Choice of the week
The old man
Life almost surpassed art during the production of this series: in a fitting reminder of the fragility of the advancing years, its star Jeff Bridges nearly died from a combination of cancer and Covid. This makes his performance all the more remarkable in this physically intense affair. Dan Chase (Bridges) is shaken from his solitary, meditative retirement by angry ghosts of his past life as a CIA agent and is forced to fight for his survival. Thomas Perry’s adaptation of the novel feels awkward at times, but is underpinned by Bridges’ fascinating blend of stillness and sudden, rapid, deadly movement. John Lithgow’s reliable presence as Chase’s FBI nemesis doesn’t hurt either.
Disney+, from Wednesday September 28
“We’re just wounded men here,” says Gogo (Ezra Elliott). But casualties are on the loose – and this crime drama set in London explores collateral damage. In terms of subject matter, Top Boy is probably the closest comparison to Jungle. As well as exploring the politics of power, the series deals with the emotional toll of living on the edge. When a robbery goes wrong, Gogo and his accomplice Slim (RA) face a series of accounts. But is trust possible in this brutal world? The story is told partly through rap and drill music, and there is a real threat in this dark but neon-lit world.
Prime Video, starting Friday, September 30
Thai Cave Rescue
In 2018, the teenagers of the Wild Boars football team (and their adult coach) found themselves trapped by bad weather and rising waters in one of the most dangerous cave systems on Earth, Tham Luang Non en Thailand. What followed was a race against time that ultimately involved volunteers and expert divers from around the world. The story itself is remarkable enough that some aspects of this dramatized tale seem unnecessarily melodramatic, but the claustrophobia and anxiety of the team’s ordeal are indeed realized.
Netflix, now available
Rise of billionaires
A timely series covering the era when American entrepreneurs transformed from online pioneers with slogans such as “Don’t be mean” to the modern equivalent of Bond villains. Inevitably, we start with Jeff Bezos, a former Wall Street analyst who, while crunching the numbers around a cutting-edge innovation called the “Internet,” had a big idea. And so we begin: the launch of a parade of self-satisfied and terribly ambitious alpha-geeks. The following episodes cover the people behind Google, Facebook and Tesla.
Paramount+, starting Tuesday, September 27
Axel Milberg’s downbeat German sleuth returns for a third season of a well-constructed, patiently unfolding – albeit slightly generic – crime drama. As we return to the port of Kiel, Borowski is about to make some discoveries that will almost certainly make it even more haunted and spooky – a letter from his goddaughter Grete reveals dark family secrets. The separation was due to the disappearance of Grete’s mother, but new information suggests her husband may be responsible for her death.
All 4, from Friday 30 September
This animated special conceived by Kid Cudi as a visual accompaniment to his new album (released the same day) is a contemporary twist on a familiar theme: finding love in the city. Jabari is a young artist who befriends his neighbor Meadow at a party. But with career demands coming together and a succession of friends giving them less than helpful relationship advice, will the pair find room for each other? It’s well-directed and comes with a star-studded voice cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Jessica Williams, and Cudi himself.
Netflix, starting Friday, September 30
Queer for fear
“Queer people are seen as outside of society,” says comedian Lea DeLaria, “and horror is outside of society.” This entertaining and illuminating series sees horror through an LGBTQ+ lens (being “the monster in the room”) and delivers compelling alternate history from an oft maligned genre that tellingly often makes its case via the concealment, transformation and allegory. The series begins with Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and FW Murnau’s queer coded Nosferatu, before moving on to modern classics.
Frisson, from Friday, September 30