There’s something in the air in 2024 – perhaps it’s our general malaise at the current state of the world, coupled with the usual gloominess that prevails in this post-holiday period, but now, just a few weeks into the new year, most of us are already in dire need of some escapism. Enter: a flood of new TV shows which provide exactly that – star-studded dramas with exquisite costumes and dazzling production design which are all utterly transportive. Whether you want to be whisked away to the glamorous ateliers of ’40s Paris or the glittering cocktail parties of ’70s New York, these are the eight releases you need to look out for.
Cristóbal Balenciaga (19 January)
As illuminating as it is utterly ravishing, this painterly Disney+ biopic from creators Lourdes Iglesias, Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga tracks the titular fashion legend, as embodied by the brooding Alberto San Juan, as he arrives in the French capital from Madrid in the ’30s, determined to make his mark. But, in a landscape dominated by the pared-back elegance of Chanel (a delightfully venomous Anouk Grinberg) and, later, Dior (a magnanimous Patrice Thibaud), the Spanish revolutionary initially stumbles – and realises that in order to stand apart, he must hone his own signature style and deconstruct the era’s traditional silhouettes to create something entirely, and thrillingly, new. Watch it for the stunning avant-garde costumes, the dreamy-eyed cinematography and the fascinating insights into the fiercely competitive world of post-war haute couture.
The New Look (14 February)
This equally glossy 10-part Apple TV+ series from Todd A Kessler examines the same period, but with a different designer at its centre: Christian Dior, here played by a grizzled Ben Mendelsohn, as he popularises the wasp-waisted, full-skirted “new look”, a symbol of Parisian glamour and optimism in the wake of World War II. His rise to prominence, however, poses a threat to his contemporaries: Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain and, most significantly, Coco Chanel (Juliette Binoche), whose previously undisputed status as the most influential couturier in the world was then coming into question. Cue a ruthless battle, featuring a host of other familiar faces, too, from Glenn Close in the part of Carmel Snow, the legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar, to John Malkovich as designer Lucien Lelong, and Maisie Williams as Catherine Dior, the designer’s sister, a French Resistance fighter who was awarded the Legion of Honour and remained a lifelong muse.
Palm Royale (20 March)
Sun-soaked south Florida circa 1969 is the setting of this exuberant comedy, created by Abe Sylvia for Apple TV+, in which Kristen Wiig stars as a scrappy outsider attempting to infiltrate Palm Beach high society by any means possible. Standing in her way is the current queen bee of the country club set (Oscar winner Allison Janney), while the rest of their glittering world is populated by a slew of eclectic characters played by the likes of Laura Dern, Kaia Gerber, Leslie Bibb, Carol Burnett and Ricky Martin (yes, you read that right). The candy-coloured first stills – which showcase Slim Aarons-worthy poolside vistas, sumptuous ’60s interiors, and Gerber in hippy-ish floral headbands – have set expectations sky high.
Bridgerton: season 3 (16 May)
Kate and Anthony’s honeymoon period, Penelope and Colin’s budding romance, the candlelit ballrooms, the classical renditions of contemporary hits, the feather-strewn headdresses and sequined gowns – there’s no shortage of things to look forward to from the upcoming season of Netflix’s deliciously frothy Regency romp. Overseen by showrunner Jess Brownell, the Shonda Rhimes-produced juggernaut will return with most of its fan favourites – Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey, Simone Ashley, Adjoa Andoh, Golda Rosheuvel, Claudia Jessie – in tow, as well as a spate of new additions who are guaranteed to stir the pot: Daniel Francis, Sam Phillips and James Phoon as a trio of handsome suitors, and Hannah New as a charming and fiercely independent young widow.
Feud: Capote vs the Swans (expected 2024)
We’ve been breathlessly anticipating the Disney+ release of the next instalment of Ryan Murphy’s Feud anthology series (the first season centred on the legendary rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, as depicted by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange) since the spring of 2022, when news emerged that it would cover the scandalous true tale of how Truman Capote (a flamboyant Tom Hollander) fell out with his coterie of socialites, whom he dubbed his “swans”. Now, it’s finally (very nearly) here, with its swoon-worthy ’70s fashion, salacious sex scenes and a cast that is truly jaw dropping: Naomi Watts as the regal Babe Paley, Chloë Sevigny as fashion icon CZ Guest, Diane Lane as the elegant Slim Keith, Calista Flockhart as Jackie Kennedy’s younger sister Lee Radziwill, Molly Ringwald as Johnny Carson’s wife Joanne Carson, and Demi Moore as the disgraced former showgirl Ann Woodward. We can hardly wait.
Joan (expected 2024)
Marking Sophie Turner’s first major return to the small screen since Game of Thrones, this ITVX crime caper sees her swap her trademark red locks and chainmail for a red lip, smoky eye and bleached blonde bob to take the part of Joan Hannington, the notorious diamond thief who was known as the “godmother” of the London underworld in the ’80s. Penned by Anna Symon and based on Hannington’s own explosive memoir, it’s set to be a breathless dive into the seedy underbelly of the era which unpicks how exactly a twentysomething with a violent husband, a young daughter and a talent for impersonation transformed herself into a slippery power player. Expect thrilling heists and devastatingly glamorous costumes.
Ripley (expected 2024)
Shot in atmospheric black and white, Steven Zaillian’s tense retelling of the adventures of another grifter – the conniving Tom Ripley, with Fleabag and All of Us Strangers’s Andrew Scott inheriting Matt Damon’s part from Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley – offers a fresh take on the Patricia Highsmith classic. Yes, our setting is still southern Italy in the ’60s, and the story still revolves around the titular con artist as he worms his way into the lives of a freewheeling playboy (Johnny Flynn, taking the role from Jude Law) and his quietly suspicious girlfriend (Dakota Fanning, in the part previously embodied by Gwyneth Paltrow), but in place of the sun-drenched beach scenes, the first stills show our anti-hero skulking down shadowy alleyways and staring gloomily out to sea. This Netflix reboot, it seems, will be more of a slick noir than a pastel-hued romp. Either way, though, the fashion – crisp tailoring, buttery soft knitwear, excellent coats – should be spectacular.
Mary & George (expected 2024)
Julianne Moore and Red, White & Royal Blue’s Nicholas Galitzine pair up for Oliver Hermanus’s juicy Jacobean saga, due to air on Sky, which follows the scheming noblewoman Mary Villiers and her charismatic son, George, whom she grooms for greatness from an early age. Dispatched to the French court, drilled in dancing, fencing and polite conversation, and then sent to London, he quickly catches the eye of James I (Tony Curran), becoming both gentleman of the royal bedchamber and the King’s lover in due course. Once he’s given the title of Duke of Buckingham, his influence – and that of his mother – knows no bounds, spelling disaster for the country, the monarch and, eventually, themselves.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.