21 Of The Best Boxsets To Catch Up On

Caveat: we know die-hard TV watchers saw the majority of these long ago. But if you’re at home night after night and wondering how to fill the time, here’s a little recap on the best series to have aired in the last few years...

NETFLIX

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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Unorthodox – Series 1

Based on the New York Times bestselling memoir of the same name by Deborah Feldman, Unorthodox is a story about a girl who rejects her radicalised upbringing and leaves to start a new life. One part coming-of-age story, and one-part thriller, set primarily in the fun world of Berlin, we watch as Esther discovers all parts of life and of herself and as she follows the dark trails to uncover the dangerous mysteries of her family’s past.

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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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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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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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Becoming

Becoming is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally, but for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House. The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories.
 
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Money Heist – Series 1-4

Launched in 2017, this Spanish thriller is set to conclude later this year. A criminal mastermind who goes by ‘The Professor’ has a plan to pull off the biggest heist in recorded history – to print billions of euros in the Royal Mint of Spain. To help him carry out the ambitious plan, he recruits eight people with certain abilities and who have nothing to lose. The group of thieves take hostages to aid in their negotiations with the authorities, who strategise to come up with a way to capture The Professor. As more time elapses, the robbers prepare for the ultimate showdown with the police…

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Workin’ Moms – Series 1-2

Maternity leave is over and it's time for these four very different 30-something ‘moms’ to return to work while navigating kids, bosses, love and life in modern-day Toronto. Essential, hilarious viewing for anyone currently on mat leave…

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Self Made – Series 1

Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer stars as Madam C.J. Walker, the trailblazing African-American haircare entrepreneur who was America’s first female self-made millionaire. Inspired by the book On Her Own Ground written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, the Netflix Original series brings the uplifting story of this cultural icon to the screen for the first time. Against all odds, Walker overcame post-slavery racial and gender biases, personal betrayals, and business rivalries to build a ground-breaking brand that revolutionised black haircare, as she simultaneously fought for social change.

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Hollywood – Series 1

This limited series from Ryan Murphy – the man behind Glee and Pose – follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-WWII Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown – no matter the cost. Each character offers a different glimpse behind the gilded curtain of cinema’s Golden Age, spotlighting the unfair systems and biases across race, gender and sexuality that continue to this day. Provocative and incisive, the series exposes and examines decades-old power dynamics, and what the entertainment landscape might look like if they had been dismantled.

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APPLE TV

The Morning Show – Series 1

The Morning Show explores the cutthroat world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Told through the lens of two complicated women working to navigate the minefield of high-octane jobs while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives, Apple TV’s best show to date is an unapologetically candid drama that looks at the power dynamics between women and men, and women and women, in the workplace – starring Reece Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell.

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PRIME VIDEO

Little Fires Everywhere – Series 1

Based on Celeste Ng’s bestselling book, Little Fires Everywhere follows the connected fates of the seemingly perfect Richardson family and the mysterious mother and daughter who disrupt their lives. Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) is a part-time local news journalist, who loves to play by the rules. Her life is going swimmingly until Mia Warren (Oscar nominee Kerry Washington) – an artist and single mother – arrives in Shaker Heights and decides to rent the Richardson’s second home. Soon, Mia and her teenage daughter Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the pair and Mia soon becomes a housekeeper for Elena. But Mia has a mysterious past and a disregard for rules that threatens to destroy this carefully constructed community.

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The Jinx – Series 1

A groundbreaking six-part documentary, The Jinx delves into the strange history of real estate heir Robert Durst, long suspected in the still-unsolved 1982 disappearance of his wife as well as the subsequent murders of family friend Susan Berman and neighbour Morris Black. It features an extended, revealing interview with Durst himself, with whom director Andrew Jarecki developed a unique relationship following the release of All Good Things, Jarecki's 2010 feature about Durst's life starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. The Jinx results from nearly a decade of research by the filmmakers, who expose police files, key witnesses, never-before-seen footage, private prison recordings, and thousands of pages of formerly hidden documents. One of the best true-crime dramas out there.

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NOW TV

Succession – Series 1-2

Although he has no plans to step aside as the head of family-controlled international media company, Logan Roy is contemplating what the future holds. He has lingered in the limelight longer than even he thought he would, and now family members want to run the company as they see fit. Despite a best-laid succession plan, tempers flare over Logan's ever-changing intentions. As heir apparent Kendall attempts to solidify his eventual takeover, he and the three other Roy children face a difficult choice as company control and family loyalties collide. Following Logan’s shock announcement at his 80th birthday party, this dark drama delves into empire building, self-interest and betrayal, all with a healthy dose of black comedy. A must-see.

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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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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 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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SKY

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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BBC IPLAYER

The Split – Series 1-2

The Defoes are a family of sisters working for divorcees. But leading lawyer Hannah (the always brilliant Nicola Walker) finds business is personal when she leaves the Defoe family firm for a rival and finally faces her estranged father, who walked out 30 years ago. Also stars Stephen Mangan, Donna Air and Antony Head.

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The Nest – Series 1

Dan and Emily are crazy about each other. They live in a huge house in the nicest part of Glasgow and want for nothing. But they've been trying to have a baby for years with no success. When a chance encounter brings 18-year-old Kaya into Emily's life, it seems that fate may have brought them together. She makes Emily an offer – she will be Dan and Emily's surrogate, if they help set her life on track. But with only one embryo left, can Dan and Emily trust a teenage girl they barely know with their last chance to have a family?

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