The best TV for January includes a spooky Australian drama, Josh Thomas’ latest, vampires, a Jason Bourne spin off and the return of Larry David after three long years.
The Gloaming (Jan. 1, Stan)
Emma Booth (Glitch) and Ewen Leslie (The Cry) star as detectives and former lovers whose investigation into the brutal murder of an unidentified woman throws up mysterious links to a decades old unsolved crime. The eight-part, big-budget Tasmanian gothic drama comes from the mind of showrunner Victoria Madden, co-creator of the acclaimed – and seriously spooky º mini-series The Kettering Incident.
The Outsider (Jan. 13, Foxtel)
Keep the creepy times coming with this 10-episode drama based Stephen King’s best-selling 2018 novel. The story follows an investigation into the grisly murder of an 11-year-old boy that turns supernatural as inexplicable coincidences and contradictions start stacking up. The Night Of and The Wire writer Richard Price adapted the screenplay for the series starring Jason Bateman (who also directed the first two episodes), Aussie Ben Mendelsohn and Tony winner Cynthia Erivo. “The Outsider is one of the best adaptations of my work,” Stephen King tweeted when the show’s spine-chilling trailer first dropped. “Hope you’ll watch it.”
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 10 (Jan. 20, Foxtel)
Playing a fictionalised version of himself, Seinfeld co-creator Larry David has delivered laughs and unease for almost two decades. His heavily improvised comedy masterpiece centres around his cringe-inducing mismanagement of daily minutiae, and the awkwardness and agitation that ensues. The latest set of episodes, which feature guest appearances by Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm and Jane Krakowski, arrive almost three years after its last season which only returned after a six-year break. Worth the wait.
Avenue 5 (Jan. 21, Foxtel)
Armando Iannucci, creator of the newly departed Emmy-dominating political satire Veep, has created an ambitious new sci-fi comedy about space tourism set 40 years in the future. The internet is calling it The Love Boat meets Star Trek and the trailer promises pithy dialogue with an absurdist bent from a killer comedy cast including Hugh Laurie, Josh Gad and Silicon Valley standout Zach Woods.
Messiah (Jan. 1, Netflix)
What if God was one of us? Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey executive produce a suspense drama chronicling the world’s reaction to a man claiming to be the son of God. The series created by Michael Petroni (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) explores themes of religion, faith, politics and truth in a social media age. The spiritual thriller stars Michelle Monaghan, Mehdi Dehbi and John Ortiz.
True History of the Kelly Gang (Jan. 26, Stan)
Critics adored director Justin Kurzel’s highly-stylised, punk-rock take on the life of Australia’s most famous outlaw when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Variety described it as having “moves like Jagger, but a head still teeming with language and history.” The fierce and flamboyant film – scripted by Snowton collaborator Shaun Grant – is inspired by Peter Carey’s 2000 novel of the same name and stars George Mackay, Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult and Charlie Hunnam.
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Jan. 17, Stan)
Australian writer-actor-comedian Josh Thomas, best known for his critically acclaimed and cult favourite series Please Be Like Me, is back with a California-set 10-part offbeat dramedy. This time, he plays a neurotic twenty-something who after his dad’s death steps up as a father-figure to raise his two teenage half-sisters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum (played by actress Kayla Cromer, who is actually on the spectrum).
Little America (Jan. 17, Apple TV+)
Inspired by the true stories featured in Epic magazine about immigrants in America, the eight-part heartfelt comedy anthology is written and executive produced by Lee Eisenberg, whose credits include The Office and this year’s raunchy comedy Good Boys. “In a time where there is so much divisiveness, it felt important to not only tell these real stories with all the warmth and humanity they deserve,” he said in a statement. The Big Sick duo Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon are co-executive producers.
Dracula (Jan. 4, Netflix)
Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffatt turn their adaptation imaginations to a comedically gothic – and gory – take on Bram Stoker’s 1897 story about a Transylvanian vampire on the hunt for new blood. The three-part series stars Danish actor Claes Bang.
Treadstone (Jan. 10, Amazon Prime)
Fans of the Bourne movie franchise will recall that Operation Treadstone was the covert program which trained CIA agent Jason Bourne to become an almost superhuman assassin. This spin-off is set in that world, sadly sans Matt Damon, and explores the origin story and ongoing actions of the black ops program, following sleeper agents across the globe as they’re awakened to resume their deadly missions.
Enjoy the first small screen pleasures of 2020!