If recent press conferences are to be believed and everything goes to plan, we will finally be out of lockdown in June. Will you be able to look back and say you made the most of that time? Will you be able to look your future grandchildren in the eye and say, yes, I seized the opportunity? Of course, you can bask in the glory of mastering banana bread and show them the hilarious TikTok videos you made of yourself lip-synching to Stormzy.
No doubt the story of how you almost broke your back working out along with Joe Wicks will be the thing of family legend and I’m sure they’ll agree learning the chords to Wonderwall was well worth the investment of a guitar, an amp and a years subscription to Fender Play. But, will you be able to say you grasped this once in a lifetime opportunity to truly better your life? These 5 bingeworthy shows (old and new) now available to stream on Netflix and Amazon will at least give you a fighting chance.
So in no particular order:
Happy. (Netflix: 2 seasons)
Based on the comic book series of the same name created by Grant Morrison. Disgraced detective Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni) passes his days drinking whiskey, taking drugs and moonlighting as a hitman. Soon this lifestyle catches up with him and he has a heart attack. Whilst in the back of the ambulance he meets a small, blue, flying Unicorn named Happy which it seems only he can see (voiced by Patton Oswalt). Happy is the imaginary friend of Nick’s estranged daughter Hailey who has been kidnapped by Santa. Happy has sought him out expecting him to be the hero detective Hailey believes him to be. What follows is 2 seasons of debauched heroics taking in child trafficking, sex cults, ancient gods and a (very) bad Santa. The series ran for 2 seasons on Syfy before cancellation but unlike most shows that fell on Syfy’s sword (Dark Matter anyone?!?) you will not reach the end feeling as though the rug has been pulled.
Cobra Kai (Netflix: 3 seasons and at least a fourth on the way)
Based on the original Karate Kid films this series picks up the story 34 years after the All Valley Karate Tournament. Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), now 50 something, is a part time handy man, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) owns a successful car dealership and Mr Miagi is dead (but lets not dwell on that). After losing his job Johnny intervenes when he sees his teenage neighbour Miguel being attacked by a gang of bullies. Using his Karate skills he sends them packing. He eventually reopens the infamous Cobra Kai Dojo which in turn reawakens his rivalry with Danny and we have three seasons of midlife crisis, teenage struggles and of course, kick ass tournaments.
Criminal Minds (Amazon: 15 seasons)
Originally staring Mandy Patinkin as Gideon and Thomas Gibson as Arron Hotchner, this psycho of the week procedural began life on CBS back in 2005 and follows a group of profilers in the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit who use (yep you guessed it) behavioural analysis and profiling techniques to investigate and apprehend life’s nastiest criminals. Over the course of the last 15 years many cast members have come and gone and pretty much all real life cases of serial killers have been plundered for story lines but if you like your story lines wrapped up in the 45 mins and good old fashioned save the day heroics its worth a watch. An added bonus is that as this show began 15 years ago you can have fun spotting younger versions of now famous TV stars.
Supernatural (Amazon 14 seasons)
Again another long running show available to binge from the beginning, Supernatural follows the exploits of Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), two brothers who spend their days skimming credit cards and hunting demons, ghosts and monsters, basically if its supernatural they hunt it. The first couple of seasons followed the expected monster of the week format before moving onto deeper story arch’s which would last an entire season and beyond. Its garnered a huge fan community and copious amounts of fan fiction which the show itself is not afraid to riff on and never takes itself too seriously. Currently in its 15th and final season on E4 in the UK.
Mr Mercedes (StarzPlay/Amazon: 3 seasons)
Based on Stephen King’s “Bill Hodges” trilogy of novels this show centres around retired detective Bill (Brendan Gleeson) who is haunted by that one case that got away. That case being “Mr Mercedes” a crazed killer who killed 16 people at a jobs fair by driving (yes, you guessed it) a Mercedes into the crowd. Bill becomes the focus of attention for young psychopath Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) and soon a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues. Solid performances by both leads and the stellar supporting cast, plus a liberal sprinkling of King’s out there thinking means this 30 episode gem maintains suspense throughout.
Fringe (StarzPlay/Amazon: 5 seasons)
Created by J.J. Abrams and Robert Orci this show first broadcast in 2008 and concluding in 2013 follows Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his father Walter Bishop (John Noble. All are members of a fictional division of the FBI who use “fringe Science” to investigate unexplained occurrences. The series began as a mystery of the week show but later developed deeper more mythological story lines centring on parallel universes and alternate realities. With guest appearances from Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lloyd and Peter Weller among many others and a truly satisfying conclusion this show is well worth the investment required for its 100 episode run.