Saturday 19 October 2019

With one of TV's best casts, this is why you need to watch Riviera

Julia Stiles returns in the new season of Riviera on Sky Atlantic
Julia Stiles returns in the new season of Riviera on Sky Atlantic

It’s one of the most stylish, intricate and downright compelling dramas on television, and the good news? Sky’s original series Riviera is returning to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your life from May 23 on Sky Atlantic.

Riviera boasts one of the best casts on television, with Julia Stiles (the Bourne movies), Will Arnett (Arrested Development, 30 Rock), Jack Fox (Fresh Meat), and Academy Award nominee Lena Olin all playing a filthy rich game of whodunnit on the French coastline.

Described by the Irish Independent’s Darragh McManus as an "exceedingly well-crafted soap” that has “top-of-the-range acting talent and some interesting philosophical musings on the nature of money,” here’s everything you need to know ahead of season two.

What is the story so far?

Stiles plays Georgina Clios, the young widow of billionaire banker Constantine (Anthony LaPaglia), killed in an explosion on his luxury yacht. As she begins to examine the circumstances behind his death, Georgina discovers that there was much about her husband that she never knew.

Olin plays Constantine’s first wife Irina, mother to Adam (Iwan Rheon), Christos (Dimitri Leonidas) and Adriana (Roxane Duran), and a woman determined to seize control of the Clios dynasty now that her former spouse is (seemingly) out of the picture.

Dimitri Leonidas

As the opening episodes play out, we discover that Constantine was involved in some very questionable dealings. At the time of the explosion, he was being investigated by Officer Jukes (Phil Davis) for money laundering and art forgery, something Georgina refuses to believe until she discovers he was in league with an old, crooked friend of hers from the art world, Robert Carver (Adrian Lester).

As Irina becomes involved with the Riviera underworld in an effort to save the Clios Bank, Georgina struggles to find anyone within the family she can trust to help her solve the mystery of what happened to her husband.

Amid the questions and recriminations, alliances are formed, lines are crossed, bed sheets are disturbed, secret identities are revealed, addictions are tackled and family secrets don’t stay secret for long.

By episode 10, another murder pushes Georgina to the edge as she tries to protect those closest to her, Irina is forced to choose between her lover and her family and a message from beyond the grave may finally lead to the truth about what happened to Constantine Clios.

What can we expect from season two?

Will Arnett (BoJack Horseman, Arrested Development) and the brilliant Juliet Stevenson (Bend It Like Beckham, The Politician’s Wife) join the cast as Georgina struggles to find a way to live with her actions.

Julia Stiles says that the events of season one have had a significant impact on her character.

“In season one, she was very much trying to be accepted into that world. But now she’s become more sceptical and, without even realising it, has been corrupted by this sunny place for shady people that she lives in.”

The new season will see the drama ramp up to a whole new level and viewers can expect plenty of crazy twists and plotlines, she added.

“We had a read-through in the middle of season two – episode four, five, six – and I walked away going ‘Oh my God, this is our show and it’s gone to a whole new level.’

“There is so much crazy that happens – incest, murder, lies, deceit – but it somehow works for the show because we are in a heightened reality. I feel like you just go along for the ride. If Shakespeare and the ancient Greeks had a love child, it would be the second season of Riviera.

Georgina is forced to confront her turbulent childhood very much against her will, but ultimately returns determined to reassert her power and her position within her family alongside her charismatic uncle Jeff (Arnett).

She also becomes embroiled with the extremely wealthy Eltham family, who roll up with a boat load of old money and many skeletons of their own. This English dynasty brings a dose of bohemiam glamour to the party, as well as a whole new set of intriguing characters.

They include the flinty Lady Cassandra Eltham (Stevenson), her cerebral son Nico (Jack Fox), her charismatic daughter Daphne (Poppy Delevingne) and her husband Raafi (Alex Lanipekun).

Poppy Delevingne and Juliet Stevenson

And what of the rest of the Clios family?

Still reeling from the death of Constantine, Christos is on the brink of losing everything, Adriana gets mixed up in a dangerous affair and Irina is struggling to find out what happened to Adam as everything threatens to come to one explosive climax.

Where have I seen the cast of season two before?

Julia Stiles made her name in the teen classics 10 Things I Hate About You, opposite the late Heath Ledger, and Save The Last Dance before going on to more adult roles in the likes of The Business of Strangers, Mona Lisa Smile and Silver Linings Playbook.

Critically acclaimed for her performances as analyst Nicky Parsons in the Bourne series opposite Matt Damon, while she also appeared in a recurring role as Lumen Pierce in the fifth series of seminal serial killer drama Dexter.

Will Arnett is better known for his comedic performances as Gob Bluth in Arrested Development, Devon Banks in 30 Rock and as the titular horse in the acclaimed BoJack Horseman.

He’s no stranger to drama, however, and even put in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ performance as the husband of an undercover FBI agent in The Sopranos.

Jack Fox is one of the UK’s best young stage actors, and the son of the great James Fox. He has appeared in Fresh Meat, Dracula, Privates, Mr Selfridge and opposite his father on stage in Dear Lupin.

Juliet Stevenson is one of those actors whose face you definitely recognise, regardless of whether you know the name. She has been appearing on stage, on television and in film since the 1970s, and is best known for roles in the likes of The Politician’s Wife, Lewis, Atlantis and The Enfield Haunting.

Lena Olin, who stars as Irina, has been on screen for more than 40 years. Oscar nominated for her turn in Enemies, A Love Story in 1989, she has appeared in movies as diverse as Queen Of The Damned, Romeo Is Bleeding and The Reader.

She also had a recurring role in the second series of the hugely popular Alias.

Don’t miss the highly anticipated return of Riviera exclusively on Sky Atlantic with all episodes available on May 23. If you missed Season One, catch up on demand now.

Sponsored by: Sky

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