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Five of the Best…

Binge-worthy TV shows

By Rob Gilroy

With late night feeds and regular stretches of sleeplessness, sometimes you need a little stimulation to keep you going. Thank god for box sets. Here we pick some of our recent favourites.

My wife and I love watching TV. Let’s be honest, it’s an addiction, really. But we can’t help it. Like most people, once you find a great show, it’s like a new relationship. You feel that buzz of excitement and giddiness at the thought of catching new episodes, followed by the flurry of lust as you binge as much as you can, before settling in to a more relaxed pace as you hit season 6, before eventually fizzling out. Wow, that got dark fast.


As die-hard telly lovers we weren’t going to let a little thing like having twin daughters get in the way of watching our precious TV shows. From snatching glimpses of telly during naps, to making the most of feeding time, we manage to keep up to the latest shows – and even burn through a good number of episodes.

So if you’re looking to liven up your downtime (that’s if you’re not sleeping!) then here are some top suggestions.

1. How to Get Away with Murder

Currently in its 4th season right now, How to Get Away with Murder is a gripping legal drama. With a plot that constantly twists and turns, and a set of characters that will make you laugh, cry and erupt with anger at their decisions, it’s a show that’s bound to keep you guessing.

The story centres on criminal defence lawyer Annalise Keating, played by the always-incredible Viola Davis, and her class of law students. When a university girl goes missing, it sets in action a chain of events that involve Annalise, her family and her students. It’s difficult to say too much about the show without giving things away, but it’s fair to say you won’t be able to predict what’s in store.

Now showing on Sky Living, you can also catch up with previous series on Netflix.

2. Line of Duty

The thing with cop shows is, there tends to be lots of them around. From dishevelled, grumpy detectives who don’t play by the rules, to smart, slick Sherlock-types who also don’t play by the rules. You’re spoilt for choice in the non-rule-playing police genre.


That’s what makes BBC’s Line of Duty so gripping. If anything, it is all about the rules. Set within the Anti-Corruption unit (AC12), it follows a team of internal investigators as they look into the dodgy dealings of police officers. Slower in pace than How to Get Away with Murder, Line of Duty likes to take its time over the details. From overlooked clues to paperwork that doesn’t add up - if you think that sounds dull, then you’ll be amazed at how invested you are in deleted emails or forgotten voicemail messages.

With a rolling story across four incredible series, there are so many great faces to watch – Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, Lennie James and Keeley Hawes to name just a few. If you like your cop shows gritty, riveting and law-abiding then Line of Duty is unmissable telly.

You'll might find episodes on BBC iPlayer and if not, catch up on it through Netflix.

3. The Good Place

When most of your telly watching revolves around corruption and murder, it can get a little bleak. That’s why we always try to juggle it with a good comedy. And when it comes to The Good Place, you can’t get any more feel-good.

Created by Michael Schur who helped bring to life so many brilliant sitcoms, including The Office (US), Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn 99, comes this sweet natured comedy about life after death.

It stars Kristen Bell as unmoral Eleanor Shellstrop who – following a huge mix up - finds herself in a heaven-like place, surrounded by genuinely decent do-gooders. As Eleanor tries her best to hide her secret, she ends up roping in a rag tag group of people to keep the truth hidden. With a brilliant cast that includes sitcom legend Ted “Three Men and a Baby” Danson, it’s a comedy that is as inventive with it’s storytelling as it is funny.

You can catch it on Netflix.

4. First Dates

With all these gripping shows, sometimes you want something a little easier. The TV equivalent to comfort food: quick, easy and not too taxing. That’s usually where reality TV comes in.

While we try to only watch the shows we’re desperate to see, the allure of easy Sunday channel hopping can’t help but get us hooked. We found this with First Dates in our early days with the girls. It’s a long-running show that we came to very late, but fell in love with instantly.

The premise is simple, a restaurant has been set up to serve only couples on their first date, and we get to watch as their romance blossoms or crashes and burns before the starters are served. It sounds tacky, but what was surprising about the show is how affirming it can be to see people clicking in those first few moments. If your incurable romantics like us, it’s like catnip. From new loves to lost chances, it’s a gentle reminder that, sometimes, the world isn’t such a horrible place.

Catch it on 4OD.

5. Taskmaster

We’ve all got a favourite panel show. It might be witty and topical, like Have I Got News for You, something with a little more edge, like 8 Out of 10 Cats or Mock the Week, or free-flowing silliness, like the brilliant Would I Lie to You.

But if you’re looking for a panel show with a difference, and haven’t discovered Taskmaster, then you’re in for a treat.

Not really a panel show, more a sitcom-cum-game show with a line-up of famous funny faces, Taskmaster sees a group of celebs competing in an array of ridiculous and, let’s face it: pointless, games to impress their Taskmaster, the hilarious Greg Davies.

All let by the mastermind Alex Horne, you can witness sights such as Sally Phillips recreating the miracle of birth, Noel Fielding camouflaging himself as a banana or Joe Wilkinson treating the mayor of Chesham to a carrier bag full of Calippos. Each series pits five comics against each other every week, leading to an eventual champion being crowned, and you’ll be desperate to see who is crowned champion.

The new series starts soon on Dave, and you can see previous series on UKTV Play.

Rob Gilroy

Rob Gilroy is a writer and father to twin daughters.
He blogs about his experiences infrequently at Twinsights Blog.

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