Lockdown might be coming to an end soon but here are some top-tier box sets to see you through the Tiered winter ahead.
The West Wing – All4
Aaron Sorkin’s fast-walking and faster-talking political drama offers a look behind the curtain at the inner-workings of the White House, as the administration deals with everything from hostage situations to passing new bills.
With all seven series, or 156 episodes, available to watch on All4, this series will be with you for the long-haul.
Nathan For You – Sky
Armed with anxiety and a lack of business acumen, Nathan Fielder approaches failing businesses with ridiculous ideas and somehow gets the owners to entertain them in the documentary comedy series Nathan For You. Poo flavoured froyo anyone?
Fielder is hilariously awkward and unsettles pretty much everyone he meets, but by doing so he reveals their true selves, unlike any other documentary.
All the while he stops at nothing to follow through on his schemes which often raise in scale and stakes to such a level that they go viral. When exploiting parody law by rebranding a coffee shop as ‘Dumb Starbucks’, some even suspected Britain's own public stuntman, Banksy.
I May Destroy You – BBC iPlayer
In case you were living under a rock and missed I May Destroy You’s first outing back in June, the full series is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
With a method of storytelling unlike anything seen before, Michaela Coel stars as Arabella, a writer who wakes up from a black-out night and slowly comes to realise she has been drugged and assaulted. The series follows her as she attempts to patch the night together, and explores themes of consent, race and memory in a thrilling 12-parter.
The Midnight Gospel – Netflix
The Midnight Gospel is animated psychonautics. Kaleidoscopic, multiversal journeys guided by freewheeling podcast conversations between co-creator Duncan Trussell and his interviewees, reimagined as roaming ‘spacecaster’ Clancy Gilroy and resident life forms of apocalyptic worlds. The interviews are genuine, drawn from Trussell’s own podcast, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour.
Clancy and Co comfort viewers with their New Age wisdom and laughs at life’s absurdities. The last episode, Mouse of Silver, guest-stars Trussell's own late mother, Deneen Fendig, whose audio was recorded in the later stages of her cancer. It’s the most wholesome half an hour of TV you will watch this year, and it’s about death.
Catastrophe – All4
Created by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, Catastrophe’s opener sees an American businessman, Rob, enjoy a passionate tryst while on a work trip in London with Sharon, an Irish teacher.
What was meant to be a one-time thing turns into a long-time thing when Sharon gets unexpectedly knocked up. The series follows the hilarious high jinks of two strangers who find themselves facing a lifetime of parenthood together.
The Bridge – BBC iPlayer
Due in part to the nation’s unhealthy obsession with Sarah Lund’s sweaters, The Killing has overshadowed its Nordic noir twin, The Bridge, and undeservedly so. It’s another bleak and brilliant procedural gripper just as tautly told.
The unlikely detective duo of Malmö’s Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and Copenhagen’s Martin Rhode (Kim Bodnia) are united by a murder on the Øresund Bridge that falls under both of their jurisdictions.
Together they attempt to crack the case, but the standout is Helin as Saga, Sweden’s answer to Sherlock Holmes. She has the deduction, the brusqueness, and even the long flowing overcoat. Like Dr Watson, the affable Martin is on hand to repair the social damage.
Russian Doll – Netflix
Natasha Lyonne leads this beautifully dark dramedy as Nadia, a game designer who finds herself experiencing a series of grisly deaths which propel her back to the evening of her 36th birthday.
Like Groundhog Day but with hip New Yorkers, the series follows Nadia as she attempts to break the infinite time loop she finds herself stuck in. Russian Doll is simultaneously absurdly comedic and a moving interrogation of trauma, and its clever, twisted plot will be sure to offer viewers a gripping distraction from the real world.
Lost – Amazon Prime Video
They may have made it up as they went along, but millions were hooked from the moment Lost landed on screens and Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on an unidentifiable island.
Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) leads a crew of survivors - all compelling characters fleshed out in serial flashbacks – as they slowly begin to unravel the island’s many, many mysteries.
The series itself may have crash landed, but it’s worth a watch for the turbulent, twist-laden journey.
I Hate Suzie – NowTV
Created by Billie Piper and Succession writer Lucy Prebble, I Hate Suzie follows Suzie Pickles, a former child star turned actress who falls victim to a mass phone hack.
The series offers an equally horrifying and hilarious portrayal of a woman in crisis as compromising photos of her leak across the web. Billie Piper gives a stand-out performance as Suzie, who is struggling to keep her career and marriage alive.
Sharp and bold in its writing, the series explores whether anyone can survive being well and truly known.
Atlanta – BBC iPlayer
Donald Glover’s singular Atlanta is hard to pin down. In his words a “Twin Peaks with rappers”, it follows the surreal and tragicomic daily grind of college dropout Earn, his rising rapper cousin Paper Boi and their fellow black Atlantans. Special mention goes to their stoner-philosopher sidekick Darius, whose weed-induced non-sequiturs are a wellspring of hilarity.
Then there is the city of Atlanta itself, who, like Twin Peaks, plays its own enigmatic character. There is always something in the air, and more often than not it’s danger.
The Inbetweeners – All 4
Being a teenager isn’t easy, it can be an awkward and embarrassing time, which can prove to be comedy gold, as evident with hit show The Inbetweeners.
The series follows teenage boys, posh and rule-abiding Will (Simon Bird), hot-headed and soppy Simon (Joe Thomas), immature liar Jay (James Buckley) and gullible and dopey Neil (Blake Harrison), meander their way through their tricky teen years.
The now cult show follows the hapless wannabe lads as they deal with budding romances, silly schoolboy antics and hopeless quests for popularity.
Orphan Black – Netflix
Science fiction thriller Orphan Black looks at a world in which human cloning is possible.
Tatiana Maslany plays several clones, from the con artist and street-smart thief Sarah Manning, to the conservative suburban mum Alison Hendrix, to the ruthless corporate mouthpiece Rachel Duncan and unhinged assassin Helena.
As the only non-sterile clone, Manning and her daughter Kira are under threat from the company that created her and from a religious group who see the clones as abominations that need to be killed.
Unorthodox – Netflix
Inspired by Deborah Feldman’s autobiography, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, the Netflix series follows 19-year-old Esty’s (Shira Haas) quest to break free of her restrictive life within the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.
Stuck in an unhappy marriage, Esty takes a risk and runs away to Berlin where her estranged mother lives, finding herself plunged into a secular life which rejects all the beliefs and rules she grew up with.
With a new-found confidence, Esty decides to pursue her love of music and embrace her new life, but her husband Yanky (Amit Rahav) is hot on her heels to bring her back to New York.
This Is Us – Amazon Prime
Drama series This Is Us is guaranteed to pull at heart strings and cause more than a few tears. The series tells the story of siblings Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), known as the big three, and their parents Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore).
Taking place in the present with the trio in their mid-30s and flashing back to their childhood, the series explores the family dynamics and growth they all experience both individually and as a family unit.
Randall decides to search for the truth about his biological parents, Kate learns how to love herself and find direction in her life, and Kevin tries to pursue a more meaningful career.
The Marvellous Mrs Maisel – Amazon Prime
From the quick-witted mind of Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel is set in New York in the late 1950s and follows Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a Jewish housewife who discovers she has a serious talent for stand-up comedy.
After her husband Joel (Michael Zegen) leaves her for his secretary, Midge teams up with the sarcastic and wisecracking Susie (Alex Borstein), and begins honing her stage act.
Filled with sharp zingy banter and beautiful period clothing, the series looks at the power of reinvention and pursuing your dreams.
Quiz – ITV Hub
Most believed the trial of the ‘Coughing Major’ to be an open-and-shut case. Not so, said James Graham, who reopened the case files of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? scandal for the breezy heartfelt drama, Quiz.
Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford star as the couple in question, Charles and Diana Ingram, alongside another pitch perfect impersonation from Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant.
The first two parts present the verdict as reached, but Graham flips the script in the third. Innocent or guilty? You decide.