The 15 Most Bingeable TV Shows Of All Time
Curl up and get into your next televisual obsession.
Ahhh. The one we could all probably talk along with at this stage. Hands up who was practically raised on Friends? Yep, me too, and while it has dated in many respects, the core of it is still heartwarming and relatable. But yeah, I’m still bitter that I don’t live in a purple loft in Greenwich Village, spending all my time with my five BFFs. If you’re all Friends-ed out, How I Met Your Mother is a good enough alternative and all on Netflix.
Frequently declared the best television show ever made because, well, it absolutely is. It’s not only a remarkable series from a performance and story point of view, with themes developed in episode one reaching across all seven series, it’s also the show that fundamentally changed how television series were made. I don’t know a single person that’s delved into the story of reluctant mob boss Tony and his dysfunctional personal and professional families, and hasn’t absolutely loved it. Be warned, you’ll probably start fancying him. Serious dzaddy vibes.
We’re eagerly awaiting the big screen adaptation coming this autumn and are planning a binge of the six seasons before it lands. The show tells the story of the aristocratic British Crawley family and their servants; they’re desperate for eldest sister Mary to land a fella and continue their way of life, because they have no male heirs. The series beings in 1912, and historical events in the post Edwardian era are incorporated into the drama, from the sinking of the Titanic to the Irish War of Independence.
The West Wing
It’s a sad state of a airs when you wish a fictional POTUS was the real one, but that’s where we find ourselves in 2019. Aaron Sorkin’s political drama is known for its fast-paced, witty scripts, loveable characters (President Bartlett is a PET) and a mix of action, democratic intrigue and human interest. I’m due a rewatch, and I’m excited.
Game of Thrones
It’s finally over, so those who have been waiting to get stuck in to HBO’s enormous, expensive blockbuster show can finally do so. Some think it sexist due to the sheer amount of nudity and brothels, but I say the opposite – in the world of Westeros, women with power are the equal of men, and it’s refreshing as hell. Plus, there are dragons! If you’ve been holding back, do it. If you’re a mega fan, it’s time for a rewatch.
One of the most stylish series to have graced our screens in a long time, and chock-full of girl power considering the sexist era and industry, the advertising drama is a lot deeper than it first appears. Don Draper may be disgustingly handsome with a gorgeous wife, two children and a successful creative career, but all is not well under the surface. Peggy and Joan are both heroes, and the style from the late 1960s through the Swingin’ Sixties is epic.
Showrunner Ryan Murphy has made quite the impact on TV over the last few years, from the American Horror Story and American Crime Story anthologies to Pose, Feud and now a huge deal with Netflix, but it’s Glee that stands out for just being so damn weird yet working beautifully. It tells the story of a group of high school misfits coming together to sing as an extra-curricular activity, and over time gained a cult following for its mix of pop, rock and musical theatre covers. The entire six series are on Netflix now, so binge away.
Another show that’s often thrown into the ‘best ever’ category, The Wire is different in that it follows the same police department through a different case each series – much like the current hit Line Of Duty. McNulty is the anchor, a dogged detective with a messy private life but a nose for solving cases. Expect plenty of corruption and violence, but a few laughs alongside the tears. It’s powerful stuff. Oh, and HEYA Idris Elba.
Grey’s Anatomy may be the long-running hospital show du jour, but it only just recently eclipsed ER as the biggest medical drama ever made. When the Chicago-based emergency room drama started back in 1994, it was a real pop culture moment, making stars of George Clooney, Julianna Margulies and Noah Wyle. I recently rewatched the entire thing (seasons 1-7 are on the RTE player!) and it hasn’t dated at all. Plus after fifteen series, I now feel like I could save a life, for real.
Gavin and Stacey
Another series that’s coming back, this one with a one-off Christmas special. Written by James Corden and Ruth Jones, it’s a simple story of young, long-distance love and the effect it has on two families. Gavin is from Essex, Stacey from Barry in Wales; they start chatting on the phone in work, meet up and fall head over heels in love despite living hours apart and coming from two different worlds. It’s totally heart-warming, nice and short (three seasons and one special so far) and it’s all on Netflix.
Some people (me) found this award-winning series a little dark and depressing, but if you can get past the cancer, murder, violence and drug dealing, it’s one of the most popular shows of all time. Walter White’s terminal diagnosis sends him into panic mode, realising his family will be financially screwed without him. So what does he do? Ahh, he starts manufacturing crystal meth, because he’s a chemistry teacher. Standard!
The best Irish show ever made? Yep, I don’t think that’s debatable. The gritty gangster drama by Stuart Carolan set Sunday nights alight when it debuted, with murder and intrigue from episode one. It’s a rare series that actually improved over time as well, with a bigger budget and better writing all the time. Special snaps for Tom Vaughan Lawlor as the inimitable Nidge, and Killian Scott as Tommy the Ride.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
It would be remiss to discount the impact of Buffy on teen pop culture and sci-TV in general, because those darn sexy vampires and their fabulous slayer really tapped into a television moment. Spin-offs galore, the mixing of the supernatural with good ol’ teen angst, themes of abstinence and lust, it was all just very damn exciting. And it’s actually still a really good watch now if you can just suspend disbelief enough to get on board.
You either like Ricky Gervais or you hate his brand of comedy, but if you truly can’t stand him then the American version of the show is also worth a watch. This show kick-started the mockumentary style of comedy used since in Parks and Recreation and Modern Family, and as cringey as David Brent’s actions can be, there’s real heart to the series thanks to the supporting characters. Gervais’ After Life on Netflix is also excellent, but ongoing, with season two in the works right now.
Sex and the City
We won’t discuss the films as they are utter tripe, but the six seasons of Sex and the City absolutely stand the test of time, and although they don’t deal with internet dating or hook up apps, a fuckboy was still a fuckboy back then, and some things never change. Carrie Bradshaw’s sex column still holds many pearls of wisdom on love and friendship, and the girls’ dynamic as as true as any I’ve ever seen. We have them to thank for straight talk, vibrators and Cosmos, and if you don’t cry at the end of the last episode, you have no soul.
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