Telly in January: this month’s best new shows and where to watch them
January is nearly over. We’ve resettled into our routines after the fun that was the festive season and it’s like the holidays never happened. It’s been a month of bad weather, short days and empty bank accounts. The only thing about January that hasn’t been miserable is the television, which is on top form.
If you’ve missed the new television January has to offer, here is our guide to what’s worth watching from 2016 so far.
1. War and Peace
War and Peace is the critically-acclaimed new BBC adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, considered one of the central works of world literature. It follows Pierre Bezukhov (Paul Dano); a short-fused but good-natured newcomer to polite Russian society in 1805, his friend Andrei Bolkonsky (James Norton); a cynical prince who longs for war, and the enigmatic and beautiful Natasha Rostova (Lily James) during a rocky ten years that will change Russia and its people forever.
2. Deutschland ’83
The first German-language television show to be broadcast at primetime in the US, Deutschland ’83 available in the UK via Walter Presents and Channel 4. It is now the highest rated foreign-language drama the UK has ever seen. Deutschland ’83 is the celebrated German television series about a young solider, Martin Rauch, who becomes a spy for East Germany in West Germany during 1983. In the midst of one of the frostiest points of the Cold War, is Rauch completely out of his depth?
An unusual take on a British western, Jericho stars Jessica Raine stars as Annie Quaintain, a woman who refuses to let a tragic past define her as she strives to make a new life for her family in the shantytown of Jericho. Jericho is home to a community of pioneers, settlers and outcasts who have been brought together to build a viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales during the 1870s. It is rare land of opportunity, a place where one can build a fortune or escape from a livelihood-threatening secret.
4. Stan Lee’s Lucky Man
Lucky Man is the brainchild of comic book legend Stan Lee, who has teamed up with Sky to create his first ever British television drama. Lucky Man stars James Nesbitt as Detective Inspector Harry Clayton man who has lost everything as the result of a gambling addiction. His luck is about to change however, as he becomes the recipient of a mysterious bracelet that seems to allow the wearer to control their own luck. Will this be a new lease of life for Clayton or a recipe for disaster?
Speaking of comics, here’s one DC Comics adaptation with a concept that’s sure to make you think. Lucifer tells the story of the reigning Lord of Hell’s decision to pack up work and mingle with the mortals in sexy Los Angeles. While in the City of Angels (now a literal term), Lucifer opens a sinful nightclub and also uses his ability to get people to confess to their deepest desires to solve crimes. While the series has suffered a shaky start, the story of the Devil’s latest features a show-stopping performance from Miranda actor Tom Ellis and plenty of giggles.
6. Mad Dogs (US)
A remake of the acclaimed British series of the same name, Mad Dogs follows the reunion of four friends who have not met since college. However, the group’s luxury exotic vacation quickly goes askew when one of their number is found murdered. Caught in a web of lies, deception and crime, the friends have nobody to lean on but each other – but is this the safest option? Amazon piloted the first episode last year to a positive reception, and has just this month released the full series on its streaming service.
7. Chelsea Does
American television personality Chelsea Handler shows off her sensitive side in a series of beautifully filmed documentaries based upon topics that interest Handler. Chelsea visits friends, experts and crosses the world to explore themes of marriage, racism, drugs and Silicon Valley in an unmissable new series.
8. Insert Name Here
For those in need of some good panel show comedy, Sue Perkins hosts this new show, in which panellists must answer questions about individuals who share nothing in common except their first name. Josh Widdecombe and Richard Osman head up two teams as the two fight for the honour of naming the best person of a certain name of all time. It’s a lot of laughs, and great for coaxing one out of the January slump.