There’s nothing quite like coming back home after a hard day at work and snuggling up in front of the TV to watch your favorite show.
It is fortunate that in the current era, which has conveniently been dubbed the “Golden Age of Television”, you can rest easy knowing there is no shortage of superb, readily available TV shows that are just waiting to be put on your “to-watch” list.
Thanks to the increasingly creative and diverse landscape of television production, you are bound to find a show that is going to be right up your alley – whether that’s an engrossing multi-season drama, a big-budget fantasy epic or, perhaps, a quirky, lighthearted comedy.
To give you some ideas on what to watch next, we present you with a list of most binge-worthy TV shows that are currently airing on TV channels and streaming services across the globe.
Stranger Things, a wildly popular mystery horror packed in a nostalgic 80s-era setting, returned this year to the small screen with a much-anticipated second season.
The story of this Netflix Original series is set in a small fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, where a young boy called Will Byers (played by Noah Schnapp) suddenly goes missing. His mother Joyce, with the help of local sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour), begins to search for her son, whose disappearance is shrouded in mystery. Meanwhile, three of his best friends – Mike, Dustin and Lucas – start a search party of their own. The plot thickens when they encounter a mysterious girl with psychokinetic powers called Eleven.
The cast of Stranger Things features a talented crop of young actors, including Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo, as well as a couple of seasoned stars, namely Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine.
The show had its premier in July 2016. With over 14 million viewers in it first 35 days of streaming, the first season of Stranger Things was Netflix’s Original series third most watched season of the year.
The highly anticipated season two began airing in October this year. Due to growing hype around the show, the follow up season was even more successful, evidenced by the first episode garnering over 15 million viewers within the first three days of showing.
This half-hour comedy show is the creation of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, writers, actors and best friends, who first started Broad City as a web series that was eventually noticed by comedian Amy Poehler and subsequently picked up by Comedy Central.
The show follows two Jewish-American 20-something-year-old women as they get sucked into all sorts of bizarre and hilarious adventures while out on the streets of New York City.
Abbi Abrams (played by Jacobson) is an Oprah-obsessed illustrator who supports her artistic dreams by working as gym cleaner, then as an assistant to Dara (Wanda Sykes) in an upmarket graphic design company.
Her best friend, Ilana Wexler (played by Glazer) is an irreparable hedonist whose laissez-faire attitude and lust for life often gets her into all kinds of trouble.
Between all the hectic moments of the show that skilfully toe the line between hysterical and disturbing, the most precious moments of Broad City are still the ones that highlight the genuine friendship between the two girls.
The crazy storylines laced with bouts of millennial humor make Broad City excellent binge-watch material for youngsters or anyone who feels like one at heart.
Game of Thrones
Fantasy epic Game of Thrones is the most successful show of the HBO television network, as well as one of the most currently popular series in the world.
The fantasy drama is loosely based on series of novels titled A Song of Ice and Fire, which were written by George R. R. Martin and adapted for the small screen by the show runner duo composed of David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.
The medieval-themed story is set in a fictional realm called Westeros, in which several noble families are fighting for the supreme rule, embodied in the highly coveted Iron Throne.
These efforts involve all kinds of political maneuvering, intra-family backstabbing and multiple epic battles, making the series constantly packed with dramatic moments of different intensities.
With each year, Game of Thrones’ viewership has only grown bigger: the finale of the most recent season was watched by 12.1 million viewers in over 180 countries.
Game of Thrones also has one of the biggest budgets in the history of television; the latest season alone cost the production house a whopping $10 million dollars per episode.
It is no wonder, then, that millions of fans from all over the world tune in every week to witness breathtaking filming locations, lavish costume designs and intense special effects, all packed into 50 minutes of thrilling fantasy drama.
A gripping time-travel adventure, Starz hit TV show Outlander was based on the eponymous series of novels written by the American author Diana Gabaldon.
The story begins in post-war United Kingdom, where a wartime nurse called Claire Randall (played by the Irish model and actress Catriona Balfe) reunites with her husband Frank (played by British actor Tobias Menzies), a history professor, as the two try to rebuild their marriage and heal from the trauma of war.
The plot takes a dramatic turn when, during their second honeymoon to the Scottish town of Inverness, Claire stumbles upon standing stones that magically transport her to the year 1743. Whilst in 18th century Scotland, Claire meets and begins to fall for a handsome Jacobite rebel called Jaime (brought to life by Scottish actor Sam Heughan), making her return to modern times even more complicated.
Developed by Ronald D. Moore, a producer and screenwriter best known for the critically acclaimed sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica, the Outlander series surpassed the expectations of the novels’ already substantial fan base, while also gaining many more viewers as the show progressed.
Its success can be attributed to the ever-riveting storylines coupled with elaborate costumes and exquisite filming locations, which have so far included Scotland, France and South Africa. Another reason behind the show’s growing popularity is the intense chemistry between the two leads, who have done an excellent job of transporting the characters’ passionate romance from the books onto the small screen.
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale, a much-talked about dystopian Hulu/Channel 4 series, was developed based on the eponymous award-winning novel written by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood.
The story is set in near future in the fictionalized state of Gilead, a theocratic regime in which women have become de-facto second-class citizens who are not allowed to work, own property or even read.
They are roughly divided into several social classes: Wives (who are in charge of commanders’ households), Marthas (housekeepers, cooks and maids) and Handmaids, women who have been assigned to bear children for commanders and their wives.
One of the handmaids is a young woman called June (played by Elizabeth Moss of the Mad Men fame), who tried to flee Gilead with her husband and daughter in the early stages of the republic’s creation. Unfortunately, she was captured, separated from her family, then assigned to be a handmaid for the Waterfords.
The combination of a riveting storyline, superb acting and an incredibly haunting atmosphere earned the Handmaid’s Tale eight Emmy Awards and glowing reviews across the board, including a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The show has been renewed for a second season, which is supposedly going to have its premiere as soon as April 2018.
The new era of TV shows has been a notably fruitful one when it came to creating deep, thought-provoking animated series aimed at adults.
At the forefront of this creative trend is BoJack Horseman, a Netflix Original animated show created by the American comedian Raphael Bob-Waksberg.
The show focuses on BoJack, a washed up anthropomorphic horse actor, most famous for a Full House-style ‘90s sitcom called Horsin’ Around. The audience follows the hilarious, yet fully fleshed-out antihero as he battles with his dwindling fame, as well as depression and alcohol abuse.
Supporting characters include BoJack’s agent and ex-girlfriend Princess Caroline (voiced by Amy Sedaris), overly-enthusiastic friend Mr. Peanutbutter (voiced by Paul F. Tompkins), biography ghost writer Diane Nguyen (Allison Brie) and lethargic, but well-meaning roommate Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul).
Due to the well-executed depictions of psychological hardship and clever social commentary, BoJack Horseman became a critics’ darling, with its latest season scoring 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 87 score on Metacritic.
The Emmy-awarded medical drama Grey’s Anatomy was created by Shonda Rhimes, founder of the production company Shondaland and of the biggest names in the TV business. It premiered on ABC in March 2005, when audiences first got to meet Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo), a young intern starting her residency at the fictional hospital in downtown Seattle.
What made Grey’s Anatomy stand out among other medical dramas was the heavy focus on characters and their personal relationships. The scenes dealing with private lives of doctors and their intra-personal connections are constantly intertwined with their everyday professional reality where they are in charge of solving all kinds of medical challenges.
Other than its emotion-packed storylines, Grey’s Anatomy has also been praised for groundbreaking portrayal of female doctors and a notably diverse cast, which includes actresses like Sandra Oh, Chandra Wilson and Sara Ramirez.
Aside from numerous positive reviews that Grey’s Anatomy amassed over its 12-year run, the show has also netted five Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes, including one for best television drama series.
Rick and Morty
Another hugely successful animated show in recent years has been Rick and Morty, a sci-fi sitcom created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. The dark comedy was originally developed from a short parody film based on the super popular 80s flick Back to the Future.
Rick and Morty premiered in December 2013 on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s late-night programming block aimed at adults.
The show follows two of its titular characters: Rick Sanchez (voiced by Justin Roiland), the irreparably pessimistic genius scientist, and Morty Smith (also voiced by Roiland), his naïve, but well-meaning 14-year-old grandson.
The duo embarks on a number of kooky adventures that transport the two protagonists across a variety of obscure universes, which range from picturesque to psychedelic to downright nightmareish.
Due to its exciting plots, eccentric character and clever referencing of pop culture, Rick and Morty quickly gained a dedicated fan base and growing viewership.
The Americans, a gripping Cold War period drama, premiered on FX in 2013 and has since become one of the most critically praised shows of the decade.
Set in suburban Washington, D.C. during the early years of the Reagan era, the show focuses on a pair of Russian undercover spies, Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jenkins (Keri Russell), who lead a seemingly all-American life along with their two teenage children, Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati).
Initially, the plot deals with Philip and Elizabeth’s various covert operations and efforts to successfully juggle their double lives as parents and travel agents by day and Soviet operatives by night. Things become even more complicated when an FBI counterintelligence agent called Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) becomes their next-door neighbor.
As the show progresses, more and more people get sucked into Philip and Elizabeth’s tangled set-up, creating new problems and obstacles for their family, their Soviet higher-ups, but also their American counterparts.
We hope this summary of the best TV shows in recent years has given you an idea for future viewings next time you find yourself curled up on that couch. Whichever one of you pick in the end, we are positive you will have your binge-watch go-to.