Recently I’ve had a bit of time off work ill. Not the kind of ill where you’re throwing up, the kind of ill where you can’t be bothered engaging with the human race and the only thing you can actually motivate yourself to do is watch box sets.

I needed TV for sick days. The TV equivalent of a heated blanket, a mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, whipped cream and a flake and a sleepy kitten falling asleep in the crook of your arm…

Elementary

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Now, I’ll admit I was snobbish about this one for the longest time, thinking there was no way it could possibly compete with Sherlock. But it was sitting there on my NOW TV box, and I watched one. Then I somehow ended up watching five more in a row.

This is a really good, modern version of Sherlock Holmes with a modern twist, and it doesn’t disappoint. It has a slightly different type of humour than Sherlock, and the obvious advantage is the sheer number of episodes to watch, most of which are self contained mysteries, although the series does tend to have “arcs” running through them.

Stella

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This is the creation of Ruth Jones, who played Nessa on Gavin and Stacey, as well as many other comedy roles in programmes such as Little Britain. It’s set in a small Welsh town called Pontyberry, and follows the fortunes of single mum Stella, her family and friends. The series is full of eccentric characters, and manages to poke fun at the idea of small town life without crossing the line.

Girls

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This is one I take in small doses. As much as I’m hooked on finding out what happens to everyone, there’s only so much of them I can take. That’s really the genius of this programme for me though – it manages to capture that self obsession and the feeling that no one else really understands you in your twenties. However I do so admire their unshakeable self confidence. That is not something I had at that age. Or ever, really…

Murder in the First

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This is pretty new, and doesn’t really fall into the binge watching category as there aren’t enough episodes to binge on. However if you like trashy but gritty US homicide dramas, featuring flawed characters, as well as a grown up Tom Felton of Harry Potter fame, then look no further. See also Stalker…

Death in Paradise

Death in Paradise

This is amazing. Take a stereotypical English eccentric detective (who would probably go down like a fart in a lift in any actually real police team…) and drop him off on a fictional Caribbean island with more murders than Midsomer can shake a stick at, and watch as much hilarity and sleuthing ensues. None of the cases would stand up in a court of law, but this is the TV equivalent of tomato soup and a cheese sandwich. Comforting and easy to digest. The latest series is available on BBC iplayer.

Fortitude

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This is being billed as the “hot new drama everyone is talking about”. I’m not sure if that’s true because I haven’t interacted a lot with other humans for the last couple of weeks, but this is bonkers and so far brilliant.

Set in a peaceful town called Fortitude in the Arctic Circle, where it is illegal to die or be buried (it’s so cold nothing decays – we are told in one episode that there are still bodies with the Plague in them completely fresh as a daisy in the graveyard). There’s intrigue aplenty when a local research scientist gets bunked off in the first episode. Besides that though, there are mysterious incidents involving polar bears, a detective from the UK who seemed to know about the murder in advance, and a mysterious animal defrosting slowly in a lock up. I’m a couple of episodes in, and I have no idea what the hell is going on, but the presence of Sophie Grabol is a great comfort because the same could be said of season one of The Killing, and that turned out to be fabulous.

True Detective

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If you haven’t caught this yet, then I implore you to just watch it. It’s a slow burner but it really gets into your head. Matthew McConaughey is simply amazing and steals every scene he is in. When you consider his co-star is Woody Harrelson, that is no mean feat. This should have won awards but had the misfortune to be up for them at the same time as the final season of Breaking Bad. I love Breaking Bad too, but True Detective was robbed in my honest opinion. I can watch this over and over and get different layers each time. It’s just perfect.

I’m still not well enough to go back to work at the moment though, and always on the lookout for new interesting things to watch. Any recommendations?

 

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