Alex Casey, Sam Brooks and Madeleine Chapman round up the new content coming to Lightbox this month, including the return of TV juggernauts Suits and UnREAL.
Harlots S2 (Express from July 12)
If you missed out on the first season of this, what are you doing? Two of England’s best actresses – Dame Lesley Manville (not actually a dame, but should be) and Dame Samantha Morton (see previous note) run two 18th century brothels in competition with each other. More emotionally brutal, more feminist and more fun than Game of Thrones, the second season of Harlots ups the drama by adding Liv Tyler as an aristocratic social butterfly kept under the thumb of Lydia (Lesley Manville). Secrets, sex and scandal march forth in this season of Harlots, and you don’t want the 18th century to leave you behind do you?/ Sam Brooks
New Girl Seasons 1-6 (Binge from July 24)
Have you ever looked at your shitty flatmates and wondered what it would be like to live with friends you love? New Girl aka Friends Without The Laugh Track brings four (sometimes five, often with a cat) best friends together in a weirdly massive loft. They’re all just dumb enough to be relatable and with enough evil in the world, the universe of New Girl is filled with good intentions. It’s also a great way to relive the trends of the past eight years, for example a ‘douchebag jar’ features heavily in season one (2011) when the word douchebag was in its heyday. What a year, what a show. / Madeleine Chapman
UnReal Season 4 (Binge from July 17)
Please believe me when I let my walls down, open my heart and say – for all the right reasons – that I gasped all the way through this 40-second promo. The latest instalment looks to be packed full of all the soapy, ripped-from-the-headlines twists the franchise has come to embrace over an increasingly dramatic four seasons, including RACHEL as a SUITRESS. Remember when Bachelor in Paradise got shut down after allegations of sexual misconduct? There are strong rumours that season four will delve into the intricacies of that, so buckle the hell up for July 17. / Alex Casey
Suits S8 (Express from July 19)
Over at Suits, it’s out with Real Life Princess (she’s not technically a princess, but she married a prince so it’s close enough for me) Meghan Markle and in with Princess of TV circa 2006-8, Katherine Heigl. Look, some of us might call it a downgrade, but only one of those actresses has an Emmy. After the departure of Rachel and Mike, Heigl plays the new partner at Pearson and Spencer – is she here to save the company? Or to destroy it? Will Denny from Grey’s Anatomy make an appearance? Who knows, but I’m excited to see how Heigl spreads herself across a show that isn’t afraid to give itself a kick in the pants eight seasons in. / SB
Ready Player One (July 4)
It’s every nerd’s dream, regardless of the age. We know you missed Ready Player One in cinemas in March. We know you had things going on, and it’s okay, because Lightbox has got it right here for you. Set in the terrifyingly plausible dystopic world of 2045 where humanity uses virtual reality software to escape actual reality, a teenager discovers clues to a hidden game that promises whoever finds them the full ownership of that game. Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a beloved novel from 2012, it’s maybe mostly famous for the sheer amount of easter eggs they shove into two-and-a-bit hours. Keep your eyes peeled, yo! / SB
Rampage (July 18)
Also be honest: You probably missed this one in cinemas too! But again, don’t worry: Lightbox has you covered. If you’re looking for a film where Dwayne Johnson fights some huge monsters (a wolf, a lizard, an ape) who are genetically mutated and now, quite reasonably, are mad and trying to destroying the world, then look no further than Rampage. Wrap up warm, grab more popcorn than a human should be allowed to carry, sit down in front of this film and marvel at how Dwayne Johnson is able to look like that while still being a human, all while shovelling salty buttery treats into your face. / SB
American Pastoral (July 11)
American Pastoral is a strange curio of a film. An adaptation of a Philip Roth (RIP) novel, okay. The directorial debut of Ewan McGregor, most famous for being Obi-Wan Kenobi or the pretty writer from Moulin Rouge!, sure why not? McGregor himself starring as a the father of a stuttering teenage terrorist in middle-country USA? Okay, you’ve got my interest. The film doesn’t scale the immense heights of Roth’s prose, few films ever could, but the film gives a curious weight to Merry’s dilemma that Roth’s novel, perhaps intentionally, lacked – and it’s enough to make this adaptation less a definitive take on the book and more a strangely fascinating interpretation./ SB
The Strangers 2 (July 11)
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. A romantic getaway to a serene, isolated location. Argh! Just kidding. What’s really scary is when terrorising “strangers” show up to said location wearing creepy masks and wielding axes that they DO NOT intend to use for wood chopping. The kitchen scene in the first one scared the bejesus out of me, and I maintain that no other slasher franchise uses beloved pop songs from the 1980s in such a skilful, horrifying way. Bonus: the much-anticipated sequel stars extremely beautiful people Martin Henderson AND Christina Hendricks. / AC
This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.