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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Moon Knight to Slow Horses: the seven best shows to stream this week | Television & radio

Pick of the week

Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight.
Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight. Photograph: Marvel Studios

Possibly Marvel’s trippiest offering to date, this series stars Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector, a crime-fighting superhero with a number of differences. Marc has dissociative identity disorder and lives his life in a near-constant state of confusion and distress. Who is he? In addition to his sideline in dispensing justice and vengeance, at various points he’s a New York taxi driver, a meek gift shop employee and the representative on Earth of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu (voiced by F Murray Abraham). A heady psychological thriller, realised with pace and invention, and animated by Isaac’s compellingly jittery and tormented central performance.
Disney+, from Wednesday 30 March


Slow Horses

Gary Oldman in Slow Horses.
Gary Oldman in Slow Horses. Photograph: Jack English/Apple

“Only screw-ups get sent to Slough House.” Based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Mick Herron, this six-part thriller is set in the rambling dumping ground of MI5 outcasts no longer in the game. Located in Regent’s Park, Slough House is a dingy realm, patrolled by Jackson Lamb (an enjoyably raddled Gary Oldman), a shambling but brilliant spy presiding over his discredited team. But before long, inevitably, they have a situation on their hands. Can this motley band of fools, gamblers and edge-walkers rise to the occasion? Kristin Scott Thomas, Olivia Cooke and Jonathan Pryce also star.
Apple TV+, from Friday 1 April


Servant of the People

Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

A few months ago, Volodymyr Zelenskiy seemed the flimsy epitome of a populist politician – a former actor and comedian who became president of his country. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown him to be a man of incredible courage and substance. But how was his acting? Netflix is giving us another chance to decide, re-platforming this comedy satire in which Zelenskiy stars as, believe it or not, a teacher who becomes president of Ukraine. It’s solid enough telly on its own terms. The context, though, makes it truly head-spinning.
Netflix, out now


Thermae Romae Novae

Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae. Photograph: Netflix

A manga-style, time-travelling animation comedy-drama about bathhouse architecture? Never let it be said that Netflix doesn’t cater to the niche. This series is adapted from Mari Yamazaki’s original comics – and indeed, Yamazaki has taken care of the composition work here. It tells the story of Lucius (voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda), tasked with building a luxurious bathhouse in ancient Rome but disappearing down a plughole (literally) and finding himself materialising in the spa rooms of both modern and ancient Japan. Inventive and eccentric.
Netflix, from Monday 28 March


Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King

Gerry Cotten.
Gerry Cotten. Photograph: Netflix

“When we think of a criminal mastermind – someone who is devious, calculating and cunning – what we don’t think of is a geeky 24-year-old,” says the narrator of this startling documentary. But in an era of multiple online identities and crypto-scams, geeky 24-year-olds are the apex predators. Gerry Cotten, founder of QuadrigaCX – at one point, Canada’s largest crypto exchange – died in 2018 while travelling in India. He took the company’s passwords – behind which lay a cool $190m in investments – with him to the grave. Or did he?
Netflix, from Wednesday 30 March


Hacks

Jean Smart as Deborah Vance in Hacks.
Jean Smart as Deborah Vance in Hacks. Photograph: AP

They’re naming a street after celebrated Las Vegas comic Deborah Vance and she’s less than impressed: “It’ll probably be a dead end with an abortion clinic on it.” Jean Smart is abrasively fantastic as Vance in this dark comedy-drama – already a big hit in the US – about a manipulative ageing legend forced to work with a younger writer. It’s not an easy relationship, largely because Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder) doesn’t seem to be able to write anything that Vance recognises as a joke. But will any uneasy chemistry emerge?
Amazon Prime Video, from Friday 1 April


Trivia Quest

Trivia Quest.
Trivia Quest. Photograph: Netflix

Hot on the heels of Charlie Brooker’s Cat Burglar, here’s another boundary-pushing interactive venture from Netflix. This one is slightly less knowing than Brooker’s cartoon homage – Trivia Quest is adapted from the mobile phone game Trivia Crack and works as both a multiple-choice quiz game and a virtual adventure. By answering the questions, players will be able to unlock new levels and help cheerful cartoon avatar Willy battle the dastardly Rocky. Wordle-style, there’ll be a new episode every day throughout April.
Netflix, from Friday 1 April

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