Keep an eye out for Kirkus’ upcoming columns in the first season of the Amazon Prime Video series reacher (premiered February 4), based on Lee Child’s mystery thriller kill floorand a theatrical film version of Graham Swift’s novel starring Kirkus, mothers Day (February 25). Here are four more book-to-screen tweaks coming to big and small screens in February:
February 4 Sweet Magnolias (Season 2 Premiere, Netflix)
Sherryl Woods’ popular Sweet Magnolias novels were published between 2007 and 2014 and inspired this warm, calm streaming series is set in the small town of South Carolina. It follows the lives and loves of three women: Maddie Townsend (reba‘s JoAnna Garcia Swisher), going through a divorce while caring for three children as a single mother; Helen Decatur (Tony Award winner Heather Headley), a lawyer and entrepreneur; and Dana Sue Sullivan (Drop Dead DivaBrooke Elliott’s), a local restaurant owner. The trio spent much of the first season opening a new spa business together as they navigated family issues and new romances. The three protagonists are all attractive and fun, and despite an emotional car crash cliffhanger at the end of the first season, this second season promises more comfort.
Feb. 10: The girl in front (premiere miniseries, HBO Max)
JP Delaney’s 2017 thriller told the stories of two English women living separately in the same apartment at different times. The flat’s strangely controlling owner and architect (played by the reliably excellent David Oyelowo in this new four-part miniseries) has very strict rules for its tenants — no pets, no children, no carpets, etc., etc. — and uses security cameras and inspections to ensure obedience. The first tenant is Emma (eastendersJessica Plummer), who is traumatized by a break-in at her previous place; the later inhabitant is Jane (Motherless Brooklyn‘s Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who discovers that she and the now-absent Emma — the titular “girl before it” — are eerily similar. Delaney co-wrote this miniseries, which is directed by Lisa Brühlmann, an Emmy nominee for her work on the critically acclaimed BBC America series kill eve†
February 11: The sky is everywhere (movie premiere, Apple TV+)
In this new moviebased on Jandy Nelson’s 2010 YA novel, Grace Kaufman (Man with a plan) plays 17-year-old clarinetist Lennie Walker, who struggles with the sudden death of her older sister, Bailey, while forming romantic relationships with Bailey’s grieving boyfriend, Toby (Dickinson‘s Pico Alexander), and a new kid in town – a charming trumpet player named Joe (The community‘s Jacques Colimon). Director Josephine Decker, who most recently helmed the 2020 film of Susan Scarf Merrell’s novel Shirleybrings vivid imagery in this new adaptation, in which the great Cherry Jones shows promise as Lennie’s grandmother and Jason Segel, in a rare dramatic turn, as Lennie’s Uncle Pig.
February 17: Young Wallander (Season 2 Premiere, Netflix)
The new season of this English streaming seriessubtitled The Shadow of the Killer, set reimagining the adventures of Kurt Wallander – the hugely popular middle-aged police detective character created by the late Swedish author Henning Mankell. The show is set in the present and is not based on any specific novel; instead, there is a 20-year-old Wallander in the early days of his career. At the end of the first season, the detective, played by Adam Pålsson, had resigned from the police force, but he will return to the Major Crimes Department at the beginning of this season; his first assignment is a hit-and-run that turns out to be related to an eight-year-old murder case. Fans of programs with similar ideas, such as the ongoing English TV series To strivewhich follows the early days of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, and the single season Main suspect: Tennisonwhich featured a younger version of Lynda La Plante’s Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, you’re sure to find Young Wallander worth the effort.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor†