Just as soon as the term ‘box set’ became a commonly used phrase, people ditched their DVDs and started streaming. The good news is the term has been carried over by our friends at Sky who have a whole host of series ready and waiting to be binge-watched. With many of the serviced apartments we provide boasting full Sky TV packages, we took a look at the best of what’s on offer.
Game of Thrones – IMDB Score: 9.5
Game of Thrones is the biggest show in the world. If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for? The epic fantasy drama is perhaps best described by its showrunner, David Benioff, who called it: “The Sopranos in Middle-earth”. It’s a show that’s huge in scope and features rival families at war over the famous Iron Throne. It can all get a bit blood thirsty, so try not to get attached to any characters and avoid reading any spoilers!
The Sopranos – IMDB Score: 9.2
If you haven’t watched it yet, this should probably be top of your list. The titular Tony Soprano is a New Jersey crime boss who tries to balance, family, the family, and therapy. It’s an epic, sprawling saga that turns crooks into characters you care about. The fact that those characters are also addicts, adulterers, wife-beaters and murderers really plays with your moral compass.
Twin Peaks – IMDB Score: 8.9
From the disturbed mind of David Lynch, Twin Peaks is like no other programme in this list. After a body is discovered near the small Washington state town of Twin Peaks, FBI Special Agent, Dale Cooper, investigates but all is not what it seems, or is it? The closer Cooper gets to the revealing the mystery behind the case, the weirder and darker the show becomes. It’s difficult to put into words, you’re better off just giving it a go, especially as the long-awaited new season has just started on Sky Atlantic.
The West Wing – IMDB Score: 8.8
Often heralded as “The Best Television Show of All Time”, the West Wing is a political drama following the Democratic administration of Josiah Bartlet, played by the outstanding Michael Sheen. Although it loses its way somewhat after season 4, The West Wing has been recognised by those familiar with the inner-workings of the White House as a realistic, if not overly-optimistic portrayal of American politics.
Deadwood – IMDB Score: 8.7
A lawless late 1800s South Dakota mining town is the perfect backdrop for this brutal Western drama. Not for the faint-hearted, or those sensitive to the (not-so) odd bit of foul-language, Deadwood centres on the exploits of Al Swearengen, played by Ian McShane: a ruthless and murderous saloon bar owner who plays an integral role in the development of the town, but only due to his own interests.
Boardwalk Empire – IMDB Score: 8.6
An $18m pilot directed by Martin Scorsese helps Boardwalk Empire spring to life in emphatic fashion. Centred on the rise of corrupt but charismatic Atlantic City politician, Nucky Thompson, the intertwining storylines paint a vivid picture of the Prohibition era, where mobsters rub shoulders all too closely with those in positions of power.
Modern Family – IMDB Score: 8.5
90s sitcoms were littered with traditional family setups. Fast-forward to 2017 and Modern Family takes a, well, modern twist by utilising a faux-documentary style and featuring a much more complex family tree. There’s plenty to relate to here by, even if you don’t, the writing is razor sharp and every 30 minute episode is littered with enough gags to keep you hooked.
Billions – IMDB Score: 8.4
Damien Lewis stars as incredibly wealthy hedge-fund manager, Bobby Axelrod, whose public philanthropy helps to mask the underhand tactics he employs to ensure the continued growth of his firm’s fortune. All is well until ruthless Attorney, Chuck Rhoades, played by Paul Giamatti, begins an investigation into Axelrod’s methods and both men desperately fight to maintain the lives they’ve built.
Lost – IMDB Score: 8.4
How time flies. Lost first appeared on our screens over 13 years ago and its mixture of exotic island setting, mysterious meandering storylines and excellent ensemble cast made it an instant classic. Any true fans will have probably watched it at least twice all the way through already, but why not take one more shot at getting to grips with what it all means.
Californication – IMDB Score: 8.3
Californication revels in the exploits of hard-drinking, drug-abusing, womanising, writer – Hank Moody – played with aplomb by David Duchovny. Moody’s attempts to do the right thing by his daughter and ex-wife are often derailed by his obsession with the fairer sex and, with every missed opportunity, you pray for him to pull himself together and overcome temptation.
Veep – IMDB Score: 8.2
If you enjoyed political satire, The Thick of It, then its American sister-show, Veep, could well be the box set for you. Brought to you by the same people behind the notoriously sweary Malcolm Tucker, Veep takes the leap across the Atlantic to delve behind the scenes of US politics. Everything you fear may be true about the inner-workings of government is incisively lampooned and the scary thing is, it probably isn’t too far from the truth.
The Blacklist– IMDB Score: 8.1
About as American a series as you’ll ever hope to see. And that’s not a bad thing. Its premise is ridiculous: the most wanted man in the world, Raymond Reddington, turns himself in to the FBI in exchange for intel about a whole host of other international criminal masterminds. The only catch? He’ll only speak to the newly appointed Special Agent Liz Keen. What’s Reddington’s link to Keen? Is Reddington using the FBI for his own personal gain? Does either question even really matter? No. Each episode has its own story which makes it easy to binge-watch and the season-long arcs rattle along at a pace that makes viewing entertaining rather than a chore. Good silly fun all round.
The Trip to Spain– IMDB Score: 7.5
The Trip to Spain is about as meta as it gets. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, albeit slightly skewed and heightened versions of themselves. Both are keen impressionists but would never spew endless Michael Caine imitations while out for dinner, as they do here. The premise is decidedly simple: each episode sees the duo visit a different restaurant as part of a series of reviews they’re putting together for the Observer. There’s no real plot and the whole thing kind of washes over you – but in a good way. It’s fun spending time with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
Fortitude – IMDB Score: 7.4
After a spate of successful scandi-dramas in recent years (The Killing, The Bridge, Borgen), Sky decided to have a go and threw considerable budget behind this chilly crime drama. Game of Thrones’ Richard Dormer leads an all-star cast, including Christopher Eccelston, Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon, as a violent murder in the isolated town of Fortitude in Arctic Norway sets off a chilling series of events.