Dee Rees, "Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams" (Amazon)
Morten Tyldum, "Counterpart" (Starz)
Steven Soderbergh, "Mosaic" (HBO)
Andrew Ahn, "This Close" (Sundance Now)
Ben York Jones, "Everything Sucks!" (Netflix)
Morgan Neville, "Ugly Delicious" (Netflix)
Alex Gibney and Dan Futterman, "The Looming Tower" (Hulu)
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, "Trust" (FX)
Julian Farino, "The Child in Time" (PBS)
Kenneth Longeran, "Howards End" (Starz)
Liz Garbus, "The Fourth Estate (w.t.)" (Showtime)
Taylor Sheridan, "Yellowstone" (Paramount Network)
Famuyiwa began with “The Wood,” “Brown Sugar,” and “Talk to Me,” but really made a splash when he wrote and directed 2015’s smart and insightful coming of age film “Dope,” starring a pre-“The Get Down” Shameik Moore. Set in Inglewood, California, the film follows high school geek Malcolm as he hangs out with his friends, works through a crush, and has hopes of getting accepted to his dream school, Harvard.
For Showtime’s “The Chi,” created by Lena Waithe, Famuyiwa acts as executive producer and the director for the pilot. The series examines the Southside of Chicago and what happens to its group of residents when one event shakes up the neighborhood. The close and sympathetic look at a community fits right in Famuyiwa’s wheelhouse. He even gets to include scenes of the city’s youth riding bikes around, a la “Dope.”
“The Chi” airs new episodes on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.
Rees is known for the critically acclaimed “Pariah” and HBO’s “Bessie,” and now “Mudbound” is getting lots of awards season buzz for the powerful adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s novel of the same name. Set in rural Mississippi during World War II, the film is a powerful look at two families dealing with racial tensions in that society.
For Amazon’s sci-fi anthology series based on Philip K. Dick’s short stories, Rees directed “Kill All Others,” set in a dystopian world in which advertising and consumerism are king, and there’s only one presidential candidate (played with slick conviction by Vera Farmiga). Philbert Noyce (Mel Rodriguez) is the everyman who suddenly becomes aware of something sinister at play, but that knowledge may put a target on his back. Rees handles this futuristic world with assurance, and its darkly comic tone gives the story energy and intelligence.
“Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams” is now streaming on Amazon.
The Norwegian filmmaker was nominated for directing “The Imitation Game,” the period drama that stars Benedict Cumberbatch as codebreaker Alan Turing. The film went on to earn eight total nominations and won for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Sticking with the espionage theme, Tyldum also directs the pilot for Starz’s “Counterpart,” an intriguing story of double agents, secret codes, and clandestine meetings. It also has J.K. Simmons in a dual role as a man name Howard and his parallel dimension self, Howard.
Soderbergh has long since surpassed his indie film roots, but he can always wield that cred, especially when it comes to TV. While his Clive Owen starring Cinemax drama “The Knick” and Amazon comedy “Red Oaks” are still missed among IndieWire staff, at least his executive producing continues on: “The Girlfriend Experience” is alive and well at Starz, and “Godless” enjoyed a good, limited run on Netflix.
Soderbergh’s “Mosaic” project is his most experimental yet. The murder mystery starring Sharon Stone as a children’s book author and illustrator begins with an interactive app, which allows users to make a choice at different plot points. Garrett Hedlund, Frederick Weller, Jennifer Ferrin, Devin Ratray, Maya Kazan, Beau Bridges, and Paul Reubens also star. “Mosaic” also now exists in series form as a six-episode arc on HBO. There’s no interactive element, but it has much the same content as the app.
“Mosaic” is currently available on demand on HBO.
Sundance darling Andrew Ahn had made his festival debut with the short “Dol (First Birthday)” and then stunned with his beautiful and compelling feature debut “Spa Night,” about a closeted gay Korean-American teenager who follows his desires and finds more than he bargains for at the Korean spa in the Koreatown of Los Angeles.
Ah, but the Sundance connection doesn’t end there. The comedy “This Close” was featured as a series of shorts at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s Short Form Episodic Showcase, and therefore Ahn is a natural fit to direct once it got greenlighted for the Sundance Now streaming service. It’s created by, written by, and starring Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman, both of whom are deaf.
Hilarious, candid, and sweet, the show explores the relationship between best buds Kate (Stern), who is newly engaged to Danny (Zach Gilford), and Michael (Feldman), who is attempting to move on from his ex-fiancé. The show also stars Cheryl Hines, Cold Prattes, and Marlee Matlin.
“This Close” premieres on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 on Sundance Now.
Jones, along with director Drake Doremus, wrote the Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize-winning romantic drama “Like Crazy,” which stars the late Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as a couple in long-distance relationship after she’s denied re-entry into the U.S. after staying in the country longer than her student visa allows.
Moving on to Netflix, Jones and Michael Mohan create and executive produce the coming-of-age comedy “Everything Sucks!” Set in the real-life town of Boring, Oregon in 1996, the 10-episode series focuses on Boring High School’s nerdiest outsiders — the A/V Club and Drama Club — as they collaborate to make a movie.
All 10 episodes of “Everything Sucks!” will be available to stream on Friday, Feb. 16 on Netflix.
Neville won an Oscar for directing “20 Feet From Stardom” and has been hitting the festival circuit ever since with “Best of Enemies” and most recently at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the Fred Rogers biopic “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” In his transition to Netflix, he’s also directed “Keith Richards: Under the Influence” and a couple episodes of the series “Abstract: The Art of Design,” which he also executive produces.
In an intriguing shift, he is now directing the food and culture series “Ugly Delicious.” What David Gelb did for “Chef’s Table,” Neville will do for “Ugly Delicious,” except the emphasis isn’t on the visual palette, but the consumer’s palate. Neville teams up with Momofuku and James Beard Award-winning Chef David Chang for the documentary series the explores comfort food around the world that breaks down cultural barriers.
Some of the culinary explorations include: Viet-Cajun cuisine in Houston, Neapolitan Pizza in Tokyo, home cooking in Copenhagen, and much more. Special guests include Jimmy Kimmel, Alan Yang, Wolfgang Puck, Ali Wong, Nick Kroll, Eric Wareheim and Gillian Jacobs.
“Ugly Delicious” will be released on Friday, Feb. 23 on Netflix.
Futterman has written “Capote” and co-wrote “Foxcatcher,” while Gibney has become one of the most important film documentarians known for the Emmy-winning “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” and “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” and the Oscar-nominated “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and Oscar-winning “United States of Money; and Taxi to the Dark Side.”
That dual pedigree will be put to good use with Hulu’s 10-episode miniseries “The Looming Tower,” which according to the official Hulu description: “traces the rising threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11. The series follows members of the I-49 Squad in New York and Alec Station in Washington, D.C., the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA, respectively, as they travel the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward the same goal — trying to prevent an imminent attack on U.S. soil.”
The series stars Jeff Daniels, Tahar Rahim, Wrenn Schmidt, Bill Camp, Louis Cancelmi, Virginia Kull, Ella Rae Peck, Sullivan Jones, with Michael Stuhlbarg and Peter Sarsgaard.
“The Looming Tower” premieres Wednesday, Feb. 28 on Hulu.
The Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” duo teams up again for the historical FX treatment with “Trust.” The 10-episode anthology series is set in 1973 and centers on the abduction of John Paul Getty III, then-heir to Getty Oil, in Italy. The series takes a controversial stance about the kidnapping.
Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, Brendan Fraser, Anna Chancellor, Harris Dickinson, and Michael Esper star.
“Trust” premieres Sunday, March 25 on FX.
Marino is best known to American audiences for directing “The Oranges,” after directing several TV seasons of “Entourage,” “Rome,” “Big Love,” and “The Office.” “The Oranges” is a downer of a comedy about two families who must deal with the patriarch of one falling for the daughter in the other. Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Alia Shawkat, and Adam Brody star.
Back in his home country of England though, Farino has done a number of documentaries (“7Up 2000,” “14Up 2000”) and various costume dramas like “Our Mutual Friend.” This gives him a unique style for the adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel “The Child in Time” for the BBC and PBS.
The drama picks up several months after the young daughter of children’s author Stephen Lewis (Benedict Cumberbatch) goes missing while they were at the grocery store. She’s never found, and the heartbreak and uncertainty tears Stephen’s marriage apart with his wife Julie (Kelly MacDonald). The film is perhaps one of the best explorations of sadness — without being mawkish, and with a bit of hope thrown in.
“The Child in Time” premieres on PBS’ “Masterpiece” on Sunday, April 1.
Longeran takes his Oscar-winning credentials from “Manchester by the Sea” and “You Can Count on Me” to Starz to adapt E.M. Forester’s “Howards End” as a miniseries, consisting of four hour-long episodes directed by Hettie Macdonald.
The description, according to Starz:
“Margaret (Hayley Atwell) and Helen Schlegel (Philippa Coulthard) are intelligent and idealistic young women living together with their hypochondriac younger brother Tibby (Alex Lawther) in Edwardian London. Since the death of their parents and despite their interfering Aunt Juley’s (Tracey Ullman) best intentions, the sisters lead independent and slightly unorthodox lives. After meeting the wealthy and conservative Wilcox family on holiday, Margaret forms a friendship with the older and more traditional Ruth Wilcox (Julia Ormond). When Ruth unexpectedly dies, Margaret finds herself increasingly drawn to the newly widowed Henry Wilcox (Matthew Macfadyen), a self-made businessman who inherits his late wife’s beloved country home Howards End. Meanwhile, the passionate and capricious Helen takes up the cause of Leonard Bast (Joseph Quinn), a young bank clerk who is struggling to make ends meet, trapped by his promise to marry his alluring but vulnerable lover Jacky (Rosalind Eleazar).”
“Howards End” will premiere Sunday, April 8 on Starz.
Garbus is best known for her Nina Simone documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” that opened Sundance in 2015, received a Peabody Award, and earned one Oscar and four Emmy nominations. She also made the acclaimed “Bobby Fischer Against the World,” “Love, Marilyn,” “Killing in the Name,” “The Farm: Angola, USA,” and so many more.
Her heavy-hitting resume makes her perfect for Showtime’s upcoming docuseries, which will explore one of President Donald Trump’s favorite subjects: the press. More specifically, the New York Times. Here’s Showtime’s description:
From the first time President Trump called The New York Times “highly inaccurate” in its coverage of his administration, through his false claim that the paper is “failing” and losing thousands of subscribers, to ultimately declaring the majority of the nation’s major news outlets “fake news,” a chief task for the Times, long considered the “newspaper of record,” has been to find the best way to accurately and honestly cover this new and unconventional president. With unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Times, including filming inside closed-door meetings, rare interviews with the editors and reporters who cover the President and the tumult around him, as well as an insider’s view of the Sulzberger family publisher transition, Garbus intimately chronicles the tenacious men and women in the trenches who are fighting for the freedom of the press and America’s right to know.
“The Fourth Estate” multi-part documentary series will premiere on May 27 on Showtime.
Sheridan received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for “Hell or High Water” and also wrote “Sicario” and “Wind River,” which he directed. He’s proven himself adept at modern-day Westerns.
Here’s the Paramount Network description:
In “Yellowstone,” Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, under constant attack by those it borders — land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park. It is an intense study of a violent world far from media scrutiny — where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world’s largest oil and lumber corporations. Where drinking water poisoned by fracking wells and unsolved murders are not news: they are a consequence of living in the new frontier. It is the best and worst of America seen through the eyes of a family that represents both.
The series also stars Wes Bentley, Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Chow, Dave Annable, film Birmingham, Jefferson White, Wendy Moniz, Gretchen Mol, Jill Hennessy, Josh Lucas, and Michaela Conlin.
“Yellowstone” will premiere on June 20 on Paramount Network.