Sky brings a couple of pieces of original content for October - a retelling of a family favourite and a high profile limited series based on the famous writings of Aldous Huxley. And there’s plenty of returning TV shows and new movie premieres too.
Sky Cinema presents a mix of movie genres for its premieres as the nights close in and unsurprisingly there's a stylistic bent towards the more macabre and grisly as Halloween draws near. So fans of scary movies can get their fix with the likes of the latest The Grudge remake, Robert Eggers unsettling The Lighthouse and Elisabeth Moss’s impressive turn in The Invisible Man.
Elsewhere, there’s A Wonderful Day in the Neighbourhood with Tom Hanks as US children’s broadcasting icon Fred Rogers, and historical civil rights drama Harriet, which both skirt biopic territory. Super-soldier comic book adaptation Bloodshot sees Vin Diesel looking for another franchise and social justice drama Just Mercy sees Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx on fine form.
Ok, so October’s somewhat light on laughs in Sky’s movie selection … but hey, Christmas is just around the corner, that’ll lighten the mood.
As far as TV shows go, Sky’s big gun in October is an adaptation of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s examination of a future society where citizens are kept in check by a powerful drug even as they relinquish ownership and individuality.
Here’s a closer look at the pick of movies and shows hitting Sky and Now TV subscribers’ screens in October.
(Requires Sky Cinema subscription or Now TV Sky Cinema Pass)
Just Mercy (2019, True Life, Crime, Drama. Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Dir. Destin Daniel Cretton)
After graduating from Harvard, crusading young lawyer Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those not afforded proper representation. Here, he meets Walter McMillian, a black man convicted of a murder he couldn’t have committed and based merely on the flimsy evidence of someone with an agenda. Walter ends up on Death Row and Bryan must battle a labyrinth of legal and political manoeuvrings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds - and the system - stacked against them.
Based on the award-winning nonfiction bestseller by Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy was a critical success and garnered awards for the central performances from Jordan and Foxx. Director Destin Daniel Cretton will next helm Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Harriet (2019, True Life, Drama, Action. Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr. Dir. Kasi Lemmons)
Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves via what became known as the Underground Railroad and changed the course of history.
Waves (2019, Drama, Romance, Sport. Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Sterling K Brown, Dir + Scr. Trey Edward Shults)
Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, a suburban family - led by a well-intentioned but domineering father - navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.
With a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, this was another recipient of a multitude of accolades on the awards circuit.
Bloodshot (2020, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi. Vin Diesel, Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Dir. Dave Wilson, Scr. Jeff Wadlow)
While on vacation after a successful rescue mission, US Marine Ray Garrison and his wife are captured by a rival and killed. Ray is brought back to life using nanotechnology and becomes an unstoppable force - stronger than ever and able to heal instantly. Now being used as a living weapon for the organisation that brought him back to life, Ray’s mind and memory are not his own - but he’s on a mission to change that!
Intended to be the first instalment in a series of films set within a Valiant Comics shared cinematic universe, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch were hired to direct the film from a screenplay by Jeff Wadlow and at one point in 2017, Jared Leto was reported to be in early negotiations to play Bloodshot. Clearly, none of this came together as intended and the final product is now as seen. Its run in theatres was badly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak and so Sony made the film available digitally on-demand less than two weeks after it was released.
This didn't receive any awards. Not one. Zip. Nada.
Seberg (2019, True Life, Drama, Thriller. Kristen Stewart, Jack O’Connell, Vince Vaughn, Anthony Mackie, Dir. Benedict Andrews)
It’s the late 1960s and while on a flight from Paris to Hollywood, French New Wave icon Jean Seberg meets and starts a relationship with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal. This draws the eye of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI which starts a campaign of surveillance and harassment in an effort to suppress and discredit Seberg.
Inspired by real events in Jean Seberg’s life, Benedict Andrews’ noir-ish thriller was acquired by Amazon Studios when it was called Against All Enemies and subsequently retitled. Universal is distributing the movie outside the US, hence its presence on Sky in October.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019, True Life, Drama. Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Dir. Marielle Heller)
Fred Rogers is a warm and welcoming presence on US children’s TV and his charm seems to be genuine offscreen too. When Lloyd Vogel, a jaded magazine writer, is assigned to profile America’s most beloved neighbour he comes at it with the intention of unearthing a fraud. But after meeting the man himself, Rogers overcomes Vogel’s skepticism and helps him learn about kindness, love and forgiveness.
In a masterstroke of casting, Tom Hanks, one of Hollywood’s most genial and approachable movie stars, plays American TV icon and everybody’s favourite neighbour Fred Rogers. Interestingly, director Marielle Heller felt that Rogers didn’t have the dynamic nature needed for a movie protagonist and considered him more the antagonist - usually the villain in most films - but here he's the character that comes into the protagonist’s life and causes a 180° change with a new philosophy and approach to life.
The Secret Garden (2020, Drama, Family, Fantasy. Dixie Egerickx, Richard Hansell, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Dir. Marc Munden)
In 1947 rural England, an orphaned girl is sent to live with her strict uncle and discovers a concealed, magical garden hidden at his estate.
This fourth filmed adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel was released in the US on video on demand on 7th Aug 2020. It is the second time Colin Firth has acted in a film adaptation of The Secret Garden; the other being one of his earliest films, released 33 years ago.
The Grudge (2020, Horror, Mystery. Tara Westwood, John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Dir. Nicolas Pesce)
A police officer investigates a series of gruesome deaths all tied together by the same house, where it seems there is something dark and vengeful lurking.
Already a confusing morass of Japanese Ju-on originals and American remakes, this 4th US instalment started off as a reboot but ended up taking place as a ‘sidequel' before and during the events of the 2004 US version and its two direct sequels. Ask producer Sam Raimi - he probably knows.
The Lighthouse (2019, Drama, Fantasy, Horror. Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Dir. Robert Eggers)
In the 1890s, two lighthouse keepers start to lose their sanity when a storm strands them on the remote island where they are stationed.
Begun by co-writer Max Eggers as an attempt to create a contemporary take on an unfinished short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the project stalled, When Robert Eggers offered to work with his brother, the resulting project evolved into a period psychological thriller with the Poe elements largely removed.
Notable for its narrow 1.19:1 aspect ratio designed to make the audience feel that information is being withheld and the striking black and white photography that evokes the period, the themes examined include alcoholism, the existential struggle to survive, and the layers of masculinity that cloak a man…. so not for everyone then.
The Invisible Man (2020, Horror, Drama, Sci-Fi. Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Dir. Leigh Whannell)
Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding. But when Cecilia’s abusive ex commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
A re-invention of the classic Universal horror story updated to incorporate modern themes and sensibilities, The Invisible Man cemented director Leigh Whannell as a voice to watch (as did his previous, Upgrade) and his upcoming projects include a retelling of The Wolfman with Ryan Gosling plus a new version of Escape From New York.
Sky can’t let Halloween slip by without a couple of collections of movies that veer more towards the unsettling and they’ve sensibly graded their output to suit those who like a scare now and then but don’t want to be too terrified to sleep… all the way through to utterly traumatising.
Wizarding World (12th - 25th October)
Available all in one place for the very first time, you can now indulge your urge to binge all the Harry Potter movies and throw in the Fantastic Beasts duo too… you do have the urge, right?
Spooky (24th October - 1st November)
The lighter side of ghosts, ghouls and creepy crawlies are to be found in this family oriented collection of spooky movies which features:
The Addams Family (1991) - busy pulling double duty over on Netflix too.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Monster Family (2017)
The Witches (1990)
Coraline (2009) - okay, actually pretty terrifying!
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)
Halloween (24th October - 1st November)
Sky packages the decidedly more hardcore side of horror in this batch of panic-inducing flicks, dripping in dread and terror and populated with gruesomely dispatched victims before deciding that a couple of lighter movies such as Beetlejuice will work nicely in there too.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Grudge (2020)
Anna And The Apocalypse (2017)
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Behind You (2020)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
It: Chapter Two (2019)
Little Monsters (2019)
Pet Sematary (2019)
Ready Or Not (2019)
(Requires Sky TV subscription, Now TV Entertainment Pass)
Brave New World (2020, Limited Series, All episodes available) Sky One
In a utopian-style New London, where monogamy and privacy are no longer social norms, Bernard Marx (Harry Lloyd) and Lenina Crowne (Jessica Brown Findlay) have only ever known a rigid social order, a perfect pharmaceutical called Soma and a culture of instant gratification and ubiquitous sex. On a trip to The Savage Lands, they become caught up in a violent rebellion and have to be rescued by a local inhabitant called John (Alden Ehrenreich). John accompanies Bernard and Lenina on their return to New London where his presence threatens to disrupt the established social harmony.
Based on Aldous Huxley’s 1932 story which imagines a society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family, and history itself, the series has modernised the source novel by adding an artificial intelligence system named Indra that also connects people via a wireless network.
Take Two (2018, S1) Fox UK
Sam Swift is a disgraced actress who famously played a detective in a TV series and who has just left rehab after a very public alcohol related incident. In order to get the perfect comeback role as a P.I. she shadows Eddie, an ex-LAPD detective-turned-private-eye. While under Eddie’s wing, it soon becomes clear that Sam has a talent for the role in real life.
Though not talented enough to prevent ABC cancelling the series after a single season.
The Walking Dead (2020, S10c) Fox UK
The final episode package of season ten was interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now appears on Sky the day after it airs on AMC in the US.
Pen15 (2020, S2a) Sky Comedy
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play versions of themselves as 13-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, experiencing middle school as it really happened, surrounded by actual 13-year-olds, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen.
The Twilight Zone (2020, S2) Sky One
Jordan Peele’s rebooted version of the classic Twilight Zone anthology series moves from Syfy UK to Sky One and sees 10 new episodes featuring the likes of Morena Baccarin, Jenna Elfman, Christopher Meloni, Topher Grace, Tony Hale, David Krumholtz, Gillian Jacobs, Jimmi Simpson, Joel McHale, Gretchen Mol, George Takei, Billy Porter, Damon Wayans Jr and many others.
The tales touch on loneliness, introspection and self-exploration all wrapped up in aliens, alternate dimensions, misfits, giant sky orbs, toxic male entitlement, psychic connections, body jumping, a super intelligent octopus and, well… let’s just stop there shall we?
The Family (2020, S1) Fox UK
A drama which follows a shocking reappearance that forces an entire family to re-examine who they are, unearthing long-buried secrets, betrayals and heartache. Cancelled after one season.
Riviera (2020, S3) Sky Atlantic
Georgina Clios (Julia Styles) is an American art curator whose life is turned upside down after the death of her billionaire husband in a yacht accident. Georgina becomes immersed in a world of lies, double-dealing and crime, as she seeks to uncover the truth about his death, while protecting herself and those she loves.
Season three returns to Georgia a year after the end of season two and she’s now a rising star in international art restitution, going by the name Georgina Ryland. As she travels the world searching for lost and stolen treasures in such far-flung and exotic locations as Venice and Argentina, she teams up with Gabriel Hirsch (Rupert Graves) a charismatic ally.
Riviera was originally created by Neil (The Crying Game) Jordan but he has since disowned the series after discovering his scripts were being reworked by others to add additional sex scenes and extensive expositional dialogue. Jordan was not a happy bunny and stepped away.
Minority Report (2015, S1) Fox UK
Three precognitives, Arthur, Agatha and Dash have the ability to see murders before they happen and for 6 years were held against their will by law enforcement in the Precrime Unit. Now, in 2065 the Unit has been dismantled and Dash finds himself in Washington D.C. helping Detective Lara Vega by using his incredible gift again. Only this time, he has to keep his ability a secret from those that would use it for their own gain.
Set 11 years after Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s fine sci-fi blockbuster, this series was dumped after one season - how did they not see that coming!?
The Undoing (2020, Limited Series) Sky Atlantic
Grace and Jonathan Fraser (Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant) are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. But things begin to unravel on the eve of the publishing of Grace’s first book when a violent death leads to a chain of terrible revelations leaving Grace to face the wake of a spreading and very public disaster. Horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, she must dismantle one life and create another for her child and her family.
Based on the 2014 novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, there’a a decent pedigree behind The Undoing with David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies) on writing and producing duties and Susanne Bier (Bird Box / The Night Manager) helming.
Mr Inbetween (2018, S1) Fox UK
Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan) is a hitman for hire who makes a life out of balancing his criminal activities with his obligations to friends and family; as a father to Brittany, an ex husband, a loving boyfriend to Ally and a good caretaker to his sick brother Bruce. Ray also covers for his friend Gary when needed, and follows his boss’s orders without question. Ray deals with criminals and mobsters in his own violent way but this behaviour starts to take its toll and affects his relationships.
Blindspot (2020, S5 - Final) Sky Witness
Sullivan Stapleton and Jaimie Alexander wrap up the story of a woman found in Time Square with no memory but a body covered in tattoos that provide clues to crimes needing to be solved.
Billions (2020, S5) Sky Atlantic
Inspired by real-life prosecutions of financial crime by federal authorities, Billions follows hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), as he accumulates wealth and power in the world of high finance and is pursued by United States Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) who believes the tactics Axelrod uses are frequently illegal.
Black Monday (2020, S2)
Black Monday was the worst stock market crash in Wall Street history. To this day, no one knows who caused it - until now. It's the story of how a group of outsiders took on the blue-blood, old-boys club of Wall Street and ended up crashing the world’s largest financial system, a Lamborghini limousine, Don Henley’s birthday party and the glass ceiling.
Don Cheadle stars in this dark comedy.
So that’s it for October. As new content is added, we’ll update the listing, so be sure to check back so you don’t miss out. In the meantime, why not leave a comment and let us know what you’re looking forward to, what you’ve enjoyed and maybe what was disappointing.