7 best international series on Showmax this April including The Victim and Hightown
First seasons of The Nevers, The Victim & How To with John Wilson; new season of The Handmaid’s Tale
THE NEVERS S1 | First on Showmax | Episodes 1 & 2 launch 19 April, with a new episode to follow every Monday
The Nevers is a six-part HBO fantasy series that’s been dubbed “The Magicians meets Bridgerton” by Refinery29.
In the last years of Victoria’s reign, London is beset by the Touched: people – mostly women – who suddenly manifest abnormal abilities – some charming, some disturbing.
Among them are Amalia True (Olivier Award winner Laura Donnelly from Outlander), a mysterious, quick-fisted widow, and Penance Adair (Ann Skelly from Vikings), a brilliant young inventor. They are the champions of this new underclass, making a home for the Touched, while fighting the forces of… well, pretty much all the forces – to make room for those whom history as we know it has no place.
Created and executive produced by Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), The Nevers’ ensemble cast also includes Monte-Carlo Golden Nymph nominees Olivia Williams (An Education, The Ghost Writer) and Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, The White Queen); BAFTA Cymru winner Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons); BAFTA nominee James Norton (Grantchester, Happy Valley), BAFTA Scotland nominee Kiran Sawar (Black Mirror), British Independent Film Awards nominee Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Into The Badlands), Screen Actors Guild nominee Pip Torrens (The Crown), and three-time Emmy nominee Denis O’Hare (American Gods, True Blood), among others.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE S4 | First on Showmax | Binge episodes 1-3 from 29 April, with a new episode to follow every Monday
The cultural phenomenon picks up where we left off, with June’s fight for freedom against Gilead. But the risks she takes bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges, and her desire for justice and revenge threaten to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale has won 75 awards to date, including 12 Emmys and Golden Globes for Best Drama Series and Best Actress (Elisabeth Moss). The series holds an 8.4/10 score on IMDb and an average critics’ rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Emmy nominees Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski are back in their Emmy-nominated roles as Fred Waterford and Serena Joy, as are Ann Dowd, Alexis Bledel, Bradley Whitford and Samira Wiley in their Emmy-winning roles as Aunt Lydia, Emily, Commander Lawrence, and Moira respectively. Rising child star and Critics’ Choice nominee Mckenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House, Troop Zero, I, Tonya) joins the cast this season as the teenage wife of a much older commander.
THE VICTIM | Binge now
The Scottish thriller The Victim centres on Anna Dean, a grieving mother who finds herself on trial for attempted murder after exposing the supposed new identity and address of the man she believes murdered her son 15 years ago.
The four-part miniseries stars Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winner Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, Line of Duty, Girl/Haji), who won the Best Actress Award at BAFTAs Scotland for her role.
The cast also includes BAFTA nominee John Hannah (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Four Weddings and a Funeral) and James Harkness (Wild Rose).
Nominated for a 2020 BAFTA, The Victim has a 91% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus calls it “a riveting and relevant drama.”
HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON S1 | Binge from 9 April
In HBO’s new “comedy docuseries”, How To with John Wilson, it’s apparent that the filmmaker has some issues, but he’s funny, so we’ll forgive him. In fact, it’s precisely John’s refreshing take on the world that makes us want to go along with him as he explores New York and meets its colourful inhabitants, asking life’s important questions along the way, from how to put up scaffolding to how to cook the perfect risotto.
How to with John Wilson has an 8.7/10 score on IMDb and is Rotten Tomatoes’ third-highest rated docuseries of 2020, with a 100% critics’ rating. As the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus puts it, “Surprising, thoughtful, and superbly strange, How to with John Wilson‘s blend of documentary styles comes together to create a singularly delightful experience.”
Or as Kathryn VanArendonk put it in Vulture, “Maybe no TV show in 2020 has surprised me as much as How to with John Wilson, a documentary/comedy/personal essay/glorious portrait of weirdos unlike anything else I’ve seen. Much of the pleasure of the show comes out of its strange sense of humour, and it absolutely benefits from a hefty dose of surprise. Wilson has this fantastic capacity to notice unusual moments in everyday life. Even better, he has this ability to present those discoveries as beautiful treasures while also making clear that they are utterly, totally ordinary.”
Recently renewed for a second season, the series is executive produced by Emmy nominee Nathan Fielder (who directed Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America?), and Emmy winner and Saturday Night Live writer Michael Koman.
DIVORCE S3 | Binge now
Comedy-drama Divorce returns for its third and final season. Four-time Golden Globe winner Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role as Frances, while the series itself received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography.
Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church (Ned and Stacey, Sideways) co-stars, along with Saturday Night Live alum and Emmy nominee Molly Shannon, Talia Balsam (Mad Men, Homeland), and Becki Newton (Tell Me a Story, Ugly Betty, How I Met Your Mother), among others. Joining the cast as the new man on the scene this season is James Lesure (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Good Girls).
Season 3 has an 88% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, with the London Evening Standard saying, “Divorce… has been a sleeper hit, and that’s because it has found the magic ingredient of successful sitcoms: a plot that rings true and great comic timing.”
HIGHTOWN S1 | Binge from 23 April
Set in the beautiful but bleak Cape Cod, Hightown follows Jackie Quiñones, a hard-partying addict whose journey to sobriety is overshadowed by a murder investigation.
Created by The Mentalist and Gotham writer Rebecca Cutter, with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison (Black Panther, Mudbound) directing, the murder mystery is executive produced by multiple-Emmy winner Jerry Bruckheimer, who’s produced everything from the CSI franchise and worldwide reality phenomenon The Amazing Race to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Armageddon.
Already renewed for a second season, Hightown stars Teen Choice nominees Monica Raymund (Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.’s Gabriela Dawson, and Lie to Me’s Ria Torres), James Badge Dale (The Departed, 24), and Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break, Deception). Hightown has an 80% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with numerous critics praising Monica Raymund’s stellar performance.
CHARMED S3 | Binge episodes 1-10 from 23 April
This teen favourite reboot of the popular original series follows three sisters, Macy (Madeleine Mantock from Into the Badlands), Mel (Black Reel nominee Melonie Diaz from Fruitvale Station) and Maggie (Sarah Jeffery from Descendants) who, following the death of their mother, discover they are a powerful trio of good witches, known as The Charmed Ones. With the help of their guide, Harry Greenwood (Rupert Evans from The Man in the High Castle), a Whitelighter, the three must embrace their destiny to protect the innocent from the forces of evil.
Charmed was nominated for two 2019 Teen Choice Awards, for Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi (Diaz) and Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, as well as a 2019 Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Television Series. In addition, Charmed won a 2020 Leo Award for Best Production Design and child actor Isla Sunar scooped a 2020 Joey Award for Best Featured Actress in a TV Series (5-7 Years).
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR THESE EMMY-WINNING CLASSICS:
• Band of Brothers: At #3 on IMDb’s list of the top-rated TV of all-time, with a 9.4/10 rating from nearly 400 000 people, Band of Brothers is HBO’s World War II classic that won best miniseries at both the Emmys and Golden Globes, and earned Damian Lewis (Billions, Homeland) his first Best Actor Golden Globe nomination. Binge now.
• House of Saddam: an Emmy-winning miniseries that explores the inner workings of Saddam Hussein’s family and his relationship with his closest advisers. Binge now.