In Spotlight: Ridley Scott's best television shows from The Good Wife and The Terror to Sky Atlantic's Raised by Wolves

He may be best known for Hollywood blockbusters but Ridley Scott also has some stellar TV credits to his name. As Raised by Wolves returns, we look at his biggest television hits.

By Lizzie Larkum Published: 5 April 2022 - 5.51pm
Raised by Wolves

Stream every episode of Raised by Wolves Season 2 on Sky Atlantic with NOW from 6 April.

Ridley Scott has created some of the most iconic films ever made, including Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and, recently, House of Gucci.

But did you know that as well as helming these cinematic blockbusters, Scott has worked on a whole host of television programmes, often as an executive producer, bringing his cinematic eye and instinct for a good script to the small screen.

It was announced recently that both Alien and Blade Runner are to be turned into TV series overseen - and possibly directed - by Scott himself. With the second season of dystopian drama Raised by Wolves coming to Sky Atlantic and NOW on 6 April, we take a look at some of his most memorable TV projects.

Raised by Wolves

Ridley Scott is not only executive producer for sci-fi drama Raised by Wolves but also directed the first 2 episodes of Season 1.

Set in a future where the Earth has been decimated by a religious war, two androids are tasked with raising human children on an uninhabited planet.

The series explores themes of religion, technology, the perils of parenting and the potential dangers of AI. It’s familiar territory for Scott, he’s had plenty of android experience, starting way back in 1979 with the character of Ashin Alien, played by Ian Holm. It’s no coincidence that we see milky liquid inside the androids in both.

Speaking to IMDB, Scott explained: “It was one of those intuitive things - Why not borrow from the past as it was so effective, so that was purely an affectation”

As with Alien and Blade Runner, the same questions are explored again here, about whether we can trust artificial intelligence and what happens when androids start thinking for themselves? 

“I like that moment when you’ve created a computer so smart and fed so much into it, that this incredibly complex equation begins to add up to emotion," said Scott in an interview with The Guardian.

Stream every episode of Raised by Wolves Season 2 on Sky Atlantic with NOW from 6 April.

Watch Raised by Wolves Season 1 on NOW.

Get BT TV and watch all your favorite shows

Take a BT TV Entertainment pack and catch all the latest shows including Julia, The Rising and Peacemaker.

The Terror

The Terror AMC Film holdings LLC

Scott explored uncharted territory again in The Terror, though this time in the more earthly but equally unforgiving Arctic.

Based on the book of the same name by Dan Simmons, The Terror is a fictionalised account of the real disappearance of two exploratory ships in 1845. Trying to find short cut to Asia through Canadian waters, British ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror go missin, with the 129 men on board the vessels never seen again.

Starring Jared Harris (Chernobyl) and Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), The Terror explores what might have happened in those bleak icy waters and how the men on board dealt with the mysterious events. In an interview with Indiewire, Scott talked about drew him to the show.

“What I was completely taken by was the entire crew, the below-the-deck conversations at dinner with the crew, the officers," he said. 

"I thought, wow, this is special. All these people are special. This is going to be just great. Then you go on deck and get a glimpse of the set on the deck covered in deep frost is just fabulous. How could this not be interesting?”

Series 1 and 2 of The Terror are available to buy on the BT Player.

Taboo

Scott was instrumental in getting the script of Taboo to screen and in shaping the show's murky world. Written by Tom Hardy and his father, Chips, Taboo is set in 1814 at the dawn of the industrial revolution.

In an interview with HeyYouGuys, Scott said that he worked closely with the Hardies to better present their world in the finished show.

“Chips had a very well written treatment in terms of the storylines and the characters, it was fundamentally a bible,” he explained.

“In anything I do I spend more time with the writers because the details, the milestones in the stories are the most important and as a director I know when I’ve got the milestones.”

Tom Hardy plays James Delaney, an adventurer returning to London from Africa to claim his inheritance after his father’s death. It’s dark, gritty and, as the name suggests, tackles subjects not normally associated with a period drama.

In the same interview, Hardy explained how he came up with the idea of James Delaney.

“It started with the character. I had played Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist and I wondered ‘What if Bill Sykes was the hero?’," he said.

"If you could amalgamate Hannibal Lecter, Sherlock Holmes, with Heathcliff with Marlow from Heart of Darkness and Bill Sykes – what would that look like?”

The answer? Pretty terrifying.

Watch Taboo on Netflix.

The Good Wife

Emmy award-winning political legal drama The Good Wife could count on Ridley and brother Tony Scott  - also a successful film director - as executive producers. Julianna Margulies’ titular good wife Alicia Florrick is married to disgraced Cook County State’s attorney Peter Florrick, played by Chris Noth (Sex and the City).

With her husband behind bars after a sex and corruption scandal, the first season sees Alicia returning to work as a litigator after being a stay-at-home mother. At first it perhaps doesn't seem like a usual Ridely Scott project, but he has created some legendary female characters in the past, Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver in Alien and of course Thelma and Louise.

Scott told The Wall Street Journal, what interested him about the show.

“When I get a new script [that is good], my heart starts to beat on page one or two," he explained.

"The Good Wife is not your obvious drama series. It's a personalised view of this person's world and how they find their feet”

The series ran for seven seasons and was so successful it got its own spin-off…

The Good Wife Seasons 1-7 are available to buy on Prime Video.

The Good Fight

Ridley Scott stayed as executive producer on The Good Wife spin-off The Good Fight. The series starts where The Good Wife left off, but without Alicia Florrick and with Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart taking the helm is.

Dealing with the fall out of a financial scandal which cost her her savings and her job, Diane has to start afresh at a new law firm.  

The series is currently filming its sixth season.

Watch The Good Fight seasons 1-3 on Prime Video.

The Man in the High Castle

One of Scott's most successful films, Blade Runner, was adapted from the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and the film director returned to Dick's works to adapt 1962 novel The Man in the High Castle for Prime Video. 

The Man in the High Castle is set in an alternative future in which Germany and Japan have won World War II. Set in the 1960s, America is split in two, with the Nazis controlling the East of the country and the Japanese the West, and the Rocky Mountains acting as a neutral zone.

In the Japanese Pacific States, film, supposedly created by the mysterious ‘Man in the High Castle', is unearthed which shows the allied forces winning the war. Juliana Crane, played by Alexa Dalvados, is tasked with getting this film to the resistance in the neutral zone but with double agents at every corner, who can she trust? 

 Watch seasons 1-4 of The Man in the High Castle on Prime Video.

The Pillars of the Earth & World Without End

Scott's The Last Duel is set in the middle ages, but the recent movie does not mark his first foray into this era.

Adapted from the Ken Follett novel of the same name, The Pillars of the Earth is a six-part historical drama set in 12th century England. This 2010 drama boasts an exceptional cast including, Donald Sutherland, a young Eddie Redmayne, Matthew McFadyen (Succession), Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), Rufus Sewell, and Ian McShane as devious Bishop Waleran Bigod.

Sequel World Without End, based on another Follett book, is set 150 years later, at the start of the Hundred Years' War  and will the added threat of the Black Death on the horizon. The cast is lead by Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) playing Petranilla, the wicked aunt of Caris played by Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders). 

Watch The Pillars of the Earth on BritBox.

Watch World Without End on the My5 App.

Numb3rs

Numb3rs CBS

Numb3rs was a procedural crime drama produced by Ridley and Tony Scott which ran for six seasons from 2005 to 2010. Based loosely on real-life cases, Numb3rs brought maths into the crime-solving equation.

The series starred Rob Morrow (Billions) as an FBI special agent Don Eppes and David Krumholtz (The Good Wife) as his brother and mathematical genius Charlie.

Numb3rs seasons 1-6  are available to buy on Prime Video.