08 Oct Boxset binge
Oh gosh, I’ve been so busy researching for this blog post, it’s taken me nearly two months to write!
I have been spending my weekends (and also weeknights, and most waking hours not at work) bingeing big-time on TV series, and not doing a skerrick of blogging. And I’ve found some great picks in my two-month research project, so I thought I’d jot them down, just in case you’re similarly inclined to do a whole whacking load of basically nothing productive. (Although I for one would congratulate you on watching a whole series in one weekend – you gave up sleep and venturing out for another block of chocolate for the sake of your cause!)
The following are some of my favourite shows of late; I’ve tried to include a range from subscription services, pay TV, and free on-demand services, so you can pick and choose as you please. (Even I realise that spending $30+ a month on TV subscriptions may be a little OTT considering the cost of living in Sydney.)
OH EM GEE how I have missed Jamie! Granted, I’ve had the opportunity to re-watch seasons one and two of Outlander to my heart’s content on Netflix, but I was so excited when Diana Gabaldon’s epic returned to my screen in September. I am struggling with not being able to binge a whole season as it’s being released episode at a time on Foxtel’s Showcase channel on Monday nights, but to be honest it sometimes takes a whole week to process what’s been happening anyway! *Spoiler alert* Episode 4 is one such mind-boggling episode – so much happens!
If you’ve not seen any Outlander, the basic premise is British army nurse Clare Beecham (Catriona Balfe) is transported back to 1743 Scotland where she encounters her husband’s ancestor (not a nice guy), and the love of her (and my) life – Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). If you think time travel is a bit too sci-fi for you, please don’t be put off. This show offers, humour, sadness and everything in between.
Top tip: Follow @SamHeughan on Instagram. You won’t regret it.
Watch if you like: Men in kilts; Scottish accents; Period dramas.
Watch while eating: Pasta – it’s on at 7.30pm on a Monday night, so my housemate and I have got it down to a fine art to have dinner on our plates as soon as those opening credits begin. And my favourite dinner is anything with pasta in it.
BBC First, Foxtel
With Wills and Kate having just announced bebé número tres is on the way, and the wait for The Crown almost over, Victoria was one of those shows I discovered one Friday evening and by Sunday morning had devoured all available episodes. Luckily, I watched the entirety of season one just before the second season started showing. This is another weekly episode release, and I usually wait until the weekend to catch up with Foxtel’s on demand service.
As I alluded to before, the plotline of Victoria is in a similar vein to The Crown. It tracks the life of Queen Victoria (played by Jenna Coleman) from her accession to the throne onwards. It’s another great period drama piece, with fantastic costumes and plenty of castles. Rufus Sewell is also in it and he is excellent as Lord Melbourne.
Fun fact: Nell Hudson, who plays Laoghaire in Outlander, plays Nancy Skerett in Victoria and she’s a much more likeable character in the latter show.
Watch if you like: Royalty; Downton Abbey; Coming of age stories.
Watch while eating: Tea and scones, of course! Or basically any type of pastry/cake sort of treat. I’ve been loving peppermint tea recently, and testing my baking chops with a variety of cupcakes.
This was such a great find! There’s only six episodes, which of course sent me on a mission around the internet to find any hint at a second season (unfortunately not), but they are jam-packed, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. (Although iView is free, but time is money, right?)
Written by Jess Brittain (yes, I am in love with her name), who was actually a writer for Skins if you ever saw that, Clique is about a group of Edinburgh university students who get mixed up with a mystery surrounding the bank for which they all intern. The clothes are fantastic, and the episodes thrilling. I love a great mystery and this is quite a bit more glamourous than Midsomer Murders. I highly recommend it.
Watch if you like: To reminisce on those uni years when you had plenty of free time during the week day to be way too involved in your friends’ lives; Great clothes; A good, twisted love story/mystery.
Watch while eating: Wine and cheese. They’re partying all the time, so it seems such a shame if you don’t have one of your own. Even if it is on your couch in your PJs drinking wine out of a mug. (We actually have more wine and champagne glasses than any other drinkware, but I’m not judging.)
I love to hate it but it’s just so good to love to hate. I was never really a viewer before, and I can barely sit through an episode, but Sophie Monk’s turn as The Bachelorette is pretty refreshing. I watched basically the whole first episode while walking on the treadmill at the gym, because I didn’t want to miss a skerrick of it. (Sad, or just super motivated? You tell me!)
If you have been living under a rock and have no idea what this is about, basically a whole heap of guys compete to win the Bachelorette’s love and affection. I cannot stand The Bachelor, because all the sister wives cooing over their boyfriend makes me feel majorly nauseous, but seeing the tables turned is quite fun. Unfortunately, my pick in the office sweep was a bit of a dud and is already out, so my interest has waned a little, but the Punkee recaps are always good.
Watch if you like: Trashy TV; Not having to think after a busy work day; Bogans.
Watch while eating: Popcorn. Mainly so you can throw it at the TV when Jarrod does something clingy for the fiftieth time.
Considering my love for Lizzie Maguire (I am adding watching that movie to my to-do list), Sex and the City, and a good makeover, it’s no surprise Younger has kept me hooked through four seasons. In half hour-ish episodes, it’s super easy to watch.
The spiel is pretty predictable, but lots of fun: Liza (Sutton Foster) is a forty-something housewife from the ‘burbs whose husband has gambled all their savings away. Upon separating from him and moving in with her best friend in Brooklyn, Liza tries to pass herself off as a 26-year-old to re-enter the publishing world. The cast are all so pretty/handsome, and Miriam Shor, who plays Diana Trout, Liza’s boss, is just the best. (Wait until you get to the parrot scene!)
Watch if you like: Suspending reality and pretending you too are a New Yorker with inexplicable mounds of cash and early-career success; Fun fashion; Being on tenterhooks the whole time (wondering if Liza will get found out).
Watch while eating: Icecream, because you (probably) aren’t a New Yorker with inexplicable mounds of cash or early-career success. And because icecream is delicious and you should take any opportunity to eat it.
As I said, my research was extensive, and there’s quite a few more I could add to this list such as The Handmaids Tale (although it’s so intense I still haven’t watched the entire season), Unge lovende (SBS on demand has a fab selection if you don’t mind subtitles and like to pretend you’ll maybe learn another language while watching), and Grand Designs (especially the ones where people do up old houses). But I’ll stop myself there.
In case you didn’t know, there’s also a good slew of shows about to drop a new season on Netflix which should carry me through to the end of the year, including Stranger Things on 27 October, Riverdale on 12 October, and The Crown on 8 December.
Happy watching. Xo