Ben Whishaw meets a ‘London Spy’

There is indeed a spy in London Spy (2015) but this BBC mini-series is not a traditional espionage drama. Danny (Ben Whishaw) is a club-culture young gay man with a dreary day job who meets the closeted, emotionally suppressed Alex (Edward Holcroft), a genius with numbers but awkward with people. He’s an investment banker who […]

Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston lead the cast of the mini-series 'The Night Manager'

‘The Night Manager’ – John le Carré on Amazon Prime

The Night Manager (2016), a six-part mini-series from the BBC that played on AMC in the U.S., is a riveting adaptation of the John le Carré’s 1993 novel of illegal arms sales and government complicity and updated from the nineties drug wars on Latin America to the contemporary Middle East of the Arab Spring. Tom […]

David Tennant stars in the British mini-series based on the Alan Furst novel.

‘Spies of Warsaw’ – WWII espionage on Amazon Prime Video

Spies of Warsaw (2013), adapted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais from the novel by Alan Furst, has an almost old-fashioned clarity to it. It’s set in 1937 Poland, and Germany is quietly amassing troops outside the border. David Tennant continued his post-Doctor Who career redefinition playing French military attaché Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, an […]

Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan are 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' in the BBC adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel.

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015), adapted from the dense, richly-woven debut novel by Susanna Clarke, brings a different of approach to fantasy fiction and the idea of magic in the real world. Set in 19th century England, at the start of the Napoleonic Wars, it weaves the tale of two magicians—Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan), […]

‘I Am the Night’ on Hulu and Hoopla

We can thank Wonder Woman for the miniseries I Am the Night. Director Patty Jenkins not only connected with her star, Chris Pine, over the project, but Pine’s interest inspired a new character in the screenplay her husband, Sam Sheridan, was writing. The result is an “inspired by a true story” six-part TV-miniseries as dark and lurid as […]

‘From the Earth to the Moon’ on HBO Now

The history of the American space race is presented in terms both reverential and mortal in From the Earth to the Moon(1998), the sweeping Tom Hanks produced mini-series made for HBO. The debut episode “Can We Do This?,” directed by Hanks, is a quick survey of the birth of the space program from behind the […]

Édgar Ramírez plays Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal, in 'Carlos,' from filmmaker Olivier Assayas

‘Carlos’ – The making of a terrorist superstar on The Criterion Channel

Carlos (2010), Olivier Assayas’ epic account of the life and myth of real-life terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is a mesmerizing portrait of a committed activist who transforms himself into a media-hungry rock star of an international terrorist. Édgar Ramírez plays Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal (a name he appropriates from a Fredrick Forsythe […]

Evan Rachel Wood and Kate Winslet in the 2011 miniseries adaptation of the James M. Cain novel by Todd Haynes

‘Mildred Pierce’ – the miniseries on Prime Video and Max

Mildred Pierce (2011) is less a remake than a new run at adapting the James M. Cain novel. Previously made into a Hollywood classic (which earned Joan Crawford her only Oscar), it’s been transformed into a five-hour mini-series by director Todd Haynes, who cast Kate Winslet in the title role as the mother blindly devoted […]

Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin in a promotional photo for Monty Python's Flying Circus

‘Monty Python: Almost the Truth’ – Comedy history on Netflix

If Monty Python is the comedy world’s equivalent to The Beatles, then the six-part documentary mini-series Monty Python: Almost the Truth (2009) is their Beatles Anthology, an epic of a documentary featuring new interviews with the five surviving Pythons and as many colleagues and friends as the producers could track down. Each episode focuses on […]