The official time of giving may have passed, but my belated summer gift to you, dear reader, is a list of the best binge-worthy TV series to get you through the holiday season.
When your family has become so tedious that you can’t be in the same room as them, these are the shows that will offer the ultimate escapism, effectively dulling any hot weather fury.
Goodness me, if you haven’t acquainted yourself with the HBO series yet, please do so. It’s the story of a fictional right-wing media mogul (*cough* Rupert Murdoch *cough*) who is in the process of selecting his successor from his motley crew of children. The writing is razor sharp and will give you a delicious new arsenal of put-downs/insults to use against your own family. Keep an eye out for Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin’s kid brother Kieran who steals every scene he’s in (he won a Golden Globe for his performance last year). It’s outrageously addictive.
How to watch: Foxtel Now or iTunes.
Gavin and Stacey
Before James Cordon started kidnapping celebrities in his car he was the co-creator of this glorious UK comedy. It tells the story of a young couple – he’s from Britain, she’s from Wales – who have to battle the tyranny of (ever so slight) distance. It delivers some of the most lovable characters to grace the small screen. Comedian Rob Brydon as Uncle Bryn is a particular source of joy.
How to watch: Stan
Writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been winning all sorts of accolades for this dirty, genius, hilarious and deeply devastating series about a woman trying to get back on her feet after losing people she loves. The slew of awards she has won is completely deserved. The writing is brilliant and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen on our screens. Prepare to split your sides laughing and break your heart crying within minutes of each other. It’s a delicious roller coaster.
How to watch: Amazon Prime Video
Writers Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney were fans of each other on Twitter. One day they decided they should get together and write a TV show. The result is Catastrophe, a show that will have you rewinding scenes to watch them on repeat – it’s absolute comic genius. The gist is an American visiting London on a work trip accidentally gets an Irish woman pregnant after a short hot fling, and they decide to make a go of it. Special mention goes to Mark Bonnar and Ashley Jensen for playing friends of the couple, and the late great Carrie Fisher, who gives us a rare treat in displaying her comedy chops.
How to watch: ABC iView
If you haven’t seen Ricky Gervais’ latest TV series then you’re in for a treat. It has all the hallmarks of Gervais that we have come to know and love: hilarious (and sometimes wildly inappropriate) comedic scenes mixed with moments of sheer heartbreak. He has a searing insight into the human condition that will leave you breathless. Nobody does pathos like Gervais. There is also a very excellent dog in it.
How to watch: Netflix
Line of Duty
Those folks at BBC sure do know how to crank out an addictive cop drama. When the first series of Line of Duty premiered in 2012 it became BBC Two’s best-performing drama series in ten years and for good reason – it’s perfectly paced, the performances are excellent and the British cop lingo will bring back comforting, nostalgic memories of watching The Bill on a Saturday night. Season five somehow snuck under our radar, so just in case you missed it too, you can now watch that in Australia.
How to watch: Amazon Prime TV or iTunes
Initially when I saw this Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon vehicle I stifled a bit of a yawn. But Apple TV+ poured a heap of cash into the flagship series for their new streaming service and it seems it was money well spent. The show, which also stars Steve Carell, tells the story of TV news anchors caught up in a ‘me too’ scandal. It’s utterly gripping. All of a sudden Jennifer Aniston is your new favourite actor. Nobody saw that coming.
How to watch: Apple TV+