Best international series on Showmax this September

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Season 2 of Winning Time continues to explore the professional and personal lives of the legendary 1980s Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, building to the first professional rematch of the era’s greatest stars: Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah) and Larry Bird (Sean Patrick Small).

Season 2 is even more of a hit with critics than its Emmy-nominated debut, with an 88% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus calls it “some of the best courtside seats to sports history that television can provide.” Using words like “dazzling… electric… a damn good time… hilarious, exasperating, and even heartbreaking”, Variety concludes, “The magic has indeed returned.”

Season 2’s returning cast includes Oscar winner Adrien Brody (Asteroid City), Oscar nominee John C Reilly (Chicago, Boogie Nights, Magnolia), Critics Choice winner Jason Segel (Shrinking, How I Met Your Mother), and Emmy nominee Gaby Hoffman (Transparent), alongside new cast like Emmy winner Michael Chiklis (The Shield).

Set in 1970s Los Angeles, Minx follows Joyce, an earnest young feminist (Ophelia Lovibond from Feel Good, Elementary and This England) who joins forces with low-rent publisher Doug (Critics Choice nominee Jake Johnson from New Girl) to create the first erotic magazine for women.

Season 2 picks up as Doug and Joyce sell Bottom Dollar to a retired shipping magnate and Minx becomes a commercial success. Under new leadership, Doug struggles to maintain his control within Bottom Dollar while Joyce loses sight of her core beliefs as she rises to stardom. As our Bottom Dollar misfits go mainstream, they start to question who they’re becoming and what they really want from this newfound success.

With five-time Emmy nominee Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Office, Love Life) among its exec producers, Season 1 was nominated for Best Comedy and Best Actress in a Comedy (Lovibond) at the 2023 Satellite Awards.

Season 2 has an 88% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “Still getting great mileage from its marriage of the feminist and the frivolous, Minx’s second season is smart, sexy, and fun.”

Look out for Elizabeth Perkins from Weeds and Sharp Objects joining the cast this season, which is rated 18SNL.

Based on a True Story is the gripping tale of a realtor, a former tennis star and a plumber whose lives collide when they seize a unique opportunity to capitalise on America’s obsession with true-crime.

Triple-Emmy nominee Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant, The Big Bang Theory) and Critics Choice nominee Chris Messina (Sharp Objects, The Mindy Project) play Ava and Nathan, a married couple with a baby on the way.

They are facing the harsh realisation that their youthful dreams are not going to come true; that is, until they meet Matt (Tom Bateman from Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile), an enigmatic plumber who they quickly come to suspect is an infamous serial killer. Ava has a brilliant idea, which could end up costing them everything…

The Los Angeles Times calls the Peacock Original “a hilarious indictment of the public’s preoccupation with morbid crime and the media’s fire hose of content in service of that addiction.”

Based on a True Story’s Emmy-nominated creator Craig Rosenberg (The Boys) exec produces alongside Emmy winner Jason Bateman (Ozark) and Oscar nominee Alexander Buono (Russian Doll, Documentary Now!), who also directs two episodes.

Fire Country follows Bode Donovan (Max Thieriot from SEAL Team and Bates Motel). A young convict seeking redemption, he joins an unconventional prison release firefighting programme in Northern California, where he and other inmates are partnered with elite firefighters to extinguish massive, unpredictable wildfires. It’s a high-risk, high-reward assignment, and the heat is turned up when Bode is assigned to the programme in his rural hometown, where he was once a golden all-American son.

Executive-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (the Oscar-nominated and 10-Emmy-winning producer behind mega-franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean, Bad Boys, Top Gun, and the hit CSI shows), Fire Country was co-created by Thieriot and Emmy-nominated Grey’s Anatomy writers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan.

Fire Country’s cast includes award winner Kevin Alejandro (Lucifer’s Dan Espinoza), Jordan Calloway (Black Lightning’s Khalil Payne aka Painkiller), and Billy Burke (9-1-1: Lone Star’s Billy Tyson and The Twilight Saga’s Charlie Swan).

Based on Michael Robotham’s bestselling novel, The Suspect stars Empire Award winner Aidan Turner (aka Ross in Poldark, Kili in The Hobbit trilogy, and Glenn Lapthorn in Fifteen-Love) as clinical psychologist Dr Joseph O’Loughlin.

With a devoted family, a successful practice, a publishing deal and hero status in the media, Joe’s life seems near perfect. But even the most flawless existence is only a loose thread away from unravelling …

When the body of a young woman is found in a shallow grave in a West London cemetery, veteran police officer Vince Ruiz (BAFTA nominee Shaun Parkes from Small Axe) and his young partner Riya Devi (Anjli Mohindra from Vigil) call on Joe’s expertise to help them understand her disturbing death. But it soon emerges that Joe is closer to the case than anyone imagined.

In their 4-star review, The Guardian said, “Aidan Turner cranks the creepiness up to 11 in [this] fun, sadistic thriller.”

Turner was nominated for Best Actor for the role at the Irish Film and Television Awards. The five-episode series also stars BAFTA winner Sian Clifford (Fleabag’s Claire).

In Season 4 of popular British crime drama The Bay, DS Jenn Townsend (Marsha Thomason from Lost), Morecambe Police’s family liaison officer, must gain the trust of a broken family to uncover the truth behind an arson attack.

Back at home, Jenn has troubles of her own as she tries to get to grips with the realities of having a blended family full of teenagers.

BAFTA nominee Barry Sloane and Daniel Ryan return as Chris and DI Tony Manning respectively. Joe Armstrong (Gentleman Jack’s Samuel Washington, and Gildas in Britannia) joins the cast this season as Dean Metcalf.

The Bay has picked up nominations at the BAFTAs in both Scotland and Wales, as well as an Irish Film and Television Award nomination for series co-creator and writer Daragh Carville. A fifth season is on the way.

Captain Clark’s space cruise ship has been thrown off course, making its eight-week scenic flip around Saturn a life-threatening, years-long journey back home to Earth.

As Season 2 begins, Avenue 5 is on course for a close encounter with the sun, while the captain is still trying to work up the courage to tell his passengers the truth about their “adjusted” ETA. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Judd Mission Control is under threat, and a planned rescue mission drums up less support than a TV dramatisation of the events aboard the ship.

Ten-time Emmy nominee Hugh Laurie (House M.D.) stars as Clark, opposite the likes of Kids’ Choice winner Josh Gad (Olaf in Frozen), Screen Actors Guild nominee Zach Woods (The Office, Silicon Valley) and Nigerian-born BAFTA nominee Nikki Amuka-Bird (Knock at the Cabin, Old). BAFTA nominee Leila Farzad (Naomi in I Hate Suzie) joins the cast this season as Clark’s love interest, Elena.

From Oscar-nominated creator Armando Iannucci (Veep), Avenue 5’s Season 2 has an 89% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Decider praising the show’s “manic absurdity” and “stream of jokes hurling along at roughly the speed of light”.

Critics Choice nominee Thomasin McKenzie (Last Night In Soho, Jojo Rabbit, The Power of the Dog) stars in Totally Completely Fine as Vivian, who inherits a cliffside property only to discover it’s a suicide site and she’s tasked with rescuing lost souls on the verge.

Totally Completely Fine has a rare 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian saying, “McKenzie … imbues the lead role with a compelling, slightly dangerous and volatile energy, as if parts of her psyche could combust at any moment.”

The quirky Aussie comedy also stars Rowan Witt (Spreadsheet) as her brother, John, and the likes of Critics Choice winner John Noble (Fringe, Sleepy Hollow).

The Sydney Morning Herald calls it, “one of the most ambitious Australian series of the streaming age.”

Two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown, The King’s Speech) stars in Nolly, the new series from BAFTA winner Russell T Davies (It’s a Sin, Years and Years, A Very English Scandal).

As flame-haired widow Meg Richardson in the long-running UK soap opera Crossroads, inimitable star Noele Gordon (Nolly to her friends) was one of the most famous people in Britain. Then in 1981, at the height of the show’s success and the peak of Nolly’s fame, she was axed without ceremony, without warning and with no explanation. With the boss’s words “all good things must come to an end” ringing in her ears, Noele found herself thrown out of the show that had been her life for more than 18 years.

Nolly is a bold exploration of how the establishment turns on women who refuse to play by the rules, the women it cannot understand and the women it fears. A love letter to a legend of TV – and to the madcap soap she starred in – Nolly is an outrageously fun and wildly entertaining ride through Noele Gordon’s most tumultuous years, and a sharp, affectionate and heart-breaking portrait of a forgotten icon.

Directed by BAFTA winner Peter Hoar (The Last of Us, It’s A Sin, The Umbrella Academy), the three-part series has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian saying, “Helena Bonham Carter is brilliantly camp in Russell T Davies’s impeccable drama… It’s a joy to watch this warm, thoughtful tribute to soaps, fabulous older women – and showbiz itself.”

Based on Sharon Horgan’s 2018 BAFTA-winning short, Dreamland is a story of sun, sea and secrets from the makers of the 2023 Emmy nominee Bad Sisters.

Eldest sister Trish (Freema Agyeman from New Amsterdam and Doctor Who) is pregnant for the third time. This time, she’s decided: it’s going to be a girl. Her two sisters, their mum and their Margate- legend nan rally around her, “manifesting” a little girl at Trish’s ‘mani-festival’. But when their other sister, Mel (Grammy nominee Lily Allen in her TV debut), makes an unexpected reappearance back into their lives, her return threatens to destabilise the entire family. A knock on their door and their ‘Dreamland’ is no more…

Set in the British seaside town of Margate, the Sky Original has an 86% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In their four-star review, The Evening Standard calls Dreamland “a breath of fresh sea air in more ways than one”, adding that watching the sisters “bicker and squabble and show up for each other is a real joy” and that “the performances pack a punch”.

Maternal follows three female doctors returning to post-pandemic frontline medicine after maternity leave and trying to balance the intense demands of life on the ward and motherhood.

Paediatric registrar Dr Maryam Afridi (Teen Choice nominee Parminder Nagra from Bend It Like Beckham and ER) is full of doubt that she can cope with the emotional demands of treating children now that she has her own. Catherine MacDiarmid (Critics Choice nominee Lara Pulver from Sherlock) is a single mother and successful surgeon determined to be one of the boys in the macho world of surgery. And Dr Helen Cavendish (Lisa McGrillis from Mum) is a registrar in Acute Medicine, who is wrestling with a self-prescribed role that sees her mothering everyone in her life.

The British medical drama has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian saying, “This wonderful drama about doctors going back to work after having children is a spot-on exploration of female friendship – and how to survive in a system stacked against you.”

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