On-demand TV has changed the way we view home entertainment. Watching a show 20 years ago used to mean having to wait until the next week or relying on the series being repeated. With the advent of streaming services, many viewers prefer to sit through entire series in one or two sit-throughs. Binge-watching has become many people’s preferred viewing option, with whole series able to watch at once via Netflix, Amazon Prime and NOW TV. Here’s our pick of the best shows to binge-watch right now.
Breaking Bad (Netflix)
If you’ve been watching TV at all over the last 10 years, you’ll have heard of Breaking Bad. This was one of the big shows that people claim really started the trend of “prestige TV” being thrust into the mainstream, with the series proving hugely popular thanks to how tightly plotted it is and how well-written the characters are.
Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a brilliant science teacher who turns to crime when he finds out he has terminal cancer. The series breaks away from the previous standards of American shows by being focused and telling a single story over multiple seasons, culminating in a powerful and infamous finale. If there’s a show that’s ripe for binging, its Breaking Bad. Watch the entire series on Netflix right now.
Scrubs (Amazon Prime)
For more comedic binging, head over to Amazon Prime, where you can catch all 10 seasons of medical comedy Scrubs. Much like Friends, Scrubs is both funny and fast-paced, meaning you can easily put away several episodes at a time.
JD and the crew have 10 seasons of medical hijinks, with Scrubs generally being consistently good all the way through (you can probably skip the spin-off 10th season though). The series manages to be both funny and heartwarming, but also offers genuinely good drama as you get to know the characters in the unique setting. If you’re looking for a good comedy to watch with your new Amazon Prime subscription, make an appointment with Scrubs.
The X-Files (Amazon Prime)
If you’re up for a slice of ‘90s nostalgia, Amazon Prime has you covered. All 11 seasons of legendary sci-fi series The X-Files are available to stream now, so you can relive or experience for the first time the overly-complicated alien invasion saga, a parade of monsters-of-the-week and endless sunflower seeds.
The X-Files was a huge hit back in the ‘90s and largely still holds up today, especially if you’re a big sci-fi fan. Each season contains around 24 episodes so it’s perfect for watching over long periods of time and the addictive nature of the show means you’ll spend whole days with Mulder and Scully once you get deep into the series. Amazon is the only place you can watch all 11 current seasons, so now is the perfect time to jump in.
Whilst you might not be used to watching hours upon hours of it if your main memories of the show are catching a few episodes on Channel 4 before dinner, Friends remains one of the best US sitcoms ever. There will already be many viewers who have seen the series and know all its big moments but even if you do, Friends is still one of the best shows to binge on Netflix.
Netflix features all 10 seasons of Friends, allowing you to really sit back and marathon it. For many, Friends has been a go-to show; one to watch when you can’t think of anything else to put on. Whether you’re an expert in the lives of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Monica and Phoebe or have managed to have never seen the series before, Friends is essential watching for comedy fans.
Ripper Street (Amazon Prime)
This overlooked British series received not nearly enough attention when it first aired on the BBC but is now available to binge in full on Amazon Prime. Ripper Street is a crime series that follows a team of detectives who must police Whitechapel whilst still reeling from the recent Jack the Ripper murders.
Ripper Street had 2 seasons on the BBC before being cancelled, where it was then picked up by Amazon to continue its run. The series is dark, historically interesting and faithful to actual events whilst still being addictive and entertaining. Prime members can enjoy all 5 seasons of this drama right now.
Toast of London (Netflix)
Toast of London is one of the UK’s most surreal and funny comedies in years, with the full series available to watch on Netflix right now. Created by and starring Matt Berry (The IT Crowd), the series follows actor Stephen Toast as he tries to make his way through the acting scene of London.
Toast of London is hilarious in a way you can’t really put your finger on but constantly feels refreshing and new. Matt Berry is as good as ever and is joined by a cast of great characters (including Mad Men’s Jon Hamm) that make Toast of London a welcome break from all the gritty true-crime documentaries you can find on Netflix.
Six Feet Under (NOW TV)
This forgotten but brilliant series was one of the shows that originally put HBO on the map but has sadly been lost to time. Six Feet Under follows the Fisher family as they struggle to deal with life and love after a death in the family. The series is set in an LA funeral home, with everything seen through the lens of death and bereavement.
Much like Mad Men, Six Feet Under is primarily a character show, with the audience gradually experiencing the lives of the characters throughout the 5 seasons. By the time you’ve binged your way through Six Feet Under, you’ll have wished you’d have seen it sooner.
Mad Men (Netflix)
Mad Men has become known as one of the best shows in the era of “peak TV” and for good reasons. This brilliantly written, character-based show might not have the pulse-pounding plot of something like Breaking Bad but is still riveting to watch all the same thanks to its well-rounded characters and its enchanting period setting.
Set in the New York during advertising’s boom period of the ‘60s, Mad Men follows an advertising company through its highs and lows, with creative genius and tortured soul Don Draper drinking and womanising his way through his career. Mad Men opens up like a novel once you get into it, making it perfect for an evening Netflix session.
Girls (NOW TV)
NOW TV offers a number of great HBO series to get stuck into, including all 6 seasons of Girls. This comedy series revolves around 4 20-something girls in New York as they navigate their way through life whilst trying to balance relationships, work and social pressures.
Whilst it takes a little while to get “into” the world of Girls, once you do, it’s one of the most addictive series currently available to stream. The episode format means you can blaze your way through and can easily watch entire seasons in a day, making it an ideal binge-watch.
Catastrophe (Amazon Prime)
Amazon serves up more comedy with Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s Catastrophe. This series sees Rob and Sharon become a couple when Sharon gets pregnant after a fling in London. The series is written by Delaney and Horgan and it shows with the rude and biting dialogue mixing with the poignant overall message of the show.
Catastrophe is available to watch in full now on Amazon Prime, with the 4th season on the way. Whilst it’s set in London, this comedy is not your standard British sitcom fare, with the American and Irish perspective of the UK being one of the highlights of the show.