I have become obsessed with watching television.
Not free-to-air channels with ads and openly racist morning show hosts, but this new dawn of television we like to call streaming. I never enjoyed watching TV that much growing up, and for a large portion of my early adult life I didn’t even own one. But now I can’t get enough of it. I’ll watch almost anything. Anyway, you didn’t ask for my long and sordid history with the idiot box, but what I’m getting at is that if there’s one person who is authorised to write an article about the best tv series’ that have come out this year, it’s me. Get out your pencils and notebooks.
HBO’s new drama, Euphoria, is the best show I have watched this year. If you are a parent, thinking of becoming a parent, or just a person who knows a child, this show will scare the bejesus out of you. It’s a raw, graphic, confronting and realistic portrayal of what life is like for teenagers growing up in America today. If I had to use just one word to describe Euphoria, it would be ‘now’. It’s just so…now. The cast is preposterously talented, the cinematography will make your eyes water, and the season finale (no spoilers) deserves an Oscar. If you don’t believe me, believe Leonardo DiCaprio. Get on it ASAP, because season two is already in the works. Just don’t watch it with your parents if you ever want to feel comfortable around them again.
Last Chance U
Arguably one of the best premises for a documentary series ever in the history of American film (no, I won’t calm down), Last Chance U just dropped it’s fourth season and it is as spectacular as the three before it. Following college football teams who offer oft troubled and less fortunate kids from across America one last shot at the big leagues, the series spends two seasons at East Mississippi Community College before heading off to cover Independence Community College. If you haven’t wept, cheered and generally just lived with the students of Last Chance U before, settle in for a rollercoaster of emotions as you watch both helplessly and hopefully as dreams are made and broken in equal parts. As for the coaches you encounter in this series, I don’t even know what to say—just keep the volume control close at all times.
The Alcàsser Murders
Spanish true-crime series The Alcàsser Murders chronicles the abduction, rape, and brutal murder of three teenage girls in Valencia in 1992. Over five episodes, the series covers the abduction and subsequent murder trial that became an absolute media circus in Spain. Family members you first felt sorry for start to show their true colours, the horror of the perpetrator’s childhood is revealed, and honestly, it’s five long hours of darkness and decrepitness. I don’t know why this is considered entertainment, but I watched it all in one night.
The Loudest Voice in the Room
First of all, ew. Second of all, EW. Watching Russell Crowe play Fox News founder and serial predator Roger Ailes in a fat suit and chin prosthetics mightn’t sound like a great way to spend an evening, and to be honest, it probably isn’t. But if you enjoy scrunching your face up in pure disgust for periods of up to 45 minutes at a time, do I have a show for you. The seven episode series is based on Gabriel Sherman’s book of the same name, and documents the rise and fall of one of America’s most hideous men. Spoiler: Fox News is a sham tv network that invented fake news and is staffed by racist molesters! Yeah, I know, not really a spoiler at all. Anyway, the finale premiered last night so get in while it’s still water cooler fodder.
The Case Against Adnan Syed
If you think you know everything there is to know about Adnan Syed’s case because you listened to NPR’s Serial podcast, think again. HBO’s four-part docuseries provides new evidence in the case whilst introducing other potential suspects. It also provides in-depth interviews with friends and classmates of Hae Min Lee, who was senselessly murdered in 1999. It also gives heartbreaking insight into the toll Syed’s false—yes, I said it—imprisonment has had on his sweet and devoted family, who feature heavily in the series. Don’t press play unless you have nothing else to do for four hours straight. You cannot walk away from this until the final credit has rolled.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive
Okay, so this is weird. Heaps weird. I’ve never watched a single Formula 1 car race in my life, and I still don’t know how to open the bonnet of my car, but somehow this got me. Like, hook-line-and-sinker-got-me. Over 10 episodes, the behind-the-scenes documentary series gives unprecedented access to race car drivers and their teams both on and off the track. Strangely, despite my complete and utter lack of interest in car racing or the Formula 1 championship, I found myself wholly invested in the politics of it all. It also gave me a new-found respect for the pit-stop mechanics, who honestly have the most stressful job in the world. Anyway, try it out. I’m glad I did.
Irish comedy Derry Girls is the funniest thing I have seen in ages. Honestly, it plays at a speed of about 20 lols-per-minute. Set in the small town of Derry in the north-west of Ireland, the series follows the lives of a bunch of hilarious and irreverent Catholic school kids growing up during the Northern Ireland conflict referred to as “The Troubles”. It kind of reminds me of a wittier, more profane version of The Wonder Years, but with better comedic timing and charming accents.