Watership Down, BBC/Netflix
If you’re looking for nostalgia this Christmas, look no further than this new Watership Down. Richard Adams’s novel—about a group of refugee rabbits who flee their warren after a prophetic dream—is one of the best-selling books of all time. An extraordinarily starry cast includes James McAvoy, John Boyega, Olivia Colman and Rosamund Pike. Those left traumatised by the 1978 film with John Hurt will be gratified to know that this version is less graphic and more child-friendly.
My Brilliant Friend, Sky Atlantic/HBO/Rai, from 19th November
Told from the perspective of Elena, an elderly writer looking back on her life, this new eight-part series is based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novel, the first in a sequence of four. We track the relationship between Elena and her childhood friend Lila. The two girls grow up together in poverty in Naples but find their relationship shifting as life pulls them in different directions. Adaptations of Ferrante have so far been fairly lacklustre—a play debuted earlier this year. But this version looks set to change that. It helps that the show has been supervised by Ferrante herself.
Fanang: Dead Man Running, Channel 4
Channel 4’s foreign language arm—Walter Presents—has been offering tiptop European content for two years. Their December release, Fanang: Dead Man Running, presents a Scandi noir alternative for anyone sick of festive cheer. Rickard, a Swedish expat living in Thailand, lives a charmed life dabbling in organised crime until his illegitimate teenage daughter comes to find him. From there she becomes embroiled in his criminal web. It’s sometimes silly, not always comprehensible, but completely watchable. Think a Swedish version of Taken, with a dash of The Beach.