New to SoHo in July

What HBO hopes will be its next Big Little Lies, Sharp Objects, will replace Westworld as SoHo’s signature drama on July 9.

The murder mystery will air 1.00 Mondays — the same time as the US — and again at 8.30.

The series has just had its world premiere at the ATX Festival in Austin, Texas, where Variety likened it to a new True Detective:

Like the first season of Lies, Objects is entirely directed by the flashy auteur Jean-Marc Vallée and includes among its cast gifted female performers over 40 who aren’t strangers to attending the Oscars. (Lies had Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, among others; Objects stars Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.) And like Lies, it’s based off a genre novel — Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s debut — whose mystery it pumps up with quick cuts, dream sequences, and jumps in time.

But the more obvious comparison, as HBO’s bid for a next major limited series unfolds, becomes to a show that’s less heralded these days: Sharp Objects could well serve as True Detective, Season 3. It shares that show’s curiosity about evil and its unwillingness to settle for anything less than its version of psychological truth, no matter how demanding.

Its handling of truly twisted subject matter (in scripts by Marti Noxon and Flynn herself) is frank and unblinking, digging out insight about the most damaged of people and the harm they do to themselves and to others.

With a cast led by Adams operating at the peak of her abilities, Sharp Objects is dazzlingly itself, a show in thrall to the horror of its premise but one that finds nuance within unremitting darkness.

And the good news doesn’t end there for premium drama buffs: SoHo’s also belatedly picked up the latest dramatisation of Howards End for July, the Sarah Lancashire drama Kiri and the UK comedy, Motherland.

The four-hour EM Forster adaptation had been widely applauded, with New York magazine declaring that the extra length (compared to the 1992 movie) “allows for a detailed and unhurried experience, and the storytellers take advantage of the lengthened timeline, even if they sometimes fail to put emphasis in the right spots.

“All in all, the new Howards End is a fresh take on an old source, and the longer it goes on, the more different, even special, it gets.”

Kiri is a social worker drama series that earned rave reviews but those in the trade questioned their depiction, even though Channel 4 argued it undertook “extensive background research” and consultation.

It was written by Jack Thorne, whose Robbie Coltrane drama, National Treasure, screened over summer on TVNZ 1.

The Guardian dubbed Motherland “a vision of child rearing that is panic-inducingly scary” while The Telegraph claimed it “reaches similar comedy heights to Fawlty Towers“.

Speaking of Everest-like comedic talent, SoHo also will premiere the four-hour Garry Shandling tribute, The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, which The Hollywood Reporter dubbed “a bittersweet study of a restless psyche, an insightful look into the world of comedy and an in-depth biography all in one”.

Also new next month will be media mogul drama Succession and the latest seasons of Animal Kingdom, The Affair, I’m Dying Up Here, a Bill Maher stand-up special and two HBO movies.

Premiering in order of their transmission are:

The Tale Drama: This true story from award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Fox follows an accomplished documentarian, who rediscovers an unnerving short-story she wrote at the age of 13. (July 3, 8.30)

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling: Directed by Judd Apatow, this intimate documentary examines the legacy of top stand-up comedian Garry Shandling, tracing the twists and turns of his remarkable life. (July 4, 8.30)

Sharp Objects: Camille Preaker, a city reporter with a dark history, returns to her hometown to cover the suspected murder of two young girls. (July 9, 1.00/8.30)

Succession: Media magnate Logan Roy shocks his family with a life-changing announcement on his 80th birthday. (July 11, 8.30)

The Affair: With everyone involved in a new relationship, Noah, Helen, Alison and Cole are forced to decide if they’re willing to leave the past behind for good. (July 15, 8.30)

Kiri: Social worker Miriam authorises an unsupervised visit between a young girl and her soon-to-be foster family. However, things take a dark turn when she goes missing. (July 16, 9.30)

I’m Dying Up Here: Complications arise for Goldie when her estranged daughter shows up. Cassie eagerly awaits her comedy special while Eddie and Adam ride the fame-wave. (July 18, 9.30)

Motherland: Set in London, a group of middle-class parents navigate the trials and traumas of hyper-competitive motherhood in a desperate attempt to fit in with ‘The Alpha Moms’. (July 19, 9.30)

The Leisure Class Comedy: From Project Greenlight winner Jason Mann, this dark comedy centres on a man trying to marry into a wealthy East Coast family – and the arrival of his brother, who could ruin everything. (July 22, 7.05)

Animal Kingdom: The infamous Cody family returns, finding themselves increasingly divided as they fight for dominance. Yet, when outside threats emerge, they must band together. (July 24, 8.30)

Howards End: After Margaret receives a letter from her sister, Helen, a misunderstanding ends up intertwining the lives of the Schlegels, the Wilcoxes and the Basts. (July 26, 8.30)

Bill Maher: Live From Oklahoma: Bill Maher brings his unpredictable, yet always entertaining, stand-up show to the Oklahoma stage for his first comedy special since the election of Donald Trump. (July 28, 9.30)

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