I would presume I am not the only one whose TV-watching has gone through the roof over the last few months. And of course, you know that when I say TV, I am really talking about the multiple streaming platforms that are out there these days. And there’s so many of them, which basically means that there is no dearth of options!
Apart from the wide variety of options and the interesting mix of content that these streaming platforms provide, they’ve also changed the way in which we consume content. Binge watching has become a thing now, since we’re now so used to all episodes being available almost all at once. After all, Netflix has gone on record to say that sleep is one of their biggest competitors, so well, you know where all this is coming from.
The overall situation over the last few months has also made us dig deeper into our familiar comforts, and what is television, if not a comforter of sorts for the young and old alike. :)
My Favourite Binge Worthy Shows & Series To Watch Right Now
I wanted to share with you all some of my recent favourites across a bunch of platforms (and no, it does not include Indian Matchmaking!), and they sure make for some binge worthy shows to watch!
1| The Last Dance
This docu-series covers Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls (1997-98), which was strife with controversy and speculation about the future of the team. Even for someone who does not follow basketball at all, it was still a great watch – an insightful coverage of what made Michael Jordan one of the GOATs!
Apart from all the team dynamics and the player histories that gets unpacked over the course of the show, the most fascinating part for me was getting to see the powerful mindset that Michael Jordan operated from. As he makes a statement during the show – “Why would I think about missing a shot I haven’t taken?” – you begin to realise that playing a game at that level was as much about, if not more, mental ability as it was about physical skill. And without a question, MJ made both happen.
This show was truly a delight to watch!
2| Normal People
I read the book in a mad rush a couple of months ago, mostly because of the hype around the show’s launch. And wow! the show did not disappoint. The show traces the lives of Marianne and Connell from their teenage years to well into adulthood, and the stream of attraction that runs between them and binds them together as friends and lovers.
The story seems deceptively simple, but offers a close look at young love as well as the struggles of truly discovering yourself. I loved the chemistry between the lead actors and thought that the show did full justice to the book!
3| The Baby-sitters Club
What a delightful reboot of the 90s classic. Now, I’ve not seen the original show or read the books, so I don’t have a past reference to compare it with, but even by itself, this show was so well done, and has been the sweetest addition to Netflix in the past few months.
It revolves around a group of five, feisty teenage girls, and the baby-sitters club they run in their neighbourhood. The show might appear bright and breezy at first glance, but it definitely does not shy away from tackling hard subjects including broken families, teenage illnesses, traumatic history of older generations, and so much more. At the end of the day, the baby-sitters club and all the ongoing events in the girls’ lives really just proved to be a backdrop to an amazing display of genuine female friendship, and family ties.
Without a doubt, The Baby-sitters Club is the perfect summer binge that you didn’t know you needed!
4| Schitt’s Creek
Schitt’s Creek will probably take the prime spot as the show I’ve recommended to most number of people. The story revolves around the Rose family and how they’re forced to pick up their lives in a small, back of the beyond town, after being cheated out of their entire wealth.
There is almost nothing that I don’t love about the show. The characters, the story lines, the humor, the relationships, everything about this show is like a soft, loving balm for the soul. This show is my definition of comfort TV and while I am glad that the show ended on a high earlier this year, I do wish it was still running so that I could have many more episodes to watch and indulge in.
Ozark follows the life of Marty Byrde, a financial adviser, who launders money for a Mexican drug cartel along with his business partner, Bruce. When things go horribly wrong, Marty is forced to move his family to the Ozarks to set up a bigger laundering operation to make good their commitment to the cartel.
The show is complex, and fast-paced, the atmosphere build-up is electric and tense. Marty Byrde, played by Jason Bateman, thinks he’s got a way to complete the larger trade and then take his family out of this mess permanently, but even as things fall in place, the Byrde family finds itself getting sucked in deeper and deeper into the laundering life.
This Israeli import on Netflix brings to life a certain dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and covers the life of an undercover Israeli special unit which hunts down Palestinian terrorists.
I find it fascinating how a story that you basically have to watch with subtitles all the time can keep you so hooked, and that too about a world far removed from what we usually see on TV. The show is loosely based on the real life experiences of Lior Raz (who plays Doron, the lead character on the show) and Avi Issacharoff, an Israeli journalist.
I’ll admit – it’s a hard watch at times, because you know that this is a real conflict and that some (maybe, a lot) of these things actually happen out there. And while I won’t go so far as to say that they manage to show an unbiased representation of both sides of the conflict, there is certainly an element of humanization of even the terrorists and their families.
7| Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders is the story of Tommy Shelby and his gang of brothers as they go about conducting their criminal business in post-WWI Birmingham, UK. It’s a period drama, loosely based on a local gang of the same name.
Cillian Murphy plays the role of Tommy to the hilt and brings a certain level of gravitas to the character, especially once the romantic angle is introduced. Aunt Polly, played by Helen McCrory, is a real hoot to watch, and Tommy’s brother Arthur (played by Paul Anderson) as the lovable, bumbling elder brother makes for the perfect right-hand man.
The show starts off a bit slow, but as the seasons progress, you get totally absorbed into the lives of the Shelby brothers, what with Tommy’s undeniable charm and the palpate-able chemistry between the brothers and the extended family.
This well-hyped show follows the Roy family, headed by Logan Roy, the head of a media conglomerate. At the start of Season 1, he falls gravely ill, and then it becomes a game to see which one of his children will be named as the successor.
There are plot twists aplenty, the drama never lets up, and I don’t think I’ve really seen a more un-likeable family on screen. Everyone is playing everyone else, and it’s so juicy that you cannot stop watching!
The actors are absolutely brilliant in their roles, all the way from Brian Cox, who plays the patriarch, Logan Roy, to Nicholas Braun, who plays Greg, Logan’s grandnephew, who starts off as a side character (and comic relief) at best, but soon finds himself deeply entrenched into the drama that is the Roy family and the ongoing matter of the succession.
9| The Morning Show
When Apple TV launched The Morning Show as their flagship program last year, I was simultaneously awed by the star cast (Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell) and also skeptical of the show being any good. I truly expected it to be just a lot of flair but not enough substance. By the end of the season, I was glad to be proven wrong.
The show takes a behind-the-scenes look at a network morning show that has had to fire their top anchor, Mitch Kessler, played by Steve Carrell, when he gets caught in a sexual misconduct scandal. Jennifer Aniston plays the role of Alex Levy, his co-host of 15 years, and she’s left grappling with these revelations and what it means for her and her career. Reese Witherspoon is brought on as his replacement, which then leads to a push and pull between the new co-hosts, and eventually forces them to address the elephant in the room – the network and Alex’s complicity (or not) in the whole matter.
And while it might seem that these three big stars are the ones stealing the show, I think it is Billy Crudup as Cory Ellison, the new head of the news division at the network, who truly lights up every single frame that he is in.
The finale was action packed in just the right way, and I am eagerly waiting for the next season!
Broadchurch is definitely one of my favourite British shows from the last few years! The first season starts off with the death of a young boy in a small coastal town in England, and detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller (David Tennant and Olivia Colman in fine, fine form) are brought on to solve the mystery.
The mystery in the first season builds up beautifully and the show manages to bring to life the essence of how a crime rips through the heart of a small-town community. The second season was a bit of a letdown for me, but the third (and final) season thankfully brought back the show to high ground.
11| A Very English Scandal
It was such a delight to see Hugh Grant in this deliciously evil role! What a departure from the romantic poster boy he played in the 90s and early 2000s.
In the show, Hugh Grant plays Jeremy Thorpe, a British politician accused in the 1970s of conspiracy to murder to his gay ex-lover, Norman Josiffe/Scott. The 3-part true story miniseries goes back to the 1960s, to highlight the origins of their affair, and then all the way up to the actual trial in the late 1970s. The story is brilliantly told, and I loved its very amusing, quintessential English treatment!
12| Stranger Things
Of course these kids are gonna get on the list!
Stranger Things is a sci-fi drama series and it follows the mysterious going-on in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Season 1 starts off with the sudden disappearance of a young kid – Will Byers – and the search that ensues led by his mom, Joyce and the town’s police chief, Jim Hoppers. His close friends also begin their own parallel investigation to find him and discover sinister secrets that are taking place in their town.
The show has completed three seasons since then, and it manages to get so many things right, including a compelling story line, the spooky build-up, characters that you root for, and not least of all, a fantastic pop-synth heavy, nostalgia-inducing soundtrack!
Panchayat is definitely one of the best shows that I have seen this year, and I am super proud of this homegrown production. The show follows the journey of a recent engineering graduate, Abhishek, who for lack of a better job option, chooses to take on the post of a secretary of a Panchayat (local government) office in a remote village of the Indian hinterlands.
It’s a delightful, slice of life telling of the simple village life, brought alive by the fantastic dialogues, the lighthearted comedic moments, and the stellar performances of everyone concerned.
Aarya, the official Indian remake of the Dutch series, Penoza, sees Sushmita Sen take on the title role with absolute finesse and just the right hint of glamour. After her husband is murdered on account of some messy business, Aarya is forced to take over the family business to repay some outstanding debts to a drug lord that her husband got involved in.
The supporting cast is outstanding as well and while the looming threat never seems as potent as what you see in, say Narcos, it is still really well-made, and I loved how they managed to convey Rajasthani old-world glamour sans a single leheriya saree in sight.
15| Made in Heaven
Not a new show, this one, but superb story line, strong performances, and top-class production value make Made In Heaven, an Amazon India production, an absolutely fantastic watch. It showcases the lives of Tara and Karan, two successful wedding planners in Delhi running an agency named Made in Heaven.
What starts off as a “typical big fat Indian wedding” show soon starts shedding layers as we get a peak into the personal lives of Tara and Karan, and get completely absorbed into all that drama. I am now eagerly waiting for Season 2 to get made and released!
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty more binge worthy shows across all the various platforms that it would be next to impossible to watch them all! What shows have you been watching lately? Let me know in the comments below which shows you would add to this list?
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