7 Binge-worthy Shows to Watch this Winter
Hibernation period is upon us! If the darker evenings don’t coincide with a significant increase in sofa time, are you really doing winter? SO, instead of feeling guilty that you missed the gym again or fretting about your extortionate heating bill, put the kettle on, grab a blanket and settle down with one of our least problematic faves…
1) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Amazon Prime
Written by Amy Sherman-Palladino (the genius behind Gilmore Girls), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is full of her signature speedy wit and fast-paced dialogue. The unstoppable protagonist, Miriam “Midge” Maisel, is a housewife in 1950s New York, devoted to furthering her husband’s amateur comedy career. But while Joel’s jokes are recycled at best, Midge has perfect comedic timing and a flare for the dramatic which lends itself beautifully to stand-up. She’s gloriously funny in an era where women were largely confined to the domestic or secretarial spheres. Midge’s furiously organised life takes a dramatic turn when she finds herself suddenly single, but the chaos of separation liberates her in the best possible way: she finds her voice.
2) The Bold Type – Amazon Prime
This millennial treat is based on the life of former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, and ticks (nearly) all my boxes. Kat, Sutton and Jane each has their dream job working for Scarlet magazine, under powerhouse editor-in-chief Jacqueline. Yet- in amongst the enviable wardrobes and playful dialogue, heavier issues are up for discussion. In two seasons, there’s been conversation around religion, race, reproductive rights and gun violence, to name but a few.
These subjects are not fleetingly probed, but explored in the nuanced, complex narrative they require. Refreshingly- Kat, Sutton and Jane often disagree on fundamentals, but always endeavour to understand each other, they’re always willing to do the work. This is what makes the show so watchable: while sex and romance feature, it’s the resilience of female friendship which sits front and centre.
3) Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Netflix
Adapted from a series of novels by Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a colourful romp through 1920s Melbourne. Phryne Fisher is our glamorous, wealthy and fiercely liberal protagonist. Her wily ways gain her entry onto every crime scene in the city, much to the dismay of local Inspector Jack Robinson. The chemistry between them is the delicious, exasperating kind which lingers in long looks and cryptic dialogue. This series is distinctly moreish and rarely stressful- think Agatha Christie with more money, charisma and sexual tension.
4) The Alienist – Netflix
In this (sort of) feminist period drama, Dakota Fanning takes on the role of Sara Howard, the first female employee of the NYPD. In Late-Victorian New York, Sara teams up with the dedicated psychologist Dr. Kriezler and a charming cartoonist named John Moore, both of whom are called upon to assist the police in finding a brutal child-killer. While there are brothels, poverty and plenty of sexism to endure, most of this is fairly self-aware. Sara is unstoppably curious; she repeatedly stands her ground in the face of intimidation and even wears trousers (!!) to the police station. These might seem like small victories, but this show is a much-needed departure from the simpering women in white muslin who often dominate the era.
5) She’s Gotta Have It – Netflix
In Spike Lee’s remake of his 1986 indie romance, Nola Darling is a black, queer and polyamorous artist, living in Brooklyn and navigating adulthood with fiercely unapologetic perspective. Each of her three lovers contributes to her life in their own way: where Mars Blackmon is energetic and excitable, Jamie Overstreet is sentimental and charming, and then there’s the beautiful but narcissistic model, Greer Childs…
Nola is a compassionate friend, a determined ally, and an admirable example of how to carve out space for yourself in a world that can be far from hospitable.
6) Dietland – Amazon Prime
Based on the novel of the same name by Sarai Walker, this body positive programme is truly the first of its kind, and the antidote to shows like Netflix’s Insatiable. Alicia Kettle goes by the nickname “Plum” and she is, undoubtedly, fat. As she scrabbles to fund her gastric band surgery and hides herself in swathes of shapeless black, we’re plunged into a narrative of self-loathing. The ghost-writer of the editor’s letters for a teen glossy called Daisy Chain, Plum dreams of what she could achieve as the thinner version of herself.
When she is contacted by an enigmatic feminist society called Calliope House, Plum begins to show herself more kindness, and follows a series of steps designed to help her unlearn our fat-phobic, misogynistic culture. Throw in a vigilante terrorist group named “Jennifer” which targets predatory men, and you’ve got a morally ambiguous show that offers a lesson in radical self-love.
7) Good Girls – Netflix
In the ironically named Good Girls, three women are united in their struggle to make ends meet, each having been let down by a man or cheated by the system. When they inadvertently stumble across money laundering cartel, they form an unlikely alliance with the ringleader Manny Montana (if you needed another incentive, he’s the enigmatic bad boy you’ve always dreamed of).
This show is such a tasty watch. The plot is founded on women looking out for women, but there’s plenty of action and dark comedy to enjoy, as well as some more serious commentary on the proximity of poverty and wealth in suburban America.
Now, go and enjoy some sofa time!