It’s a big week of series premieres in the world of TV and streaming – the majority landing just in time for the weekend, too. Most notable, perhaps, is the new Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV reboot, but there’s also teen murder mystery One Of Us Is Lying, madcap video game adaptation The Cuphead Show and the fourth season of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel to look forward to. More on those, and what else you should be watching, in our TV and streaming guide for the week of Mon 14 – Sun 20 February.
Bel-Air, Series Premiere
Now this is a story all about how one of the best-loved sitcoms of the 90s was rebooted for the modern age. Following the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special that brought the original cast back together – even the original Aunt Viv -, new TV show Bel-Air resurrects the Quincy Jones-produced series with an all-new one, and more serious in tone. In fact, it’s described as a “dramatisation” of the first show, complete with all the same characters – including Will Smith, no longer played by the Will Smith but by Jabari Banks instead. Bel-Air also has a more interesting origin than just another corporate exercise in nostalgia cash-grabbing: beginning life as a fan film on YouTube, earning praise from Smith (the actor) and sparking a bidding war for the rights to a series, eventually won by Peacock. The first three episodes of Bel-Air have earned mostly positive reviews, indicating potential for growth.
Bel-Air begins airing Mon 14 Feb on Peacock, available via Sky and NOWTV.
One Of Us Is Lying, Series Premiere
Another Peacock production, the first season of last year’s One Of Us Is Lying makes its Netflix UK debut this Friday. The story is adapted from Karen M. McManus’ YA novel of the same name, the premise of which has a sort of Breakfast Club meets Agatha Christie vibe: five high school students gather for detention time, one of them mysteriously dies of an apparent allergy attack and everyone’s a suspect – hence the title. There’s some definite Riverdale appeal here, the show that got Gen Z into soap opera murder mysteries, probably helped by the show’s zippy pace, as reviewers have noted favourably. Other opinions suggest One Of Us Is Lying might not have much more shelf-life than a one and done weekend binge. But in this day and age, who really wants the commitment anyway?
One Of Is Lying is available from Fri 18 Feb on Netflix.
The Cuphead Show!, Series Premiere
Arriving several years after its initial burst of popularity, The Cuphead Show – adapted from the Cuphead video game – might have to stand more on its own two feet than rely on the waned cultural relevancy of its source material. The 2017 run-and-gun shooter was a rubbery runaway success on the indie scene, praised by players and critics alike for its use of animation golden era cartoon physics and its rage quit level difficulty. (A follow-up is due for release this June.) This 12-episode series, each with a 12-minute runtime, follows the titular beverage-holding character along with his brother Mugman, who battle against none other than the Devil himself to regain their lost souls, tapping into the sometimes darker streak of 30s cartoons. The Cuphead Show received a preview at 2020’s Annecy Animation Festival despite not being remotely near finished. Presumably, that won’t be the case when it drops on Netflix this Friday.
The Cuphead Show is available from Fri 18 Feb on Netflix.
Severance, Series Premiere
At a time when our relationship to work has and is still changing dramatically, with burnout reaching epidemic proportions the world over, a series like Severance seems (horribly) perfectly timed. Directed by Hollywood heavyweight Ben Stiller alongside Aoife McArdle, and starring comedy favourite Adam Scott,supported by a cast that includes John Turturo and Patricia Arquette, Severance is a workplace thriller set at Lumon Industries, a company using a so-called “severance” programme to literally sever employees’ memories of life outside of work, eroding any work/life balance they might have previously enjoyed to unethically increase productivity. It’s reminscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a film in which people are able to erase unwanted memories of past relationships to help them move on. The key difference here is, presumably, the erasure benefits a company rather than an individual, no doubt tapping into real-world frustrations about everything I mentioned above.
Severance is available from Fri 18 Feb on Apple TV+.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Season 4
The genuinely marvelous Mrs Maisel is finally back for a fourth season this week after a two year absence. The creation of Amy and Daniel Sherman-Palladino, of Gilmore Girls fame, the show takes place in the 50s and tracks the rise of aspiring stand-up comedian, Miriam “Midge” Maisel, on the New York comedy scene and beyond; at the same time, seeing her also navigate becoming a working single mother and keeping her side hustle a secret from her well-to-do Jewish parents. Season 3 found Midge single once more after breaking off an engagement (and briefly ending up back in the arms of her ex-husband), finalising her divorce, joining a rocky USO tour with closeted singer Shy Baldwin, rekindling her friendship with Lenny Bruce and, seemingly, joking her way off the tour by almost outing Shy on stage. Consistently gorgeous to look at and with that signature Palladino rapid-fire dialogue, Mrs Maisel is the duo’s most streamlined work to date – reflected in am embarrassment of award nominations and wins.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Season 4 is available from Fri 18 Feb on Amazon Prime Video.
words HANNAH COLLINS