Best new TV to watch in November
- Brian Donaldson
- 30 October 2020
Including The Crown, Industry and Offended By Irvine Welsh
From disability dramas to iconic animations plus lying royals, disgraced Paralympians and naked daters, with performances from Chloë Sevigny, Don Cheadle, Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker and Mickey Mouse, there's plenty to look forward to on your small screens in November.
Godfather Of Harlem
Forest Whitaker is Bumpy Johnson, the notorious 1960s crime boss who took on the Italian-Americans that were rising in ascendancy across New York. The drama zooms in on the spot where the criminal underworld and civil rights movements collided. Vincent D'Onofrio, Giancarlo Esposito and Ilfenesh Hadera also star.
Starzplay, Sunday 1 November.
Curated by Mat Fraser, Crip Tales are six quarter-hour monologues which aim to challenge perceptions of living with a disability. As well as Fraser himself, Liz Carr, Robert Softley Gale and Carly Houston are among those delivering these mini-dramas.
BBC Four, Monday 2 November.
US Presidential Election
It's hide-behind-the-sofa time as we await the results of the most important election in American history (don't they say that every four years?). Take your pick of the channels or continually switch between them before you get tired of their individual schticks as we discover whether Joe Biden or the other guy is declared victor in the wee small hours (or during the weeks ahead in court …).
BBC, Sky News, ITV, Tuesday 3 November.
Don Cheadle and Regina Hall star in the second series of this comedy set in the period running up to 1987's stock market crash. Also rolling up their sleeves halfway up their arms are Andrew Rannells, Melissa Rauch and Paul Scheer.
Sky Comedy, Tuesday 3 November.
The Emily Atack Show
A new six-part sketch and stand-up show from the actress and writer who appeared in The Inbetweeners and Urban Myths (she was Debbie Harry). Fringey comics such as Colin Hoult, Maddy Anholt and Camille Ucan also appear as does Atack's impressionist mum Kate Robbins.
ITV2, Wednesday 4 November.
Hard to believe but Matt Groening's animated family head into a 31st season, having first brought us their animated japes back in 1989. Among the famous folk making guest appearances this time around are Cate Blanchett, Jim Parsons, Jason Mamoa and Cobie Smulders.
Disney+, Friday 6 November.
Set among a tight-knit community in the bleak, dark environs of Northern Bohemia, this Walter Presents drama revolves around a teenage girl who goes missing when a large mining company arrives to take over their land.
All 4, Friday 6 November.
Royal History's Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley
The ever jolly Lucy Worsley presents a new three-part series on regal matters, this time centring on the myths and lies told during the big revolutions in France and Russia as well as in Regency Britain.
BBC Two, Friday 6 November.
Scary cult NXIVM remain in the news with its leader Keith Raniere just having been sentenced to 120 years in prison, and this is the second documentary series in as many months (alongside Seduced) which follows how his organisation hid multitudes of horrors behind its description as a 'multi-level marketing company'.
Sky Documentaries, Saturday 7 November.
The Trials Of Oscar Pistorius
Already controversial for its trailer which failed to mention Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend shot and killed by the South African Paralympian dubbed Blade Runner, this four-part documentary takes in his meteoric rise and awful fall.
BBC iPlayer, Saturday 7 November.
Extreme Combat: The Dancer And The Fighter
Acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan takes his knowledge into a very different kind of arena: that of the folks who practise mixed martial arts. Khan meets men with nicknames such as Venom and The Dominator to see if they will let him choreograph their entry into the cage.
Channel 4, Sunday 8 November.
An eight-part drama which may well do for international finance what This Life achieved for legal practice, Industry follows young graduates trying to make their way on the City's trading floor and in London's pubs and clubs without falling prey to the intense pressures of both.
BBC Two, Tuesday 10 November.
When you first heard about Naked Attraction you thought it was a joke that would last maybe a few episodes, right? Well, Anna Richardson is back for a seventh series of her dating show where singletons get up close and personal with each other while stripped to the skin. Yep, both metaphorically and quite literally.
Channel 4, Tuesday 10 November.
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The seventh and final season of Joss Whedon's superhero fantasy is here, as the S.H.I.E.L.D. people take in New York of the 1930s and Area 51 in 1955 among other locales/eras. Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge arrive for one last hurrah.
Disney+, Friday 13 November.
Peter Morgan's regal/political imagining of Elizabeth II's life and times introduces Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher and Emma Corrin as Diana Spencer into its fourth series, whose action takes in the election of Britain's first female PM, Charles and Di's wedding, the Falklands War, and an intruder at Buck House.
Netflix, Sunday 15 November.
Steve McQueen's set of five films under the Small Axe umbrella may be set between the late 60s and mid 80s, but they remain highly relevant to what's going on today. Shown weekly, the opener is Mangrove followed by Lovers Rock and Education.
BBC Two, Sunday 15 November.
Offended By Irvine Welsh
No stranger to upsetting people, Irvine Welsh fronts this show about the sensitivities at play among those who consume culture in 2020. Along the way, the Edinburgher chats to the likes of artist Jake Chapman, novelist Nadifa Mohamed, and totally made-up 'uber-woke' blogger Titania McGrath.
Sky Arts, Tuesday 17 November.
The Good Lord Bird
Ethan Hawke stars as the abolitionist John Brown in this series about a ragtag army which sets out to end slavery ahead of the US Civil War. Both humorous and dramatic, The Good Lord Bird is based on James McBride's award-winning novel from 2013.
Sky Atlantic, Wednesday 18 November.
The Wonderful World Of Mickey Mouse
Kicking off on what is generally regarded as the little guy's birthday, this series brings us some new animated shorts starring Mickey and pals such as Minnie, Goofy and Pluto. Icons of more innocent times, possibly.
Disney+, Wednesday 18 November.
We Are Who We Are
Starring Chloë Sevigny, Jack Dylan Grazer and Alice Braga comes this coming-of-age story set in 2016 on an army base in Italy. Acclaimed in both the US and Italy upon its release earlier this year, the mini-series is co-created and directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria).
BBC Three, Sunday 22 November.
Check our coverage throughout November for reviews of many of these shows.