As the nights start to draw in, it will be up to the likes of Netflix to provide that lazy autumn entertainment. Here’s our pick of what’s coming up on the streaming service over the next few months:
Bruised, 24 November
Two decades on from her star turn as a Bond Girl in Die Another Day, Halle Berry makes her debut in the director’s seat with her first feature film. Bruised tells the story of a scandalised cage fighter on a mission to restore her name and rebuild a relationship with the son she abandoned years earlier. Not content with just calling the shots, Berry also stars in the film too: managing to break two ribs in the process. Last year, she told one interviewer she had been pushing through the pain to get the project finished on time. In November, we’ll see whether the hard work paid off.
Worth, 3 September
Just in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Michael Keaton steps into the shoes of Kenneth Feinberg: the celebrated lawyer who was tasked - not without controversy - with devising the fairest possible compensation scheme for its victims. Hollywood screenwriter Michael Borenstein’s script begins in the early aftermath of the tragedy, where Feinberg’s initial moves become the subject of angry barbs from bereaved families feeling let down by the process. Stanley Tucci plays Charles Wolf, the doughty campaigner who became one of Feinberg’s toughest critics.
Red Notice, 12 November
With a reported budget of more than $200m - just under half of the record set by the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film in 2011 - Red Notice looks set to be Netflix’s most expensive original film to date. After a bumper year for the streaming giant, the cost might not look so daunting - but will it prove to be a savvy investment? It certainly sounds like a lot of fun, with Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot starring as two legendary con artists, while blockbuster overlord (and former WWE People’s Champion) Dwayne Johnson takes top billing as the wily Interpol agent on their collective tails.
The Chair, 20 August
It’s not just students who will be returning to university this autumn, as Netflix heads to campus with The Chair: a clever and savvy comedy about a newly-appointed university chair who finds herself at the mercy of one of America’s most notorious bureaucracies. Sandra Oh (Killing Eve, Gray’s Anatomy) stars as the woman in question - Dr Ji-Yoon Kim. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss are amongst the executive team - this time bringing us a less gory but similarly ruthless power-struggle.
Diana, 1 October
Given the runaway success of The Crown - considered, by some analysts, to be Netflix’s most lucrative show - you can understand why the powers that be have decided to snap up the filming rights to Diana: a Broadway musical about a woman who continues to be a topic of cultural fixation over in the US. But how will it go down on this side of the pond? The angry backlash directed at The Prince - an irreverent cartoon comedy about an egomaniac Prince George - has shown what happens when networks fall foul of British sensibilities towards the monarchy. Will Diana prove to be a hit, or another furious spat in the all-consuming culture war?
Seinfeld, TBD (September)
The enduring lockdowns of 2020 mean that, when it comes to new originals, Netflix might not be as bountiful as you might otherwise hope at this time of year. It’s frustrating, yes, but it isn’t the end of the world - at least not when they’re adding legendary sitcoms like Seinfeld to make up for it. All nine seasons of the iconic comedy are expected to land on Netflix - in September, if rumours are to be believed - bringing the offbeat and irresistible humour of Larry David and Jerry Seinfield to a whole new generation. Comedy fans should keep their fingers crossed that Larry David’s other masterpiece, Curb Your Enthusiasm, joins it before long.
Sex Education, 17 September
After two seasons, cult comedy Sex Education has emerged as a bit of a sleeper hit for Netflix - and for its star Gillian Anderson (now following her character by describing herself on Twitter as a ‘shag specialist’). The series synopsis - much of which will make no sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the previous outings - gives an idea what to expect: promising, as it does, plots revolving around feminist conversions, commitment animals, alien phenomena, vulva cupcakes and even some extraterrestrial appearances to boot. Anglo-American actress Jemima Kirke plays the new headmistress - a bit of a jump from her long-running role as one of Lena Dunham’s pals in Girls.
You, TBD (October)
For all of its highbrow hits and peachy cinematography (a la Better Call Saul), Netflix has pumped out its fair share of brain-dead crowd-pleasers over the years too - and none more so than You. The ultra-stylised psychological thriller (whose effortlessly glamorous cast make even American Psycho look rather drab by comparison) has now spun two seasons’ worth of unashamed melodrama, and returns for a third this autumn. The show might have meandered somewhat from its opening premise, but still manages to be very watchable - even if the whole stalking thing still feels more than a little icky.