If you're not in the mood for starting a new box set on Sky or Now TV, there's plenty of other options to entertain you.
The first season of True Detective is an indelible, compellingly re-watchable neo-noir crime drama set in past and present day Louisiana. Its eight episodes unravel slowly, teasing you with satisfying morsels of mystery, tension and dark shades of grey as two former detectives recollect and re-investigate a decades-old case. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are brilliant in the lead roles, while the direction and storytelling is top-notch. Season two was something of a let down in comparison, but only because its first outing was near perfection.
Sky Atlantic's dystopian thriller. Ahead of the launch of season 2 of Westworld, Now TV has the first series available. Westworld is a theme park for the super rich where anything can happen. The world is inhabited by semi-intelligent robots that guests can interact with, have sex with, and kill. But with all dark sci-fi shows, all is not well. Some of the more experimental robots are becoming conscious and they don't like the way that they've been treated.
Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Aaron Sorkin's TV drama is a slow-ish burner. There's plenty of drama but it builds steadily over the two seasons. The series follows the empire of eccentric billionaire Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), who made his fortune in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks by gaming the stockmarket. Attorney Charles "Chuck" Rhoades Jr (Paul Giamatti) has an axe to grind with Axelrod and wants to pursue him for financial crimes. There are, however, complications. Their families are intertwined and a power struggle ensues.
There's a murder in Twin Peaks. But the small US town isn't used to crime, let alone murders. It's so rare that the FBI is called in to investigate the death of young Laura Palmer. But not everything is as it initially seems. This is the premise of the original series of Twin Peaks, first released in 1990. When you've finished the classic there's also the new series, which was released in 2017 and is set 25 years after the original. In the remake the town is left shocked as the homecoming queen is found dead.
You will soon be able to see Donald Glover flying about in a galaxy far far away in Solo, but for now, you can see him in the comedy/drama of his own creation. It follows a college dropout and his upcoming rapper cousin trying to get through everyday life in the eponymous Georgia city. It’s a series that’s grounded in reality, but one that shows you the humour and big moments that can be found within it.
Inside No. 9
Dark and creepy anthology series are definitely in fashion right now. So if you are looking for another, check out the comedy/horror series by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, known for The League of Gentlemen and Psychoville. It features an ever changing cast of guest actors as it sways between eccentric and scary moments in twisting and surprising tales.
From the channel that brought you Game of Thrones and Westworld, Deadwood is an historic Western series that follows the inhabitants of a frontier town. Many of its characters are genuine historical figures, although it’s known for replacing its old-school cursing with modern swear words. It might sound weird at first, but it helps Deadwood better show the brutal and violent side of the Old West, something that other shows and films tend to gloss over.
A Touch of Cloth
When he’s not masterminding Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker likes to write witty and surreal comedy shows. One of them is A Touch of Cloth, a cop drama satire in the vein of Leslie Nielsen’s Naked Gun films. There are only six episodes, but each is overstuffed with send-ups of clichés and visual gags, and actors who are completely committed to the ridiculous lines and plots.
The US take on the classic British detective stories. If you can get past the change of location and the new accents, it provides an interesting alternative to the well loved Sherlock while still keeping enough of the original elements that made Conan-Doyle's stories so enjoyable. It's a strong addition to the Holmes and Watson cannon.
Somewhat unappreciated in its own time, The Wire is one of the original box sets made to binge on. It shows the city of Baltimore from several angles throughout its five seasons, but each follows a slow burning storyl about how crime and the law touches every part of society. It's nearly 16 years old, but the story remains strong, and is still very relevant to society today. A gripping watch throughout.
Some of Zach Braff's finest work. The show follows the journey of three medical students John Dorian (JD), Christopher Turk and Elliot Reid as they progress through their careers. All nine series of the classic hospital comedy drama are available on Now TV. The 20 minute episodes are perfectly snackable for bingeing upon.