chord. Tom Noack, the policeman with no background, goes home to Norskov to fight drug dealers who’ve honed in on the local teenagers and along the way meets up with former friends, lovers and acquaintances : the small community he left behind. Over the course of ten 40-minute episodes, the web of characters is intricately woven and the intrigue so tight you’d think the little town of Norskov represents the whole of Denmark with its issues and cultural peculiarities. An excellent introduction to the world of Nordic noir carried brilliantly by Thomas Levin.

 

 

One Mississippi (Amazon) : the endearing tragicomedy

 

Heir to a movement of autobiographical art-house series including Fleabag and Master of None by American humourist Aziz Ansari, it’s now the turn of stand-up actress Tig Notaro. Inspired by a more gritty, realistic and darker vein, in direct contrast to the feel-good sitcoms a la Friends, the singularity of One Mississippi comes from an intimate storytelling based around illness and grieving. We follow the eponymous character of Tig as she returns to her home town following the unexpected death of her mother, and has to face her own health problems in a daily existence that’s anything but smooth (a family busy imploding and a high maintenance girlfriend…) Concentrated into just six episodes, each one 20-minutes long, she deals pertinently with this particularly sensitive moment in her life by focusing on key moments, sometimes touching, sometimes comic, always authentic. As we watch Tig evolve, it’s hard not to be reminded of Maura Pfefferman inTransparent, where the tragi-comic beauty of that transitioning character was so endearing.

 

 

 

Better Things (FX) : the twisted Hollywood parody

 

After several years of featuring in the American show Californication, it was the 2010 series of Louie – the comedian Louis CK’s eponymous show – where Pamela Adlon was finally able to really show off her acting skills. Six years later her bitingly off-beat role would give birth to the ultra-biographical Better Things. Produced by the brilliant afore-mentioned comedian himself, she exposes the warts-and-all life of a 40-something actress slash single mother-of-three living in Los Angeles. In the same register as One Mississippi but with a less weighty tone, the series delights as its creator’s top notch writing deftly dissects the clichés and crosses of Hollywood with cynicism and a delectable honesty.

 

By Marion Ottaviani

An Oscar-winning actor in the next season of “True Detective”
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An Oscar-winning actor in the next season of “True Detective”

Series Back on HBO next January, True Detective has got an Oscar-winner for its third season. Since 2014 American scriptwriter Nic Pizzolatto has been brilliantly subverting the traditional codes of the police serial into a dark, sticky and anxiety-inducing thriller. Back on HBO next January, True Detective has got an Oscar-winner for its third season. Since 2014 American scriptwriter Nic Pizzolatto has been brilliantly subverting the traditional codes of the police serial into a dark, sticky and anxiety-inducing thriller.

“Disenchantment”: The Simpson’s creator Matt Groening’s bitter failure
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“Disenchantment”: The Simpson’s creator Matt Groening’s bitter failure

Series Disenchantment, Netflix’s latest series by the creator of The Simpsons is, sadly, totally disenchanting. But how did Matt Groening miss the mark so completely? Disenchantment, Netflix’s latest series by the creator of The Simpsons is, sadly, totally disenchanting. But how did Matt Groening miss the mark so completely?

5 must-see series for September
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5 must-see series for September

Series A fantastical escapade between dreams and reality with Emma Stone, a dive into Stephen King’s world of horror with Castle Rock, the crumbling facade of a perfect bourgeois Mexican family in The House of Flowers… Discover five new TV series to keep you entertained this September.   A fantastical escapade between dreams and reality with Emma Stone, a dive into Stephen King’s world of horror with Castle Rock, the crumbling facade of a perfect bourgeois Mexican family in The House of Flowers… Discover five new TV series to keep you entertained this September.  

Jim Carrey, hero of Michel Gondry’s new TV series, “Kidding”
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Jim Carrey, hero of Michel Gondry’s new TV series, “Kidding”

Series In “Kidding”, Jim Carrey slips into the skin of children’s TV show presenter. Fourteen years after “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, the 7th Art’s troublemaker joins forces once more with Michel Gondry for a ten-episode dramatic comedy produced by Showtime. In “Kidding”, Jim Carrey slips into the skin of children’s TV show presenter. Fourteen years after “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, the 7th Art’s troublemaker joins forces once more with Michel Gondry for a ten-episode dramatic comedy produced by Showtime.

Bill Skarsgård is terrifyingly good in Castle Rock, the new series by Stephen King and J. J. Abrams
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Bill Skarsgård is terrifyingly good in Castle Rock, the new series by Stephen King and J. J. Abrams

Series Two years after the science-fiction series 22.11.63, Stephen King and J. J. Abrams are back in cahoots with Castle Rock, a psychological thriller much-anticipated by fans of the American novelist, horror’s true master. Two years after the science-fiction series 22.11.63, Stephen King and J. J. Abrams are back in cahoots with Castle Rock, a psychological thriller much-anticipated by fans of the American novelist, horror’s true master.

What we think of the season two of “The Handmaid‘s Tale”
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What we think of the season two of “The Handmaid‘s Tale”

Series May the series’ fans rest assured: although season two moves on from Margaret Atwood’s novel, it has lost nothing of its intensity. Elisabeth Moss continues to give an impressively nuanced performance, in a Gilead that has lost none of its oppressiveness. May the series’ fans rest assured: although season two moves on from Margaret Atwood’s novel, it has lost nothing of its intensity. Elisabeth Moss continues to give an impressively nuanced performance, in a Gilead that has lost none of its oppressiveness.