The 15 Freshest New Films And TV Shows For Autumn
Mr Matt Smith in “Last Night In Soho” (2021). Photograph by Ms Parisa Taghizadeh, courtesy of Focus Feature
Alas, summer has passed and autumn is officially in session. That of course means the winding down of all our favourite warm-weather activities: al-fresco dining, impromptu barbecues, day trips to the nearest body of water. But, with cinemas finally reopened, there’s also no better time to indulge in some good, old-fashioned escapism.
Traditionally, it’s summer that spells boom time for the box office. But, thanks to the year-long hiccup in film schedules, there’s now a backlog of big-ticket releases to look forward to in autumn instead. First and foremost, let’s talk Bond. No Time To Die, Mr Daniel Craig’s final foray as 007, has been teased more times than a Mr Kanye West album, but finally premieres (we’re told) on 30 September, and will undoubtedly be the cinematic event of the year. Also waiting in the wings is Kingsman prequel The King’s Man, Mr Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and Dune, Mr Denis Villeneuve’s hotly anticipated sci-fi epic.
On the smaller screen, there’s plenty to look forward to as autumn sees the return of several critically acclaimed TV shows – among them spiky Netflix school comedy Sex Education, the final run of Ms Issa Rae’s Insecure and, of course, the could-not-possibly-be-more-hotly-anticipated third season of HBO’s Succession. And if patience is not your strong suit, might we suggest catching up on all the most-talked about shows of the summer – Ted Lasso, The White Lotus and Nine Perfect Strangers – that you may have missed while revelling in your newfound freedom?
Still, amid the glut of delayed releases and returning favourites, it’s highly likely that a few upcoming projects have slipped under your radar. Say, a courtroom drama from the producers of Big Little Lies – this time set among the British political classes. Or a tongue-in-cheek take on the sci-fi blockbuster starring Mr Leonardo DiCaprio. How about the Jay-Z-produced Black Western with a sure-to-be-stellar soundtrack? If all these are sounding strangely unfamiliar, then no need to fret – we’ve rounded up the freshest new TV shows and films coming this autumn to ensure your watchlist never runs dry.
The Harder They Fall
Ms Zazie Beetz and Mr Jonathan Majors in “The Harder They Fall” (2021). Photograph by Mr David Lee, courtesy of Netflix
In an industry that’s taken some flak lately for its reliance on reboots and revivals, Netflix’s The Harder They Fall is about as fresh as they come: a Black-led spin on the often-overlooked Western genre (stars include Messrs Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Lakeith Stanfield and Ms Regina King) from first-time feature-film director Mr Jeymes Samuels. Music buffs in particular should take note – Jay-Z not only serves as a co-producer but has also curated an original soundtrack.
Available on Netflix from 3 November
Last Night In Soho
Conveniently timed for a release over the Halloween weekend, Mr Edgar Wright’s spooky psychological horror follows a young fashion student in London, played by Jojo Rabbit’s Ms Thomasin McKenzie, who is transported back to the Swinging Sixties. There’s a body-swap twist here, too, as McKenzie’s character suddenly embodies the beautiful, Ms Brigitte Bardot-esque singer she’s long idolised (portrayed by the incredibly in-demand Ms Anya Taylor-Joy) – but soon finds that her life is far from glamorous.
In cinemas 29 October
Colin In Black & White
Messrs Amarr M Wooten, Jaden Michael and Mace Coronel in “Colin In Black & White” (2021). Photograph by Mr Ser Baffo, courtesy of Netflix
With a back catalogue that includes such politically charged work as criminal justice documentary 13th and Central Park Five drama When They See Us, powerhouse director Ms Ava DuVernay felt like a natural choice for the first TV project of athlete turned civil-rights icon Mr Colin Kaepernick. However, this six-part series focuses not on the former NFL quarterback’s activism but rather his formative high-school years as the adopted black child of white parents (with Parks and Recreation’s Mr Nick Offerman playing Kaepernick’s dad).
Available on Netflix from 29 October
The Problem With Jon Stewart
The Daily Show’s Mr Jon Stewart follows in the footsteps of fellow late-night veteran Mr David Letterman by migrating from traditional TV to the streaming universe. This autumn, after six years out of the spotlight (bar appearances on the sofas of Daily Show alumni and, on one occasion, in Congress), America’s favourite political satirist returns with a current-affairs series that tackles one pressing topic per episode.
Available on Apple TV+ later this year
The Last Duel
Ms Jodie Comer in “The Last Duel” (2021). Photograph by Mr Patrick Redmond, courtesy of 20th Century Studios
Almost 25 years after making their mark on Hollywood in Good Will Hunting, childhood BFFs Messrs Matt Damon and Ben Affleck team up once again to produce, write and star in a medieval epic about the last legal duel in French history. Sir Ridley Scott has already proven his chops in the historical drama genre with classics such as Gladiator and Robin Hood but more thrilling will be the chance to see Killing Eve’s Ms Jodie Comer swap designer gowns and international espionage for a role as the wife of a Norman knight.
In cinemas 15 October
Before working alongside Ms Frances Dormand in Nomadland, and becoming only the second woman to win the Oscar for the best director in the process, Ms Chloé Zhao was relatively unknown outside of artsy film circles. Now she’s been tasked with big-budget Marvel movie Eternals, which features Ms Gemma Chan and Mr Richard Madden as members of an immortal alien race that must fight to save humanity.
In cinemas 5 November
West Side Story
Mr Ansel Elgort and Ms Rachel Zegler in “West Side Story” (2021). Photograph courtesy of 20th Century Studios
It’s no small feat to adapt one of the best-known musicals of all time for the big screen. Even less so when an earlier adaptation has already racked up 10 Academy Awards. If anyone’s up to the challenge, it’s 17-time Oscar nominee Mr Steven Spielberg, who has handpicked Mr Ansel Elgort (of Baby Driver fame) and newcomer Ms Rachel Zegler to portray forbidden lovers Tony and Maria.
In cinemas 10 December
Don’t Look Up
There’s been no shortage of space-themed blockbusters in the past decade – a fact that director Mr Adam McKay of Vice and The Big Short plays for laughs with this satirical black comedy. The lineup alone suggests a blow-out budget: Mr Leonardo DiCaprio and Ms Jennifer Lawrence play astronomers on a mission to warn the world about an incoming meteor, and are supported by a galaxy of big-name stars including Messrs Jonah Hill and Timothée Chalamet and Mses Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett.
Available on Netflix from 24 December
This Is Going To Hurt
Mr Ben Whishaw in “This Is Going To Hurt“ (2021). Photograph by Ms Anika Molnar, courtesy of BBC Pictures
Most debut authors can only dream of achieving the commercial and critical success of Mr Adam Kay, whose comedic memoirs about his years as junior doctor sold millions of copies, swept up all the literary awards and ignited a nationwide conversation on the NHS. Now, after a lucrative 12-way auction for the TV rights, the game-changing book has been turned into a BBC series of the same name, with Mr Ben Whishaw (AKA Bond’s Q) cast in the leading role.
On BBC One later this year
Anatomy Of A Scandal
A sexual abuse scandal rocks the Westminster elite – and devastates a marriage – in this high-stakes legal drama based on the 2018 novel by Ms Sarah Vaughan. It’s from the creator of Big Little Lies – so expect plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments – and features an impressive roster of British talent, not least Mses Sienna Miller, Naomi Scott and Downton Abbey’s Ms Michelle Dockery.
Available on Netflix later this year
House Of Gucci
Mr Adam Driver and Lady Gaga in “House Of Gucci” (2021). Photograph courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc
After taking on the Gettys in All The Money in the World, Sir Ridley Scott (clearly the busiest man in film these days) turns his attention to another dynasty – this time the family behind one of the world’s most iconic fashion houses. Set in the mid-1990s, House Of Gucci sees Mr Adam Driver play brand chairman Mr Maurizio Gucci, who is killed by a hitman at the request of his glamorous ex-wife (Lady Gaga). Messrs Al Pacino, Jared Leto and Jeremy Irons round out the rest of the Guccis – and look out for Mr Reeve Carney playing a young Mr Tom Ford.
In cinemas 26 November
Tick, Tick… Boom!
Hamilton creator and sextuple threat Mr Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his feature-film directing debut this autumn with an adaptation of Tick, Tick… Boom! starring Mr Andrew Garfield. The semi-autobiographical musical by the late Mr Jonathan Larson is lesser known than his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Rent, but traces a painfully relatable story no less, as a New York-based theatre producer finds himself in the midst of an existential crisis brought about by his impending 30th birthday.
Available on Netflix later this year
Mr Will Poulter in “Dopesick” (2021). Photograph by Mr Antony Platt, courtesy of Hulu
Dopesick is just one of a handful of upcoming projects tackling the US’s opioid crisis. Inspired by the non-fiction book of the same name, and developed by Emmy-winning screenwriter Mr Danny Strong, the limited series explores the deadly epidemic from multiple vantage points: Mr Michael Keaton stars as a doctor determined to take on Big Pharma (personified here by corporate exec Mr Michael Stuhlbarg and sales rep Mr Will Poulter), while Unbelievable’s Ms Kaitlyn Dever plays a young coal miner whose life is destroyed by addiction.
Available on Hulu from 13 October
A fictional Rust Belt town in rural Pennsylvania is the backdrop for this nine-part drama series. The story is based on the 2009 debut novel of Mr Philipp Meyer (whose Pulitzer-finalist second book The Son became a series starring Mr Pierce Brosnan) and sees The Newsroom’s Mr Jeff Daniels play a local police chief facing a difficult decision after a murder.
Available on Showtime from 12 September
The Shrink Next Door
Messrs Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd in “The Shrink Next Door” (2021). Photograph courtesy of Apple TV+
While best-selling novels and long-read exposés are often the source material for many a great screenplay, The Shrink Next Door was born out of a true-crime podcast by journalist Mr Joe Nocera. In this dark comedy adaptation, Mr Paul Rudd plays Dr Ike Herschkopf, a charismatic therapist to the rich and famous – and real-life neighbour to Nocera. Meanwhile, Mr Will Ferrell plays patient Marty Markowitz, whose relationship with the doctor descends into dysfunction.
Available on Apple TV+ from 12 November