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If you’re looking for a TV drama a little bit out of the ordinary this autumn, The Third Day offers something very different to your standard rom-coms, police procedurals and true crime tales.
A story told in three distinct but interconnected parts – Summer, Autumn and Winter – the drama follows Sam, a man drawn to a mysterious island off the British coast inhabited by a group of islanders who will preserve their traditions at any cost.
Naomie Harris joins the drama in Winter as Helen, who comes to the island looking for answers and a battle for the island’s fate.
Summer and Winter are already available to watch on Sky Atlantic with NOW TV.
The middle part of the story, Autumn, is the most intriguing. Airing as a live broadcast on Saturday October 3 and created by theatrical innovators Punchdrunk, it will take place over a single day and will feature Jude Law, Katherine Waterstone and Florence Welch in a single, continuous take cinematic broadcast.
Inviting viewers deep into the mysterious world of Osea, Autumn will blur and distort the lines between what’s real and what’s not.
The original plan was for fans to be able to visit the island and participate in the event, but sadly Covid-19 meant that immersive experience had to be scrapped.
However, the 12-hour TV event still looks unmissable, unprecedented and unpredictable.
Here are the reasons why everybody is talking about The Third Day...
The cast and creators
Sky Atlantic and HBO have pulled together some impressive TV ensembles before, but The Third Day is up there with the very best of them.
Jude Law and Naomie Harris are the big-name draws, but the series also boasts stars like Emily Watson, Paddy Considine and Katherine Waterston.
The fantastic cast were drawn to the project by writer Dennis Kelly and the interactive theatre specialists Punchdrunk.
Kelly is the go-to-guy for bold TV projects such as BBC Three’s Pulling, which he co-wrote with Sharon Horgan, and the Channel 4 dark thriller Utopia, which is currently being remade for America by Amazon Prime Video.
It's a unique 12-hour TV event
Jude Law has been working with the producers of the live event for over a year, but even he doesn’t know exactly the day will unfold when the camera starts rolling.
“There are elements I've asked not to know about because I want it to be in the moment and real," he told USA today. "And there are also elements where anything could happen."
Cell phones are banned, toilet breaks will have to be taken sneakily behind a bush and meals are being incorporated into the story.
Viewers won’t need to sit watching for the full 12 hours to understand what is happening on the show. It hasn’t been fully scripted and much of the day will be semi-improvised by the cast.
Punchdrunk’s interactive theatre founder Felix Barrett told Sky News: “Once we press go at nine o'clock in the morning, the actions just play out as if they were real over the next 12 hours.
"We want to capture the frisson of live performance… we're really trying to capture that sort of brittle, fragile nature of 'anything could happen'. We wanted to lean on the spontaneity of once, and once only.
"There's no right or wrong way to watch it. We just encourage the curious to watch Summer and then, at some point on 3 October, switch on and see what happens."
The critics are raving about it
The critics who have been lucky enough to watch the Summer and Winter episodes have been bowled over by the creepy Wicker Man vibes and the performance of Jude Law, who is even being tipped for an Emmy.
Empire said: "The suspicious locals who would rather drop mysterious hints than explain anything, the sense of something nasty lurking in the woodshed (or in this case, the oft-mentioned Big House), the talk of an upcoming festival complete with glimpses of people wearing fish heads and waving knives, the hints of blood sacrifice. Yes, it's The Wicker Man by way of Midsommar."
Den of Geek wrote: "The Third Day is untethered by genre or tradition or a trackable plot, and unlike anything you’ve seen on television for a long, long time."
Indiewire concluded: “Fans of creepy mysteries, potent atmospherics, and anyone in this sterling cast should be satisfied”
The Evening Standard commented: "The first episode asks a lot of questions. Prepare to be unnerved and intrigued in equal measure, there’s a sense that something wicked is coming, and you won’t be able to look away."
And Time magazine praised: "The third day of this adventure - as chronicled in an episode for which Law’s disoriented, often solo and silent performance, deserves an Emmy nomination - truly is a doozy."
How to watch The Third Day
Watch The Third Day on Sky Atlantic with a NOW TV Entertainment Pass.
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