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Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey to Outlander: the seven best shows to stream this week | Television & radio

Pick of the week

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

Samuel L Jackson and Dominique Fishback in the Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.
Samuel L Jackson and Dominique Fishback in The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Photograph: Hopper Stone/Apple TV+

As dementia invades Ptolemy Grey’s consciousness, the early stages of this series are a heartbreaking depiction of this cruel illness. His only lifeline is his patient carer Reggie – but when Reggie is killed, Ptolemy is left in the hands of orphaned teenager Robyn. What happened to Reggie? Using treatment that restores his memories to an almost absurd pin-sharpness, Ptolemy is able to scroll back through the events leading to Reggie’s death with unnerving certainty. Based on Walter Mosley’s novel, this drama is part detective story, part muse on memory and what it really means. Samuel L Jackson brings its frail but defiant hero to life with sensitivity.
Apple TV+, from Friday 11 March


Outlander

Sam Heughan and Caitríona Balfe in Outlander.
Sam Heughan and Caitríona Balfe in Outlander. Photograph: AA Film Archive/Alamy

The ludicrous and rakishly enjoyable time-travelling historical epic returns for a sixth season. Caitríona Balfe’s Claire – who, now reaching her 60s, should be enjoying a relaxed married life in 18th-century North Carolina with Jamie (Sam Heughan) – knows all too well about the impending revolutionary war (she is from the future). And a ghost from Jamie’s past returns to add to these anxieties. What lies ahead for the trouble-magnet pair? Certainly plenty of sex – this show is unapologetically libidinous – but also, tentative steps to establishing a society that may or may not be doomed to fail.
Starzplay, from Sunday 6 March


Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty.
Rick and Morty. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

The smart, inventive and occasionally bewildering sci-fi cartoon – which feels, in its more psychedelic moments, like Futurama reimagined by George Saunders – returns with more space-time continuum-mangling action. Expect adventures in mind transference, journeys into parallel universes, the destruction of the US constitution and a ton of pop-culture references as our ill-matched but lovable heroes (Rick is a misanthropic alcoholic scientist, Morty is his awkward, anxious grandson) continue to traverse space.
Netflix, from Sunday 6 March


Queer Eye: Germany

Queer Eye: Germany.
Queer Eye: Germany. Photograph: Netflix

The cheering life transformation show gets its first ever international spin-off as a brand new Fab Five take the shy, the scruffy, the stuck and the forlorn and add some spice to their lives. This time, the lucky recipients of the quintet’s attention will be in Germany. Get ready to meet work-life coach Leni Bolt, fashion expert Jan-Henrik Scheper-Stuke, beauty guru David Jakobs, nutrition and health don Aljosha Muttardi and design king Ayan Yuruk. The formula remains the same: tough love, heartfelt encouragement, a few tears and charm to burn.
Netflix, from Wednesday 9 March


The Andy Warhol Diaries

The Andy Warhol Diaries.
The Andy Warhol Diaries. Photograph: Andy Warhol Foundation/Courtesy of Netflix

This striking six-part series by Ryan Murphy is notable for using AI to render diary readings in an approximation of Warhol’s voice. Given his fascination with notions of authenticity and uniqueness – along with his notorious emotional distance – Warhol himself would surely have approved. The picture that emerges is enigmatic and none the worse for it. Warhol was clearly both a beloved figure and a troubled one. “I’m just a freak,” he says, disarmingly. “I wasn’t very close to anyone.” This might be the closest we ever manage to get to the man himself.
Netflix, from Wednesday 9 March


The Snoopy Show

The Snoopy Show.
The Snoopy Show. Photograph: AP

This reboot of the Charles M Schulz cartoon is both instantly recognisable and significantly tweaked. The animations are incredibly faithful to both the original strips and the first TV renderings. But the narratives foreground Snoopy and his avian pal Woodstock ahead of the human characters (the clue is in the title, really). This points the show more in the direction of children – the melancholic, gently philosophical edge of the originals is largely absent here. It’s nicely realised but slightly less than the sum of its parts.
Apple TV+, from Friday 11 March


Life After Death With Tyler Henry

Life After Death With Tyler Henry.
Life After Death With Tyler Henry. Photograph: Netflix

Depending on your point of view, this show will either be a revelatory and moving journey through the afterlife, or an offensive and borderline dangerous exercise in manipulating the emotionally vulnerable. Henry is best known as the medium who gave a reading to one of the Kardashian sisters in Keeping Up With the Kardashians. He parlayed that encounter into a series (Hollywood Medium) and now in this latest venture where he investigates the spiritual affairs of ordinary Americans. Dubious in the extreme, but not without a guilty fascination.
Netflix, from Friday 11 March

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