From Russian Doll to Better Call Saul: the seven best shows to stream this week | Television & radio

Pick of the week
Russian Doll

Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll.
Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll. Photograph: Courtesy Of Netflix/Netflix

When it comes to following up something as satisfyingly complete as the first season of Russian Doll, the stakes are high. After all, this head-spinning New York mystery drama stuck its landing so satisfyingly that further variations on a comparable theme risk tarnishing those memories. This time, Natasha Lyonne’s Nadia finds her existential portal via a subway train that transports her back to 1982. She understands the reality of her situation when she lights a cigarette and no one bats an eyelid. But why is she there? The answer is simultaneously logical and terrifying. It’s an intriguing premise and, once again, Lyonne anchors the whole enterprise with phlegmatic yet fiery charm. PH
Netflix, from Wednesday 20 April

All the Way Up

Moussa Mansaly in All the Way Up.
Moussa Mansaly in All the Way Up. Photograph: Mika Cotellon; Mandarin Télévision/Canal+

Fresh from its breakout success in France (44m streams at last count), here is a gritty tale of an emerging young rapper in Paris. Gutsy Clément (Hatik, who has since become a rap star in real life) creates an opportunity to perform for his favourite artist, Mastar (Moussa Mansaly), which leads to a viral moment that launches a new career in music – but his idol quickly becomes his biggest rival. Each half-hour episode is packed with social observations, clever wordplay and comic beats. HR
STUDIOCANAL Presents on Apple TV, out now

Better Call Saul

Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul.
Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul. Photograph: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

The sublime slow burn of Better Call Saul feels like a vindication of the breathing space allowed by streaming platforms; it often feels as wide open and up for grabs as the barren, beautiful physical landscape it occupies. However, in plot terms, it probably is time for some answers as the concluding season begins and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) enters the final stages of his transformation into slippery Saul Goodman. Meanwhile, we wait to see how the confirmed return of Walter (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) is handled. PH
Netflix, from Tuesday 19 April

White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch.
White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch. Photograph: Netflix

“We go after the cool kids … Are we exclusionary? Absolutely!” Former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries was candid about the brand he’d been hired to reinvigorate. But, as this documentary shows, that’s not an approach without its issues. For a start, how does it translate to hiring practices? It’s been suggested that “cool” very much meant white – certainly no dreadlocks and no headscarves. Fascinating and troubling, this works as an era-specific cautionary tale and a wider rumination on modern American culture. PH
Netflix, from Tuesday 19 April


Heartstopper. Photograph: Netflix

In many ways, this likable adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel is all mood swings and clandestine snogging. The twist is that the relationships at the heart of the series are same sex – and Heartstopper does a fine job of folding universal teenage angst into the jeopardy of being out (or outed) in a school where homophobic bullying is still a danger. Shy Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) is secretly seeing a guilt-ridden and emotionally abusive schoolmate when his eye is caught by charismatic rugby lad Nick (Kit Connor). But Nick couldn’t possibly feel the same way about him, could he? PH
Netflix, from Friday 22 April

Selling Sunset

Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim in Selling Sunset.
Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim in Selling Sunset. Photograph: Netflix

The unashamedly capitalist-maximalist unreality series returns for a fifth season of bling, bickering and property porn. To give the uninitiated an idea of the vibe, at one point a couple of estate agents stand on the balcony of a fancy property talking about “the little people” and shouting “Hi, peasants!” in their general direction. Yes, really. Still, there’s love in the air this time with Chrishell and Jason taking a romantic holiday in Greece. Predictably, certain other players aren’t too comfortable with this employee/boss intimacy. PH
Netflix, from Friday 22 April

They Call Me Magic

Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Photograph: Michael Muller/Apple TV+

Four episodes doesn’t seem enough to do justice to Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who seems to have lived multiple lives, each full of triumph and tragedy. He was one of the greatest basketball players in history before being forced to retire in 1991 after contracting HIV. Perhaps his greatest chapter was what then followed: his advocacy for HIV-positive people, which helped lessen the stigma surrounding the virus. With evocative archive footage and the cooperation of the man himself, this is a fine survey of a remarkable life. PH
Apple TV+, from Friday 22 April

Leave a Comment