(Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO)
1. House of the Dragon
Since the series ended, TV journalists and fans alike have pondered the question: what will be the next Game of Thrones? The next epic fantasy saga with enormous international success, creating water-cooler moments every week? The answer could just be: more Game of Thrones. House of the Dragon – based on George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood – is set 200 years before Game of Thrones, and tells the story of the House Targaryen, the silvery-haired dragon keepers. It stars The Crown’s Matt Smith and Wanderlust’s Emma D’Arcy as rivals to the Iron Throne, currently occupied by Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes), with the rest of the cast including Steve Toussaint (Prince of Persia), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) and Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man). “It’s powerful, it’s visceral, it’s dark, it’s like a Shakespearean tragedy,” George RR Martin told The Hollywood Reporter. Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik told THR that the show has “pulled back” on the amount of sex on screen, but that although there is still violence against women, they’ve approached it “carefully, thoughtfully … It shouldn’t be downplayed and it shouldn’t be glorified”. Watch the trailer for House of the Dragon here.
House of the Dragon premieres on 21 August on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and on 22 August on Sky and Now in the UK and Ireland
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney at a Wrexham match (Credit: Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
2. Welcome to Wrexham
In 2020, something unexpected happened in the small Welsh town of Wrexham: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, two major Hollywood actors, bought their football team. Wrexham AFC are the oldest professional football club in Wales, the third oldest in the world, and currently play in fifth-tier competition, The National League. “It’s an underdog story,” Reynolds says in the trailer for this new documentary series following the pair’s acquisition of the club, as they learn the ropes and reality of owning a professional football team, with the eyes of an incredibly dedicated community of supporters on them. With the enormous cult success of Ted Lasso, there couldn’t be a better time to tell a real-life story of North Americans parachuting into British professional football, but this time there are real lives, real hopes and real money all at stake.
Welcome to Wrexham premieres on 24 August on FX and Hulu in the US, and on 25 August on Disney+ in the UK
3. The Sandman
Neil Gaiman’s epic, best-selling graphic novel, The Sandman, has long been considered unfilmable. Huge names have taken a stab at it, but none have succeeded, until now. “They were trying to make a 3,000-page story happen in two hours of film time,” Gaiman told BBC News. “And nobody ever cracked that because it was uncrackable.” It’s a complicated story, but essentially Tom Sturridge (On the Road) leads as the titular Sandman, also known as Dream or Morpheus, who must journey across multiple worlds and timelines to make amends for previous mistakes, after being held captive for a century. Featuring a bumper star-studded cast, including Gwendoline Christie, Jenna Coleman, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Fry, Patton Oswalt, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, David Thewlis and Vivienne Acheampong, Netflix will be banking on this grown-up fantasy wooing subscribers. Watch the trailer for The Sandman here.
The Sandman is released on 5 August on Netflix
(Credit: Marvel Studios)
4. She Hulk: Attorney at Law
The latest of Disney+’s Marvel TV series is introducing to the small screen yet more superheroes comic fans may recognise with She Hulk: Attorney at Law. Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) is Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who specialises in legal cases with a superhuman angle. She has particular expertise in these affairs, as she can turn into a 6ft 7in-tall Hulk, having accidentally been contaminated with the blood of her cousin, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Maslany told the recent Comic-Con in San Diego that it’s Marvel’s “first true half-hour comedy”, so expect lots of laughs as this 30-something lawyer grapples with the everyday realities of love, life and friends, all while becoming a superhero. Tim Roth’s Abomination returns to the MCU, and regular Benedict Wong also appears, with Jameela Jamil (The Good Place), Jon Bass (Super Pumped) and Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) joining the cast. Speaking to StageRightSecrets at Comic-Con, Maslany said: “I was nervous to step into it, but when I read the pilot script that Jessica Gao wrote, it was just so funny and so weird, and really unexpected. And I was like ‘if this weren’t a Marvel thing, I would still want to audition’.” Watch the trailer for She Hulk: Attorney at Law here.
She Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres on 17 August on Disney+
(Credit: Apple TV+)
5. Bad Sisters
What are the lengths a tight-knit group of sisters would go to in order to protect one another? In new dark comedy Bad Sisters, the lengths are pretty far indeed. Starring Sharon Horgan, alongside Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene and Eve Hewson, as five sisters who are investigated for life-insurance fraud after one of their husbands – played by Claes Bang – dies mysteriously. In the trailer, we see Bang being physically and mentally abusive towards his wife, and the gang of siblings plotting how to get rid of him. It’s a thrilling premise, and if the trailer is anything to go by – along with Horgan’s previous work – expect laughs, tears and an unflinching look at pain.
The first two episodes of Bad Sisters are released on 19 August on Apple TV+, with the rest following weekly thereafter
(Credit: Apple TV+)
6. Five Days at Memorial
Seventeen years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Memorial Medical Center, one of the city’s hospitals, was badly damaged by the storm, and doctors and nurses inside were forced to make some harrowing decisions. Adapted from the book by Sheri Fink, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times Magazine article covering this story, Five Days at Memorial chronicles the decisions made by the workers on the frontline of the storm, and the aftermath of these choices. John Ridley, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave, and Carlton Cuse, joint showrunner of Lost, are the team behind this limited series, which stars Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) as Dr Anna Pou, with Cornelius Smith Jr (Scandal) and Cherry Jones (Succession) just some of the ensemble cast. Watch the trailer for Five Days at Memorial here.
The first three episodes of Five Days at Memorial are released on 12 August on Apple TV+, with the rest following weekly thereafter
(Credit: Quim Vives/Netflix)
7. The Girl in the Mirror
Supernatural Spanish-language thriller The Girl in the Mirror (titled Alma in Spain) looks set to be a spine-tingling addition to any summer watch list. Alma (Mireia Oriol) wakes up in hospital, after a tragic bus accident which killed nearly all her classmates, with no memory of the accident, or her past. She is plagued by night terrors and visions, but as she pieces together her life, are her experiences a side-effect of trauma, and healing – or could they be something more sinister? Created by Sergio G Sánchez, writer of Marrowbone and The Orphanage, the rest of the cast includes Álex Villazán (Swimming Pool), Pol Monen (Amar) and Claudia Roset (Skam). Speaking to Design Scene magazine, Oriol said shooting the show “has been the most extreme, beautiful, and intense moment of my life… The show is something very different from what you have seen before.” Mysterious! Watch the trailer for The Girl in the Mirror here.
The Girl in the Mirror is released on 19 August on Netflix
(Credit: Simon Ridgway/HBO)
Hit banking drama Industry is back for a second series, and finance never looked so thrilling. The pandemic has happened, and the team at Pierpoint’s London office are forced back to the office – and must prove their worth to the bosses, with the threat of a merger hanging over their heads. The graduates at the centre of the story have a lot more experience this time around, so there’s nowhere to hide if things go wrong in their increasingly blurred private and professional lives. The four central youngsters are back, so expect more scene stealing from Harper (Myha’la Herrold), more high drama from Yas (Marisa Abela), more reverence and self-reflection from Robert (Harry Lawtey) – and more mystery from Gus (David Jonsson), whose fate was left in the balance at the end of season one. GQ called Industry “the first great Gen Z workplace drama,” and BBC Culture named it one of the best shows of 2020, so expectations are high for more sex, drugs and spreadsheets. Watch the trailer for series two of Industry here.
Industry premieres on 1 August on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and will be released on BBC One and iPlayer in the UK this autumn
Stand-up comedian Mo Amer has long performed comedy about his identity as a Palestinian refugee who grew up in Texas. Now he’s created a semi-autobiographical comedy series about it. He plays Mo Najjar, who is adapting to life in Houston, Texas, trying to secure US citizenship as a refugee, and reconciling two cultures all at once. Co-created and executive produced by Ramy Youssef (Ramy, Mr Robot), the show also stars Teresa Ruiz (Narcos: Mexico), Omar Elba (A Hologram for the King) and Farah Bsieso (Daughters of Abdul-Rahman). “It’s very much based on my life,” Amer told The Daily Beast. “Basically, it’s a refugee in America, trying to work under the table while working through the bureaucracy and telling the story of someone that’s been in America for 25 years and is still waiting for his citizenship.”
Mo is released on 24 August on Netflix
Steve Carell in 2018 (Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
10. The Patient
From Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, the creator and producer of critically acclaimed show The Americans, comes new psychological thriller The Patient. The 10-episode series stars Steve Carell as Alan Strauss, a therapist who is taken prisoner by patient Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson). The captor then reveals himself to be a serial killer who took the therapist captive to request treatment for his homicidal tendencies. With episodes only running at 30 minutes, expect punchy, action-filled thrills, as Alan helps Sam understand his compulsions, while beginning to understand himself. Carell is best known for his comedic work, so a serious role straight off the back of the release of the latest Minions film will let this seasoned actor flex his chops on prestige TV, following his stand-out acting in The Morning Show. Watch the trailer for The Patient here.
The first three episodes of The Patient are released on 30 August on FX on Hulu in the US, with the rest following weekly thereafter
Love film and TV? Join BBC Culture Film and TV Club on Facebook, a community for cinephiles all over the world.
If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.
And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called The Essential List. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday
Have you ever wanted to see Paul Hollywood on stage singing about hazelnut biscotti and …