A few weeks ago I received a locked suitcase delivered by courier, followed by a mobile phone in the post with some intriguing instructions to follow – hopefully you saw it all unfold on my social accounts – which was the start of an exciting weekend leading up to the launch of Sky Witness, a new channel replacing Sky Living, with a focus on bringing over some of the best American TV shows…which, in fairness, is something Sky Living did very well too (hello Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Chicago Fire) but now Sky Witness is trimming the fat and focusing solely on American shows, meaning not only will it continue to bring us the aforementioned US favourites, it’s also going to source some new ones for us too. This exciting redevelopment is launching with a bang, as there are four brilliant shows marking the occasion, and I’ve been lucky enough to preview a few introductory episodes of each of them, so here’s a little look at each one with my thoughts on what’s worth checking out:
For The People is the latest Shonda Rhimes show, focusing on a group of newly qualified lawyers working for both the defense and prosecution for a New York Federal Court. The series follows the personal and professional lives of all the main characters, plus some of the supporting characters such as the bosses and judges.
You can immediately tell it’s a Shonda Rhimes show within the first few minutes of the pilot episode, so expect lots of monologues from the senior lawyers whilst the new arrivals wander around shifting from arrogant and obnoxious to wide-eyed and uncertain. At first, there doesn’t seem to be many likeable or relatable characters, but I would strongly recommend persevering for at least three episodes before making your decision, as this is a real grower; the characters definitely need a bit of time and room to develop charm, but it does happen, and there are some lovely moments, gripping story lines and that typical Rhimes-style drama element that hooks you before you know what’s happening. Hope Davis is particularly likeable as Jill Carlan, the Head of the Public Defender’s Office, as is the cold, yet strangely interesting Kate Littlejohn, played by Susannah Flood. For The People is on Sky Witness on Monday nights at 10pm.
Instinct is a relatively light-hearted police drama series based on the James Patterson book, Murder Games. There are two leads, Bojana Novakovic as Lizzie Needham, an NYPD Detective, and Alan Cumming as Dr Dylan Reinhart, an author and professor in psychology. He’s also ex-CIA and after the first couple of episodes, he becomes the partner to Needham, so they work together solving various murder cases.
Instinct is a little bit cutesy with humour and silliness dropped in-between the often graphic murder cases, making it a little bit different to what you might expect from a police drama series. The two leads are strong and mostly likeable, and I particular love the fact that Reinhart’s character is married to a man as this is something a bit different for a police drama. Out of the four new shows, this was my least favourite as it didn’t really grip me like the others, but if you were a fan of The Mentalist and enjoyed that contrasting mix of gruesome murders with charming characters then you’ll probably like this too. I might stick with it just because I do love Alan Cumming. Instinct is on Sky Witness on Thursdays at 9pm.
9-1-1 follows a team of First Responders in LA and stars Angela Bassett as a Policewoman, Peter Krause as a Firefighter and Connie Britton as an Emergency Call Handler (who you speak to you when you dial 911/999) and how they each experience emergency scenarios. The dramatic story lines sit alongside the strong character development and insight into the personal lives of each lead.
If you only have time to add one new show to your roster, make it this one; 9-1-1 is absolutely brilliant and has quickly become a favourite of mine – I’m itching to find out what happens next! The characters are fantastic, the story lines dramatic and engaging (and sometimes very shocking!) and the overall show is really well-paced; I quickly found myself invested in the characters and rooting for them, with each of the three main ones and the majority of the supporting cast bringing something appealing and attractive to the table. Connie Britton is *amazing* as the dowdy, unsure Abbie Clark, who you will support immediately. This is a fantastic show that stays with you after you’ve finished watching; there’s one story involving a plane crash that is so brilliantly shot that I can’t stop thinking about it. Add this to your schedule immediately! It’s on Sky Witness on Wednesdays at 9pm.
The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair is a mini-series based on the book of the same name by Joel Dicker, and focuses on the story of an iconic writer and college teacher who tries to prove his innocence when the body of a long-missing 15 year old girl is found buried in his back garden. It stars Patrick Dempsey as the title role, plus Ben Schnetzer as Marcus Goldman, a previous student of Quebert’s (plus a successful novelist in his own right) who involves himself in the investigation after Quebert’s arrest.
This is the very definition of “binge-worthy TV” and I worked my way through the first four episodes in one sitting – it’s a true “whodunnit” and you find yourself sure of the guilty party at the start of the episode, before your views completely change and you’re back to square one. Dempsey is very good at the quiet, unassuming writer who – as of episode four – you feel is a decent, albeit slightly mislead, individual who’s being framed. However, this is a twisty story that really could go any way, and I have a feeling we’re all leading up to a big shock – can’t wait! The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair starts on Tuesday 4th September on Sky Witness.
In conclusion, these are four great shows with 9-1-1 being my absolute favourite, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair a fantastic, low commitment mini-series, For The People a grower with huge potential and Instinct a fun, light-hearted police drama that’s a little break from the norm. Don’t forget, all the favourites are coming back to Sky Witness too, with the latest season of Grey’s Anatomy returning next month – will Amelia and Owen finally get back together? COME ON GUYS.