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1/1 and 1/1
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Some semblance of order should return to the world of arts and entertainment as we crawl, blinking, out of our homes into a vaccine-enabled version of normalcy. Here are 21 reasons for looking forward to 2021 with that in mind, and with the normal caveats.
Line Of Responsibility
The pandemic affected filming of the sixth season of the BBC’s blockbuster drama about a police corruption battle. They’re done now, but it won’t be long until we’re gripped again by major (is Adrian Dunbar’s superintendent Ted Hastings really H, the team’s criminal mastermind has been chasing for years) and tiny (why does the Cockney accent of Martin Compston never slip?) queries. Kelly Macdonald as DCI Joanne Davidson is the highlight of this season. Date-limit: March.
Behind the Eyes of Her.
Partly shot in Scotland and based on Sarah Pinborough’s best-selling novel, this Netflix series tells the story of single mother Louise (Simona Brown) and the sinister love triangle between her, her new boss David (Tom Bateman), a psychiatrist, and David’s enigmatic wife Adele (Eve Hewson, daughter of U2 frontman Bono). The series was produced by Steve Lightfoot, a British-born director, whose credits include The Punisher by Hannibal (for NBC) and Netflix. Pinborough has given it a thumbs up already, so things look fine. Date-limit: February.
This slow plunge into the world of the Sicilian mafia will be enjoyed by fans of Italian crime dramas like Gomorrah and the masterful film The Traitor (2019) by Marco Bellocchio. Francesco Montanari stars as Severio Barone, an arrogant and ambitious young prosecutor who takes on mafia boss Leoluca Bagarella (David Coco) following his release from jail, based on the memoirs of Judge Alfonso Sabella, who put 300 mobsters behind bars in a series of trials in the 1990s and was dubbed ‘The Traitor.’ The scriptwriters explain incidents on both sides of the divide, stressing the fact that there is a lot in common between the police and the suspects and adding a touch of The Wire to the proceedings. The Hunters airs as part of the ongoing Walter Presents series of premium European dramas from Channel 4. Date: In April.
This gritty French police procedural, along with The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen, has proven to be the most reliable and convincing of BBC Four’s European imports, and now returns for a welcome eighth (and, they say, final) season. After last season’s antics, Brawny cop Gilou (Thierry Godard) faces jail, dedicated boss Laure (Caroline Proust) is up to her neck in the same internal investigations, and a new judge, Lucie Bourdieuu, has replaced Judge Roban (Clara Bonnet). Time limit: January 2.
Into Anne Boleyn
Slow but steady is the trickle of respectable Channel 5 dramas. This new production about the most successful wife of Henry VIII seems to continue the theme. Thanks to casting black actress Jodie Turner Smith in the lead role, the channel not only promises a feminist reading of Anne’s story, but it also has the right-wing press in a tizzy. Lynsey Miller, who directed the Channel 4 psychological thriller Deadwater Dropped, directs the three-parter. The co-stars of Turner Smith include Paapa Essiedu of the BBC hit I Can Kill You and Jamael Westman, who appeared in Hamilton’s London stage version. Tbc. Date: tbc.
About Lana Del Rey
We have a title – Chemtrails Over The Country Club – and there is already a single, Let Me Love You Like A Woman, released last October. But beyond that, the American chanteuse is keeping mum about her seventh studio album, the follow-up to 2019’s Grammy Award-nominated Norman F*****g Rockwell! Del Rey posted a snippet of another song, Tulsa Jesus Freak, on her Instagram account, but aside from those two and the title track, it’s a guessing game. All that is certain is that Chemtrails Over The Country Club will be one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2021. Date: March.
“It’s about hopelessness and darkness. But in a fun way.” So says Aidan Moffat of cult Falkirk duo Arab Strap about As Days Get Dark, the band’s first studio album since 2005’s The Last Romance, which reunites Moffat and bandmate Malcolm Middleton after a decade in which both pursued successful solo careers – Moffat released a poes