It used to be that when you reached Spring, most of your favourite shows were coming to an end for the season and you would have a long wait until Fall for the new season (if it survived the chop), however with streaming services such as Netflix and also on-demand services it means many really high quality shows are launching throughout the year, many of them at around this time of year. From 13 Reasons Why, a teen-drama on Netflix to Big Little Lies, a tale of murder among the wealthy on HBO, there is something for everyone out there - regardless of what your tastes in TV are.
13 Reasons Why, all episodes available on Netflix
Over the last few years it feels like everything Netflix touches turns into gold dust and becomes an instant classic, thinking of the lines of House of Cards, OITNB and Stranger Things to name a few, the same can (and will) be said about 13 Reasons Why. The show is based on a teen-drama about a tough issue, suicide, and sees secrets unravel around the main character (Clay). Once you start watching 13 Reasons, you will not want to stop - let the binge watching commence.
Ingobernable, all episodes available on Netflix
I usually don’t enjoy foreign-language TV shows, it usually feels hard to follow and really complex - I suppose thats the joy of foreign-language TV, however Ingobernable is an exception. The show based around the First Lady of Mexico and the end of her marriage to the President is compelling and really high quality TV Show. Once you get over the fact there are subtitles - the show becomes easy to follow and a really enjoyable watch. It is also helped by the catchy theme which grips you right from the start. It is a political drama but it takes a unique perspective which normally isn’t explored.
Big Little Lies, Sundays 9pm - HBO (US), Mondays 9pm - Sky Atlantic (UK)
The only reason I started watching Big Little Lies was really because of the cast, including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley, in the lead roles. However, when I started watching, it suddenly became apparent is this is an amazing pice of television. A story about the wealthy in Monterey, CA. From the outside they have the perfect lives, on the inside they’re rotten to the core - something we all need to see. We all know there has been a murder, we just don’t know who the victim is.
Designated Survivor is one of those shows that in all honesty doesn’t match over shows in its genre - House of Cards, Scandal and Madam Secretary - to name a few, but it really does keep you gripped. It opens with the destruction of American democracy in a terror attacks which sees HUD secretary, Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) become President unexpectedly. I personally find it very over the top, however I keep watching because I really need to know what happens. You might complain (like me) but you will still follow it through to discover who is behind the conspiracy.
Grace and Frankie, all episodes available on Netflix
What do you do when your husband of many years tells you he is gay ? it would be a hard thing for anyone to take in, but Grace and Frankie tells the story of the two affected wives and how there life changes because of it, through a truly hilarious show. What makes this even better, is that the show gets better with age and every season gets better. It is written by Marta Kauffman, most famous for writing Friends, so you know that there is a real genius behind the setup - which stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin (both from 9 to 5) and Martin Sheen.
Taboo, FX (US) available on BBC iPlayer (UK)
Taboo sees Tom Hardy play the role of James Keziah Delaney who faces off agains the East India Company, a show both with high drama but also an historical aspect. The show is set in the nineteenth century and is really dark in its outset and whole production. It is still available on catchup and is well worth the watch and a stand out British show from 2017 so far…
The Good Fight, Sundays - CBS All Access (US), Thursdays 9pm - More4 (UK)
If you loved the Good Wife, then I can promise you will love the Good Fight. Even with the absense of Alicia and Cary, you still get the true essence of what make the original one of the best legal dramas ever. The Good Fight is more risqué and hearing Diane Lockhart say “F***” just makes it all worth while. The best parts of the Good Wife are kept in this spin-off which makes it a good show in its own light - especially with it being political in the age of Trump.
House of Cards, Seasons 1-4 on Netflix now, Season 5 available May 30th
Eventhough Season 5 doesn’t debut until May, House of Cards still needs to be featured on this list. The show was and still is a true game changer for television with its intense and gripping storyline of congressman turned President, Frank Underwood, who uses manipulation and murder to get to where he is and has the determination to be a ruthless pragmatist and remove whoever is in his way. This will easily be one of the highlights of the year in television as we see how the Underwoods face re-election and the prospect of a new ‘War on Terror’.
Riverdale, Thursdays 9pm (E.T) The CW (US) and Fridays on Netflix (UK)
Riverdale is based on the characters of Archie Comics and is a teen drama based around a perfect town, as it would be seen from the outside, however under this facade there is a dark tale of a death in the school which changes things forever.
When a reality show contestant is murdered, Sherlock and Joan zero in on another competitor as a suspect, a former war criminal who may be the most skilled killer they’ve ever pursued. For the first time since he attacked Sherlock, Shinwell reaches out to Joan to ask for a favor.
Mike Kresteva takes his case against Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad to a grand jury, but the firm devises a grand jury strategy of their own to hamper Kresteva’s efforts. Colin finds himself in an awkward position in court. Carrie Preston, Matthew Perry and Aaron Tveit guest star on an all new episode of The Good Fight streaming Sunday, March 26th exclusively on CBS All Access.
From 1984 to 1996, one of television’s best crime-solvers was a retired English teacher turned mystery writer. Angela Lansbury played best-selling novelist and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. A hugely popular series both then and now, Murder, She Wrote was an institution on Sunday nights for over a decade. Each week, Jessica encountered another murder - sometimes right in her home town of Cabot Cove, Maine and other times at points all across the country and around the world. Using her sharp eye and her steely resolve, Jessica never failed to identify the guilty party and wrap up the case for the local police.
Like other classic TV shows, Murder, She Wrote is leaving Netflix on January 1, 2017. With over 200 episodes over 12 seasons, you may not know where to start. While the format never changed that much from Episode 1 to Episode 264, here are a few suggestions for diving into the series.
Tough Guys Don’t Die (Season 1, Episode 15) – One of the treats of the show was watching Angela Lansbury work with other veterans of the Broadway stage, and this episode introduces Jerry Orbach as hard-boiled private eye Harry McGraw. Before he was Lennie Briscoe, Orbach recurred as McGraw, a tough shamus who frequently ran into Jessica and pulled her into his cases. In this first episode (peppered with homages to the private eye genre), Jessica had been working with his partner “Archie Miles” before Archie was bumped off. Despite a rocky start to their friendship, Jessica and Harry team up to bring the killer to justice.
Murder Takes the Bus (Season 1, Episode 18) – A variation on the “locked room mystery,” this episode finds Jessica and Cabot Cove Sherriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) on a bus to Boston that has to stop at a roadside diner to wait out a storm. The wait turns into an investigation when it’s revealed one of the passengers was stabbed in his seat, and Jessica has to figure out when he was killed and identify the killer.
Sticks and Stones (Season 2, Episode 10) – This episode finds Amos on the eve of retirement with John “Gomez Addams” Astin all set to replace him. But a series of poison pen letters floods Cabot Cove and the ensuing feuds and misunderstandings result in two murders. The plot ties to a planned real estate development and ends with Jessica tearfully revealing that a longtime friend is a murderer.
The Corpse Flew First Class (Season 3, Episode 12) – Another “locked room” mystery, but this locked room is flying at 30,000 feet. On a flight from the US to London, Jessica has to contend with a murder and the theft of a priceless necklace. There’s no shortage of suspects on board, but how did the killer dispatch his victim and steal the jewels? Or are the two even connected? It’s a clever puzzle that doesn’t wrap up until customs.
Witness for the Defense (Season 4, Episode 3) – The old joke is that Jessica Fletcher would be the worst friend to have – everywhere she goes, murder follows. But it’s never articulated on the show as well as it is by Patrick McGoohan as a feisty attorney in this episode. Jessica’s in Canada to help her friend, a man who stands accused of killing his wife. Much of the show is set in the courtroom, giving ample opportunity for Angela Lansbury and McGoohan to square off.
If It’s Thursday, It Must Be Beverly (Season 4, Episode 7) – Jessica went all around the world, but for me the best episodes were the ones set in Cabot Cove. This one, one of the greatest of the small town stories, involves a deputy sheriff who goes the extra mile to protect and serve the ladies of Cabot Cove. When one of them turns up dead, Jessica has to decide if the local Romeo is innocent or guilty.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (Parts 1 and 2) (Season 5, Episodes 21 and 22) – At one time, this was going to be the series finale. Ultimately a deal was worked out where Angela Lansbury would come back, but if the show had ended here, it would have been a great way to go out. Jean Simmons plays a rival mystery writer who is losing ground (and money) to Jessica, and she decides to steal a story rather than come up with one of her own. Plagiarism is the least of her worries when she winds up accused of murder. Not only is it a great mystery, but it features terrific acting and character development between Jessica and William Windom’s Dr. Seth Hazlitt.
Murder Among Friends (Season 12, Episode 16 – After eleven years at the top of the ratings on Sunday nights, CBS moved Murder, She Wrote to Thursdays at 8:00. Up against the second season of Friends, Jessica Fletcher’s audience collapsed, and the show was slated for cancellation. But before it signed off, Murder, She Wrote got its digs in as Jessica investigates a murder on the set of a hit sitcom about a group of twentysomethings. The show’s title? Buds.
5x15 Wrong Side of The Road Sunday, March 5 on CBS!
Kitty Winter, Sherlock’s former protégé, returns to New York after a three-year absence to warn him that a killer is eliminating everyone involved with a case they worked on together in London, and they’re the next targets. Sherlock, Kitty, Joan and the NYPD join forces to find the perpetrator. Joan discovers Kitty has a life-changing secret. [Michael Patrick Thornton, Regina Taylor, Marianne Muellerleile]
5x16 Fidelity Sunday, March 12 on CBS!
Sherlock, Joan and Kitty try to prove that a string of murders, stemming from an old case Sherlock and Kitty solved in London, is connected to an international government conspiracy with the Defense Intelligence Agency at its center. Sherlock and Kitty’s relationship is strained after she shares life-changing news. [Tim Guinee, Marianne Muellerleile, Scott Shepherd]