A scene from The Romanoffs

The Romanoffs and Monkman and Seagull—the best television in October 2018

Plus: House of Cards' creator Beau Willimon's The First
September 20, 2018
The Romanoffs Amazon Prime Video, 12th October

One of the most hotly-anticipated programmes of the year, The Romanoffs is written, directed and produced by Matthew Weiner (first of The Sopranos and later the creator of Mad Men). This eight-part series set in contemporary times focuses on the lives of people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. An ambitious concept, it’s pulled off with help from a £55m budget and a cast including Amanda Peet, Christina Hendricks and Isabelle Huppert.


The FirstChannel 4, October

The First signals Beau Willimon’s return to television, after the House of Cards creator left Netflix at the end of 2016. This show, from Hulu and Channel 4, follows the personal stories of five astronauts chosen to colonise Mars. As is often the case with intergalactic stories, some of the dialogue is a little hammy (“My focus… right now… is my daughter,” musters a stern Sean Penn). But this is otherwise an assured, psychologically complex show.


Monkman and Seagull’s Genius Guide to BritainBBC2, iPlayer

Two former University Challenge contestants, breakout stars Bobby Seagull and Eric Monkman, have been given  their own travel show. Here the eccentric duo tour the country in search of hidden technological and scientific gems. Episode one includes a visit to a lawnmower museum and the oldest amusement ride in Europe. Narrated by Simon Callow, it’s funny, unpretentious, and sheds a fascinating light on overlooked parts of Britain.