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The 22 best TV shows of autumn 2016

Woody Allen makes his TV debut, ‘Black Mirror’ gets a new home and ‘Doctor Who’ goes back to school

By Cath Clarke, Ellie Walker-Arnott and Kate Lloyd
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Summer’s over. The nights are getting longer. Autumn is all about cosying down in front of a screen and a plate of steaming carbs. Here’s our pick of the best series coming to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky and good old-fashioned terrestrial TV before the end of the year.

The best TV shows to watch this autumn

The Crown Netflix
The Crown Netflix
Netflix

1. The Crown

As we’re about to find out in ‘The Crown’, Netflix’s most ambitious show yet, Her Maj hasn’t always been an elderly lady with a grey rinse. Written by Peter Morgan (the man behind ‘The Queen’), ‘The Crown’ will run for six seasons, each focusing on a decade of HRH’s reign. This first season kicks off in 1947, with princess Elizabeth aged 25 and about to be crowned. Rumour has it that the royals are ‘nervous’ about what the show will reveal. 

Netflix, November

National Treasure Channel 4
National Treasure Channel 4
Channel 4

2. National Treasure

Robbie Coltrane stars as a well-loved comedian accused of rape in this four-part Channel 4 drama inspired by the Operation Yewtree investigations into historic sex offences. The script is by the brilliant Jack Thorne, who wrote the Harry Potter play ‘The Cursed Child’. He says he felt a ‘massive’ responsibility to get the tone of ‘National Treasure’ right.

Channel 4, September

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Narcos Netflix
Narcos Netflix
Netflix

3. Narcos

The second series of Netflix’s historical drama about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has arrived. This new season kicks off where the last one ended, with Escobar escaping his self-built prison and getting back on the streets.It’s a dark, broody and violent show that slowly creeps to a climax. Expect tense nights in front of your screen.

Netflix, available now
Class BBC3 Doctor Who spin-off
Class BBC3 Doctor Who spin-off
BBC

4. Class

Okay, so a new series of ‘Doctor Who’ isn’t expected until spring 2017. But fans can get their fix when sci-fi spin-off ‘Class’ drops on the BBC. The series, written by young-adult author Patrick Ness, follows sixth-formers at Coal Hill, the school that has featured in Who since 1963, and promises to shine a light on a whole new corner of the Whoniverse. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a cameo from the Doctor himself.

BBC1 and BBC3, October
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5. Crisis in Six Scenes

We don’t know much about Woody Allen’s first-ever TV show. It’s set in the 1960s among a suburban family, with Allen playing a novelist called Sidney, alongside Miley Cyrus and Elaine May. As you’d expect, Allen has been typically downbeat about the six-episode show: ‘I never should have gotten into it. I thought it was going to be easy… But it’s not!’

September, Amazon Prime

Our Loved Boy BBC1
Our Loved Boy BBC1
BBC

6. Our Loved Boy

This one-off 90-minute drama focuses on the tragic death of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor, who was stabbed with broken glass by two boys in Peckham in 2000. The filmmakers say it won’t show the actual killing, but instead concentrates on Damilola’s life and the devastating impact on his family.  

BBC1, autumn

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Marvel's Luke Cage, Netflix preview
Marvel's Luke Cage, Netflix preview
Netflix

7. Marvel’s Luke Cage

One of the highlights of much-loved Marvel show ‘Jessica Jones’ was Luke Cage. Now he’s getting his own show. Played by Mike Colter, Cage has unbreakable skin, superhuman strength and an internal struggle to balance his own happiness with that of his community in Harlem.

Netflix, September
Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, Netflix preview
Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, Netflix preview
Netflix

8. Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker’s Channel 4 satire is moving to Netflix for season three. Six episodes are promised, featuring performances by the likes of ‘House of Cards’ political fixer Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) and ‘Game of Thrones’ mercenary Bronn (Jerome Flynn). If it’s anything like the last series, prepare to question everything you think you know about the modern world. 

Netflix, October
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Poldark series two, BBC1
Poldark series two, BBC1
BBC

9. Poldark

Text your mum – everyone’s favourite and regularly topless Cornish Robin Hood (Aidan Turner) is returning to TV. The series is an adaptation of the historical novels and follows a soldier returning home in 1783 to find his great love engaged to his cousin.

BBC1, September
The Young Pope, Sky Atlantic
The Young Pope, Sky Atlantic
Sky

10. The Young Pope

Jude Law is Lenny Belardo, the first American pope in the history of the Catholic Church. He’s young and potentially revolutionary - and, as he establishes himself in his new role, a Papal power struggle ensues in the Vatican. It’s directed by Paolo Sorrentino ('The Great Beauty') so expect heaps of strange and surreal goings on in this slick and stylish new drama from HBO and Sky Atlantic. 

Sky Atlantic, October 

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