Read It Before You See It 2022: Spies, scandals and serial killers

Hayley breaks down the movies and TV series with accompanied reading due to hit screens in the following months.

Moon Knight

Moon Knight

Disney has been absolutely pumping out the Marvel TV series, which air exclusively on their own streaming service, with WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…? and Hawkeye all hitting Disney+ in 2021. Superhero fatigue be damned, they are continuing the onslaught into ‘22, the first offering based around a yet-unseen comic book hero in Moon Knight. Oscar Isaac stars as Marc Spector (sporting a British accent Dick Van Dyke would be proud of), a former US Marine who suffers from dissociative identity disorder and is granted powers by an Egyptian god. Although the character is new to the MCU, the series is sure to be rife with easter eggs and cameos, with rumours flying that Hulk and possibly even She-Hulk will make an appearance.

Slow Horses

Slow Horses

It may not be on your radar beyond Ted Lasso, but Apple TV+ is steadily building an intriguing catalogue of original content, and Slow Horses is no exception. Based on Mick Herron's novel, the series centres on Slough House, a section of MI5 that has become a dumping ground for agents who have messed up in some way and are desperate to redeem themselves. Gary Oldman stars as the curmudgeonly boss, throwing dull paperwork at his team until a young man is abducted with the threat of a live beheading, and the case spirals beyond the expected. Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Lowden and Olivia Cooke round out the cast for this slick, funny and action-packed spy thriller.

After Yang

Children of the New World

Burgeoning arthouse director Kogonada quietly stunned film festival audiences with his debut film Columbus in 2017, and after having co-directed episodes of Apple's Pachinko adaptation, is making his sophomore feature return with an equally contemplative Cannes premiere. After Yang, based on Saying Goodbye to Yang from a book of science fiction stories by Alexander Weinstein, imagines a near-future in which a family with an A.I. child attempt to repair him when he unexpectedly breaks down. Columbus star Haley Lu Richardson reunites with Kogonada alongside Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith and Justin H. Min for this cerebral and poignant meditation on what it means to be human.

Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of A Scandal

Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers creator David E. Kelley seems to have a never-ending supply of domestic thrillers to adapt for the screen, understandably tapping into a genre that has exploded within recent years and only continues to grow. This time he's ditching HBO for Netflix and tackling Sarah Vaughan's Anatomy of a Scandal for a series set among the British elite, following a man accused of a scandalous crime and the women who become embroiled in the case: his wife, who is convinced he's innocent, and the prosecutor, who is determined to prove his guilt. Does it sound awfully similar to The Undoing? Sure, but Kelley has been bestowed with the task of fuelling a very specific and insatiable TV addiction, and he knows it.

Shining Girls

The Shining Girls

The Handmaid's Tale and The Invisible Man star Elisabeth Moss is really starting to carve herself a niche in Hollywood: damaged, tormented women who are hitting back at those who have hurt them. She's certainly not shying away from the type, continuing to do what she does best for Shining Girls, another exciting series from Apple TV+ where she portrays the would-be victim of a serial killer who investigates similar cases to her own and encounters an unexplainable mystery spanning decades. Based on Lauren Beukes' creepy novel, the show recently premiered at SXSW festival in the US, with critics praising the clever execution of the time-warping, mind-bending plot. Whether you do the book or the series first, this is definitely one to go in blind for.

Conversations with Friends

Conversations With Friends

With the roaring success and cultural impact of the BBC’s Normal People, it was only a matter of time before Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends, earned its own adaptation. The same development team heads up this second endeavour, including Room director Lenny Abramson, now under the tutelage of US streaming service Hulu. The series explores the intersection of friendship and romance between four young adults – a pair of Dublin students and a married couple (Joe Alwyn, Jemima Kirke, Sasha Lane and newcomer Alison Oliver star as the main quartet of characters). Watch this space for Beautiful World, Where Are You, Rooney's latest which is also bound to be committed to the screen within the coming years.

Firestarter

Firestarter

Stephen King always has an absolute ton of adaptations in the pipeline (IMDb currently lists 28 others, in varying stages of production), with Firestarter now sitting atop the long and constantly updating list. Zac Efron, in a move that is making the High School Musical generation feel super old, plays the dad of Charlie McGee, a young girl who has the ability to start fires with her mind, and subsequently goes on the run after being discovered by a government agency with malicious intentions. Technically a remake, the new film is attempting to out-do the 1984 version led by Drew Barrymore, a goal that should be easily achieved after King himself dubbed the original one of the worst screen adaptations of his work he had seen. Yikes.

The Black Phone

20th Century Ghosts

Stephen King’s son and fellow horror writer Joe Hill is racking up his own adaptations, following the Netflix show based on his comic book series Locke & Key, and film and TV versions of Horns and NOS4A2, respectively. A short story in his first collection, 20th Century Ghosts, provides the basis for his latest film The Black Phone, the tale of a boy abducted by a serial killer who can communicate with past victims through a phone on the wall of his captor's basement. Helmed by Scott Derrickson, the director of Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the film made a killing at last year's Fantastic Fest – an American film festival which specialises in genres like horror and science-fiction – and seems on track to be one of the best spooky flicks of the year.

The Sandman

The Sandman

Attempts to adapt Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman began way back in 1991, two years after the first issue of the epic fantasy comic was released. Since then, it’s been tossed back and forth from film to TV, finally landing with Netflix, who were able to commit the huge budget for an 11-episode series order. The story combines mythology, fairy tale and folklore, following Dream – also known as Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, or the titular Sandman – as he escapes capture after 70 years and aims to restore order to his world of Dreaming. Season one will cover the first two comics in the series, Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll's House, with more sure to come as fans are ready to devour the Gaiman-produced adaptation when it finally hits screens after 20 years of development hell.

Find more

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Christchurch City Libraries