Neo-Western family saga Yellowstone on Showmax


IT gives me enormous pleasure to share with you that seasons one through to the first half of five (more episodes later this year) of Yellowstone will be available to stream and binge from July 6.

I loved this series so much, because, well, cowboys; you can read more of my why here. Kevin Costner won Best Actor – Drama at the 2023 Golden Globes and Critics Choice Super Awards for his performance as ruthless patriarch John Dutton, who will do whatever it takes to protect the lucrative Yellowstone ranch from bloodthirsty enemies, indigenous communities who believe the land is rightfully theirs, and developers whose ambitions put the ranch in peril.

Just how far the Duttons and their loyal branded stock will go reminded me a bit of Sons Of Anarchy, which began innocuously enough and eventually became this all-out violent tribe. Co-created by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water), Yellowstone’s stellar supporting cast that includes Luke Grimes (American Sniper, The Magnificent Seven,Fifty Shades’ Elliot Grey); BAFTA nominee Wes Bentley (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, American Beauty); and Kelly Reilly (True Detective, Flight), who was nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards and the MTV TV Awards, with the series up for Best Drama at both. Her character Beth (below) is just the best.

The neo-Western has an 8.7/10 score on IMDb and an 84% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Buzzfeed saying, “There’s little doubt it’s America’s most important drama right now.”

A Friend Of The Family – flip, this one gave me chills. Binge from July 7. It’s inspired by the true story of the Broberg family, whose daughter Jan was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and brainwashed multiple times over a few years by a charismatic, obsessed family “friend.”

Colin Hanks and Anna Paquin star as Bob and Mary Ann Broberg, a kind-hearted suburban family who became great friends with Robert (Jake Lacy from The White Lotus) and his wife, Gai (Lio Tipton). Over a few years, Robert manipulated the Brobergs to go against one another, exploiting their vulnerabilities as a family while driving a wedge between the parents and one of their daughters, Jan (Mckenna Grace from The Handmaid’s Tale). The events took place in the 1970s and it’s horrifying to watch the story now, about how this could happen. Which is not to say it couldn’t happen now but I’d like to think we are a lot more aware than the authorities back then who hadn’t even heard of paedophilia. (The term began being used in the media in the 1950s.)

Written by Nick Antosca (The Act), A Friend of the Family has a 92% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian hailing it as “the most jaw-droppingly incredible true-crime story there is.” Almost 50 years later, Jan Broberg serves as a producer, alongside her mother, on the series. Yes, jaw-dropping is a good description.

Comedian and singer Bridget Everett was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as Sam in Somebody Somewhere, a critically acclaimed HBO Original comedy series she also executive produces alongside the likes of the Duplass brothers. It’s one of Rotten Tomatoes’ most anticipated series of 2023 and an American Film Institute TV Program of the Year for 2023. I loved season one, and season two is up from July 10.

Grappling with loss and acceptance, singing was Sam’s saving grace in season one, leading her on a journey to discover herself and a community of outsiders who don’t fit in but don’t give up. In season two, Sam and Joel (Jeff Hiller in an Independent Spirit and Queerty-nominated performance) have settled into a comfy routine but nothing stays the same forever.

Nominated as Outstanding New TV Series by the GLAAD Media Awards, Somebody Somewhere’s second season was hailed as “laugh out loud funny” by Rolling Stone; as “a revelation that exudes compassion with a nuanced take on the everyday” by The Boston Globe; and as “TV’s sweetest slice of life” with “performances that will break your heart and heal it all over again” by The Daily Beast.

HBO has already renewed Somebody Somewhere for a third season. As Amy Gravitt, executive vice president: HBO and Max Comedy Programming, says: “Nothing makes us smile quite like this show, which never fails to remind us that life is made up of the small moments, that family can be chosen, and that dreams don’t have deadlines.”

To be honest, I can’t remember if I’ve watched this or not, which you would understand if you knew how much TV I watch and have watched over the years, and is no indication at all as to whether it is good or not. I can sometimes forget even the greatest shows. However, I am a fan of Queen Latifah so if I’m playing catch up with The Equalizer I might have to go back to the beginning – season three arrives on July 14 (and has been renewed for a fourth) – and I am prepared to do that.

Oscar nominee Queen Latifah (Girls Trip, Taxi, Chicago), was again nominated for Best Actress in an Action Series at this year’s Critics Choice Super Awards for her performance as Robyn McCall, a single mother and former CIA operative who helps those with nowhere else to turn. Season three opens with McCall herself in the firing line, which could have far-reaching consequences for her family down the line.

A reimagining of the classic ’80s series which inspired the blockbuster movie series with Denzel Washington, The Equalizer was named Best New Show by The African American Film Critics Association in 2021. With that history, heck of course it seems familiar because of the movies. It was also nominated as The Drama Show of 2021 at The People’s Choice Awards, where Latifah was up for a further four awards. The role has also earned her two nominations at the Black Reel Awards, where her co-star, Critics Choice Award winner Lorraine Toussaint (Orange Is The New Black), was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress last year.

Becoming Elizabeth follows the younger years of Elizabeth Tudor, an orphaned teenager who becomes embroiled in the political and sexual politics of the English court on her journey to secure the crown and become Queen Elizabeth I. Binge from July 17.

Award-winning German actress (and real-life countess) Alicia von Rittberg (Genius, Fury) stars as the young Elizabeth, with Critics Choice Award nominees Bella Ramsey (The Last of Us, Game of Thrones), Romola Garai (The Hour, Emma, Suffragette), and Jessica Raine (Patrick Melrose, Fortitude) also among the cast.

Season one of the period drama has an 85% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “Angsty as a disgruntled teenager and all the better for it, Becoming Elizabeth finds fresh drama in the Tudors by shifting focus onto the royal court’s web of spiders.”

This is a bit of a wild card for me; I know nothing about it but the premise is one I gravitate towards, and its ratings are good (95% on Rotten Tomatoes), even if it is Canadian. Mind you, so is Schitt’s Creek so let’s not be too judgy here. From July 19, Son Of A Critch brings us a heartfelt glimpse into the life of a 1980s junior high-schooler who relies on comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and connect with the people in his limited world.

Co-written with Writers Guild of America nominee Tim McAuliffe (The Last Man On Earth), the show is based on the memoir of award-winning series creator Mark Critch, who plays Mark’s dad, with child actor Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (the voice of Robert Zemeckis’s Pinocchio, Flora & Ulysses, The Haunting of Bly Manor and the upcoming Everything’s Going To Be Great) leading the show as the young Mark, and Golden Globe nominee and Hollywood Walk-of-Famer Malcolm McDowell (Bombshell, A Clockwork Orange) as his grandfather.

Son Of A Critch has picked up seven Canadian award nominations and has already been renewed for a second and third season.

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