Not Carrie
Not Carrie

TV series you’ve been waiting for is finally here

No matter what your poison is, there's something for you this week.

Horror? Yes please. Cheesy drama? Check. Spy thriller? Definitely. Aussie quiz show? Got you covered.

It's a cornucopia of TV choices, so cancel your plans and forget about seeing your friends ever again - (which is fine, because they'll just want to talk about their kids anyway and who needs that?).


(Fox Showcase on Foxtel - Monday, November 12 at 8.30pm, then Foxtel Now)

Scream queen Jane Levy
Scream queen Jane Levy

Aussie horror fans have been clamouring for Castle Rock since it dropped in the United States in July. Well, it's finally (finally!) here.

The 10-part horror anthology series is based on Stephen King's characters and settings and all takes place in or near Castle Rock, Maine, the epicentre of much otherworldly goings-on - King produces alongside J.J. Abrams and five others.

Andre Holland plays a criminal lawyer who vanished and reappeared under mysterious circumstances while Bill Skarsgard plays an inmate at Shawshank Penitentiary. Jane Levy plays a character who is the niece of Jack Torrance (from The Shining).

Skarsgard, of course, was Pennywise in last year's IT and Sissy Spacek features as someone who is definitely not Carrie.

There are obvious references to King's creations over the years but there are also many deep-cut Easter eggs for the diehard fan. Chilling.


(Netflix - Friday, November 16 from 7pm AEDT)


Anyone who tells you they don't like dogs have no place in your life. These adorable pooches aren't just good for cuddles and playtime, they fill a place in your soul that nothing else quite can.

Netflix is counting on exactly that kind of doggo devotion with this globetrotting docuseries that celebrates the deep, loving relationship between humans and canines. Each of the six episodes are set in a different place - the US, Costa Rica, Berlin, Lake Como, Japan, New York - and about different people.

In the first episode, a young girl with epilepsy meets her first service dog, a pupper named Rory who will be able to detect a seizure and alert other people. Another story centres on a Syrian refugee named Ayham who is desperate to be reunited with his husky, Zeus.

Helmed by Oscar-nominated documentary makers, these simple stories of the salvation and joy dogs bring to us, Dogs is exactly the kind of series that will make you happy in a dark world.


(BBC First on Foxtel and Fetch - Wednesday, November 14 at 8.30pm)

They really, really loved mustard fabrics in the ’70s
They really, really loved mustard fabrics in the ’70s

After the runaway success of The Night Manager, it's no surprise its producers turned to another John Le Carre novel, The Little Drummer Girl, for its next project. It's a star-studded production with headlining.

Set in the late-1970s, the story follows an Israeli spy boss (Shannon), who in his zeal to stop a Palestinian terrorist named Khalil from bombing more Jewish targets across Europe, concocts an undercover mission.

He recruits a young, radical English actor named Charlie (Pugh) to infiltrate Khalil's network in a dangerous operation run by Gadi (Skarsgard).

A pulsating espionage thriller, the miniseries was directed by Park Chan-wook with superlative production values, tight plotting and great performances.


(Netflix - Friday, November 16 from 7pm AEDT)

Graceless and Frank
Graceless and Frank

In a huge departure from the canned laughter sitcoms he's known for, producer Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men), The Kominsky Method could be described as more a drama with comedic elements. It's also a single-cam production instead of the multi-cam studio set-up Lorre usually traffics in.

Starring Michael Douglas, whose star power and screen presence you just cannot deny, and Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method is a treatise on ageing, relevance and the restorative power of lifelong friendships.

The shows starts off a bit slow and there are too many tedious scenes with Douglas' character Sandy, who's an acting coach, teaching his students. But there's a heart to it and its relationships, especially between Sandy and Norman (Arkin), his friend and agent.


(Netflix - Friday, November 16 from 7pm AEDT)

There hasn’t been a more Coen-y frame as this one
There hasn’t been a more Coen-y frame as this one

When The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was originally conceived, it was announced as the Coen brothers' foray into TV - and why not, everyone else is doing it - a six-part anthology miniseries. But when it was finally finished, it had been retooled as a movie.

Now an anthology of six short films, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a series of tales from the American frontier (the Coens do love a western). One of the stories is about a "sharpshooting songster" while another features Tom Waits as a gold prospector.

The film stars frequent Coens collaborator Tim Blake Nelson as the eponymous character, alongside Liam Neeson, Stephen Root, Zoe Kazan, Brendan Gleeson, Tyne Daly, David Krumholtz, Saul Rubinek and James Franco.


(SBS - Monday, November 12 at 7.30pm, then SBS On Demand)

These kids are definitely smarter than you
These kids are definitely smarter than you

In a world where ignorance reigns, it's kind of great that some people still value knowledge, even if they're kids - or maybe especially because they're kids. Sure, most adults would find a precocious child genius annoying or threatening but they're also kind of inspiring.

SBS's new "quiz show" isn't like a game show you'd find on one of the commercial networks - it tries to foster camaraderie and not just cutthroat competition - when you consider that the contestants are seven- to 12-year-olds, pitting them against each other could turn into bullying, fast.

Hosted by Susan Carland, the show is seeking to crown Australia's brightest child from a field of maths whizzes, lateral thinkers, a kid who skipped three grades and a 10-year-old who was admitted into Mensa at age two.


(Channel 10 - Wednesday, November 14 at 9.30pm, then on 10 Play)

A sentimental American drama is exactly what some viewers want
A sentimental American drama is exactly what some viewers want

When This Is Us became a ratings barnstormer, American networks rushed to create TV shows with similar vibes if not stories, hoping to tap into that weepy, "heartwarming" space that many audiences craved - think The Good Doctor and God Friended Me.

That should give you an idea of what you're in for with A Million Little Things, a one-hour drama about a group of men who became friends a decade earlier after being stuck in a lift together. When one of them inexplicably takes their own life, with no warning, they're thrown back together to try and make sense of the tragedy.

While it's tagged as a family drama, it's more about friendships and relationships between men. A Million Little Things stars James Roday (Psych), Romany Malco (Weeds), Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) and David Giuntoli (Grimm).


(ABC - Tuesday, November 13 at 8.30pm, then iview)

The final part to a crime mystery
The final part to a crime mystery

In 1978, teenager Trudie Adams disappeared after she told her mum she was going to a dance at the Newport Surf Club. She never made it home and her body was never found.

In the months leading up to Trudie's disappearance, the bush near Barrenjoey Road, an area a former ranger calls the "devil's playground", saw an escalation of violence and sexual assault.

This probing three-part crime finishes this week with its final instalment, in which new evidence will be uncovered and follow leads that lead investigative journalists Ruby Jones and Neil Mercer to the world of organised crime.

Share your TV and movies obsessions: @wenleima

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