Typically the latest Star Wars spin-off would, by default, be this August’s biggest name going. It’s the world’s most beloved non-Vulcan sci-fi franchise, with the deranged runaway clout of Disney backing it up. The only thing that could possibly dethrone it is an adaptation of honest-to-God anime royalty – and a proper adaptation too, one with the original creator’s input and stamp of approval, not something farmed out to people who initially think they’re doing the life story of a country singer called Anna May. Although I would watch that.
Here are the biggest new TV shows of August 2023.
New TV In August 2023
1. Strange Planet | August 9th, 2023
In all probability, you already know this one – it’s that webcomic with the blue aliens who interpret everyday situations with stilted, overly-literal language. The adaptation has creator Nathan Pyle joining forces with Dan Harmon, the non-disgraced half of Rick and Morty, a show which is itself no stranger to simply-drawn blue creatures who are doing their best.
In a world where adaptations keep on rolling out, the usual desire of studios to only bet on what’s already a proven moneymaker, the webcomic has been scanted compared to, for instance, the novel. And it’s not hard to see why: four panels’ worth of shtick can easily wear thin over half an hour. Strange Planet found mainstream appeal in trickling through to content aggregators every week or so – fewer people were sitting down to binge it.
But if there’s a reason to be cynical, it’s mainly the bad reputation of the webcomic as a form. Due to the low barrier for entry, the medium is defined largely by the biggest stinkers. Formulaic videogame webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del at one time actually put out its own animated adaptation, whose one IMDB review describes it as ‘absolutely atrocious in every possible way’.
2. Star Wars: Ahsoka | August 23rd, 2023
Disney’s Marvellification of the Star Wars franchise grinds steadily on, with Rosario Dawson reprising her role from The Mandalorian as the eponymous head-tendrilled Jedi, who first appeared in the animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars…which, to be fair, was proving there was a market for Star Wars spin-offs long before Disney ever got hold of it.
Need we really go into the specifics? It’s Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano going off on wacky, CGI-heavy adventures just like Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian, Ewan MacGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor did before her. You already have a pretty clear idea of whether you’re tuning in or not, you know what you’re getting.
Still, the fans will be pleased to be reunited with some old friends – most notably Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, but also David Tennant as Huyang and Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn. No word on whether this will also be the triumphant return of fan favourite Glup Shitto.
3. Who Is Erin Carter? | August 24th, 2023
For all the media whose main intention is to place you in the world of powerful billionaires, there’s a similar visceral thrill to be had in watching someone’s life go completely to pot. This is the main appeal of works like Peep Show, Scorsese’s After Hours, and pretty much everything Franz Kafka ever wrote, including his personal correspondence.
Evin Ahmad, the doomed nearly-legitimate businesswoman from Snabba Cash, plays an English expat living in Spain who winds up in the middle of a robbery. For us non-TV characters, the trauma of being involved in a violent stickup might well be enough to derail us on its own. For Ahmad, at the mercy of a story arc, this will presumably be just the beginning.
Ahmad’s character in Snabba Cash was also a natural outsider, as a Kurdish woman living in Sweden – but one who was almost certainly more naturalised than the British expat community in Spain. Here she’s playing a teacher, so hopefully won’t be reduced to that lovely old saying common to Spain’s British population: ‘oi, Pedro! Do you do chips?’
4. A Murder At The End Of The World | August 29th, 2023
In the kind of scene that probably went down dozens of times during the pandemic, a fun getaway at a reclusive billionaire’s isolated retreat turns sour when one of the guests turns up dead. Might it have just been an unfortunate accident? Well, the title’s kind of spoiled that one already.
Clive Owen plays the billionaire, Emma Corrin plays the amateur detective who tries to work out what happened, and one out of Alice Braga, Jermaine Fowler, Joan Chen, Harris Dickinson, and Brit Marling – Owen’s other guests – will presumably be playing the corpse. Though when you consider the reasons a billionaire would want to bring a group of young, attractive people to an isolated location, they should have had their guards up already.
5. One Piece | August 31st, 2023
Before Pirates Of The Caribbean, there was One Piece – a world full of pirates, which also involves monsters and supernatural powers. The main guy’s a man made of rubber who wants to find some famous treasure and be king of the pirates. It’s a situation anyone can understand.
Netflix’s live-action adaptations of beloved anime don’t have the best history – their iteration of Death Note was, itself, potentially fatal – but with the anime spanning well over a thousand episodes, and the manga taking home the Guinness World Record for “most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author”, longtime One Piece fans could probably swallow this whole without it touching the sides.
And creator Eiichiro Oda seems to have seen the potential problems of adaptation coming from a long way off. He’s taken a firmly hands-on role with the adaptation, wary of Netflix getting too many greasy fingerprints on his baby, and has been quoted as saying “[Netflix has] promised that we won’t launch until I’m satisfied” – which is quite a statement from a man whose personal vision runs into the thousands of episodes. But, since there’s an actual release date, fans can rest assured this really does have the Oda stamp of approval.
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