Television’s best documentary parody series is about to begin its “53rd season,” and given that “Season 52” premiered in the spring of 2019, it couldn’t come soon enough. IFC’s Documentary Now!, created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and Rhys Thomas, will return this October with a new batch of episodes, all of which will pay rigorous homage to classic works of documentary storytelling with the support of an all-star cast.
IFC has revealed that this season will feature the likes of Alexander Skarsgård (The Northman), Nicholas Braun (Succession), August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds), Liliane Rovère (Call My Agent!) and Ronald Guttman (Godfather of Harlem), alongside previously announced stars including Cate Blanchett, Harriet Walter, Trystan Gravelle, Jonathan Pryce, John Rhys-Davies, and Jamie Demetriou.
Armisen will also play several roles throughout the season, though as Consequence previously reported, Hader will not be making an appearance, due to his commitment to Barry. On the bright side, while John Mulaney will also not appear on screen this season, he will return as a writer.
Below are the official descriptions for the announced episodes, provided by IFC:
The two-part, season premiere episode, “Soldier of Illusion,” written by John Mulaney and starring Alexander Skarsgård (The Northman, Big Little Lies), Nicholas Braun (Succession, Zola), and August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds), was inspired by the Werner Herzog-focused documentary Burden of Dreams. In the early 1980s, a visionary German filmmaker (Skarsgård) tries to will his magnum opus into existence while working in the remote, punishing conditions of the Russian Ular mountains. Kevin Bishop (Miracle Workers, The Tracey Ullman Show), Gana Bayarsaikhan (Wonder Woman), Matthias Rimpler (Ludzie i Bogowie), and Fred Armisen will also star, with Documentary Now! ensemble alumni Deb Hiett returning as narrator.
“Trouver Frisson” features French actor Liliane Rovère (Call My Agent!, Family Business) and Ronald Guttman (Godfather of Harlem, Sister of the Groom). Inspired by Agnes Varda’s Gleaners and I and Beaches of Agnes, celebrated French filmmaker Ida Leos (Rovère) searches for why she no longer experiences “frisson” – the goosebumps that have always been her guide. Written by series producers Matt Pacult and Tamsin Rawady and co-directed by Micah Gardner, the episode also stars Documentary Now! alumni Gary Kraus.
“Two Hairdressers in Bagglyport” will star two-time Academy Award®-winner and Documentary Now! alumni Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, Carol), as well as Emmy®-nominated actress Harriet Walter (Succession, Killing Eve). Paying homage to documentaries 3 Salons at the Seaside and The September Issue, the episode is a fly-on-the-wall portrait of a hair salon owner (Walter) and her staff (Blanchett), in the small coastal village of Bagglyport as they prepare their yearly stylebook. Fred Armisen will also star as George the Postman.
“How They Threw Rocks” will feature Welsh actors Trystan Gravelle (Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power, A Discovery of Witches), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, The Crown) and John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of The Rings, Indiana Jones), as well as legendary Welsh singer Tom Jones. In the vein of When We Were Kingsand other great explorations of sport, the episode chronicles the Welsh sport of Craig Maes, also known as “Field Rock,” and the iconic 1974 bout dubbed “The Melon vs. The Felon (Gravelle).” Fellow Welsh actor Sam C. Wilson (Dodger) joins as infamous Craig Maes competitor Sior Strawboss or “The Melon.”
“My Monkey Grifter” will be helmed by actor Jamie Demetriou (The Afterparty). Drawing inspiration from My Octopus Teacher, the episode follows Benjamin Clay (Demetriou), a filmmaker who forms a deep, emotional, and financially taxing relationship with a monkey who may have ulterior motives. Fred Armisen also joinsas Detective Blakely.
For a taste of what to expect from the new season, enjoy the brief teaser below. Documentary Now! premieres Wednesday, October 19th at 10:00 p.m. ET on IFC, and on AMC+ the same day.