At Last… My Field of Expertise!
It’s no secret that I’m not exactly a Pinterest Mum.
I’m not a parenting expert.
I’m a bit scatty, sometimes a bit lazy. My kids are allowed sweets, screens and Maccy D’s from time to time. I let them into my bed. I can be a bit shouty. I’m definitely a bit too sweary, and most of the clothes in our household have never even seen an iron.
But if there’s one thing I do on the regs that I feel entirely entitled to profess my expertise on in my daily life, it’s the search for, and discovery of, the most addictive box-sets that the Internet has to offer.
Actual Netflix and Chill
Seeing as we have three kids between 1 and 6, me and the Husb get to go out together approximately once every 475 days. The rest of our grown-up time is definitely all about vegging out.
There is wine, there may be snacks, and there is always a box set du jour.
This proclivity has moulded me into a veg-out expert. As I such I have mastered the art of the perfect night in:- I have specific veg-out clothes, and a stash of comfy blankets and quilts which nestle behind an enormous couch that spans over 3 metres and is nearly 4ft deep.
Our front room is set up entirely so that we can all sprawl and watch TV and films without so much as a stray heel or elbow spoiling our comfort.
And for entertainment? Easy peasy: I am the Box-Set Queen.
Box-Set Bonanza! (No actual episodes of Bonanza though, obvs.)
So yeh… I really REALLY love a good box-set.
I’m a bit of a connoisseur these days. And seeing as we save so much money by not actually having a social life* we splash out on subscriptions galore. We’ve got Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Now TV, not to mention Sky with all the trimmings.
With this in mind I have put together a bumper list of top box sets across these mediums. You may not have all of them, but there should be something for everyone.
If you fancy watching one which is only streamed on a channel you don’t have, don’t be too disheartened. Keep your eyes peeled. They tend to shift from one to another over time, I know this to be true. One day it will be yours my friend. I promise you this.
However, if you are a real binger, here is a top tip: Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV all have free trial options. If you really really want to watch something but don’t currently subscribe to it, sign up for the trial period, binge watch, and then cancel when the trial period is due to end. Voila! Problem solved.
Without further ado….
Box-Sets of Destiny: A Mum Life Review of The Best Box-Sets on The Net
AKA: The ultimate to-do list for my fellow vegger-outers!
There is no way I could rank all these as I have loved them all for different reasons. So, in the interest of orderliness I’ve put them in alphabetical order for your perusal.
There are 40, yes 40 box-sets in this list. Clearly I am even more of a geek than I’d first imagined. Brace yourselves…
(NB: The images and any blurbs have been pinched directly from IMDB, the random comments are my own…)
The Affair explores the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between a married novelist and a grieving waitress, during his family’s summer break in Montauk.
What’s so good about it? Well, within each episode, part of the storyline is told twice over, conveyed by different characters involved in it. It’s really well put together. I got really involved – it makes you simultaneously angry and sorry for the characters… Made me shout at the telly a bit.
The story starts with soon-to-be-released convict, Shadow (wait! Don’t be put off by the silly name!) being told that his wife has just been killed in a car crash. He flies home, and on the flight meets with this weird and charismatic bloke called Mr Wednesday, who turns out to be a Norse God (as you do).
Mr Wednesday asks Shadow to come and work for him. So sets the scene for this opulent supernatural fantasy. Visually stunning, with a fabulous mythical story-line interwoven with the everyday. Weird and wonderful. Loved every minute of it.
A pair of deep-cover Soviet spies masquerades as a typical DC couple whose children, neighbors, coworkers & friends are completely unaware of their activities.
This is brilliant, and believable even when logic tells you it shouldn’t be! I love the concept, it’s really well executed. Stylish and well scripted. We’re only 3 seasons in so far, but those 3 have been gripping – seriously addictive!
Band of Brothers:
Yes yes I know. I’m not usually one for war stuff either, but seeing as the Husb chose it I went along with it. Turns out it’s really REALLY good. Made me cry a bit. Also caught a glimpse of a young Tom Hardy in it… So, you know, silver linings and all that.
Big Little Lies:
While Madeline and Celeste take new in town single mom Jane under their wing, none of them realises how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.
Oh My God – so good. SO GOOD. Really complex storyline unraveling back to front, beginning with a murder and then telling the backstory. I watched the whole first season in two sittings. Amazeballs.
It’s about a family of fundamentalist Mormons who have a kind of interwoven family where the main character, Bill, is married to three wives. It’s a tale of the complex relationships between each of the family members, with all the stresses and strains of their unconventional set-up whilst attempting to appear ‘normal’ to the outside world.
It might sound a bit mental but actually it’s rather lovely. The characters are really believable and you find yourself rooting for them. Ace.
A collection of stories set in a dystopian near-future, which explore the dark side of technology and modern culture. Written by my favourite satirist and general grump, Charlie Brooker, it’s pretty dark but thoroughly engrossing.
An Atlantic City politician plays both sides of the law, conspiring with gangsters during the Prohibition era.
One of my absolute favourites, set in the US at the start of the last century, it’s all about corruption and excess. It looks amazing, the art deco sets and wardrobes are super lush, the acting is brilliant and the storyline is consistently fanbloodytastic.
I know that telling you that this is a drama about Danish politics may not make you think it’s your cup of tea, but bear with me. I watched this off the back of watching The Killing, and I have to admit it has turned me into a massive Danish TV drama fan (now there’s something you probably don’t hear every day.)
It’s SO well written, and although you might initially get put off watching something with subtitles, give it a try, because I soon forgot about the fact that I was reading them and got really immersed in the storyline.
By now most people are familiar with the basic concept behind Breaking Bad, Walter White and his accomplice Jesse, but there’s so much more to this than the basic storyline suggests.
The interplay between the main protagonist, his accomplice / ex-student, and his dysfunctional relationship with his family is so well executed. I know a lot of you have probably seen it, but if you haven’t, you really should. You can thank me later :0)
A fabulously gruesome series about Dexter, a Blood Spatter Analyst for the FBI who also happens to be a serial killer. Darkly funny, romping storylines. Love it!
F is for Family
Grown-up cartoon about a dysfunctional family, set in the 70’s. Funny – great observational humour, nice to have something lighthearted to watch up your sleeve methinks.
Freaks and Geeks
Retro Choice Alert! 1998 comedy about a selection of misfits during their school years. First outings for Seth Rogen and James Franco (btw 17 year old me would have totes had a crush on him at school *retro swoon*). Funny script, good one-line comebacks.
Game of Thrones
I’m guessing even those of you who don’t watch it are still familiar with the GoT (AKA the one with all the tits and dragons).
I know some resistors out there might feel that watching it is too much of a commitment (you know who you are!)
Well…. All I will say is this: It’s my most favouritest, most epic programme of modern times, and to deprive yourself of this viewing pleasure is a travesty.
That is all.
The Handmaid’s Tale:
Startling adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name. All about a parallel present where the US is taken over by a Christian Fundamentalist coup. Amazing, horrifying and hugely addictive. Hard not to get uber-feminist whilst watching.
House of Cards
Drama exploring the murky world of American politics, and a couple’s rise to power within the Senate. Makes you think about how corrupt things probably are IRL.
Also boggles your mind thinking about how an utter moron like oversized orange toddler / oopmah loompah Donald Trump is in the White House, considering what a snake pit the Senate is.
The brutal murder of a young girl launches an extended police investigation. Detective Sarah Lund is supposed to leave for a new life in Sweden, but can’t bring herself to leave the case behind. The girl’s parents and friends struggle to cope with their loss. Troels Hartmann is campaigning to be mayor of Copenhagen, but struggles when links are revealed between city hall and the murder
Amazing edge of your seat stuff. There’s an American version too, but the Danish one is waaaaay better.
The premise is this: One day, 2% of the World’s population vanish. Simultaneously. Like, midway through driving to work / eating breakfast / mowing the lawn. No-one has any idea why or how, they’re just gone. The Leftovers is about how the rest of society come to terms with it and how it changes everything and everyone.
Makes you feel both sad and grateful. I did cry a bit watching it, but it’s worth the tears. Promise.
A crime drama series starring Idris Elba as a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can’t always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions.
I love a bit of Idris. he’s brilliant in this. Nuff said.
Making a Murderer
I’m going to go right ahead and assume that you’ve already heard of this, seeing as the whole world was talking about it when it came out. If you were in a coma / hiding in a cave somewhere you can check out premise here.
I was so hooked on this that I even went to a talk given by Steven Avery’s lawyers when they came to the UK a couple of years back. The US legal system is terrifying!
Master of None
Quirky offbeat comedy about a 30 year old Actor called Dev, living in New York. Great script. Nice easy light entertainment, perfect for frazzled overtired minds to digest.
A chronicled look at the criminal exploits of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, as well as the many other drug kingpins who plagued the country through the years.
Narrated by the DEA officers who brought them down. The drama is spliced with real historical footage. Fast paced, with great character detail. I’m currently on season 3.
The Night Of
After a night of partying with a female stranger, a man wakes up to find her stabbed to death and is charged with her murder.
Brilliantly set out so that you see everything that went on around the murder but don’t know who actually did what. All very did-he-didn’t-he. Superb acting.
I think it won some awards recently, but seeing as my kids’ noisiness seems to run in direct correlation with how interesting the news I’m watching is, I’m a bit vague on specifics.
Having gone missing seven years ago, the previously blind Prairie returns home, now in her 20s with her sight restored. While many believe she is a miracle, others worry that she could be dangerous.
There’s no way to describe this without taking about 20 minutes to try and convey the story and sounding like it’s bizarre and unwatchable. We saw the trailer and got sucked in to watching it out of pure curiosity. I’m glad we did, it was so unusual and yet it really hung together.
Orange is The New Black
Who doesn’t love a bit of OITNB?! Managed to get my husband to watch it despite his protestations that it might be a bit girly for him (his actual word was ‘lesbiany’, but I’m not convinced that’s a word, or even an appropriate thing to say, so let’s pretend he didn’t…) Love the script, very funny with a bit of edge.
A Chicago-based financial advisor secretly relocates his family to the Missouri Ozarks when his dealings with a drug cartel go awry.
My newest find! LOVED this one! Can’t recommend it enough! Brilliant drama, maintains the pace, fabulously flawed characters. I want season 2 already (probs going to have to wait a good few months though).
I can’t believe this is the second entry that’s a war drama. WTAF has happened to me?!? Again, coerced by the Husb to watch it, it was actually sort of beautiful. Tells the real life stories of some of the soldiers fighting in the Pacific during WW2. Interspersed with narrative from the actual veterans on which each character is based. Bit of a tearjerker, but truly spectacular.
A gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England and centered on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss Tommy Shelby, who means to move up in the world.
Bloody brilliant. Plus there’s Tom Hardy again (albeit a bit sort of scabby and flaky, but still.)
Once you watch it, it will become impossible for you not to say “Peaky Blinders” without saying it in a very broad and possibly crap brummy accent.
Quirky, stylish, supernatural romp where a wayward Preacher, after being involved in a supernatural event at his church, enlists the help of a vampire and his ass-kicking girlfriend to find God. This is SO good! A bit similar in it’s vibe to American Gods, ace cast, sharp script and great pace.
A small mountain community is rocked to its core when several local people, presumed dead, suddenly re-appear at their homes… They have not aged, and they are completely unaware of their own fatality. Determined to reclaim their lives and start over… Their return augers torment for their community when a gruesome murder attempt bears a chilling resemblance to the work of a serial killer from the past.
Weird, brilliant, spooky. This is the french original, I think it was re-made in English but I haven’t seen it, this version is ace.
Rick and Morty
An animated series that follows the exploits of a drunk and immoral super-scientist and his slightly nervous and naive grandson, as they dip in and out of parallel dimensions as they go about their day to day lives. Proper bonkers. Very funny. What’s not to love?!?
In the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success.
Brilliantly funny comedy about a group of super-techy socially awkward men trying to launch their tech company. Full of one-liners that made me guffaw into my wine. The cast has great comic timing.
Sons Of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy is a motorcycle club that operates both illegal and legal businesses in the small town of Charming. They combine gun-running and a garage, plus involvement in porn film. Clay, the president, likes it old school and violent; while Jax, his stepson and the club’s VP, has thoughts about changing the way things are, based on his dead father’s journal.
ERRMAGHERD! Just don’t ever get arrested for anything in America, because the justice system is screwed! This is a documentary of a murder case (in the vein of Making a Murderer – see above) it’s GOBSMACKING and full of twists and turns. ‘Must watch’ documentary action!
In a small town where everyone knows everyone, a peculiar incident starts a chain of events that leads to the disappearance of a child – which begins to tear at the fabric of an otherwise peaceful community. Dark government agencies and seemingly malevolent supernatural forces converge on the town while a few locals begin to understand that there’s more going on than meets the eye.
I’m just going to leave this here….
Mort has a secret that he really wants to tell his three adult children, who are so self-absorbed they don’t see that something has changed. Even when he invites them to dinner en masse to share his news, somehow, the conversation becomes about them….
The central storyline is about Mort ‘coming out’ as a woman, but also about members of his dysfunctional family. Sort of comedy and sort of drama. Really well written. I loved the subtleties of how each character is portrayed, complete with all their flaws, but without casting anyone as in the wrong, or being right.
The adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok. The series tells the saga of Ragnar’s band of Viking brothers and his family as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes. As well as being a fearless warrior, Ragnar embodies the Norse traditions of devotion to the gods: Legend has it that he was a direct descendant of Odin, the god of war and warriors.
Ooooh I love Vikings! Definitely a proper favourite of mine. It’s EPIC! Plus I love the strong female characters that balance out all the testosterone. Another must-watch IMHO.
(Fun fact: Ragnar Lothbrok and his brother Rollo were real actual people from history, which makes it even cooler if you ask me…)
The Walking Dead
I’ve watched TWD since the first episode and I am a die-hard fan. All about life after a zombie apocalypse. Focusing on Sheriff Rick Grimes and his friends and family. It’s awesome not just because of all the zombie action drama type stuff but also I love how you see society unravel, and the show’s take on how people survive in this sort of situation. Great interplay between characters and different groups. Love love love it.
Bet you find yourself wondering what you would do in a zombie apocalpyse when you watch this.
Westworld isn’t your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park allows its visitors to live out their most primal fantasies with the robotic “hosts.” However, the robotic hosts have evolved an artificial consciousness that is similar to, yet diverges from, human consciousness.
So… Yeh! Basically it’s set in the near(ish) future, where people have created this virtual world which is like the Wild West. It’s populated by humanoid hosts (who look super-real) who all interact with vacationers using set scripts to fulfill various story-lines staged within it. The problem arises when some of these ‘characters’ start developing AI which sort of goes rogue and off-script. Very very cool idea. Spectacular in scale and effects, headed up by the amazing Anthony Hopkins.
Set in Baltimore, this show centres around the city’s inner-city drug scene, and the ongoing police investigation trying to secure information about local gangs dealing drugs by using wire taps. This is an absolute classic – probably one of the first box sets I ever really binged! Fantastic portrayals and in-depth examination of characters on both sides of the law.
Sharp dialogue, gritty drama, and flawless acting. It’s one of those series you basically HAVE to watch. If you haven’t, do it. Make sure you get to episode 3 before deciding whether or not to binge it – it’s a bit slow taking off but there are 5 splendid seasons. Well worth the time investment.
And there you have it. 40 Glorious box sets for your delectation. There’s got to be something on here for everyone. If you think you’ve seen all the ones on here you’d want to watch, think again. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX-SET!
Stretch yourself… You never know what you’ve been missing out on!
Happy viewing Motherlovers – enjoy!
If you liked this review, you might like some of my other blogs too. I review fresh stuff each week, as well as writing my own mum life blog for shits and giggles.
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(*Jokes! Don’t worry – we totes do, it just mainly revolves around people coming to us – we try to lure them to our gaff with promises of food and booze indoors. It’s a win-win IMHO)