November’s best TV is ruled by two queens, randy royals, political intrigue and Oscar bait. Oh, and Emma Thompson and Jennifer Aniston.
The Crown (Netflix, November 17)
Part history lesson, part sophisticated soap opera, the third season of the award-winning drama tracking the reign of Queen Elizabeth II sees Olivia Colman (Fleabag, The Favourite) succeeding Claire Foy as the monarch. The third and fourth series will span the years 1964 to 1976, with Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Helena Bonham Carter playing Princess Margaret and Gillian Anderson making an appearance as former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
The Irishman (Netflix, November 27)
Martin Scorsese’s three-hour organised crime epic – with a reported $230 million budget – stars his nine-time collaborator Robert De Niro as hitman Frank Sheeran, Al Pacino as vanished Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa, and Joe Pesci as underworld kingpin Russell Bufalino. “It’s very special that we got it made,” the 76-year-old filmmaker told Entertainment Weekly. “What’s special about it is that everything in our hearts was put into it at this stage of our lives.” The film will have a limited cinematic release on November 7 before its streaming debut, which qualifies it for awards consideration.
Catherine the Great (Fox Showcase, November 3)
The lavish four-part series stars Helen Mirren as the power-hungry 18th-century Russian empress who famously overthrew her husband to take the throne. It follows the end of her reign as she ruled the empire, fought to keep her crown and struck a passionate relationship with Grigory Potemkin (played by Australia’s Jason Clarke). Richard Roxburgh also stars as Count Grigory Orlov.
On Becoming a God in Central Florida (SBS, November 21)
Kirsten Dunst stars as a 1990s water park employee who schemes her way up the ranks of the pyramid scheme that drove her to ruin in the first place. The 10-part, critically-acclaimed dark comedy is a bonkers satire about the pursuit of the American dream and co-stars Alexander Skarsgard.
Years & Years (SBS, November 6)
The much-acclaimed UK drama series created by Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk, A Very English Scandal) tracks the rise of an outspoken celebrity-turned populist politician (played by Emma Thompson) and follows an ordinary family through the next 15 years of fictionalised current affairs and societal shifts. “History and society seem to be mad at the moment; it seems to be quite a fevered time,” Davies told Radio Times.com of the series. “It’s got a lot to say about the world, but it’s also a family saga. It’s not a great big political diatribe.”
The King (Netflix, November 1)
Australian director David Michôd’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henriad plays – Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II, and Henry V – stars Timothée Chalamet as the wayward heir to the English throne who’s ultimately crowned King Henry V in the wake of the death of his father (Ben Mendelsohn). Joel Edgerton co-wrote the film’s script with Michôd and also co-stars along with Robert Pattinson.
The Morning Show (Apple +, November 2)
One of the most A-list offerings of Apple’s new streaming service, the 10-episode series offers a dramatic look behind the scenes of breakfast television via a star-heavy cast featuring Jennifer Aniston – in her first regular TV role since Friends ended in 2004 – Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup.
His Dark Materials (Fox Showcase, November 5)
An edgy, effects-heavy, family-friendly adaptation of Philip Pullman’s beloved fantasy book trilogy starring Logan’s Dafne Keen as Lyra, a 12-year-old orphan on a multi-universe odyssey. British dramatist Jack Thorne, who also created the Harry Potter stage sequel The Cursed Child, worked closely with Pullman to “serve the books as faithfully as I possibly can,” he told UK’s The Independent. Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy and Lin Manuel-Miranda also star.
Silent No More (ABC, November 25)
Tracey Spicer fronts a three-part series about Australia’s response to the ‘MeToo’ movement, sharing the stories of survivors of sexual harassment and exploring solutions to systemic issues. In October 2017 the Australian journalist put out a social media call for accounts from victims and was overwhelmed by the reaction. “I expected about 12 to 14 responses,” she told News Corp. “Not thousands.”
The Report (Amazon Prime Video, November 29)
Star Wars baddie Adam Driver plays a Senate staffer who, with his boss Senator Dianne Feinstein (played by Annette Bening), uncovers government secrets about the CIA’s use of torture post 9/11. Jon Hamm also stars in the movie, out in select cinemas on November 14, that is being touted as a likely awards contender. Driver is also garnering Oscar buzz for Marriage Story (which will also set to screen in selected cinemas from November 14) and starts streaming on Netflix from December 6.