We are in the Golden Age of Television. You’ve probably heard this line over and over again. To be frank, it happens to be true. Never before have there been so many great options of series to watch. Only a decade and a half ago, a series like Broadchurch was the outlier. Now, there is so much more to watch, that it is only one of many excellent shows.
Some of the best series are available on streaming services, whether Netflix, Amazon, or the BBC’s digital service. Incidentally, if you’re traveling and want to stream BBC iPlayer from abroad, click that link to find out how to use a VPN.
If you’re struggling to decide what to watch first, we highly recommend the following 3 series.
Created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag uses a brilliant combination of humour and pathos to draw you into its story. You’ll quickly side with its hilarious protagonist (Waller-Bridge herself). You’ll learn to love the people she loves and hate the idiots in her life.
The plot itself is compelling, played out over six tight episodes. There are many surprises along the way, which lead up to the big reveal at the end of Season 1. A second season is in the works, but for now, you can catch all episodes on BBC iPlayer. It’s a self-contained story in and of itself, in that the second season doesn’t need to resolve loose threads – it is simply a bonus, the best gift its creators could give us.
It has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, by the way, if you were wondering what critics think.
Netflix’s new topical show, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is a new take on political satire. Instead of going along the lines of every other American political satirist, Minhaj largely stays away from preaching to the choir about how bad certain politicians are etc. etc. Rather, he focuses on things which he either has personal experience with, or which he has researched incredibly well. His recent episode on Supreme (the brand), was built around his own love for trending fashion, and gave some insight into the nuances of today’s capitalism, for better or worse.
Hopefully he continues his streak and doesn’t veer into the good vs. evil trope many before him have taken (and continue to take). Netflix seem to believe in his direction. While they’ve cancelled other failed topical shows, they’ve placed a lot of control over this in Minhaj’s hands.
Transparent made the headlines initially because of its nuanced portrayal of a patriarch of a family coming out as a trans woman. But it has showed itself to be so much more than that since then. Amazon’s earliest creation, it has developed a family that is intriguing in its dysfunctionality, incredibly realistic and, often, very funny.
Lately, the publicity about the series has been on the negative side, with multiple accusations of sexual misconduct levelled at lead actor, Jeffrey Tambor. He won’t be coming back for the next season, so it enters uncharted territory, which might turn out to be for the best.