Top TV shows on STARZPLAY UK
James R | On 27, Mar 2022
STARZPLAY is not a name that many audiences in the UK will recognise, but its growing library of exclusive and original TV series make it a valuable addition to your VOD collection. Launching in 2018 in the UK, it has long been available as an add-on to an Amazon Prime account through Amazon Prime Video Channels, but is also available on Roku, iOS, Android, Apple TV and Virgin Media, each one costing £4.99 a month with no contract.
With both STARZPLAY’s own app and website and Amazon Prime Video Channels offering 6 months at £1.99 each to new subscribers (as long as you sign up before 31st March 2022), we round up the best TV shows and box sets on STARZPLAY UK:
“Sing me a song of a lass that is gone. Say, could that lass be I?” This long-running saga based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon is a superb blend of time-travelling fantasy and steamy romance, with Caitriona Balfe starring as Claire, a WWII nurse stuck out of time in Scotland, where she falls in love with Highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). In the 1700s, she and Jamie travel to France and face the Battle of Culloden. In the 1940s, her husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies), waits for signs that his wife is ok. What unfolds is a brilliant mix of smouldering tension and exciting battle sequences, all set against stunning Scottish landscapes begging to be explored. From the opening theme (by Bear McCreary to the excellent lead performances, the result is an epic with a uniquely female gaze that leaves you wanting to see more.
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Men in Kilts
Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham is a buddy travelogue through Scotland led by Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. The two reunite to explore their heritage and meet a collection of people who truly showcase what it means to be Scottish. Whether hanging off the edge of a cliff, wrangling a flock of wild sheep or discovering the legacy of their Outlander characters, it’s the duo’s winning chemistry that makes for a likeable, entertaining romp.
Stephen Amell (Arrow) delivers a typically charismatic performance in this moving drama about small town pro wrestling. Set in a close-knit Georgia community, it follows a family-owned wrestling promotion as two brothers and rivals war over their late father’s legacy. In the ring, somebody must play the good guy, the “face,” and somebody must play their nemesis, the “heel.” But in the real world, those characters can be hard to live up to — or hard to leave behind. The balance of action and heartfelt family tensions makes for a compelling watch.
With a cast that includes Timothy Dalton, Alan Tudyk and Brendan Fraser, this unusual comic book series already stands out in a crowded crowd. But while you might come for the voice talent, you’ll stay for the crazy storylines, offbeat humour and fun character work, as the show follows a group of outcasts (including Robotman and Elasti-Woman) who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them.
Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult are flawless in this hilarious satirical comedy about Catherine the Great’s rise to power, which puts history to one side and instead delivering a knowing commentary on toxic masculinity, power and sexism. From the writer of The Favourite, all of this is woven together with the kind of gloriously irreverent one-liners you’d expect.
This DC origin series follows Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former British SAS soldier in his 20s, who forms a security company in 1960s London and goes to work with young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), who’s not yet become Bruce Wayne’s father. It sounds unlikely, but this hugely entertaining period spy thriller is the kind of Batman prequel that Gotham wishes it could be.
Set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London, Hulu’s Harlots is a playful period drama offering a brand new take on the city’s most valuable commercial activity – sex. Inspired by the stories of real women, the series follows Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton) and her daughters, as she struggles to reconcile her roles as mother and brothel owner. Co-starring Lesley Manville, Jessica Brown Findlay and Hugh Skinner, this is an absolute hoot, while also being a serious study of the interplay of power, between two rival factions, between workers and employers, and between men and women.
BBC One’s surveillance thriller will be compared by many to Bodyguard, but the drama is closer to a companion piece to Channel 4’s equally gripping Chimerica. Where that drama delved into questions of photos, image editing and what can be trusted in this world of modern technology, The Capture raises equally troubling issues around deep fake – the manipulation of videos to make it appear as if someone said or did something they didn’t. This is a gripping exercise in sowing doubt.
Perpetual Grace, Ltd
James (Jimmi Simpson), a young grifter, attempts to prey upon Pastor Byron Brown (Sir Ben Kingsley), but they turn out to be far more dangerous than he suspects. The pastor and his wife Lillian (Jacki Weaver), known to their parishioners as Pa and Ma, have used religion to swindle hundreds of innocent people out of their life savings. The resulting collision is a darkly funny and visually stunning neo-noir Western.
JK Simmons plays Howard Silk, a low-ranking officer worker in Berlin’s Office of Interchange. His life is one of unquestioning routine. But just as he begins to ask questions – what he’s doing, why he can’t have a promotion – he finds himself hauled into a meeting with another man, who looks exactly like him. He’s from a parallel world and draws Howard into a dizzying, twisting, gripping sci-fi tale of spies and double identities. One of the best modern TV series you haven’t seen.
Four Weddings and a Funeral: The Series
Richard Curtis’ 4 Weddings and a Funeral is one of the definitive rom-coms from the genre’s 1990s heyday. Fast forward 24 years and turning 4 Weddings and a Funeral into a TV series wasn’t at the top of anyone’s to-do list, but Hulu’s unexpected update succeeds at changing what needs to be changed, with a diverse cast and knowing dialogue making for a surprisingly entertaining box set.
This gripping spin-off from The Missing sees Tchéky Karyo reprise his role as the insightful but stubborn investigator Julien Baptiste. When Julien and his wife move to Amsterdam, the Chief of Police (an old girlfriend) seeks him out for his questioning and persistent approach to crime solving. Baptiste rapidly becomes embroiled in a case that exposes layers of atrocity in the trade of sex, drugs and people themselves. For Julien Baptiste, the beautiful streets, canals and houses of Amsterdam hide dark and dangerous secrets. For viewers at home, they also introduce us to a desperate father played by the always-excellent Tom Hollander.
A reimagining of Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel, High Fidelity centres on Rob, a female record store owner who revisits past relationships through music. Zoe Kravitz is remarkable in what emerges as a nuanced commentary not only on relationships and romantic expectations but also pop culture.
This superbly observed comedy follows first-generation, Egyptian-American Ramy Hassan who is on a spiritual journey in his politically-divided New Jersey neighborhood. Exploring the challenges of what it’s like to be caught between a religious community who believes life is a moral test and a millennial generation that doubts an afterlife even exists, this impressively balanced show subverts your expectations and tosses stereotypes aside with a heartfelt confidence.
Hot on the heels of Escape at Dannemora, Patricia Arquette delivers another unrecognisable turn in a drama based on true events. She is Dee Dee Blanchard, mother to Gypsy Blanchard (Joey King), a daughter who needs her mum’s protective care because of a dizzying array of conditions – including heart murmurs, a lethal sugar allergy, mental disabilities and epilepsy. Or does she? That’s the unsettling truth underneath their relationship: that Dee Dee has been keeping her daughter trapped in a box of illness through a combination of lying, poisoning and gaslighting.
The Little Drummer Girl
“We’re putting on a production…” says Marty Kurtz (Michael Shannon) to young actress Charlie (Florence Pugh) at the start of The Little Drummer Girl. He proceeds to offer her a part in a show that promises intrigue, style and unpredictable shocks – it’s no coincidence that he could easily be talking about the TV series itself. This slow-burn spy thriller is a sumptuous John Le Carre adaptation with an irresistible number of layers.
Spring breakers are getting murdered in Neptune, thereby decimating the seaside town’s lifeblood tourist industry. Kristen Bell’s college-student-turned-sleuth returned to our screens recently to crack the case in a revival of the detective series from creator Rob Thomas. Not a fan of the reboot? There’s even more reason to go back to the original seasons, also available to stream.
Power Book II: Ghost
For fans of Courtney Kemp and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s crime thriller Power, STARZPLAY is a must-have, as it becomes the global home of the growing Power universe. That begins with this impressively acted spin-off, Power Book II: Ghost, which picks up with the original show left off, with a cast that includes Mary J Blige and Cliff “Method Man” Smith.
A STARZPLAY subscription costs £4.99 a month.