Animal Kingdom — The series based on the original 2010 David Michôd movie doesn’t boast nearly the talent of the original (Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver), but Scott Speedman, Shawn Hatosy, and Ellen Barkin keep the series interesting while maintaining the same premise. Based on an actual criminal family in New Zealand, the American-set Animal Kingdom is about a family who runs their own criminal syndicate,. Things get complicated, however, when they bring a new family member into the business (Finn Cole, Peaky Blinders) after his mother dies. The heists keep it interesting, the family drama keeps us engaged, and the incestuous vibe between Ellen Barkin’s mother character and her sons keeps us creeped-the-hell out. It’s a much better drama than you might expect from TNT.
Preacher — With Game of Thrones gone, your Sunday nights are free again, and Preacher may be the best prestige drama left in town. It’s given fans of the comic some fits, and after the propulsive pilot, the series slowed down to develop its universe. However, those who are familiar with the source material can tell you that where the series is heading will be wild, bloody, and warped. It also boasts the wonderful talents of Joseph Gilgun and Ruth Negga, and once it takes off, Dominic Cooper’s twisted title character should keep us entertained. There are five episodes left this season, and plenty of time to catch up as the series heads toward what will probably be an explosive season finale.
Peaky Blinders — With the proliferation of Netflix series, the third season of Peaky Blinders was looked over by much of the Internet. It’s too bad, because the six-episode season came roaring back just as good as ever and even darker than the previous season. Paddy Considine joined the cast, and he plays as good a villain as he does every other role. There’s sex, violence, unexpected deaths, and political intrigue (including the ousted Russian royal family). Also, Tom Hardy at his mumbling, nearly-incoherent best. This show is so incredibly good, and should be getting more attention than it does.
Outcast — There’s next-to-no buzz so far on the new Cinemax exorcism drama from Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), but it’s been surprisingly excellent. Kyle (Patrick Fugit in his best role since Almost Famous) is cursed with the ability to help others exorcise demons, which comes in handy because the people he most loves (his mother, his ex-wife, his sister) are the ones who keep getting possessed. There’s some sort of demonic force that really wants to get at Kyle through others. Isolated, a minister named Anderson (the always fantastic Philip Glenister) recruits Kyle to help him deal with a rash of possessions in the area, but as Kyle tries to return to the outside world, his powers make him an outcast to those he cares about the most. I wasn’t expecting much from Outcast, and I typically do not like exorcism movies, but the drama is tight, the characters are well drawn, and the imagery is often super creepy.
The Night Of — We don’t know much about HBO’s new Sunday night series starring John Turturro, which premieres on July 10th (although, the pilot is already available on HBO) but the eight-part miniseries has excellent talent behind it (Richard Price and Steven Zaillian wrote the series) and it’s based on a well-received British miniseries (the original was called “nerve-shreddingly exciting,” and coincidentally, featured Ruth Negga as the murder victim). As the series offers a critique of the criminal justice system, it should scratch the same itch as The People vs. O.J. Simpson and Making a Murderer. Two on staff here have seen the pilot so far, and they both liked it, with some reservations.