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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Severance to Jeen-yuhs: the seven best shows to stream this week | Television & radio

Pick of the week


Adam Scott in Severance.
Adam Scott in Severance. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/Apple TV+

“Am I livestock?” It’s a dramatic question being asked by a woman who has just awoken, face down on a conference table with no idea of her own name. This moody thriller takes the issue of work-life balance and goes full Black Mirror with it. The employees who haunt the backlit, featureless corridors of Lumon Industries have undergone a procedure to separate their consciousness of work and personal lives. The result is obliteration but, arguably, a sort of freedom too. It’s a haunting, Kafkaesque affair, with Adam Scott starring as Mark Scout – an employee who finds himself entangled in the mystery at the heart of the company.
Apple TV+, from Friday 18 February

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Photograph: Christopher Saunders/Amazon Prime Video

Some people felt that season three of this debonair comedy suffered for leaving New York and setting off on tour. But as we rejoin Midge (Rachel Brosnahan), her gig with Shy Baldwin has careered off the rails and she’s back to square one. Possibly worse than square one, in fact, since her manager Susie (Alex Borstein) has gambled away their money. There’s a wonderful set piece on a Coney Island ferris wheel during which Midge’s problems are loudly itemised, but part of the delight of this show is its breezy insouciance: Midge is sufficiently talented and self-possessed to stroll out of the tightest of spots.
Amazon Prime Video, from Friday 18 February


Jabari Banks as Will and Jordan L. Jones as Jazz in Bel-Air.
Jabari Banks as Will and Jordan L. Jones as Jazz in Bel-Air. Photograph: Peacock

Is it possible to imagine anyone other than Will Smith as Will Smith? We’re about to find out as this reboot of the anticipated 90s comedy drops. This time, the tone is radically different; Will’s life is distinctly less happy-go-lucky as we learn why he relocated from Philly to Cali. It is, at heart, a tale of class, racism and systemic inequality as the beefs of Will’s past threaten to cloud his new, gated, pristine life. Decidedly less fun than the original series, then. Newcomer Jabari Banks is the man with the task of bringing Will back to life.
Peacock on Sky, from Monday 14 February

I Am Shauna Rae

I am Shauna Rae.
I am Shauna Rae. Photograph: Discovery

After chemotherapy for childhood cancer, Shauna Rae went into remission, but it had a side-effect. The treatment disabled her pituitary gland and she stopped growing. Now, she’s a 22-year-old woman stuck in an eight-year-old’s body. This startling series tracks her attempts to navigate young adulthood. It’s hard not to smile at certain incidents – particularly at the double-takes Shauna receives in bars and tattoo parlours. But being taken seriously – professionally and romantically – is a constant battle. Happily, it’s one she seems well-equipped to fight.
Discovery+, from Monday 14 February

Marvel Studios: Assembled – The Making of Eternals

Richard Madden and director Chloé Zhao on the set of Eternals.
Richard Madden and director Chloé Zhao on the set of Eternals. Photograph: Sophie Mutevelian/Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has now extended to the very meta exercise of making documentaries about the film-making process. It’s essentially that DVD staple, the bonus feature, repurposed for the content-hungry world of streaming to help meet fans’ insatiable appetite for extra content. Chloé Zhao’s 2021 film itself was lauded more for its production values than its complexity or nuance, so getting some insight into the behind-the-scenes details of such a gargantuan undertaking is bound to be fascinating.
Disney+, from Wednesday 16 February


Kanye West in Jeen-Yuhs.
Kanye West in Jeen-Yuhs. Photograph: Netflix

Documentaries about creative lives tend to be at their best during the thrilling formative years; the ascent, the flowering, the will to power. This is doubly the case in a three-part series tracking Kanye West from nerdy, wildly talented college dropout with a backpack full of beats to creatively stalled Maga cap-wearing provocateur. It’s immediately clear that West’s life has been documented exhaustively and there’s a thrilling intimacy to the early stages of the documentary, which are an essential, warts-and-all evocation of the megastar as a young man.
Netflix, from Wednesday 16 February

The Cuphead Show!

The Cuphead Show!
The Cuphead Show! Photograph: Netflix

Based on the video game Cuphead, this animation feels a natural fit for narrative development. It’s probably because the game itself is a curiously retro-styled affair whose aesthetic harks back to the first “golden age” of American animation with its cartoons from the Fleischer and Disney studios. As such, the quirky, sometimes charming stories – which follow the adventures of the mildly volatile Cuphead and his more measured brother Mugman – might very well have as much appeal to nostalgic adults as to their young offspring.
Netflix, from Friday 18 February

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