It’s been three years since Helen Mirren’s soothing presence last welcomed us back into the world of IFC’s Documentary Now!currently gearing up for its “53rd” season on the air. (Which is to say its fourth, since one of the show’s many reality-bending conceits is that it’s been quietly running, Masterpiece Theatrestyle, for the last 50-odd years,) The show’s third season, as you may recall, featured two major trends: First, a continued commitment to excellence, exemplified in the John Mulaney and Seth Meyers-penned “Original Cast Recording: Co-op,” a half-hour of TV that inflicts ear-worms upon us to this day; and second, a much-reduced presence from ostensible series stars Fred Armisen and Bill Hader.
And from what we’ve seen of the fourth season so far, that second trend seems to clearly still be in effect: While a new teaser trailer for the show, and an accompanying description of a few more of its upcoming episodes, does feature Armisen around the margins, Hader is nowhere to be seen. (The Barry star is still listed as co-creator and executive producer, of course.) Luckily, Documentary Now! has proved at this point that it doesn’t need either man to workfunny as they both are.
The teaser itself is a quick one, although we do get glimpses of the season’s opening two-parter, which definitely sounds exciting: “Soldier Of Illusion,” a riff on Les Blank’s famous making-of documentary Burden Of Dreamswith Alexander Skarsgård as a stand-in for overly determined filmmaker Werner Herzog. The episode is being written by Mulaney, with August Diehl and Succession‘s Nicholas Braun co-starring. And, honestly: There is nothing in that description that doesn’t have us excited, including wondering who’s going to be taking on the Klaus Kinski part. (Diehl seems like the easy guess, given their shared German heritage, but we’d love to see Braun give that kind of unchecked aggression a shot.)
IFC also announced “Trouver Frisson,” a take on Agnes Varda’s Gleaners and I and Beaches of Agnesstarring Liliane Rovere as Doctor Now!‘s take on Varda. That’s in addition to three previously announced episodes, all written by Meyers: Cate Blanchett’s “Two Hairdressers In Bagglyport,” a take on The September Issue; Welsh sports mock-doc “How They Threw Rocks”; and Jamie Demetriou’s “My Monkey Grifter,” a spin on My Octopus Teacher.
Documentary Now!‘s latest season premieres on October 19 on IFC.