20 Of The Best Series To Binge-Watch

Whether you’re after something new to watch, or finally have time to get stuck into that series-long show, there’s never been a more appropriate moment to press play. Here are 20 award winners and old favourites to watch now.

NETFLIX

BoJack Horseman – Series 1-6

This cartoon is not for children. A humanoid horse, BoJack Horseman – lost in a sea of self-loathing and booze – decides it's time for a comeback. Once the star of a 90s sitcom, BoJack wants to regain his dignity, and with the aid of a human sidekick and a feline ex-girlfriend – who is also his agent – he sets out to make it happen. This first-ever animated Netflix Original – with plenty of references to sex, drugs and alcohol – is not for little ones, but will really make you think as the series progresses.

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Mad Men – Series 1-7

Set in 1960s New York, sexy and stylised drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell. The award-winning ensemble cast includes Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks. The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper, the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels.

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Ozark – Series 1-3

Ozark stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a financial planner who relocates his family from Chicago to a summer resort community in the Ozarks. With wife Wendy and their two kids in tow, Marty is on the move after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong, forcing him to pay off a substantial debt to a Mexican drug lord in order to keep his family safe. While the Byrdes' fate hangs in the balance, the dire circumstances force the fractured family to reconnect. Dark and gripping, this is Bateman as you’ve never seen his before.

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Better Call Saul – Series 1-5

From parking tickets to mass murder, from slip-and-fall to bond fraud, Saul handles it all. In this five-series spinoff sees ex-con artist Jimmy McGill transform himself into a small-time attorney and go through a series of trials and tragedies, as he turns into his alter ego Saul Goodman, a morally challenged criminal lawyer. A prequel of sorts to the exceptionally successful Breaking Bad (another series to add to the list), Better Call Saul is slow burning, but smarter than the Bryan Cranston-starring original. We’re hooked.

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Grace & Frankie – Series 1-6

In Grace & Frankie, Jane Fonda (Grace) and Lily Tomlin (Frankie) star as two women whose lives are suddenly turned upside down when their husbands reveal they are gay and leave them for each other. Both sparring partners and partners-in-crime, they form an unlikely bond to face an uncertain future together and discover a new definition of ‘family’, with laughter, tears and plenty of mood enhancers along the way. An uplifting watch.

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The Sinner – Series 1-2

The first instalment of this close-ended series follows a young mother (Jessica Biel) who, when overcome by an inexplicable fit of rage, commits a startling act of violence and to her horror has no idea why. The event launches an inverted and utterly surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not who or what – but why – as investigator Detective Ambrose (Bill Pullman) finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman's buried motive. Keep an eye out for series three later this year, which follows Ambrose as he begins a routine investigation of a tragic car accident in upstate New York. 

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Glow – Series 1-3

Glow tells the fictional story of Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), an out-of-work, struggling actress in 80s LA who finds one last chance for stardom when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women's wrestling. In addition to working with 12 Hollywood misfits, Ruth also has to compete with Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) a former soap actress who left the business to have a baby, only to be sucked back into work when her picture-perfect life is not what it seems. At the wheel is Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), a washed-up, B-movie director who now must lead this group of women on the journey to wrestling stardom. 

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Pose – Series 1-2

Set in the 1980s, Ryan Murphy’s Pose explores the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the ball culture world, the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe and the downtown social and literary scene. We meet Elektra Abundance, a ‘mother’ whose ‘house’ encompasses a self-selected family that provides support to LGBTQ youths who have been rejected by their birth families. Together, they compete in Harlem’s famous drag balls, where house members challenge each other in various categories and are judged on their outfits, attitude or dance skills. Then there’s Blanca Rodriguez. Armed with a recent HIV diagnosis and a will to leave a legacy, she breaks away from Elektra to form a rival troupe of her own. Stylish and poignant, this is essential viewing from the man behind Glee and Feud.

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You – Series 1-2

You is based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling novel What Would You Do For Love? When a brilliant bookstore manager crosses paths with an aspiring writer, his answer becomes clear: anything. Using the internet and social media as his tools to gather the most intimate of details and get close to her, a charming and awkward crush quickly becomes obsession as he quietly and strategically removes every obstacle – and person – in his way. Starring Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley, this is one for moments of easy escapism.

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Mindhunter – Series 1-2

Catching a criminal often requires the authorities to get inside the villain's mind to figure out how he thinks. That's the job of FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench as they attempt to understand and catch serial killers by studying their damaged psyches. Along the way, the agents pioneer the development of modern serial-killer profiling. Directed by David Fincher (Gone Girl, Fight Club), this is a slow-burning 70s thriller – based on a true story – that will have you hooked. An excellent soundtrack only adds to its watchability. 

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Homeland – Series 1-7

Homeland has been an edge-of-your-seat sensation since 2011. CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is top of her field despite being bipolar, which makes her volatile and unpredictable. But with the help of her long-time mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Carrie fearlessly risks everything, including her personal well-being and sanity, at every turn – all in the name of her job. A gripping, emotional thriller – and worth watching just for the first two series alone.

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NOW TV

 

Parks & Recreation – Series 1-7

Parks & Recreation follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and her tireless efforts to make her quintessentially American town just a little bit more fun. Leslie's office mates include Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) a health nut who wants to live to be 150 years old, and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) a fashion-obsessed wannabe player whose greatest dream is to own his own nightclub. Leslie's boss, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) hates the very government he works for, and sports one of the most impressive moustaches on TV. Laugh-out-loud funny. 

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Big Little Lies – Series 1-2

As if Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley (not to mention Adam Scott and Alexander Skarsgård) weren’t enough to get us hooked on series one of Big Little Lies, the 2019 edition added Meryl Streep to the line-up. The two series – based on the bestselling book by Liane Moriarty – focuses on the high-flying women of Monterey, California, and a deadly secret that binds them. A supremely stylish whodunnit.

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True Detective – Series 1-3

This searing series focuses on troubled cops and the investigations that drive them to the edge. Each season features a new cast and a new case: in series one, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson investigate a cult; in series two Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell team up against Vince Vaughn; and in the most-recent outing, Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali takes on the starring role, centring on a case involving two missing children. Storytelling at its best.

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The Wire – Series 1-5

In the city of Baltimore, Detective James McNulty and his team investigate crimes and try their best to solve the bridge that exists between the drug kingpins and the law enforcement agencies. The Wire introduces a different institution of the city and its relationship to law enforcement in each season: the illegal drug trade, the seaport system, the city government and bureaucracy, education and schools, and the print news medium. Stars both Dominic West and Idris Elba at their very best.

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Boardwalk Empire – Series 1-5

Boardwalk Empire is an American period crime drama set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era and stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, a political figure who rises to prominence and controls the city. Throughout the five series, Nucky interacts with historical characters in both his personal and political life, including mobsters, politicians, government agents, and the common folk who look up to him. The federal government also takes an interest in the bootlegging and other illegal activities in the area, sending agents to investigate possible mob connections as well as Nucky's lifestyle – deemed expensive and lavish for a county political figure.
 

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Six Feet Under – Series 1-5

Six Feet Under stars Peter Krause as Nate Fisher, whose funeral director father (Richard Jenkins) dies and bequeaths ownership of Fisher & Sons Funeral Home to him and his brother David (Michael C. Hall). On one level, the show is a conventional family drama, dealing with issues such as interpersonal relationships, infidelity and religion. At the same time, it is distinguished by its focus on the topic of death, which it explores on personal and philosophical levels. Both dark and humorous.

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Twin Peaks – Series 1-3

A crime drama mixed with healthy doses of the surreal, David Lynch’s 90s cult show Twin Peaks centres on FBI Agent Dale Cooper, who travels to the small logging town of Twin Peaks to solve the murder of seemingly innocent high schooler Laura Palmer. Almost nothing is as it seems, however, and the show's sometimes eerie visuals, oddball characters and wild dream sequences drive the point home. Also available to watch is the long-awaited third series, which picks up 25 years after the inhabitants of the quaint north-western town were stunned by Laura’s murder. 

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The Affair – Series 1-6

The Affair explores the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway (Dominic West) and Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson) after they casually meet at the diner where Alison works. The six-strong series begins with the Solloway family traveling to the resort town of Montauk, New York. Noah is happily married to Helen (Maura Tierney) with four children, but he resents their dependence on his wealthy father-in-law. Alison is a local waitress trying to piece her life and marriage to Cole (Joshua Jackson) back together after the death of their young son. Over the six series, their lives entwine ever further.

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The Sopranos – Series 1-6

Hailed as one of television’s most-essential dramas, The Sopranos follows the late James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano: husband, father and mob boss whose professional and private strains land him in the office of his therapist. The show focuses on the Italian-American mobster, portraying the difficulties that he faces as he tries to balance his family life with his role as the leader of a criminal organisation. A masterpiece.

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