The October line-up

‘Shtisel’ returns, and Carrie from ‘Homeland’ tries to get out.

‘Shtisel’ TV show (photo credit: PR)
‘Shtisel’ TV show
(photo credit: PR)
During October, several new Israeli series will premiere, and some old ones will be back.
One of the finest Israeli shows to come along in several years was Shtisel, and its second season will premiere on October 31 at 10 p.m.
on YES Oh, and from October 28 on YES VOD. But since it has been quite some time since its first season ended — almost two years — it might be worth watching some of the previous season again.
YES Oh is showing them starting on October 7 from Sunday to Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
The series is about the Shtisels, an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem family. Akiva (Michael Aloni), a sensitive young man who loves to draw, is grieving the loss of his mother. He has never felt ready to get married and struggles in his work as a teacher, where he can’t control his class. When he meets a twice widowed woman (Ayelet Zurer, in a welcome return from Hollywood to the Israeli entertainment scene), he falls in love for the first time. But his father (Doval’e Glickman) is adamantly opposed to the match and pushes Akiva to date younger women.
Meanwhile, the father begins entertaining the idea of a new marriage for himself. In perhaps the most compelling story of all, Akiva’s sister, Giti (Neta Riskin), copes all on her own when her husband (Zohar Shtrauss), a butcher who travels to work in communities in Latin America, simply disappears and stops sending money home. She is so ashamed, she pretends it is not happening.
Perhaps the most engaging character of all is Giti’s older daughter, Ruhami (Shira Haas).
Ruhami understands very well that her father has disappeared and struggles with rebellious impulses and a fascination with secular literature. The very young Haas has become one of Israel’s most accomplished actresses, starring in the acclaimed feature film Princess and appearing in a small role in Natalie Portman’s A Tale of Love and Darkness.
In the second season of Shtisel, Hadas Yaron, who starred in the movie Fill the Void, plays Akiva’s cousin, who becomes his love interest.
The Goldsmith, a new Israeli series coming up on HOT 3 at the end of October, sounds intriguing. It stars Adir Miller as a Tel Aviv doctor who awakens after a night of partying at a bar, with no memory of how he got there. The doctor, a specialist in sleep disorders, had this experience once before as a child. When he tries to investigate how this happened to him, he finds himself in a frightening world in which it’s not clear what is real and what is a dream. To get out of the nightmare, he reconnects with his father, a Kabbalist in Jerusalem.
Miller, best known for his comedy show Stoplight, has given wonderful performances in two dramatic movies, The Matchmaker and The Wonders, by Avi Nesher.
The series co-stars Lior Ashkenazi and Yehoram Gaon.
Robert Downey Jr., one of the best actors of his generation, has spent far too long wearing the Iron Man suit from the Marvel Comics movies. Recently, he took time out to play a human character without superpowers in The Judge, which will be shown on HOT Gold on October 2 at 10 p.m. It’s not a great movie, but Downey is good as Hank Palmer, a wealthy, highprofile defense lawyer. When his mother dies, he returns to the small town where he grew up, and all his conflicts with his father (Robert Duvall), an uncompromising judge, resurface. But when the judge is accused of murder, Hank defends him.
The supporting cast is excellent, with Billy Bob Thornton, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio and Dax Shepherd (whom you may recognize as Crosby from Parenthood).
The networks have been releasing brief clips and bits of information about shows that are returning in October. The most intriguing nugget is that Carrie (Claire Danes), everyone’s favorite bipolar CIA agent from Homeland, has quit the business to raise her daughter and work at providing security for a foundation run by a Bill Gates-like entrepreneur. But I won’t be revealing any secrets when I say that the CIA keeps pulling her back in.