I love a good story. Books, theatre, film, television… I’m really not all that fussy about the medium. I don’t like daytime TV. It is mind numbing on the whole but give me a good drama any day. A box set? EVEN BETTER. My husband, who works in TV, might love a box set even more than I do. Sometimes he even supplies snacks.
So if you suddenly find yourself unemployed, laid up with a broken leg, or simply hiding inside until Summer arrives, then here are some of my TV (Drama) recommendations.
Vikings – Episodes of Season 4 are being added to Amazon Prime as I type. I’m storing them up like a greedy squirrel. An Irish/Canadian collaboration made for the History Channel, Vikings is inspired by the adventures of mythological Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok. Bit gory at times but totally immersive. The Vikings are coming!
The Fall – DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) from the Metropolitan Police is called over to Belfast to head the task force hunting serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) in this gripping BBC crime drama. Both leads are hopelessly beautiful and play mesmerising flawed characters. It’s a slow burn that will have you hooked. Series 3 coming soon!
Sherlock – Unlike the other shows in this list, which will keep you occupied for weeks, there aren’t that many episodes of Sherlock. Three seasons in (plus a cheese dream of a Christmas Special) and there are still only 10 episodes in total. But do not be deterred! Sherlock episodes are feature length at 90 minutes long and stand alone, almost like mini-films. Plus they have Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in them which should be reason enough to watch. I adore Sherlock. We named our cat Mycroft. Enough said.
Black Sails – This swashbuckling pirate drama has just sailed back to our shores for a third series on Amazon Prime. It stars a host of British actors, most notably Toby Stephens. Did you know his mum is Dame Maggie Smith?! I won’t lie, it is a bit porny and very violent. My husband loves it. It’s Spartacus all over again but on boats.
The Affair – I missed it when it first aired in 2014 but I watched Series 1 and 2 back-to-back last year and I am anxiously awaiting Series 3. An American drama series (with two Brits in the lead roles) from Showtime, The Affair tells the story of when married father of four Noah meets waitress Alison. Lots of realistic sex, don’t watch it with your granny. Told from both points of view it’s very clever as you’re not entirely sure whose version of events is true. There’s also a murder whodunnit running through it. I’m OBSESSED.
The Tudors – OK, so you will need to ignore the historical inaccuracies. And that Jonathan Rhys Myers isn’t ginger. And that they all had implausibly perfect teeth for fifteenth century England. But it’s really good, honest! The Tudors tells the adult life story of Henry VIII, focusing mostly on his six marriages. There is some tame rumpy pumpy occasionally and quite a lot of violence. Those Tudors were a bloodthirsty lot. I always left the room during any torture or beheadings but the dresses are to die for.
Luther – I didn’t discover this excellent psychological crime drama until Season 3 aired. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about so I started from the beginning. Four seasons in and I LOVE LUTHER. Idris Elba plays DCI John Luther who is running around all over London solving high-profile murders. It’s so much better than I’m making it sound. Violent? The first five minutes of Season 3 scared me so much I had to pause it and wait until my husband came home.
Game of Thrones – I know everybody says Game of Thrones but it’s with good reason! With the sixth series hotly anticipated, Game of Thrones resembles any historical drama you may watch; plenty of battles, swords, horses and backstabbing politics. But there are also dragons. You’ll need a copy of Who’s Who for the first series but then it all becomes clear. It’s just first class in every regard. Violent at times and there’s a lot of hanky panky. Seriously, everybody gets some.
The Bridge – The only foreign language show on my list. There are three series to immerse yourself in. I envy you, I really do. This Scandi crime drama revolves around its female protagonist Saga Norén. She’s a unique Swedish detective who must work alongside her Danish counterparts from the other side of the Øresund bridge (the bridge – geddit?). Each series centres around a different case but you learn more about Saga as the seasons ramp up. Just fantastic.
Dr Foster – Dr Foster was must-see TV in the UK in September 2015. In a nutshell, Gemma Foster, the local GP, suspects her husband of having an affair and goes in search of the truth. Nothing sexy or violent really worth mentioning but lots of slow mo glances and shifty eyes! A huge ratings success, BBC1 have announced a second series. Bring it on!
The Night Manager – If you want something current then the hottest thing on TV is airing on BBC One right now! This £20million thriller, adapted from the John le Carré novel, has an all-star cast. Tom Hiddleston plays ex-soldier-now-hotel-night-manager Jonathan Pine who gets embroiled in all sorts of dangerous political shenanigans. Hiddleston shines! The whole thing is like a 6-episode audition for James Bond. Even the title sequence is very Bondy. No spoilers! Just watch it.
There are loads of others… Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Broadchurch, The Walking Dead, Lost, The Wire, Homeland, The Good Wife, Dexter, The West Wing, E.R., Six Feet Under, True Detective, 24, Boardwalk Empire… But I haven’t got ALL DAY. By all means list your favourite shows in the comments box below. Enjoy!