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The best TV series streaming on Sundance Now in August 2021
Taking Sundance Now's streaming service for a spin? We've ranked the best TV shows and original series available.
Always the champion of independent storytellers in film and theatre, Sundance also includes lots of surprisingly great TV series on its standalone streaming service, Sundance Now.
The problem of lesser-known indie series is figuring out which ones are worth your precious binge time. That’s where we come in.
Begin your maiden Sundance Now journey with the following top-notch offerings…
1. A Discovery of Witches (2018)
Based on the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, this compelling series about a vampire and a witch working together to unravel dark secrets is a delight. Thanks to two amazing performances from Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer, the show will appeal even to reluctant viewers who aren’t typically into supernatural shenanigans. Plus, it involves an ancient manuscript, some time-travelling and a charming romance. All the ingredients of an fascinating foray into the occult.
- Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont
- Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop
- Valarie Pettiford as Emily Mather
- Alex Kingston as Sarah Bishop
2. No One Saw a Thing (2019)
Tune in as award-winning Israeli filmmaker Avi Belkin examines a mysterious death in the American heartland. No One Saw a Thing is a docuseries about an event that took place in Missouri in 1981, when a resident was shot dead, vigilante style, in front of almost 60 townspeople. All of them denied having seen anything. What could have possibly led the town to such drastic measures? If you’re unfamiliar with what went down, you’ll definitely want to give this a stream and find out more. The case is fascinating, to say the least.
- Steve Booher
- Britt Small
- Kirby Goslee
- Leona Hayes
3. Cheat (2019)
Revolving around the dangerous relationship between a university professor and her student, Cheat begins as a seemingly open and shut case of academic deception, only to quickly spiral out of control and lead to devastating consequences. A suspenseful game of cat and mouse, the show pulls you in from the get-go and keeps raising the stakes as episodes go by, to the point where you will be unable to look away. If you’re into dark academia, you should binge this one immediately.
- Katherine Kelly as Leah
- Molly Windsor as Rose
- Tom Goodman-Hill as Adam
- Lorraine Ashbourne as Angela
4. The Little Drummer Girl (2018)
An exquisite spy thriller, The Little Drummer Girl is based on the popular novel of the same name by John le Carré. Set in the late 1970s across multiple countries, the series follows a young actress who gets to play the role of a lifetime when she becomes entangled in a high-stakes international plot that involves assassins, terrorism and betrayal. With a terrific cast and an intriguing storyline, the show does the source material justice. It also has style and twists to spare.
- Florence Pugh as Charlie
- Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker
- Michael Shannon as Martin Kurtz
5. Slings & Arrows (2003)
Slings & Arrows is a show about putting on a show – and it has been a cult sensation ever since it first hit the screen. The series chronicles life at a fictional Shakespearean theatre festival in the fictional New Burbage, Canada, with each season revolving around the production of a different play. The themes of the play often mirror what’s going on in the crew’s personal and professional lives. The result? Slings & Arrows is outrageous and wonderful. We strongly advise you give it a stream.
- Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant
- Martha Burns as Ellen Fanshaw
- Stephen Ouimette as Oliver Welles
- Susan Coyne as Anna Conroy
6. The Bureau (2015)
A captivating and fast-paced French thriller, The Bureau follows the lives and missions of members of France’s equivalent of the CIA. At the heart of the show is intelligence officer Guillaume Debailly, code name Malotru, who is mysteriously recalled home after six years undercover and struggles to re-adjust. As the series progresses it gets more intense, featuring elaborate schemes and exciting clandestine missions. Buckle up for a suspenseful binge-watch.
- Mathieu Kassovitz as Malotru
- Florence Loiret Caille as Marie-Jeanne Duthilleul
- Jonathan Zaccaï as Raymond Sisteron
7. The Commons (2019)
The Commons is a thought-provoking Australian series set in the near future, which explores universal themes like motherhood, climate change and hope. As the world undergoes destructive changes due to the climate crisis, we follow a neuropsychologist who is desperate to conceive a child, despite the uncertain future. The Commons is timely, unsettling and well-acted. You won’t even notice how quickly the show’s eight episodes go by.
- Joanne Froggatt as Eadie Boulay
- Rupert Penry-Jones as Dom Boulay
- David Lyons as Lloyd Green
- Ryan Corr as Shay Levine
8. The Split (2018)
Here’s a job you simply don’t see portrayed on television. Hanna Stern is a leading divorce lawyer who ditches her family firm for a rival, throwing her relationships into turmoil in the process. She has three kids, a fine husband and a successful career. Everything should be good, but it really isn’t. Turns out, dealing with other people’s awful marriages can take a toll.
- Nicola Walker as Hannah Stern
- Stephen Mangan as Nathan
- Fiona Button as Rose
- Elizabeth Roberts as Liv Stern
9. McMafia (2018)
Inspired by the book McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by journalist Misha Glenny, this series chronicles the life of Alex Godman, the Britain-raised son of a Russian mafia boss living in London. Godman senior is doing his very best to escape from the world of organised crime but, much like that classic Corleone quote: “just when you think you’re out… they pull you back in”. The family fights against the lure of corruption and their former connections, but when tragedy strikes Alex is inexorably drawn back into “the life” in the name of revenge and survival.
- James Norton as Alex Godman
- Merab Ninidze as Vadim Kalyagin
- Kirill Pirogov as Ilya Fedorov
- Faye Marsay as Katya Godman
10. Motherland (2016)
Welcome to this sitcom about the trials, tribulations and sometimes outright trauma of being a middle-class alpha mum. The less-than-organised Julia and her brood of birth-scarred pals do their best to navigate the challenges of parenthood while trying to balance their professional lives despite frequent hang-ups and misunderstandings. That said, Julia always finds the time to run the odd scam, especially if the potential end goal is free child care. Fun!
- Anna Maxwell Martin as Julia
- Lucy Punch as Amanda
- Diane Morgan as Liz
- Paul Ready as Kevin
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