Streaming guide: 13 shows to binge watch in self-isolation

From recent series to old classics, Des O'Driscoll selects some the best streaming options.

Streaming guide: 13 shows to binge watch in self-isolation

From recent series to old classics, Des O’Driscoll selects some of the best streaming options

Eight you may have missed:

Escape at Dannemora

Sky Now

Benicio Del Toro (L) and Paul Dano (R) in Escape from Dannemora
Benicio Del Toro (L) and Paul Dano (R) in Escape from Dannemora

A superb drama that really didn’t get the profile it deserved when it ran on Sky Atlantic early in 2019.

Based on a real-life prison break in upstate New York in 2015, it has the juicy context that both the inmates who got out were having ‘liaisons’ with a female worker at the facility.

She’s brilliantly played by Patricia Arquette, while Benicio del Toro brings a nice mix of charm and menace to his role as one of the prisoners.

Save Me

Sky Now

Lennie James and Suranne Jones, stars of Save Me
Lennie James and Suranne Jones, stars of Save Me

British actor Lennie James also turned his hand to writing on this gritty thriller from 2018.

A dark tale of child abduction, it is set around council estates and seedy cesspits in London.

James is at the centre of great cast that also includes Stephen Graham and Irish actor Barry Ward.

It’s an opportune time to catch up on the original series as the Save Me Too sequel will drop on Sky on April 1.

The Boys

Amazon Prime Video

Jack Quaid and Erin Moriarty in The Boys
Jack Quaid and Erin Moriarty in The Boys

This quirky and rather adult series is well worth the free trial sign-up.

A superhero drama with a difference, the characters with special powers are actually part of a corrupt corporate entity, using all sorts of nefarious means to secure lucrative public contracts for crime-fighting.

Hugely cynical and a whole lot of fun.

Schitt’s Creek

Netflix

The Rose Family of Schitt’s Creek
The Rose Family of Schitt’s Creek

A bit of a Marmite comedy that will probably split households, but the Canadian show will provide plenty laughs for those who vote yes.

The already morally bankrupt Rose family end up losing their fortune and have to move to a motel in the down-at-heel town in the show’s title.

Cue endless culture clashes as the former rich sophisticates now have to mix with the ordinary folk.

Ozark

Netflix

Jason Bateman in Ozark
Jason Bateman in Ozark

Season three drops on March 27, and you’d imagine it’ll be a make- or-break run for the Missouri-set money-laundering drama.

Whatever about the so-so second season, the first series will present you with all sorts of ‘what would I do’ moments, as the affable suburban family grease the wheels of the drug trade.

The Outsider

Sky Now

Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo star in The Outsider, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name
Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo star in The Outsider, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name

Recently finished its 10-part run on terrerstrial TV, this is a creeepy but decent adaptation of a Stephen King novel.

A grief-ridden detective joins forces with an unconventional investigator to try and track a malevolent killer.

The Stranger

Sky Now

Richard Armitage in Harlan Cohen’s The Stranger
Richard Armitage in Harlan Cohen’s The Stranger

Another twisty thriller about a seemingly ordinary family whose world falls apart when a stranger in bar makes a startling revelation.

Dervla Kirwan plays the wife whose husband slowly begins to wonder if he ever really knew her.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Sky Now

Larry David, creator and star of Curb your Enthusiasm
Larry David, creator and star of Curb your Enthusiasm

Season ten of Larry David’s comedy may be concluding next week, but all previous episodes are still available to stream.

Basically, the Seinfeld creator plays a curmudgeonly version of himself, railing against people who park across two spaces, or who ‘chat and cut’ to finagle their way into a better position in the queue.

Latter seasons have the added bonus of the hilarious Leon Black character.

Five to Revive:

The Wire

Sky Now

Michael K. Williams as the enigmatic Omar in The Wire
Michael K. Williams as the enigmatic Omar in The Wire

Arguably the best TV show ever made, a return to this epic Noughties series will reward with far more than just nostalgia.

The first season particularly stands the test of time, and is a treat for both newbies and also those who spent days binge-watching it when box-set culture first emerged.

As the plot slowly unwinds, first-time viewers may wonder what the fuss is about, but give it four episodes and you’ll be hooked. As well as the central Cops v Dealers plot, much of the magic of the Baltimore-set show is down to a brilliantly-cast proliferation of interesting characters.

McNulty, Stringer, Omar, Kima, etc, are well worth bringing into your home again.

The Sopranos

Sky Now

The many fans of James Gandolfini and co will tell you that this show even usurps The Wire.

Whichever side of that debate you’re on, you’ll while away plenty time indoors with the six seasons and 86 episodes available to stream.

Part of the fun of binge-watching the show is seeing the actors growing into the characters as the seasons progress. By the third run, it’s difficult to believe that most of them are even actors.

Best episode? ‘Pine Barrens’ in season three — so different to anything else in the show, but one that worked so well. Lowpoint? The end — not only because it was the end, but the self-indulgent ambiguity of it all left most fans feeling unsatisfied.

Pure Mule

RTÉ Player

Pure Mule won five IFTA awards during its short run
Pure Mule won five IFTA awards during its short run

This mini-series from 2005 stands as the closest rival to Love/Hate as the best domestic drama of all time. Sex, drink and drugs all featured strongly in the midlands-set tale that had an excellent cast featuring the likes of Charlene McKenna, Eileen Walsh and the late Tom Murphy. A two-part revival in 2009 didn’t live up to the original, but those first six episodes are well worth a revisit.

Deadwood

Sky Now

Ian McShane in Deadwood
Ian McShane in Deadwood

n the mid-Noughties, the great Ian McShane banished the ghost of Lovejoy with a captivating performance as brothel owner Al Swearengen.

Unfortunately, the expletive-laden HBO show ended abruptly without tying up several loose ends, and we had a long wait until last year’s movie provided a sense of closure.

Band of Brothers

Sky Now

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg produced Band of Brothers
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg produced Band of Brothers

A drama series about a group of people who realise they have to stick together to get through a time of crisis — sound relevant?

Pertinence aside, this classic war show provides a fine dramatisation of the real-life tale of a company of American paratroopers in WWII.

Perfect fare if a) you’re a stir-crazy male who needs some me-time in a quiet corner of the house; or b) you’re sharing an enclosed space with a stir-crazy male who you need to send to a quiet corner of the house.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Sreaming Services:
  • Now TV:
  • Sky’s streaming service has various packages, but the Entertainment Pass will give you most of the series across the network. Normally, €15 per month, it’s really good value with a €7.50 per month for six months. You can also go month-to-month and just stop it whenever you want. To watch the shows, you can just log in on your device and stream it through your web browser (eg Firefox, Chrome, etc), or pay about €30 for the Smart Stick that’ll allow you to cast shows to your TV.
  • Netflix:
  • The godfather of the streaming services has a lot more competition than when it started. It costs €7.99 per month to watch on a single screen, or €11.99 to be able to watch on two screens at a time.
  • Amazon Prime Video:
  • Previously, many people found this service didn’t have enough content to justify a longterm commitment, but the free trial offers, and a six-month deal for €2.99 per month do make it worth a short-term try at least.
  • Disney+:
  • Launching in Ireland next Tuesday, this will be a big player in the streaming game, with attractive content including all the Pixar films (Toy Story, etc); and everything from the Star Wars universe, including new series The Mandalorian. From €6.99 per month; or €69.99 for a year (intro offer of €59.99).

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