Photo: Rotten Tomatoes Good news for those of you who decided to skip the costume…
These are the shows the UK is binge-watching the most (and number 1 is hardly surprising)
Who: If you don’t know their names, where have you been?! Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry.
What: Six twenty-somethings navigate the city of New York and all the challenges life throws at them – your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A., you know how it is. You’ll be in creases, you’ll be in tears, and you’ll fall in love with six friends who help each other through thick and thin. The emotional events will make you take sides (were they on a break?), leave you praying for that long-rumoured Friends reunion and not to mention, could the jokes BE any funnier?
Best for: Lounging in your pyjamas, lapping up the 90s nostalgia and quoting every single word.
Who: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Ryan Kwanten, Joe Manganielllo
What: Set in small town Louisiana, Sookie Stackhouse (Paquin) is a mind-reading waitress who is privy to the unwelcome thoughts of her oddball friends, neighbours and relatives. Enter Bill Compton a man who’s mind she cannot read for the simple reason that he’s a 173 year-old vampire. Cue crazy (and very complex) love affair complete with a hell of a lot of blood-shed and a dizzy array of fascinating and seriously fit supporting characters.
Best for: Testing the boundaries of your sexuality. Whether it’s man, woman, vampire, werewolf or beast – you will fancy pretty much every single person in the cast.
Who: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Micheal Imperioli
What: Without a doubt the best TV portrayal of the Mafia genre (to date) and one of the original shows to give film a run for it’s money. Brilliant direction, script and acting. Hard to beat.
Best for: There’s no need to rush this one – it’s a thing of beauty and must be enjoyed at your leisure (plus red wine)
Who: Dominic West, Idris Elba, John Doman
What: Crime series set in Baltimore where each season demonstrates how the police force work alongside various elements of the community. Hailed by many as the greatest TV series ever made.
Best for: A highly addictive drama that won’t release you from its clutches
Who: Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Ed Westwick, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford</a>
What: Narrated by Kristen Bell, Gossip Girl is a dizzying, glamorous peek into life in New York’s affluent Upper East Side. The show centres around love, friendship, heartbreak and, yes, gossip. Warning: You will head over heels in love with the Motherchucker that is Chuck Bass.
Best for: Lovers of teenage angst, New York City skylines and stylish wardrobes. Oh, and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) has some of the best bitchy one-liners – take notes!
Who: Michael C Hall
What: A forensic blood-splatter analyst by day, and a vigilante serial killer at night – this is one fantastically twisted (and gory) show.
Best for: Viewers who don’t scare too easily
Sons Of Anarchy
Who: Charlie Hunnam
What: The ups-and-down of a close-knit motorcycle club (said to be modelled on the Hell’s Angels). So lots of hot men in leathers.
Best for: A hard-drinking, rocknroll ride of a series – with added perving
Who: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones
What: Set in an1960s advertising agency, Mad Men is not only a joy to behold visually, it’s a fascinating insight in the 60s socio politics (read: sexism).
Best for: Watching alone with a tub of ice-cream
Who: Keifer Sutherland
What: There are 24 episodes per season, each representing one hour of a 24 hour period of hero Jack Bauer as he takes on the bad guys.
Best for: Go on – do the 24 hours thing – we dare you!
Who: Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Ian Somerhalder
What: Mysterious goings-on for a group of passengers who survive a plane crash over the South Pacific Ocean. We had to wait for a week to pass till the next episode. You guys can gorge yourselves silly.
Best for: Late-night binge sessions with an equally excitable buddy
Six Feet Under
Who: Peter Krause, Lauren Ambrose, Rachel Griffiths
What: A dark, quirky, critically-acclaimed hit, it follows the Fisher family, who run a funeral home. Each episode starts with a death, and it’s rich with black comedy and surreal moments (e.g. when living characters have conversations with dead ones).
Best for: Fans of something a little more subversive
The Vampire Diaries
Who: Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley
What: Who doesn’t love a love triangle? This is the best one yet. High school student Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) is in love with not one but two vampires – and they’re both brothers. Which one will she choose? You’ll have to watch to find out!
Best for: Eye candy. Have you seen Ian Somerhalder’s eyes?! Dreamy.
Sex And The City
Who: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon
What: The lives and loves of our four favourite friends in the Big Apple has brought us so much joy – from the very first season, where the characters actually talked to camera, to the agonising ‘Big or Aidan?’ years, and the final sentimental season. A true classic.
Best for: Days when you need cheering up, or want fashion inspo
Orange Is The New Black
Who: Taylor Schilling, Laura Pepron, Uzo Aduba, Natasha Leone, Ruby Rose
What: A white, middle-class woman winds up in prison, where she has to navigate the gangs, guards and general gruesomeness of jailhouse life. As the seasons unfold we learn more about her fellow inmates and their lives before they were banged up.
Best for: Multiple kickass female characters
Want more feminist shows to watch? We’ve found the best
House Of Cards
Who: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright
What: A slick US remake of the British political drama, Spacey plays Frank Underwood, a devious, power-hungry politician who will stop at nothing to get to the Oval Office. Robin Wright-Penn is incredible as Claire, his equally scheming wife.
Best for: Fast dialogue, amazing twists, improving your knowledge of US politics
Who: Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Billie Piper, Luke Treadaway
What: Take all the scariest characters from literature – Dracula, Frankenstein and co – and put them together in a dark and gloomy Victorian London.
Best for: Horror lovers who want a decent storyline, too
Who: Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Bellamy Young, Scott Foley
What: Olivia Pope (Washington) is a ‘fixer’ who helps the high-profile inhabitants of Washington D.C. deal with embarrassing screw ups. In her spare time she’s having an affair with the President.
Best for: A kickass female lead; fans of Shonsa Rhimes
Who: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel
What: Mother and daughter duo Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) are one of our ultimate on-screen duos. Who’d have thought that a show about being a single parent in small town in America would become cult viewing? Thanks to an epic script, handsome fellas and vats of coffee, this is one of the most enjoyable shows ever.
Best for: A feminist series that smashes the Bechdel Test. Melissa McCarthy fans take note too – before she was a hot-shot Hollywood A-lister, Melissa starred as Lorealai’s BFF, Sookie
Game Of Thrones
Seasons: 6 so far but there will be 8
Who: Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady
What: Based on the best-selling fantasy book series by George R. R. Martin, GOT boasts a huge ensemble cast and a hugely complicated plot. But it’s a must watch – arguably the biggest show on television on the planet right now – for its cinematic production values, tour de force performances, outrageous amounts of nudity/graphic violence, and those WTAF moments.
Best for: Keeping your mind agile. Trying to recall every character’s name and stay up to speed with every plot twist is akin to televisual Sudoku
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Who: Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanous, Alison Hannigan
What: The much-loved fantasy show from the 90s saw Buffy’s rise from schoolgirl to fearless vampire slayer. As her Scooby gang grows (witch, werewolf, vampire) the character developments make it impossible to walk away from.
Best for: Nostalgia. We recommend a second viewing. And if it’s your first time – lucky you!
The X Files
Who: Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny
What: Sci-fi series that gained cult status as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigate everything from the occult, to aliens, ghosts to epic government cover-ups.
Best for: Regular fixes at first, for the general ‘monster of the week’ episodes. But as the plot arches develop – cancel everything
Who: Claire Danes, Damien Lewis, Mandy Patinkin
What: This gripping thriller (still ongoing) takes us deep into the heart of the CIA, breaks our hearts, shocks us and spits us out. Regularly.
Best for: Monday night distraction. Marvelling over Claire Danes’ crying-face
The Walking Dead
Seasons: 6 so far
Who: Andrew Lincoln
What: Zombie post-apocalyptic nightmare which will make you jump our of your skin constantly. Andrew Lincoln plays Sheriff Rick Grimes, who leads a band of human survivors struggling to stay alive and fight off the hungry hordes of undead, and other groups of less-than-friendly survivors.
Best for: Gore lovers – and an intelligent spin on your standard zombie horror
In the mood for being scared silly? We’ve got the 25 most terrifying TV shows
Who: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn
What: Possibly the best TV show ever – not least because we just simply didn’t see it coming. A teacher who discovers he has cancer sets about developing a batch of crack to fund his chemo. From there, every dark and dank corner of the drug world is visited and the transformation of our protagonist is epic.
Best for: Do not attempt to start Breaking Bad without first clearing your diary for at least month. Yep – its that good.
The Good Wife
Who: Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Alan Cumming
What: Alicia Florrick is a former lawyer turned stay at home mum who is returns to her profession after her politician husband is sent to jail for lying about sleeping with prostitutes and taking drugs. In the subsequent seasons we see her make her mark in the legal and political world and tangle with an old flame, and the pull of her estranged husband.
Best for: Courtroom drama lovers – who enjoy a great sex scene. Watch with a nice big glass of red wine, just like Alicia would
Seasons: 3 so far (but two further seasons have been commissioned)
Who: Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory
What: Gangster family epic set in Birmingham, 1919. Super stylish – and violent – the BBC drama is up there with an HBO budget-buster.
Best for: Mixing up all those US series with some homegrown grittiness
Who: Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh
What: A medical drama that takes melodrama to the max, from the genius that is Shonda Rhimes. Starting with Dr Meredith Grey (Pompeo) has a surgical intern we follow her and her friends, lovers and colleagues as they grow up, fall in and out of love, and become super-surgeons. We defy you not to be moved to tears by some of the heart-wrenchign patients and cases they deal with. Plus these doctors face A LOT of life and death situations. An abnormal amount. But still, there’s a reason why it’s still pulling in millions of viewers 13 reasons in.
Best for: Emotionally overwrought viewing. Great soundtrack, too
Who: Hugh Laurie
What: A very formulaic medical drama, where the troubled-genius, Dr House (Laurie) and is ever-changign team of juniors solve mysterious illnesses with no known diagnoses. As it progresses House does get more of a story arc – but to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with a brilliant by-numbers procedural. If it ain’t broke…
Best for: A consistent and reliably satisfying TV hit that is mesmerisingly addictive
Who: A load of Brit talent including David Oyelowo, Matthew Macfadyen, Lara Pulver, Keeley Hawes, Hermione Norris and Rupert Penry-Jones
What: Following a group of MI5 officers, it pre-dated Homeland and the like, and gave us our first taste of a long-running, edge-of-your-seat spy thriller series. Each season ended with a deliberately unbearable cliff-hanger, where you had to wait AGES to find out what happened next (ah, the good old days).
Best for: A thoroughly British take on the undercover spy genre
The West Wing
Who: Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Moira Kelly, Allison Janney, Stockard Channing
What: Before House Of Cards, we had The West Wing. Famed for it’s fast-paced walking-and-talking scenes in the White House’s corridors, your parents were probably obsessed with it. The dialogue stands the test of time, and it’s got less Machiavellian melodrama than HoC. And the acting is seriously, seriously good.
Best for: When you want something really quality to get stuck into
Who: Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams
What: This legal drama centres on the lives of hot-shot lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and college drop-out Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). On paper Mike Ross is bad news, but Harvey sees something special in him and asks him to join the law firm. There’s only one problem: He isn’t actually a lawyer.
Best for: Watching with the boy – all guys love Harvey Specter. And all women – for obvious reasons.
American Horror Story
Who: Jessica Lange, Emma Roberts, Lady Gaga, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters
What: From Glee creator, Ryan Murphy, this couldn’t be a more different proposal. An anthology series, each season acts as a self-contained mini-series – with individual settings, characters and plotlines. Having said that, some actors do appear across multiple seasons playing different characters. But the beauty of this is that you don’t necessarily have to watch every season, or in chronological order. Oh and it will scare the crap out of you.
Best for: Watching during the day. With all the lights on. And a house full of people. Yes, it’s that disturbing
Horror-lover? Discover the 25 scariest TV shows ever
Who: Terri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria
What: Comedy/drama set in the fictional Wisteria Lane, where not a season goes by without a murder of some sort. As the series develops our relationships with the characters grow stronger and by season eight it’s hard to say goodbye.
Best for: Pure, unadulterated fun
Who: Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly
What: Exec-produced by <a href=“www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/mark-wahlberg” target=“_new”>Mark Wahlberg</a>, this comedy drama is a satirical pot-shot aimed firmly at Hollywood and its many foibles and fakeries. The plot centres around the adventures of A-list movie star, Vincent Chase and his ‘entourage’ of childhood mates who have up-rooted their lives from their native Queens, New York and latched on to his LA-bound coat-tails.
Best for: Seeing Jeremy Piven in all his pre-Mr Selfridge glory. As Vince’s ruthless, tough talking agent, Ari Gold he’s the absolute scene-stealer here – with three Emmy awards to his name to prove it.
Friday Night Lights
Who: Kyle Chandler, Taylor Kitsch, Connie Britton, Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan
What: Chronicling the high and lows of East Dillon High’s football team and their coach, Eric Taylor – even if you think American Football isn’t your bag, we guarantee this show will change your mind. And as for resident bad boy, Tim Riggins… be still our beating hearts.
Best for: People who are in search for a grittier, sexier, slightly less annoying version of Dawson’s Creek
Who: Clare Bowen, Charles Esten, Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton, Sam Palladio
What: Drama meets country music: the show centres around the Queen of Country Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and the young upstart on her heels Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). The music is amazing, the costumes are great, and the complex romantic storyline have you hooked.
Best for: A sing-a-long
Pretty Little Liars
Who: Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario
What: This American teen drama has all the tortured angst of The O.C.> with the whodunnit fun of CSI. Who is the mysterious ‘A’ that is taunting our circle of teenage girls?
Best for: If you love a murder mystery – with a side order of female friendship – this is for you
Seasons: 4 so far
Who: Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight
What: Ray is a Hollywood ‘fixer’ who mops up, white-washes or altogether buries the scandals and misdemeanours of La La Land’s rich, famous and powerful. Like Scandal’s Olivia Pope but in LA, rather than Washington D.C.
Best for: Seeing what a lucky woman Naomi Watts (Liev Schreiber’s real-life spouse) is. As super macho, brooding and yet deeply troubled, Ray, Schreiber’s performance is nothing short of magnetic. And Paula Malcomson who plays Ray’s wife is pretty amazeballs too.
Who: George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Julianna Margulies
What: ER is the genre-defining medical drama. It catapulted George Clooney into the A-list (and a permanent place in our hearts). There are a LOT of episodes to get through: 331 to be precise.
Best for: Someone with a LOT of time on their hands. But hey, did we mention George Clooney was in it?
My So-Called Life
Who: Claire Danes, Jared Leto
What: From boys and sex, to drugs and booze, MSCL explores all the tribulations of 90s teenage angst. Or just any teenage angst for that matter. Running for just two seasons it was criminally cut short in its prime. Be warned: the second season ends on an almighty cliffhanger as presumably the creators thought they’d be back for a third. Bad times.
Best for: Reminding yourself when you first fell for the charms of Danes and Leto – who have only improved with age
Who: Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Benjamin McKenzie
What: The show that made us desperately want to be teens in LA – with all it’s tanned surfers and amazing pool houses (rather than the pigeon-shit splattered bus stop where we drank our cider in miserable old Blighty). ‘Bad boy’ (i.e. poor) Ryan is adopted by the wealthy Cohens, and upsets the shiny world of Orange County’s beautiful people.
Best for: Hangover days with your (female) housemates
Seasons: 2 (but there are 30 episodes in total)
Who: Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sheryl Lee
What: Unmistakably one of the most iconic shows of the 90s, the murder mystery of school-girl, Laura Palmer, captured the imaginations of audiences the world-over. As cool and sexy as it was down-right, bat-shit crazy it also boasts one of the best TV soundtracks ever. Fact.
Best for: Freaking the bejeezus out of you. To this day Bob remains one of the most terrifying TV incarnations of all time
Who: James van der Beek, Joshua Jackson, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams
What: The ultimate, unparalleled teenage drama, with the mother of all love triangles. The Joey-Pacey-Dawson dilemma is one of the greatest romantic stories ever told.
Best for: Taking you back to your own teenage days + a good old cry
Who: Rose Byrne, Glenn Close
What: Law graduate Ellen (Byrne) is the latest protégée of the fearsome Patty Hewes (Close). Each season covers one of their firm’s complicated cases, whilst there is an over-arching multi-season plot Ellen and Patty’s increasingly twisted relationship.A legal drama meets psychological thriller, that is a masterclass in suspense.
Best for: Making you feel better about your nightmare boss
Who: Calista Flockhart, Jane Krakowski, Robert Downey Jnr, Portia de Rossi, Lucy Liu
What: Calista Flockhart plays the titular character, a somewhat flaky lawyer who is prone to flights of fantasy, and lots of moping about her love life. She might not go down as a feminist hero, but the cast of hilarious characters, the offbeat comedy, and the music – provided by Vonda Shepard – are brilliant. It won two Golden Globes and an Emmy, so it’s worth your time.
Best for: Late-90s nostalgia, and hitting the rom-com spot
The Handmaid’s Tale
Who: Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel and Yvonne Strahovski.
What: Based on Margaret Atwood’s best-selling novel, the series is set in the fictional future following the characters of Gilead, a totalitarian society that used to be labelled the United States. The ruling fundamentalist regime treats the female characters as property of the state and with a rife infertility problem, women who are able to reproduce are forced into sexual servitude at the service of unfertile families, making them Handmaids. One such woman, Offred becomes the protagonist to the action with terrifying flashbacks to her previous life and the daughter who was taken from her.
Best For: The parallels to the current political climate are evident and will certainly get you thinking whilst you hold your head in your hands watching.
Big Little Lies
Seasons: 1 (second in production)
Who: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz
What: Following the lives of the women of Monterey, a seemingly peaceful and perfect beachside town in California, Big Little Lies tells the tales of what actually happens behind public veneers. At the school gates gossip ensues about husbands and wives, friends and neighbors with fractured relationships making for tear jerking drama and comedy.
Best For: Female empowerment, you can’t get more bad ass than this cast.
Who: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, Matthew Goode and John Lithgow
What: Following the family behind the crown and the woman behind the political climate, The Crown chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II. With six set seasons the actors portraying each cast member will be change every two seasons as the storylines edge closer to the modern day.
Best For: Making you feel regal AF – you will be talking the Queen’s English in real life AND throwing put downs from the hip all day long a-la Princess Margaret.