Best TV series to watch on Netflix right now (August 2020)

From original series like The Crown and Stranger Things to classics such as Doctor Who and Sherlock, check out the best TV shows to watch with our Netflix recommendations.

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Selling Sunsets, christine quinn

Netflix already has an enormous selection of original and classic TV series to choose from, and the platform has continued to add more content even as the rest of the world has ground to a halt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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And it’s just as well: 2020 has seen more people staying in than ever before, so a good range of TV options is almost a necessity – the only difficulty is deciding on where to begin given the huge range of shows available.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of some of Netflix‘s greatest programmes – both new and old, and in pretty much every conceivable genre from documentary to drama to comedy.

The streamer has seen a variety of shows join its selection these past few months, from BBC Two sitcom Motherland and new episodes of intergalactic cartoon Rick & Morty to its hit Unsolved Mysteries reboot and The Umbrella Academy series two.

When it comes to pre-existing content, there’s still a number of old favourites that are worth a re-visit such as Friends, Shameless (UK) and Spaced, while newer comedies such as After Life and Never Have I Ever are great if you’re looking for a lighter watch.

After something a bit darker? Netflix is renowned for its black comedies (BoJack Horseman), intense dramas (Ozark) and crime series (Mindhunter), so do check them out if you’re looking for a fan of a good thriller.

You can even use Netflix secret codes to explore different genres of TV shows, but don’t worry, we’ve got everything you need here in one place.

So stop what you’re doing and start streaming!

Get the pulse racing with Sky original dramas Gangs of London and Save Me Too on NOW TV (sponsored link)

Updated 11th August 2020

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer - Netflix

Bong Joon-ho was very much the man of the moment earlier in 2020 when his most recent film Parasite swept to deserved Oscar glory, and another of his films was given the TV reboot treatment this year – with his 2013 post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Snowpiercer adapted into this 10-part series starring Jennifer Connolly and Daveed Diggs.

The series introduces us to Andre Layton (Diggs), a stoic passenger living in the ‘tail’ section of Snowpiercer – a huge train carrying the last remaining survivors of a climate catastrophe around a permanently frozen Earth.

The tail’s inhabitants have often been reduced to cannibalism as a consequence of the train’s rigid class structure and the vast inequality inherent in that system and so when Layton is asked by those in the more privileged sections to use his detective skills to help solve a mystery further up the train, he is hardly in a position to refuse. What follows is a twisting and turning adventure that takes us to the different sections of the train and explores issues of class and revolution.

Watch on Netflix

Selling Sunset

Selling Sunset
Netflix

Reality series don’t get much more glamorous – or dramatic – than Selling Sunset which follows a group of estate agents working for the The Oppenheim Group as they sell some of the most opulent houses in Los Angeles. A third series of the show has recently been added to the streaming platform – and each new season only seems to ramp up the drama even further, as the agents experiences weddings, divorces and everything in between.

So if you’re into drama, real estate and just the  glamorous world of LA, then this could be the perfect show for you – sit back and enjoy the pure escapism as you watch the cast continue to share the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives.

Watch on Netflix

The Rain

One of Netflix’s biggest hitters when it comes to foreign language dramas is Danish series, The Rain, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic future after a virus carried by rainfall just about wipes out the entire population of Scandinavia.

During the show’s three series we follow a group of survivors – led by siblings Simone and Rasmus – as they search for their scientist father, who is apparently their only hope for finding a cure or some other solution to the devastation that has wreaked havoc in their country.

The series is part post-apocalyptic drama, but is also to a huge extent a coming-of-age tale, as the young survivors discover that although just about everything else has changed since the virus hit, adolescence comes with all the same troubles as usual.

Watch on Netflix 

The Umbrella Academy

Superheroes tend to be loners, so it’s fun to see them in a family setting. But living with people who wear capes and save lives every two minutes is never going to be plain sailing.

Ellen Page and Mary J Blige star in this fantasy series set in alternate universe, adapted from comics written by My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way. Ellen plays Vanya, one of seven children adopted by a billionaire. Unlike her brothers and sisters – all of whom were born on the same day to mothers who didn’t know they were pregnant (a terrifying concept for all women to get their heads around!) – Vanya doesn’t have superpowers. She can only watch on as her estranged siblings get back together to try to solve the mystery of their foster father’s death. Oh, and they also plan to save the world while they’re at it.

The Umbrella Academy has proved a huge hit – it was the third most popular show on Netflix in 2019. And now there’s a second season to enjoy as well.

Watch on Netflix

Unsolved Mysteries

One of the most-watched shows on Netflix right now is its revamp of iconic American documentary series Unsolved Mysteries, which takes a look at paranormal phenomena and cold cases. Over 20 years since the show wrapped up NBC and CBS, 12 brand-new episodes have been made featuring unexplained events from all over the world.

The attraction of this series lies in the fact that as the facts of the cases are presented, it is left up to the audience at home to play amateur detective and theorise whodunnit, why and how. So not only is it a thrilling watch, but it might just perform a public service, too.

Watch now on Netflix

Breaking Bad

Netflix
Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, it’s unlikely you haven’t at least heard of Breaking Bad. In a poll we conducted a few years back, Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece was voted the show most people lied about having seen, such is its recognition as one of the best box sets of the modern era – so if you’re one of those people, perhaps it’s about time you did yourself a favour and watch the story unfold.

Following the fortunes of a chemistry teacher, Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) – who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to “break bad” and embark on a life of crime as a crystal meth drug kingpin alongside one of his former students, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to provide for his family after his death – this is one of the most fantastically written, directed and executed television dramas you will ever have the fortune to view.

Set against a backdrop of a dusty Albuquerque universe of good, bad and ugly players whose stories twist, turn and evolve over five gripping series, this is a story that makes the viewer question everything until the very end.

Co-starring Anna Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Dean Norris and Giancarlo Esposito to name but a few, Breaking Bad is as much about the way its incredible cast of characters react to the world around them changing, as it is about Walt and Jesse’s incredible central journey.

Try it. It’s brilliant. Trust us…

Watch on Netflix

Ozark

Jason Bateman and Laura Linney in Ozark (Netflix)
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney in Ozark (Netflix)

It’s been compared by many to Breaking Bad, and although Ozark is very different in many ways, it’s hard to disagree that the moody atmosphere and theme of a family under siege in unusual circumstances certainly shares some similarities. The most obvious reason the comparison is made, however, is that like Breaking Bad, Ozark is a very, very good drama that will be talked about for many years to come.

The story centres around Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his wife Wendy (Laura Linney), daughter Charlotte (Sophia Hublitz) and son Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) as they are forced to go on the run from Chicago to the Ozark lakes in Missouri after Marty’s money-laundering operation for a drug gang goes wrong and their lives are in imminent danger.

But things just get more complicated once they start afresh in the Ozarks, because not only are they instantly embroiled in a strange and brutal world they don’t understand – but they quickly learn that your problems have a habit of catching up with you and that secrets are harder than you think to keep.

Three seasons of this excellent show are available on Netflix now. You’ll soon get used to seeing the world with a blueish-grey tint…

Watch on Netflix

After Life

Ricky Gervais – After Life
Ricky Gervais in After Life (Netflix)

Ever since The Office exploded onto the scene at the turn of the millennium, completely changing the expectations of viewers in modern comedy, every project that Ricky Gervais has been involved with on the small screen (whether with his Office writing partner Stephen Merchant, or alone) has garnered a huge amount of excitement in the TV comedy world.

Regarded by many as some of Ricky’s finest TV work since Extras, After Life is – as you would expect from Gervais – a very awkward and at times quite troubling comedy that explores the theme of grief. Following the story of a man called Tony whose life is turned upside down after his wife dies of cancer, we see a man who, after contemplating suicide, decides instead to take his misery out on the rest of the world by saying and doing whatever he likes.

It’s a lot funnier than it sounds, and the second season recently arrived on Netflix – so fill your boots (and be prepared for a bit of bad language).

Watch on Netflix

Fear City: New York vs the Mafia

There’s something incredibly gripping about stories of the Mafia. Look at the success of gangsters in pop culture and you’ll see we positively love them – the likes of The Godfather, Goodfellas and Peaky Blinders set the precedent for gritty, hard-hitting and captivating series. Only last year, Netflix made its way into the Mob world with The Irishman.

Now, the platform has combined this apparent passion for the Mafia with its skill for producing slick and fascinating documentaries. Fear City: New York vs the Mafia centres on the FBI mission to shut down The Five Families of New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. Then, mobsters ruled the entirety of the Big Apple for years, but in particular, those two decades were the peak of the Italian American dynasties.

Anyone with a mild interest in the Mafia will find this essential viewing – and if you thought The Wire was exciting, wait until you see the real thing.

Watch on Netflix

The Crown

The Crown
Olivia Colman in The Crown (Netflix)

One of Netflix’s flagship shows across the globe, The Crown is reported to also be one of the most expensive television shows ever made.

The glossy and sumptuous drama from the pen of Peter Morgan (The Queen and Frost/Nixon), the drama aims to chart the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II over several seasons, with some deliberately planned resets and cast changes to “age” the cast where time moves forward.

The first two seasons starred Claire Foy and Matt Smith as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, with Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies taking over the same key roles for seasons three and four.

A really compelling watch, it gives some insight (and plenty of artistic licence) into the lives of one of the most famous families ever to have lived.

Watch on Netflix

Stranger Things

Stranger Things season 3
The cast of Stranger Things season 3, Netflix
Netflix

Paying homage to a 1980s Spielberg inspired world of walkie-talkies and Chopper bikes, the Duffer brothers’ Stranger Things is one of the biggest hits ever to be created by Netflix. A supernatural adventure filled with intrigue and horror it tells the story of a group of four friends in Hawkins, Indiana that befriend a telekinetic super-girl and try to unpick a complicated and strange series of phenomena.

Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown and many more, this is unmissably good telly.

As the seasons pass, the tension ramps up and more characters and mysteries are intertwined in this fantastically watchable tale.  Oh, and and it has a completely unmissable soundtrack too. The “exhilarating and devastating” third season was the latest to drop – and season four is expected next year

Watch on Netflix

Black Mirror

It wasn’t so many years ago that Charlie Brooker was reviewing telly for The Guardian with a style that every young entertainment journalist desperately tried to imitate with varying degrees of success – but now he is a TV writer and showrunner who is just as influential in the creation of television content as he was when he was reviewing it.

Black Mirror is without a doubt his most compelling and celebrated work to date – a dystopian and often chilling vision of how technology may change our lives, let’s face it, largely for the worse.

It began as a Channel 4 shot in the dark, but Charlie Brooker’s drama quickly became one of the most bleakly gripping series on TV. Then Netflix jumped in and it went from a cult show in the UK to a global phenomenon that attracts huge-name guest stars from Jon Hamm and Bryce Dallas Howard to Andrew Scott and Miley Cyrus.

The fifth season features some of its most ambitious and gripping tales to date, and of course Bandersnatch, the choose-your-own-adventure special, was a one-off mega-hit from the Black Mirror brand.

Watch on Netflix

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

This four-part documentary brings to life the sobering stories that made newspaper headlines across the world last year when financier Jeffrey Epstein died in prison while facing charges of sex trafficking.

Using footage of Epstein being interviewed for an earlier charge alongside comments from prosecutors, associates and investigators, plus film of Epstein’s homes, director Lisa Bryant’s documentary is a fascinating and horrifying look at how one man escaped justice for decades, possibly with the help of wealthy connections – and one that rightfully prioritises the survivors over the perpetrator.

Watch on Netflix

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

If you feel you need cheering up at the moment – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – look no further than the endlessly optimistic Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

For its first original sitcom, Netflix went to legendary actress and writer Tina Fey, who dreamt up this delightfully odd story with her 30 Rock collaborator Robert Carlock.

After being abducted by a cult leader, Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) spent 15 years in an underground bunker with three fellow abductees, believing the Earth had been reduced to a nuclear wasteland. But the Indiana Mole Women (as the media quickly labels them) are rescued by a SWAT team and discover that the world remains full of life…

While the premise may initially sound a little dark, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a comedy through and through, with the same zany sense of humour that made Fey’s previous series such a hit.

Watch on Netflix

When They See Us

When They See Us

Ava DuVernay’s harrowing series is a hard watch, but an important one. Starring Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman, it tells the true story of the Central Park Five, five black and Hispanic teens who were wrongfully convicted of a rape that took place in New York City in 1989. They were accused and charged on flimsy evidence, and a racist system saw them incarcerated for a heinous crime they had no involvement with. Beautifully acted, the drama will leave you spitting with outrage as you witness an incredible miscarriage of justice.

Across four episodes, we follow these confused and terrified young men and their families, as they attempt to navigate police interviews and courtroom trials with the odds stacked against them. It’s then worth finding “Oprah Winfrey Presents: When They See Us Now” to see Oprah interviewing the men behind the drama, about their experience and the terrible impact their convictions had on their lives.

Watch on Netflix

Lucifer

Such is the love for this show that when Fox announced they were going to stop making the show a huge campaign was launched online by the fans which took the hashtag #SaveLucifer to the world, and was eventually received loud and clear by Netflix who decided to bring the show back on the streaming platform.

Based on the character created by Neil Gaiman for The Sandman comic-book series, Tom Ellis plays Lucifer, the handsome and seductive Lord of Hell who has made a home for himself in the sleazy glamour of Los Angeles…

What could possibly go wrong? You’ll have to watch to find out…

Watch on Netflix

BoJack Horseman

BoJackS5_EP9.jpg
BoJack Horseman, Netflix

Widely regarded as one of the best animated series of all time, this fantastic offering – the brainchild of Raphael Bob-Waksberg – has been the talk of the comedy world since it exploded onto the scene in 2014.

One might say that any show that features anthropomorphic horses attempting to get beyond existential crises would be funny without a class-act cast and script – but luckily BoJack takes the comedy to 11 with both of those in abundance.

Enter the wonderful Will Arnett (Gob Bluth in Arrested Development, among many others) as the lead role and a star-studded cast including Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F Tompkins and Aaron Paul and you have an international hit on your hands.

Comedy fans beware – you may end up spending a lot of time on this!

Watch on Netflix

Money Heist (La Casa del Papel)

Money Heist – better known as La Casa de Papel in its native Spain – is not only the most-watched non-English show on Netflix, but one of the most-watched series overall on the streaming service.

The crime drama, which follows a crack team of thieves assembled by “The Professor”, sees the gang attempt to walk away with billions of euros after a daring heist on the Royal Mint in Spain.

There are four seasons on Money Heist to watch, so why not see what all the fuss is about?

Watch Money Heist (La Casa del Papel) on Netflix

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Fans will have been dismayed at the recent news from Netflix that the fourth series of this hit drama will be the last.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a huge hit in the 1990s when the Archie comic of the same name was brought to life by Melissa Joan Hart in the lead role. Several decades later, Netflix has rebooted the show with a darker and more mysterious edge, this time starring Kiernan Shipka, best known to drama fans as Sally Draper (daughter of Don) in the smash-hit AMC show Mad Men.

Originally conceived as a companion series to Riverdale, the show eventually got a life of its own when it moved to Netflix and began telling the story of a half-witch, half-mortal and her sometimes challenging existence.

Also starring Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis, Chance Perdomo and Michelle Gomez, there are three seasons available to watch on Netflix, so you have plenty to keep you busy…

Watch on Netflix

Chewing Gum

Michaela Coel in Chewing Gum
Michaela Coel in Chewing Gum
Netflix

If you enjoyed Michaela Coel’s recent BBC comedy drama I May Destroy You, you’re bound to love her first – but very different – sitcom Chewing Gum. The series, which began in 2015, stars Coel as Tracey Gordon, a 24-year-old religious virgin who is desperate to have sex in order to avoid becoming like her uptight oldest sister Cynthia (Susan Wokoma).

A hilarious and raunchy comedy full of fourth wall-breaks and cringe-worthy moments, Chewing Gum is an under-appreciated Channel 4 gem that you can now binge on Netflix.

Watch on Netflix

Orange Is the New Black

Back when Netflix was desperately trying to prove to the world that its original dramas were worth watching, they needed a series to follow the success of House of Cards and to keep the momentum going. That series was Orange Is the New Black, an addictive ensemble drama set in a women’s prison, following naïve, middle-class Piper Kerman (Taylor Schilling) as she embarks on a 15-month sentence for moving drug money. It was a crime she committed years ago, for her girlfriend, before she settled into a quiet life. As her world falls apart she must adapt to prison life and get to know her fellow inmates…

Of course it’s not the first drama about women behind bars (bring back Bad Girls!) but it’s unique in its production values, the quality of its strong, funny, racially diverse cast and the way in which it gripped its audience. If you missed it first time round, we’re jealous you’ve got it all still to enjoy.

Watch on Netflix

Mindhunter

David Fincher’s gloomy serial killer drama didn’t quite make it to the watercooler when it first arrived, but as with many on-demand shows, its slow-building intrigue gripped enough people for Netflix to renew it for a second season.

The show follows soft-spoken FBI agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and his gruff partner Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) as they tour the USA interviewing the nation’s most heinous serial killers.

While it takes a bit of time to truly get going, the series soon develops into an intriguing character study, as Ford becomes more and more emotionally entangled in his work.

As well as the fantastic scripts and performances, this show stands out for its incredible visuals and mood, as you might expect from Mr Fincher.

Watch on Netflix

Sex Education

Sex Education - Otis
Asa Butterfield in Sex Education (Netflix)
Netflix

One of the biggest questions around this sharp-witted comedy is where and when is it set? Although the characters are British, they all have different accents – and the school they attend looks more like a high school from 1980s USA than the sort of comprehensive most Brits would have attended. Everyone seems to drive old Volvos, but people have smartphones…

The reality is, the ambiguity of time and location is a deliberate move by Laurie Nunn and the show’s producers to pay homage to a John Hughes-style teen world that a generation grew up watching on TV.

The show follows the fortunes of Otis (Asa Butterfield), Maeve (Emma Mackey), Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) as they navigate their school days, their parents and the challenges that come with both. Also starring Gillian Anderson as Otis’s sex therapist mother, this is a critically acclaimed show not just for its comedy – but for the bold way it challenges important issues head on.

Season two arrived earlier in the year, and season three has now been confirmed.

Watch on Netflix

Russian Doll

There’s no getting round the fact that this show is rather strange, and at times incredibly surreal – but that’s what makes this acclaimed comedy drama from creative powerhouses Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler so compelling and such a runaway hit.

The eight-part series follows chain-smoking New Yorker Nadia, as she weaves her way through a mysterious time loop that sees her celebrating her 36th birthday – and then dying. Over and over and over again. Starring Lyonne, Greta Lee ,Yul Vazquez, Charlie Barnett and Elizabeth Ashley – this is no simple Groundhog Day rehash, it’s a lot more sophisticated than that. With a New York sass all of its own and a high concept pay-off, it’s oh-so surreally satisfying.

Watch on Netflix

Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty season 4

If you were to cross Back to the Future, Doctor Who and maybe BoJack Horseman – that’s the closest you can get to describing the nihilistic animated comedy that is Rick and Morty.

Following the misadventures of drunken mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his neurotic grandson Morty Smith (both voiced by creator Justin Roiland), this Adult Swim series takes place in multiple realities and various planets as Rick drags his grandson across the universe.

With an impressive voice cast including Scrubs’ Sarah Chalke, 30 Rock’s Chris Parnell and Greek’s Spencer Grammar, as well as a star-studded list of guest stars (Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele, Nathan Fillon, Jermaine Clement, Susan Sarandon), Rick and Morty is a complex, sometimes dark but always witty intergalactic adventure.

Watch all four seasons on Netflix

Making a Murderer

A poster child for Netflix and one of the true crime documentaries that spurred hundreds of similar shows in the following years, Making a Murderer has become one of the streaming giant’s most talked-about shows since the ten-part documentary premiered in December 2015.

Following the story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who served 18 years in prison after being wrongly accused of attempted murder and sexual assault, and was subsequently convicted of a different murder, this series gripped the world and become the focus of much debate. Made by film-makers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, the extraordinary piece of television was filmed over a decade. A must-watch for any true crime fans – with the second season blowing the story wide open all over again, it’s unlikely the public’s fascination with this case is going to wain anytime soon.

Watch on Netflix

Dead to Me

Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in Dead to Me
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in Dead to Me

Christina Applegate puts in a career-best performance in brilliantly binge-worthy black come from writer Liz Feldman, which became the must-see, most-talked-about Netflix show when it first dropped last year.

Here’s the set-up: Jen loses her husband in a hit-and-run accident and is consumed by her loss. Against her better judgement she attends a group grief counselling session and begrudgingly starts talking to Judy. They bond over mutual loss and quickly become firm friends, turning to each other in their darkest hours, much to Jen’s great surprise. However, one of the women is guarding a terrible secret that threatens to upend their friendship and derail both of their lives entirely. It’s a touching, funny and addictive exploration of bereavement and female friendship with a gripping, soapy undercurrent that will have you telling yourself that one perennial Netflix lie, “I’ll just watch one more episode before bed.”

Two series are available to watch now.

Watch on Netflix

Unbelievable

Netflix has begun to build a fearsome reputation as creators of drama content in recent years and one of the most prolific content creators in the world, with many of its most popular shows also focusing on stories inspired by true-life events. Unbelievable is a gripping eight-part limited series starring Toni Collette, Merritt Wever and Kaitlyn Dever that explores a series of police blunders and miscommunications that allowed a serial rapist to operate undetected in the United States.

One of the most talked-about new Netflix releases of 2019, this hard-hitting show is at times very difficult to watch –  made to feel even more real by its incredible script, direction and dramatic performances from a fantastic cast. The mini-series is based on the 2015 news article An Unbelievable Story of Rape, written by T Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong.

Watch on Netflix

Motherland

Liz (Diane Morgan), Julia (Anna Maxwell-Martin), Kevin (Paul Ready) in motherland
Liz (Diane Morgan), Julia (Anna Maxwell-Martin), Kevin (Paul Ready) in Motherland
Channel 4

Recently added to Netflix, this BBC Two comedy from Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan looks at the exhausting life of a middle-class mum Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin), who struggles to juggle the demands of her job and her children whilst navigating the catty world of school-gate politics.

Along with keen stay-at-home dad Kevin (Paul Ready) and blunt single mother Liz (Diane Morgan), Julia has to organise the perfect children’s birthday bash, show willing at the school fundraiser and deal with her own mother without letting the “Alpha Mums” and their leader Amanda (played by a superbly sanctimonious Lucy Punch) get to her.

The third series is due out later this year, leaving you plenty of time to sink your teeth into this hilarious take on the stress of parenthood.

Watch on Netflix

Spaced

Spaced
The cast of Spaced
Channel 4

If you’re a fan of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, you’re bound to love one of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s first projects together – Channel 4 comedy Spaced.

This dynamically farcical sitcom, written by its stars Mission: Impossible’s Simon Pegg and There She Goes‘ Jessica Hynes – turns 21 this year and follows the misadventures of wannabe-journalist Daisy (Hynes) and aspiring graphic designer Tim (Pegg) after they move into a north London flat together.

Along with Tim’s army-obsessed childhood friend Mike (Nick Frost), their artsy downstairs neighbour Brian (Mark Heap), alcoholic landlady Marsha (Julia Deakin) and Daisy’s uppity best friend Twist (Katy Carmichael), the 20-something slackers navigate a variety of surreal and awkward situations whilst managing to be as unproductive as possible.

Jam-packed full of film references, Edgar Wright’s classic fast-paced approach to comedy is immediately recognisable in this hilariously kooky comedy.

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Unorthodox

This four-part miniseries is based on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 autobiography Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, and follows a young woman, Etsy, living in the Orthodox Jewish Community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York, and her attempts to escape from her arranged marriage to Berlin – where her estranged mother currently lives.

In Germany, Etsy makes new friends with students at a music school and auditions to join the school herself, while she is pursued by her husband who travels to Berlin with his cousin to try and track her down, as ordered by the rabbi.

Watch on Netflix

Shameless (UK)

Arguably a more accurate portrayal of British life than most soap operas, all 11 series of Paul Abbott’s popular, long-running comedy drama have recently arrived on Netflix.

Starring David Threlfall as drunken Frank Gallagher and set on the fictional Chatsworth council estate outside Manchester, the series premiered its initial seven-episode run in January 2004 to critical acclaim. In 2005 the show received a BAFTA award for best drama series as well as scooping best TV comedy drama at the British Comedy Awards. Some years later a US version followed – but wallow here in the original and best.

Watch on Netflix

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Tiger King
Joe Exotic in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (Netflix)

It’s really quite difficult to summarise such a bizarre, wacky and downright fascinating documentary such as Tiger King – but here goes. The story centres around Joe Exotic, a big-cat owner in the United States who has had lions, tigers and many, many other animals in his GW Zoo, Oklahoma.

Exotic is a colourful man who, aside from having multiple husbands, became fixated with the “thorn in his side”, Carole Baskin. She is an animal rights activist, who tried multiple times to shut down GW Zoo, believing Exotic’s actions to be troublesome. But in a way of firing back, Exotic claimed she killed her own husband and fed him to her own collection of wild cats – a claim she vehemently denies.

The culmination of their rivalry came when Exotic tried to hire a hitman to kill Baskin as his hatred spiralled out of control. His attempt to put a hit on her failed and, according to The Washington Post, Exotic is currently in prison for a 22-year sentence for attempted murder for hire on top of other animal cruelty charges.

If that doesn’t sound completely insane already, be assured Tiger King gets a lot stranger. We promise you’ll be glued to your television for this one and, with more episodes on the horizon and a dramatisation, now is the perfect time to catch up.

Watch on Netflix

The Last Dance

The Last Dance
Michael Jordan, The Last Dance, Netflix

You have heard of Michael Jordan. You know Michael Jordan. It’s Michael Jordan. Of course you know Michael Jordan. But do you actually know Michael Jordan?

The cultural impact of the basketball titan is splashed across the globe, the brand, the iconic Jumpman logo is stamped onto every Nike product – from shoes to PSG football jerseys – that image is pressed into our mind.

If you grew up watching Jordan in action, Netflix’s docuseries The Last Dance will be a solid nostalgia trip for you, a sporting fix designed to evoke the romanticism of sport in the 90s. If Jordan’s meaning to you has been inadvertently limited to a silhouette designed to sell shoes and shirts, The Last Dance is your chance to learn the legend for yourself.

Watch on Netflix

The Last Kingdom

You might remember seeing the first couple of series of The Last Kingdom – which is based on the Saxon Stories novels by Sharpe creator Bernard Cornwell – on the BBC, but the show switched hands to Netflix for season three.

Set in the 9th-century AD, the show tells the story of rugged hero Uhtred son of Uhtred, a Saxon boy who is brought up by Danes, after they capture him and decide to raise him as their own. Of course this leads to split loyalties and Uhtred is eventually accused of killing his adoptive father, forcing him to flee to another kingdom.

Four series are available to watch on Netflix, so you have plenty to keep you going – enjoy!

Watch on Netflix

Our Planet

David Attenborough was announced as the presenter of Our Planet on Netflix at WWF’s State of the Planet Address (James Gillham/Netflix)
David Attenborough, presenter of Our Planet (Netflix)

From the makers of landmark series Planet Earth and Blue Planet comes a groundbreaking look at the world we live in: the problems the natural world faces, the solutions to fix those issues, and examples of complete rehabilitation.

Narrated by veteran natural historian and global treasure David Attenborough, this fascinating series take viewers on a journey through different biological realms, from the deepest oceans and the wildebeest migrations in Africa to the wolves living in Chernobyl’s forests.

Watch on Netflix

More on Our Planet

Peaky Blinders

One of the biggest drama hits the BBC has produced in the last decade, Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders is so popular it now even has its own festival in Birmingham where fans can come along, dress up, meet the cast and listen to bands playing songs from the soundtrack of the show.

This Cillian Murphy-starring crime epic has an ensemble cast including Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson and Sophie Rundle and has won acclaim all over the world, with everyone from Tom Cruise to the late David Bowie singing its praises. That’s quite a broad fanbase, but the Brummie-based 1920s gang series really does have something for everyone. Sharp suits, sharper razor blades and performances that cut through all the usual period dross. All five series are available to watch on Netflix.

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The Good Place

American network sitcoms have often got a bad wrap from British reviewers, with a few notable exceptions, they are sometimes considered less sophisticated than British comedies with “obvious'”jokes and characters. These are not charges that can be brought against NBC’s high-concept philosophical comedy The Good Place, which not only makes you laugh, it makes you think.

From the pen of Michael Schur, the co-creator of critically acclaimed Parks and Recreation, the show stars Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who finds herself arriving in the “The Good Place” after her death by mistake. She’s joined in this secular afterlife by a group of other new arrivals played by William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil and Manny Jacinto, who all live in a neighbourhood created by bumbling architect, Michael, portrayed brilliantly by Ted Danson.

A series of twists and turns throughout the first season prelude a massive shake-up in season two, which consistently leaves the audience wondering where on earth it can go next. Season three somehow repeats the feat, brilliantly – and have the tissues ready for the final ever episode, available now.

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Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul
Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul
AMC

The spin-off is usually something that history remembers as a bad idea. For every Cheers that produces a Frasier, there’s at least ten Friends that produce a Joey. So, when it was announced that Vince Gilligan, the creative force behind the critically acclaimed Breaking Bad intended to make a spin-off, alarm bells sounded across the TV world. The idea of ruining the legacy of one of the great boxsets was troubling, and it was with trepidation that many tuned into Better Call Saul.

Now, with the fifth season the latest to arrive on Netflix, it’s hard to see how anyone could have seen this Breaking Bad prequel as anything other than a solid gold hit. Following the shady dealings of Bob Odenkirk’s shyster lawyer Saul Goodman, one of the central characters in the latter parts of the Breaking Bad story, it takes viewers back to the same Albuquerque universe of the original show. It strikes a slightly lighter tone than Breaking Bad, but still has an incredible pacing and depth that made the original show so popular. Featuring many of the original cast – from Jonathan Banks to Giancarlo Esposito – anyone who has seen and enjoyed Breaking Bad should immediately set their Netflix to full Better Call Saul mode and start watching post haste!

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine

You can’t move in TV land for crime dramas, so it’s nice for a show to reveal the funny side of a police station for once. And there’s a whole lot of heart to this silly yet surprisingly sharp workplace sitcom set in a New York City police precinct.

SNL and Cuckoo actor Andy Samberg leads the cast as Jake Peralta, a cop who somehow manages to be the star detective on his team despite his childish approach to life. He’s surrounded by exquisitely drawn characters, including the show’s secret weapon, Andre Braugher – we know him best for his dramatic performances, but he plays a blinder as the overly serious Captain Raymond Holt, delivering his lines with unrivalled deadpan.

With seven series under its belt, this show has rightly earned a devoted set of fans, who are already looking forward to season eight. If you get hooked you’ll find yourself in good company.

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Modern Family

In the US, this is huge. Modern Family has won countless Emmys for outstanding comedy series along with crates of other awards and audiences of millions. But on this side of the Atlantic it remains a minor Sky One cult.

The curious thing about the show, created by two former Frasier writers in 2009, is it’s so simple. The premise is: a family. That’s it.

To make it interesting, the family is an extended one, split between patriarch Jay’s household (ruled by his curvaceous Colombian second wife), his daughter Claire’s brood and his son Mitchell’s relationship. About the only angle is that Mitchell is gay and soon (in the finale of season 5, in fact) to be married to his partner Cameron.

So, there you have it. On paper, nothing fancy. But not since Dad’s Army has a comic ensemble worked so perfectly, so adorably, together.

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Bodyguard

Even with Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio at the helm and a cast led by Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden, nobody could anticipate quite how massive this drama would become when it aired in 2018. The six-part series followed Home Secretary Julia Montague as she got rather too close with her bodyguard. The pair dodged attacks and romantic liaisons before a mid-season shock moment that nobody saw coming. We were floored.

The series begins with one of the most compelling opening sequences we’ve even seen – it’s 20 minutes of nerve-jangling tension on a train – and got us all pretending to be government security agents, whispering “Lavender on the Move!” into our shirt cuffs (or was that just us?). It was one of the most discussed TV shows in years and ratings went through the roof. Enough time has passed now that it’s worth a rewatch, especially as a second series seems inevitable.

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Schitt’s Creek

Schitt's Creek
Rose (Catherine O’Hara), Alexis (Annie Murphy), Johnny (Eugene Levy) and David Rose (Dan Levy)

An utterly brilliant Canadian sitcom, which takes a little bit of time to get going but is worth the investment. By the time the second season swings around all the characters have found their footing in the most deliciously entitled way.

The show – whose sixth season is out now on Netflix – follows the privileged, once-wealthy Rose family, who attempt to rebuild their lives in the amusingly named titular town. Dad Johnny bought Schitt’s Creek as a joke in 1991, when money was no object. It’s the only place they can think of to go, and they are hoping the red carpet will be rolled out, but their influence isn’t as great as they would like.

Forced to live in adjoining motel rooms, the family of four – including grown-up spoilt children David and Alexis – have to make the best of a bad situation. A nightmare for them to live through, a delight for us to watch.

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Hollywood

Netflix drama Hollywood - cast
The cast of Hollywood (Netflix)

..And Ryan Murphy’s latest series – created with regular collaborator Ian Brennan – takes us back to Tinseltown in the late 1940s. We follow Jack Castello (David Corenswet), a hunky matinee idol who can’t even get work as an extra. the Golden Age of film-making is a time when most dreams are dashed, in a drama mixing fact and fiction, where Rock Hudson and Anna May Wong are among the characters.

The idea that Hollywood was riven by bigotry and betrayal gives the show its dramatic heft, but this is very much a Murphy production: fast, naughtily funny and draped in alluring, old-school glamour.

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New Girl

All seven seasons of this quirky sitcom starring Zooey Deschanel are now available on Netflix UK. The show follows Deschanel’s quirky school teacher Jess Day adjusting to life with three male room-mates in LA, documenting issues with their romantic relationships and their jobs, and their hopes and fears about the future. Guaranteed to make you laugh, New Girl combines dysfunctional yet loveable central characters, flights of fancy – which avoid becoming too self-consciously “kooky” like so many US comedies – and a whole bunch of brilliant one-liners, delivered with beautiful comic timing by a talented cast.

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RuPaul’s Drag Race

RuPaul in Drag Race (Netflix)
RuPaul in Drag Race (Netflix)
VH1

Gentlemen: start your engines. While the UK’s first series of the drag queen competition aired to critical acclaim, the US – and original – version of the contest is now available to watch on Netflix. It follows the same format as the British show: a group of fierce queens fight for the title of the next drag superstar, each hoping to impress head judge RuPaul Charles with their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent (we’ll let you work out that acronym for yourself).

Sure, it’s not the most high-minded TV, but the contest, now in its 12th season, is packed with shady shenanigans, high couture, plenty of gags (ahem) and unmissable drama. And that’s before we mention the guest judges, which have included Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Whoopi Goldberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jeff Goldblum and Lizzo.

Most importantly, however, it’s all very warm-hearted. Despite the regular arguments, each episode also sees the queens support each other through the contest’s hardships. And this well-meaning feel is hammered home by Ru herself, each week reminding contestants and viewers alike: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gunna love somebody else?”

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Derry Girls

Lisa McGee’s inspired sitcom about a group of girls navigating teenage life during The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1990s explores the usual teen melodramas through the prism of an international conflict. No mean feat, but the balance of humour, heart and just the right amount of pathos is what made the show such a colossal hit for Channel 4 when it launched in 2018 – as well as a fantastic soundtrack. After all, just because adults are embroiled in political turmoil, it doesn’t stop young girls worrying about spots, boys and friendship dramas.

The haunting final scene of series one summed it all up. The much-talked about ending juxtaposed the girls’ school talent show with their families watching breaking news on the TV, while the Cranberries’ Dreams played in the background – one of the TV moments of that year, it left many in tears.

The first series is available to view now (season two was recently added then rapidly pulled…).

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The Staircase

The Staircase (Netflix)
The Staircase (Netflix)

The original true crime documentary, the remarkable story of the trial of Michael Peterson is the result of film-maker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s vision for a new style of crime reporting. Originally airing in 2004, Netflix acquired the rights and released the series in 2018 with three new episodes that delved back into the troubling case and within a few days it became one of the most talked-about shows of the year.

“I’ve spent 16 years of my life on this story,” de Lestrade tells Radio Times. “And while that isn’t full-time filming and editing across the years, there’s not really been a day when it hasn’t been in my head.”

Unmissable television for anyone interested in the true crime genre.

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones

There’s always a detective, there’s always a dangerous man in an impeccable suit, there’s always untrustworthy clients and lucky left hooks, and there’s always a dame, right at the centre of it all. Cherchez la femme fatale, as fancy waiters say.

This is perhaps the least superheroic (Marvellous?) of Marvel’s output. Krysten Ritter is superb as an indestructible woman who’s broken inside, hiding from her history. Funny, foul-mouthed, brittle and ballsy, Jones feels like the role the Breaking Bad actress has been waiting for. The superstrength is almost a distraction; she’s at her best simply playing a shopworn gumshoe in the big city.

As for David Tennant…he gleefully stamps on your memories of Doctor Who. He allows himself to be utterly vile – you don’t love to hate him, you simply hate him. He is every abusive spouse and controlling boyfriend you’ve ever had, the ones who made you not yourself, the ones you can’t escape.

Three seasons are available to savour on Netflix.

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Dark

Netflix’s first German-language series is a mind-bending, time-warping and completely engrossing series that proves that Scandinavia doesn’t have the monopoly on excellent subtitled drama.

The show instantly drew comparisons to Stranger Things and it’s easy to see why. After all, it tells the story of a child who goes missing from a small town under mysterious circumstances, leaving everyone baffled (so far so Hawkins). But this programme is darker and weirder, and doesn’t revel in any 80s throwbacks or a nostalgic soundtrack. Of course, once you get past the initial premise there are lots of differences, and the show deserves credit in its own right.

As children continue to vanish from the German town of Winden, we follow four estranged families. They find themselves unravelling a complex mystery involving time travel and conspiracies across many generations, and all we can do is try to keep up with them!

Series three of Dark recently arrived, so get stuck in.

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Marvel’s Daredevil

Marvel's Daredevil

Many fans believe that Netflix’s Daredevil is one of the best pieces of entertainment that the MCU has ever spawned – for a franchise that features some of the biggest films of all time, that’s no small feat. But it’s a fair comment, as this gripping drama brought Marvel’s Man without Fear into live-action stunningly well, telling an action-packed story filled with suspense that delves into New York City’s criminal underworld.

Charlie Cox plays Matt Murdock, an attorney who was blinded in a terrible accident as a child, which heightened his other senses to a superhuman level. By day, he seeks justice in the courtroom and by night, he cleans up the streets in the guise of a vigilante known as Daredevil. His portrayal of the character has been lauded by fans and critics alike, with many still hoping he’ll make the leap to the big screen one day (we can dream!).

Deborah Ann Woll co-stars as troubled legal secretary Karen Page, alongside Elden Henson as Matt’s old friend Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. The series also features memorable portrayals of other major Marvel characters, including Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher, Élodie Yung’s Elektra and, most of all, Vincent D’Onofrio’s frightening performance as Kingpin.

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The Stranger

Harlan Coben's The Stranger
Richard Armitage in Harlan Coben’s The Stranger (Netflix)

Following on from 2018’s Safe, this is the second collaboration between Netflix and bestselling thriller writer Harlan Coben. It’s a classier, sturdier affair, albeit still crammed with unlikely twists and turns whenever you’re starting to feel comfortable.

Richard Armitage holds it together as the comfy upper-middle-class dad whose world is destroyed by – you guessed it – secrets, lies and perhaps even murder.

The show has a great cast including Ready Player One’s Hannah John-Kamen, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders, Shaun Dooley, Paul Kaye, Dervla Kirwan and Anthony Head that will keep you guessing what it was all about until the very end.

Well worth a binge if you like a mystery.

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Top Boy

An award-winning drama about gang life and drug dealing on an east London estate, Top Boy ran for two series on Channel 4 in the UK between 2011 and 2013 and completely changed the face of drama. For once this didn’t seem like a middle-class, disconnected writing team trying to throw together a programme about the youth on the streets. The voices and performances felt authentic, and the show won huge acclaim for its realism.

It also caught the attention of rapper Drake. Unlike the rest of us, who have to lump it when our favourite series end, Drake worked with Netflix to finance a revival and get the original writer back on board. He even executive produces the new episodes. Series three, which sees Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson reprise their lead roles, is now available to view and a fourth is on its way. It might take you a couple of episodes to get into the style, but it’s worth it. And it’s so cool that rapper Dave has even joined the cast.

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Narcos/Narcos: Mexico

Diego Luna, Narcos: Mexico season 2 (Netflix)
Diego Luna, Narcos: Mexico season 2 (Netflix)
Carlos Somonte/Netflix

This is a spectacular drama series, too often unfairly dismissed as a successor to Breaking Bad. The story, based on real events, follows the never-ending game of cat and mouse between infamous drug king Pablo Escobar, the Colombian authorities and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), breaking down the myths and telling the story of Escobar’s turbulent life. The first two series were filmed in Colombia, where Escobar made his billions distributing cocaine, and takes us from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, when the authorities finally caught up with him.

The series returned for a third outing, but with the Escobar story told it turned its attention to the new drug lords on the block the Cali Cartel. Season four was initially intended to follow the same path, but development led the writers in another direction entirely, with a spin-off called Narcos: Mexico, exploring the country’s war on drugs and taking inspiration from real-life incidents.

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Friends

Friends cast
Warner Bros

The most popular TV show of all time caused quite the stir when it landed on Netflix, as a new generation of viewers started to tune in and pick holes in the scripts. Millennials were upset the series wasn’t as politically correct as it should be and raised their objections on social media, while the show’s loyal army of fans leapt to its defence. It got tense.

Despite that burst of controversy, Friends is still one of those shows that we love to watch over and over again – the characters, the friendships, the impossible-to-afford central New York apartment, everything about it represents the life we wish we were leading. And even though we know each of the 236 episodes word for word, it’s weirdly comforting to watch them all again.

Although it’s never hard to find this series somewhere on the telly, Netflix gives us the chance to either binge a series from start to finish or hand-pick our favourite episodes – the one with Ross’s sandwich, the one with the apartment swap, the one where Ross and Rachel were on a break – whichever one you fancy. The dream.

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Giri/Haji

A BBC/Netflix co-production that aired recently in the UK, Giri/Haji (translated as Duty/Shame) is a masterful and sprawling thriller set between London and Tokyo, which went down a treat with critics and viewers. It primarily concerns a Japanese detective by the name of Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) who travels to London in an attempt to track down his missing brother Yuto, a member of Japanese crime syndicate the Yakuza.

With its ambition, suspenseful plot and stylistic flourishes, Giri/Haji was described as “a breath of fresh air” and “one of the best shows of 2019”. You won’t be disappointed.

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More on Giri/Haji

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever cast - Netflix

If you’re looking for a feel-good series that’ll leave you tickled but also tug at the heartstrings, then coming-of-age comedy drama Never Have I Ever could be the perfect Netflix offering for you.

Loosely based on the high school experiences of series co-creator Mindy Kaling, who grew up in the Boston area, the series follows the lives and loves of Indian American student Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), who looks to change her life and up her social status among her peers, while still dealing with grief over the loss of her father (Sendhil Ramamurthy) the year before.

Never Have I Ever has been described a “a win for Asian representation on screen” by The Guardian and it’s easy to see why a legion of fans have follow in love with its sharp, smart, honest storytelling, as well as newcomer Ramakrishnan’s charming lead performance.

No spoilers here, but the 10-episode first season does end on something of a cliffhanger, so it’s no surprise that demand for a second season is already high…

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More on Never Have I Ever

Star Trek: Discovery

Back in 2017 (long before the excitement of Picard), this was the first Star Trek TV series since Enterprise ended in 2005, and anticipation was high. Luckily the show found its feet in a fiercely confident manner, giving Trekkies exactly what they wanted from the off. The seventh series in the franchise introduces us to a brand-new set of characters boldly going where no man has gone before on the USS Discovery. Jason Isaacs stars as Captain Gabriel Lorca, who tries to balance his personal issues with his responsibilities to the crew.

This series is actually a prequel, so the action takes place a decade before the original series, which featured William Shatner Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock. The United Federation of Planets is at war with the Klingon houses for much of the first season.

Two seasons are available on Netflix, with the third expected at some point in 2020.

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Inside No 9

Critically acclaimed and never dull, Inside No 9 is not the type of show you see every day, but once you’ve started watching you simply cannot stop.

Written by The League of Gentlemen stars Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, this surreal comedy/horror/thriller anthology as you might expect from its creators’ pedigree draws on comedy of the perverse and takes viewers to some very dark and twisted places while making you laugh out loud at times.

Relentlessly inventive, the shows are all loosely held together by being set in a number 9 of some sort  – but that remains the only constant in this superlative, wildly unpredictable show.

The first four seasons are available on Netflix.

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Riverdale

The cast of Riverdale (Netflix)
The cast of Riverdale (Netflix)

Chances are you’ve either never seen this teen drama or you’re completely obsessed with it – the show, based on the characters from the Archie comics, already has cult status and is totally addictive once you get going with it. Riverdale is a small, seemingly lovely town, a perfect place to live. But of course there’s darkness lurking. Archie Andrews is a high-school footballer from the town, the class heart-throb, and we follow him and his friends as they react to the death of one of their classmates. If that’s not enough, there’s also backstabbing, bitching and teacher-student affairs to keep you interested.

The show was originally conceived as a film, but during the development process it switched to a television format. A move that paid off: Riverdale is already on its fourth season and has been renewed for a fifth. It has also spawned two companion series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Katy Keene.

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Atypical

A warm, heartfelt coming-of-age drama, set in Connecticut, about a family whose 18-year-old son Sam is on the autism spectrum. We follow him as he navigates the trials of dating and relationships, and tries to strengthen his fractured bond with his dad.

The show is created by Robia Rashid, who formerly worked as a producer on How I Met Your Mother and The Goldbergs, so you know you’re in safe hands, and the series goes to great lengths to give an accurate depiction of one man’s experience of autism. There is an autistic writer on the team as well as autistic actors in the cast.

Series three landed recently, and Sam (Keir Gilchrist) is off to college, where he faces a whole new set of challenges and adventures.

Series 1-3 are all available to watch on Netflix, with a fourth and final season expected in 2021.

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Arrested Development

David Cross and Jason Bateman in Arrested Development (Netflix)

This show is the definition of a cult hit. Either you’re obsessed with it and like to go round making chicken noises when you discuss it, or it has passed you by. This is the time to catch up though, as TV’s most dysfunctional family has made its home on Netflix.

The comedy series, starring Jason Bateman and Portia De Rossi, was the brainchild of Hollywood director Ron Howard and originally ran on Fox for three seasons from 2003 to 2006. It’s the story of a spoilt, once-wealthy family who continue their lavish lifestyle despite the fact they can no longer afford it.

After its cancellation there was a long wait before Netflix revived the show in 2013, much to the excitement of its loyal fanbase. The show’s return to screen has not always been smooth though, and the controversy surrounding Jessica Walters and Jeffrey Tambor in the run-up to season five certainly coloured fans’ expectations and left us wondering what the future of the show would be. But it doesn’t change the ground-breaking impact the series once had.

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Queer Eye

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was a big hit in the early noughties. Netflix spied an opportunity to revamp the feel-good series and the reboot struck a chord with viewers around the world, leaving us all crying happy tears. In fact the all-new Fab Five have proved an even greater success than their predecessors.

The misconception with Queer Eye is that it’s purely a makeover show, but actually the wardrobe transformation is a tiny part of the process. It’s really a programme about people who have lost their confidence and stopped caring about themselves. When they start to open up and discuss what’s happened in their lives, the Fab Five respond with the perfect mix of compassion, sensitivity and inspirational ideas. Nobody is forced to cut their hair or paint their living room, it’s a gentle approach that gives people their self-esteem back. The results are life-changing, emotional and joyous.

Tan France provides the style advice, Jonathan Van Ness specialises in male grooming, Bobby is the design expert, Karamo deals with culture and Antoni occasionally chops an avocado.

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Happy Valley

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

Sally Wainwright is one of Britain’s most prolific and gifted drama writers – she’s the genius behind Gentleman Jack, Last Tango in Halifax and Unforgiven. This razor sharp BBC series is right up there with her very best work and although it is technically catalogued as a crime drama, it is so much more.

Set in Yorkshire, the series stars Sarah Lancashire, Siobhan Finneran and Steve Pemberton, and tells the story of a police officer, Catherine, searching for the man who raped her late daughter, Becky. James Norton plays the criminal she is looking for, skinhead Tommy Lee Royce, and if you’re a fan of James in his nice guy Grantchester role it’s worth watching this just to see his incredible range as an actor. Sarah Lancashire steals the show though with a pitch-perfect, funny, distressing and ultimately BAFTA-winning performance.

Both series are available on Netflix, and Sally Wainwright has always promised that she will one day write a third. Fingers crossed.

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Doctor Who

We don’t need to tell you what Doctor Who is all about! But if you’ve recently got back into the show in the Jodie Whittaker/Chris Chibnall era, or if you just fancy a bit of telly nostalgia, why not treat yourself to a few episodes from the NuWho back catalogue? And if you’ve only heard about this show but you’re too embarrassed to admit you’ve never seen an episode, there’s no judgement here – we just recommend you get stuck in now and see what all the fuss is about!

Ten series will take you from the Christopher Eccleston’s headline-grabbing revival of the show in 2005, through to David Tennant’s stint in the TARDIS, Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor and of course Peter Capaldi’s appearances too. But of course it’s not just about the Doctor, you can relive Billie Piper’s iconic performance as Rose and Jenna Colman’s popular turn as Clara as well.

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Pride and Prejudice

Yes, the Pride and Prejudice, the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, guaranteed to make you smile on a sick day, rainy Sunday or Christmas holiday (or period at home in isolation). If you haven’t seen this definitive TV adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, we insist you do so as soon as is humanly possible.

It’s the story of the five Bennet sisters and their flapping mother, who is obsessed with making sure they all marry well. They have varying levels of success in this pursuit, but it’s headstrong Lizzi we’re most interested in. Very much her own woman, she’s not interested in finding a wealthy match and is repulsed when introduced to the wealthy but arrogant Mr Darcy. Little does she know she’s about to fall in love with him.

Featuring a bizarrely erotic scene in a pond and some of the nation’s best loved stars, this is a treat from start to finish. Also worth pointing out that the novel was the original inspiration for Bridget Jones’s Diary, so the plot might feel familiar…

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You

YOU

Elizabeth Lail stars alongside Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley in this extremely popular stalker thriller, which proved to be a huge hit for Netflix. Don’t look for subtlety or nuance in this show – it’s an unapologetically crowd-pleasing, twisty-turny drama that prioritises gasps and shock value over realism. Go with it and you’ll really enjoy it.

The show tells the story of a New York book-keeper (who just happens to be a serial killer), who becomes instantly infatuated with one of his customers. Infatuation turns into a dangerous obsession and soon he is consumed by the thought of her, keeping a close eye on her social media and needing to know where she is at all times. She’s blissfully unaware – but how long for?

There’s two series to enjoy (the second season takes place in Los Angeles but we don’t want to spoil series one by telling you any more!) and series three is on the way in 2021.

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Sense8

If you’re planning to check out this series, please can we recommend that you put your phone down and give the show your full attention. Because the truth is that even if you’re concentrating with all of your might there’s a good chance you still might not understand what’s going on!

The series is an intricate, sprawling sci-fi invention from the minds of The Wachowskis (who gave us The Matrix series and Jupiter Ascending). It follows a group of eight strangers from different corners of the globe who are connected by shared prophetic visions, known as Sensates. What follows is a tailspin of sex, acrobatic fight scenes and endless intrigue – all sadly cancelled after two seasons.

The show relies on its ensemble cast featuring Daryl Hannah, Tuppence Middleton and Freema Agyeman and is shot all over the world. It has won praise for its inclusion of LGBTQ+ storylines as well as its sense of ambition and scale.

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Salt Fat Acid Heat

There’s no shortage of cookery shows on TV, we’re all well aware of this. But there’s something about presenter and writer Samin Nosrat that just makes us want to spend time in her company. And her genuine excitement for food and cooking turns this show into a rather interesting proposition. Samin travels the world, taking us with her into far-flung kitchens to learn some basic culinary principles that should set us up for any dish we fancy making. Her trips in the series are as diverse as Japan, Italy and Yucatan.

And if you’re wondering about the unconventional title – these are the four factors that Samin claims can really make or break any dish. “Master these four elements, master the kitchen,” says the Netflix programme description.  It’s still not as catchy as Ready, Steady, Cook but we all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!

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The Office (UK)

When The Office was first shown to a BBC focus group back in 2001 it reportedly received the lowest ever score for any programme. But now Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s workplace mockumentary is generally regarded as one of the most innovative pieces of British comedy of a generation. Its influence can still be felt in so many comedies that have come along since.

Set in a paper merchant sales office, this is a show about characters rather than plot. Boss David Brent (Gervais) is hilarious and heart-breaking with his warped view of the world and his own role within it. But really Martin Freeman is the heart of this show as nice guy Tim – the man who is stuck in a job he can’t stand, in love with his colleague, Dawn, who won’t leave her useless other half, and forced to sit next to annoying Gareth, played perfectly by Mackenzie Crook.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll feel a brand-new appreciation for your own colleagues.

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Gilmore Girls

Remember when TV wasn’t all about crime dramas and alternate universes? This sharp-talking, caffeine-fuelled comedy from the early ‘00s was defining moment for many of us and ran for seven seasons. Set in a fictional town in Connecticut, it’s the story of a single mother, Lorelai, and her daughter, Rory as they navigate their lives. While they both face their own challenges, it’s the central relationship between them that’s the beating heart of the show. You’ll feel a huge rush of nostalgia and warmth as you watch.

You may remember this series also made a remarkable comeback thanks to Netflix, with A Year in the Life reuniting the cast for four much-enjoyed episodes.

Watch out for a couple of huge stars who were part of the cast – Melissa McCarthy as Lorelai’s best friend, Sookie St James and Milo Ventimiglia as a love interest for Rory. And if you’re wondering why Rory looks so familiar, we’ll help you out: Alexis Bledel who plays her also stars opposite Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale.

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Dracula 

For many TV fans, things don’t get much better than a new Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss adaptation, and the former Doctor Who pair’s three-part version of iconic horror tale Dracula ticked a lot of boxes for fans of their previous work – providing a fascinating modern update on the story.

The series aired over Christmas 2019 and starred Claes Bang as the titular monster, with Dolly Wells giving an impressive turn in the expanded role of Sister Agatha. With plenty of scares, compelling performances and no shortage of tooth-related puns, this was another triumph from the team that gave us Sherlock.

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The Witcher

Ever since Game of Thrones has ended, people have been looking for the new Game of Thrones – and although almost any fantasy series that’s been made in the past few years has given itself this label, The Witcher has probably had one of the biggest impacts on the fantasy world.

Based on a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher franchise was already developed for TV and was a very popular video game series before this Netflix adaptation – so it came with a ready-made fan base and weight of expectation.

Starring former Superman Henry Cavill as the titular monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia, a gruff and taciturn swordsman hated and feared by the people he protects from supernatural beasties, it has been received well – and is certainly worth your time if you’re a lover of the fantasy genre.

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GLOW

GLOW
The cast of GLOW (Netflix)

Sometimes it can feel like TV only has three plots – love triangles, murky crimes and aliens. So props to Netflix for giving us a breath of fresh air with this comedy drama, which offers something brand new alongside the nostalgia of a great 1980s soundtrack.

The series tells the story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (aka GLOW), a real-life group formed to promote women’s wrestling on telly. The characters in this series are fictional though. Alison Brie stars as Ruth, a struggling actress who ends up auditioning for the wrestling group to make ends meet. Little does she know that her former best friend Debbie has already been hired – the two got along famously until Ruth stole Debbie’s husband. It seems certain that their bitter feud will either destroy the show or raise it to a whole new level.

Season three arrived last summer, with Thelma & Louise legend Geena Davis joining the cast. If you can see past the leotards, this is an excellent drama and there’s great fun to be had.

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Sherlock

This series got a bit strange, confusing and overly complicated towards the end, but when it was good, boy, was it elementary! Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast as Sherlock, the sociopathic but fiercely clever detective, while Martin Freeman elevates the usually dull role of Watson to actually make him interesting in his own right. Together their chemistry is palpable and it’s the ultimate TV bromance (Ant and Dec are great, but how many criminals have they put behind bars?).

It was a genius twist from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss to bring Arthur Conan Doyle’s popular stories into the present day and the earlier series are full of fun, wit and sparkle, as well as the dramatic tension of the detective stories themselves. Special mention to Andrew Scott, who was wowing us with his performance as arch-villain Moriarty long before he became Fleabag’s sexy priest.

Grab your deerstalker hat and your swishy coat, and remind yourself how great this series really is.

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American Crime Story

This anthology series may be a spin-off from American Horror Story, but by no means is it a poor relation. The People vs OJ Simpson, starring Cuba Gooding Junior as OJ and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, was one of the most talked-about series of 2017, and rightly so. It took a case we all think we know and turned it into compelling, edge of your seat drama. At the heart of the story was Sarah Paulson’s stunning performance as lead prosecutor Marcia Clark, who found herself in the glare of the media lens when she was just trying to do her job.

The follow up came with The Assassination of Gianni Versace, starring Darren Criss, Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz, telling the story of the famous fashion designer’s murder. Both series are currently available to view, while season three, Impeachment is on its way. The third instalment will tell the story of the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal that shook the White House.

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Wild Wild Country

True crime has become one of Netflix’s specialist genres, and there are few better examples of it than Wild Wild Country, the bizarre story of an Indian guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh,  who attempts to build a utopian city in the Oregon desert – and soon sees his followers come into conflict with the locals ranchers.

Released in 2018, the show used extensive archive footage and interviews to chronicle the story, which goes in some pretty unexpected directions that include an attempt at fixing a local election and the first bioterror attack in the United States and a massive case of illegal wiretapping. There are some extremely memorable interviewees none more so than the candid and charismatic Ma Anand Sheela, who had served as Baghwan’s right hand woman.

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Merlin

Much like Smallville, which took us back to Superman’s younger years, this BBC teatime hit showed us an adolescent Merlin, played by Colin Morgan, just as he was befriending Arthur. This reimagined prequel to the popular Arthurian legend, which kept the same characters but wandered a little from the traditional tales, proved to be a huge success, attracting millions of viewers and running for five series.

Unlike in the original legends, this version of Arthur and Merlin are a similar age and the pair’s friendship gets off to a difficult start, with neither particularly impressed by the other. Merlin, who is concealing his incredible magical abilities, is made Arthur’s servant and eventually they bond before embarking on adventures together. Along the way they meet Guinevere, known as Gwen, who starts up a frowned-upon relationship with Arthur. And of course there’s a dragon! Voiced by John Hurt, no less. Fun, family-friendly fantasy.

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Black Earth Rising

Michaela Coel shot to fame and became the toast of the TV world off the back of her brilliant sitcom Chewing Gum. She gave a very different, dramatic performance in this political thriller though, playing Kate Ashby, a woman who was rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashby (Harriet Walter), a world-class British prosecutor in international criminal law.

With acclaimed talent behind the camera too, in the form of BAFTA-winning writer Hugo Blick (who also gave us The Honourable Woman starring Maggie Gyllenhaal), this is a classy eight-part drama tackling the prosecution of international war crimes and the thorny issue of the West’s relationship with Africa. It’s not the lightest watch, and for that reason it didn’t get the ratings it deserved, but this is incredibly well made, beautifully acted and well worth your time. You just need to be in the right mood as you sit down to watch.

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Maniac

Maniac

We’ve seen a fair few bizarre shows in our time, but this series is right up there. The question is, is it trippy and weird in a brilliant way, or just too confusing to get into? That’s for you to decide.

One thing we can promise is star power: Emma Stone and Jonah Hill lead the cast, which also includes legends Sally Field and Gabriel Byrne. The story is loosely based on a Norwegian drama of the same name and introduces us to two strangers who meet during the course of a mind-boggling pharmaceutical trial. What happens next is difficult to explain on paper, but it’s certainly not boring.

There’ll be no second series of this show, it’s standalone, so why not brace yourself and see if you can fathom it. Interestingly, it’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who also worked on highly acclaimed drama True Detective, and directs upcoming Bond film No Time to Die.

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Marcella

When we heard that the creator of incredible Swedish series The Bridge, Hans Rosenfeldt, had written a new drama for ITV we were excited – a British twist on the Nordic noir genre sounded right up our street. And the result was just as dark, intricate and complex as we were hoping for.

Anna Friel stars as troubled female former detective Marcella Backland, who lives in London and suffers from violent black-outs. Apart from dealing with her mental health struggles, Marcella’s life is thrown into disarray when her husband leaves her and uproots their children’s lives in the process. She throws herself into work – returning to the police for the first time in 15 years to investigate an unsolved case when it appears a serial killer has become active again. With the weight of the world on her shoulders, it’s difficult for her to hide her woes from her colleagues – especially when her own life starts to interweave with the case.

Two seasons are available to view in the UK – but fans at home will be disappointed to learn that Netflix is showing series three to the rest of the world, while it won’t arrive on ITV until September.

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The End of the F***ing World

Based on a graphic novel, this dark comedy-drama proved to be a surprise hit when it aired on Channel 4, bagging BAFTA nominations and a massive fanbase.

The show is about two teenagers on the run from their lives. There’s schoolboy James, who believes he is a psychopath, and Alyssa, his classmate, who is angry at the world and has latched onto James as a means of escape. Little does she know what he’s planning – bored with killing animals, he’s decided he’d like to murder a human and that the dubious honour should go to Alyssa. That’s why he agrees to a road trip – so he can find a chance to kill her. How long will she stay oblivious to his true intentions and will he succeed?

The show’s creator Charlie Covell has said the show ends well after two seasons and it’s extremely unlikely there will be a third. You never know, though.

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Altered Carbon

Joel Kinnaman, Altered Carbon (Netflix)
Joel Kinnaman, Altered Carbon (Netflix, BA)

Based on a “cyberpunk noir” novel by Richard K Morgan set 300 years in the future, Altered Carbon requires you to concentrate. New technology has allowed for human consciousness to be digitised, meaning that humans can theoretically live for ever by hopping from body to body. Now little more than a vessel, the bodies that carry us around are referred to, rather glibly, as sleeves.

At the heart of the story is Takeshi Kovacs (aka House of Cards’s Joel Kinnaman), an elite, interstellar warrior whose consciousness has been awakened for the first time in over 200 years and placed inside the body of a US soldier. The man who brought him back, aristocrat Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), has done so in order for Kovacs to solve his own murder…

Kinnaman was replaced by Avengers star Anthony Mackie in series two, and there’s a slightly-less-headscratching companion anime movie Altered Carbon: Resleeved to enjoy, too.

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Dark Tourist

Forget Wish You Were Here, this is no ordinary travel show. Kiwi journalist David Farrier (often referred to as New Zealand’s answer to Louis Theroux) travels to the world’s grimmest tourist destinations, seeking out the sinister hotspots that most of us would ignore.

He hops onto a tour tracing the footsteps of Charles Manson, visits a radiation-ravaged no-go zone in Fukushima and takes a meeting with Pablo Escobar’s former hitman in Colombia. He even visits the UK (a dubious honour in this instance), where he recreates a WWII battle in Maidstone and takes a phone call from notoriously violent prisoner Charles Bronson.

We’re not sure how much fun all of this is for poor David (he must have got so excited when Netflix offered him a travel show, only to grimace at the itinerary…) but it actually makes a great TV programme for the rest of us! Despite the macabre themes, it’s really an easy and pleasant watch.

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Fargo

At first there were a few raised eyebrows: how would the classic Coen Brothers film work as a TV show? Would they ruin it? Then we watched it and felt an instant wave of relief – this series is nothing short of exceptional.

The “true” story of crime in Minnesota has three largely stand-alone series on Netflix, all of which are 100% worth your precious viewing time. Series one stars Sherlock’s Martin Freeman as a mild-mannered insurance salesman in a provincial Minnesota town. His life unravels after meeting a mysterious stranger played superbly by Billy Bob Thornton. The twists and turns keep you guessing right up to the end of this moody and intelligent drama.

Series two had a new cast including Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson and Ted Danson. Set in March 1979 the story acts as a prequel to the first series and follows the complex story of the town during investigations of three murders. Meanwhile series three of Fargo stars Ewan McGregor in a dual-role as brothers Emmit and Ray.

Apart from the weirdness of hearing Martin Freeman do an American accent, this is near-perfect TV.

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Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Sometimes we get so obsessed with all of the shiny new shows dropping in front of our eyes, we forget to look back at some of the all-time greats.

Monty Python, formed by titans of comedy including John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, is a comedy troupe with sketches so silly that they are ultimately timeless. The cult series inspired a generation of comedians with skits including Dead Parrot, in which a pet shop owner tries to convince a customer that his pet bird is snoozing not deceased, and the Ministry of Silly Walks, which will have you crying with laughter with its surreal humour (it’s what John Cleese’s long limbs were made for). The impact of these series can still be felt today, and for all the new comedians launching onto the circuit every year, you’ll still be hard-pressed to find anyone funnier.

You’ll also know the Pythons for their films including The Life of Brian, The Holy Grail and The Meaning of Life, which are available to view too.

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The Haunting of Hill House

Shirley Jackson’s novel is one of the scariest novels of all time, so adapting it was always likely to result in some major frights – and Mike Flanagan’s 10-part TV placement delivered on that front. This is a loose adaptation of the source material, adding in an element of family drama but clearly playing homage to the book frequently throughout.

The show alternates between two different timelines: one in 1992, the night that something went horribly wrong for the five now-adult siblings who were living at Hill House and were forced to flee, and one in the present day where four of the siblings continue to be haunted by the brutal events.

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