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Box Sets To Binge On

If, like us, you’re looking to hit up the boxsets, here are some of our top picks

By Christopher Kingston

Well, here we are again – a couple of weeks into lockdown 2.0 and looking for ways to stave off boredom (or blow off steam). But don’t stress, because we’ve rounded up some of the best box sets to curl up to as the nights draw in.

WHAT’S NEW

The Queen’s Gambit – Series 1, Netflix 

We’ve got to be honest, when we heard that Netflix’s latest original series was all about chess, we weren’t exactly quivering with excitement. But The Queen’s Gambit is an unexpected hit and we’re now starting to understand the hype. Set against the backdrop of America during the Cold War, the miniseries follows morose yet soulful chess prodigy Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy) on her obstacle-ridden rise from abandoned orphan and through substance misuse to the male-dominated World Chess Championship.

WHAT YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO WATCH…

Big Little Lies  – Series 1 & 2, Various platforms 

Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep… need we say more? This hugely popular series, adapted from the Liane Moriarty novel of the same name, follows a catty clique of mothers living in an idyllic beach town whose feng shui is flipped when a single mother rocks their seemingly-perfect world. But schoolyard scandals soon descend into something altogether darker when the women become embroiled in a gritty murder investigation. Both seasons are available on Amazon Prime, the Virgin Media Store, Sky, Now TV and iTunes.

WHAT EVERYONE’S WATCHING RIGHT NOW…

The Fall – Series 1–3, BBC iPlayer and Netflix

Who’d have thought Dana Scully and Christian Grey would team up to fill the cat-and-mouse-game hole left behind by the departure of Killing Eve? And yet, here they are – and what a result. Set in Northern Ireland, this psychological thriller follows Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) who is called into a murder investigation when police realise a serial killer (Jamie Dornan) with a propensity for attacking young women is on the loose.

WHAT’S THE NEWEST CULT CLASSIC…

Clique – Series 1–2, BBC iPlayer

Childhood besties Georgia (Aisling Franciosi) and Holly (Synnøve Karlsen) are a few weeks into the best years of their lives at Edinburgh University when Georgia gets drawn into a crazy clique of alpha girls, led by lecturer Jude (Sherlock star Louise Brealey). Holly soon feels compelled to join her friend in this new, mysterious world of lavish parties and seductive power. But as danger mounts from all sides, Holly’s own past resurfaces and threatens everything.

WHAT YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT…

I May Destroy You – Series 1, BBC iPlayer

Written, produced and starring Black Earth Rising’s Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You has been making all the cultural headlines during lockdown, and for the right reasons. Resisting the label of sexual assault victim, Arabella takes on the painful yet liberating climb to rebuild her life after being raped on a night out in London. Fierce, heartbreaking and empowering, I May Destroy You is the reincarnation of girl power for the modern woman.

WHAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN CANCELLED…

GLOW – Series 1–3, Netflix

A Netflix original comedy from the team behind Orange Is The New Black, GLOW takes us back to the perm-wielding, neon lycra-clad glory days of the 1980s to introduce us to a group of misfits who reimagine themselves as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Despite being recently cancelled, GLOW is a firm fan favourite, with a star turn from Alison Brie as leading lady Ruth – although it’s worth watching for the soundtrack alone.

WHAT’S GIVING US WANDERLUST…

Riviera – Series 1–3, Sky Atlantic

Set along the beautiful French Riviera, this Sky Atlantic smash centres around the trials and tribulations of American art curator Georgina Clios (Julia Stiles) after her billionaire husband dies in a mysterious yachting accident. But as she tries to uncover the truth, she finds herself becoming immersed in a world of lies, double dealing and crime. All ridiculously decadent and thoroughly watchable.

WHAT WILL MAKE YOU LOOK TWICE….

Orphan Black  – Series 1–5, Netflix

You thought it was impressive when Lindsey Lohan played both Annie James and Hallie Parker in The Parent Trap? Well, we see your Lindsey Lohan and we raise you a Tatiana Maslany – who takes on a total of 14 different characters in Orphan Black. We first see her as con-artist Sarah Manning, who assumes the identity of her (first) doppelgänger after witnessing her suicide. But as she soon finds herself deeper and deeper into a mystery beyond her wildest imagination, she soon realises the perfect identity theft might just kill her.

WHAT WILL GET YOUR BLOOD BOILING…

The Handmaid’s Tale – Series 1–3, Amazon Prime

Often described as a dystopian tragedy, don’t expect many feel-good vibes with this one. What you can expect, though, is thought-provoking inequality portrayed by a cast which dazzles with its quality. Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale introduces us to the totalitarian society created by a second American Civil War and ravaged by infertility – so much so that it subjects its few fertile women (or ‘handmaids’) to child-bearing slavery.

WHAT WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF…

Stranger Things – Series 1–3, Netflix

We all remember when Stranger Things came onto the scene. But whether you’ve never seen it before or this is your seventeenth re-watch, it’s always a good shout for a cosy weekend in – especially with series 4 on the horizon. Going back to the beginning and it’s the vanishing of a young boy that prompts a small town to uncover a big mystery: one that involves secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl.

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