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Five shows you might have missed this year

The Bear (Disney+)

A big hit in the US, The Bear follows a gifted chef (Jeremy Allen White, pictured) who takes over the Chicago sandwich shop owned by his late brother. It’s a briskly paced drama – “hallelujah for episodes that run for 30 minutes or less!” – and pulsates with a “life-or-death energy”, says Jen Chaney in Vulture.

Navalny (available to rent on multiple platforms)

This 90-minute documentary about the Russian dissident contains “by some distance the most jaw-dropping TV moment of the year”, says The Guardian. Alexei Navalny, working alongside a crack team of investigative journalists, phones up the people who poisoned him with Novichok – then asks them one by one why they tried to kill him. “Unforgettable.”

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe (ITV)

A mini-series about a story “almost too absurd to be true”, says The Daily Telegraph. Prison officer John Darwin fakes his own death in a canoe accident for the insurance payout, then moves into the empty flat next door to his family. Eddie Marsan takes the lead role, with Monica Dolan as his co-conspirator wife who acts the grieving widow to police.

The Dropout (Disney+)

A drama charting the spectacular rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the Silicon Valley fraudster who built a $9bn medical company based on non-existent technology, then ended up in prison when her lies were found out. Amanda Seyfried (pictured) is so impressive in the title role that fellow actress Jennifer Lawrence dropped out of playing Holmes in a planned movie. “We don’t need to redo that,” she told The New York Times. “She did it.”

Slow Horses (Apple TV)

This spy thriller is “the best reason there is for remembering whether you have an Apple TV password or not”, says Hugo Rifkind in The Times. Gary Oldman plays a misanthropic boss overseeing Slough House, an offshoot of MI5 where they dump all the spooks who are “too complicated or expensive to sack”. The novels the series is based on, by Mick Herron, are well worth reading too.