The best box sets to beat the January blues
Spending your weekends in after the festive madness? We’ve got you covered.
The festive season is over and the January is upon us. Don’t despair too much however, we have put together the best TV show box sets for you to enjoy as you settle in for one of the quieter months of the year. We aim to offer you something a little different than the typical TV box set list of Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad etc. etc. We’ve carefully curated some of the best series that may have past you by over the last few years as well as some of the best newcomers. So find a comfortable spot on the couch, get the popcorn ready and binge watch to your hearts content – it is January after all.
Sterling Archer, the world’s greatest spy, works for ISIS a spy agency which is owned and run by his overbearing mother. Archer is an intelligent and very well written animated series that will definitely surprise you. It mixes vulgarity, situational comedy, and downright wackiness to create a very non-PC but extremely well received adult comedy. One of the reasons the show has been such a success has been the amazing illustration and animation which bring the characters to life. A great example of the level of detail the illustrators go to is how they design the shows sets and use real-life furniture designs within them. You can find pieces furniture from the likes of Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Le Corbusier, and many others. Making it a joy to look at as well as watch.
Season 1 box set of Archer is available now on Amazon for $9.92
9) Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders was a slow burner that became a huge hit. It is now one of Netflix’s most watched series. Set in Birmingham, England in 1919 and inspired by the real-life gangsters who ran England’s racetracks in the early 1900s. Irish actor Cillian Murphy plays the leading role of Sir Thomas Shelby. Thomas is the dominating and deranged patriarch of the dangerous Shelby clan. A real-life Birmingham crime family from whom showrunner Steven Knight gleaned his inspiration. It is a tense and violent portrayal of life at this level of society at this time and place. The show cleverly incorporates World War 1-era Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the influence of the IRA and widespread opium addiction. Peaky Blinders has some of the best acting performances seen on TV in a long time. Cillian Murphy proves once again that this unassuming no-frills actor is simply a cut above the rest of these so-called “movie stars”. Tom Hardy also guest stars with a terrifying performance as a psychotic Jewish bootlegger. This show is definitely binge-worthy. Oh, and the name Peaky Blinders comes from the gangs who would sow razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps – you learn something new every day.
Season 1 of Peaky Blinders is available now on Amazon with a sale price of $22.99 (34% 0ff)
8) Mad Men
An oldie but a goodie. Mad Men appeared on our screens for the first time in the summer of 2007. It has since grown into a hugely popular, cable network channel building (AMC), fashion and interior design trend setting, award winning TV show. Mad Men focused on central character Don Draper, a brilliantly talented creative director working in one of New York’s leading Madison Avenue advertising agencies. Don, mesmerizingly portrayed by Jon Hamm, navigates his professional and personal lives whilst battling the demons of his past. Mad Men is as equally well known for its set design and wardrobe as it is for its dramatic story telling. Creator and writer Matthew Weiner was meticulous in his attention to detail when it came to the dressing of the sets, and it shows. There is no doubt about it, the slow pace, rich visuals, nostalgic feel and anti-hero leading man all ensure that Mad Men will be remembered as one of the greatest TV shows ever made.
The Complete Collection box set of Mad Men is available now on Amazon for $106.24
From David Simon, creator of The Wire, Treme is set in New Orleans post-hurricane Katrina. This poignant HBO TV show chronicles the struggles of a diverse group of residents as they attempt to rebuild their lives and their neighbourhoods. Beginning just three months after Hurricane Katrina, the series sheds light on the many problems faced by these residents in the years following. Many old challenges persist, but new ones have also emerged. Creator David Simon knows how to document social and political problems felt on the streets, in the neighbourhoods and behind closed doors only too well. This backdrop is used to serve the story and characters within it. This is Simon’s masterful touch. Keeping the city positive through these times is its culture. People had to hang on to their rich traditions: music, food and family. The large ensemble cast is supported by notable real-life New Orleanians, including many of its famous musicians. ''Treme'', pronounced Truh-may, takes its title from the name of one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, an historically important source of African-American music and culture. This series is definitely a hidden gem.
The Complete Series box set of Treme is available now on Amazon with a sale price of $86.71 (36% off)
6) The Bridge
A body is discovered on the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden and this means that Danish inspector Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) and Swedish Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) must share jurisdiction and work the case together to find the killer. Following huge ratings when it aired in Demark and Sweden, The Bridge or Bron/Broen was quickly picked up by the BBC and became a massive international hit. It has subsequently spawned an English language version on U.S. network channel FX. This original series definitely remains the better of the two however. It is a gripping thriller with twists and turns as the two lead characters navigate a dangerous world unveiling things about each other. The Bridge is beautifully acted and shot. It also features some of the best Scandinavian and international furniture and interiors throughout the mouth-watering set design. It is by far one of the best looking shows in recent years, but the suspense and acting are what this show is all about, and it achieves the highest quality in both.
Season 1 box set of The Bridge is available now on Amazon with a sale price of $25.59 (36% off)
5) The Night Of
The Night Of quietly arrived on our screens in 2016 without much fanfare and quickly became a much talked about TV show. This gripping HBO miniseries is a well-crafted mystery thriller that is anchored by Riz Ahmed’s career-making performance. Ahmed plays Nasir ''Naz'' Khan, an unassuming young man accused of a brutal murder. John Turturro delivers an equally enthralling performance as his defence attorney John Stone. It is a very detailed and layered story that plays out much like a novel rather than a modern television drama. Created and written by Steve Zaillan, one of Hollywood’s most prolific writers, whose credits include Schindler’s List, Gangs of New York and Moneyball. The Night Of has you hooked from the first episode and it stays with you long after the credits have rolled.
The Night Of box set is available now on Amazon with a sale price of $29.99 (40% off)
4) Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a brilliant HBO comedy satire partially inspired by creator Mike Judge’s own experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the late 1980s. Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) is shy, reclusive programmer who creates a game-changing data compression algorithm that becomes the catalyst that inspires him to quit his job, start a company and enter the world of Silicon Valley start-ups. Richard and his new miss-matched team of socially challenged engineers and an awkwardly timid business manager must navigate this cut-throat industry. With a staggering 250 advisors used throughout its 3 seasons, Silicon Valley is amazingly accurate. Which actually makes it even funnier. With 30 minute episodes that are fast-paced and ridiculously funny, Silicon Valley makes it ideal for binging in January.
Season 1 box set of Silicon Valley is available now on Amazon with a sale price of $16.99 (6% off)
3) Better Call Saul
From the mind of Vince Gilligan, the highly acclaimed creator of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is the prequel story of one of Breaking Bad’s most notable characters. Fast-talking lawyer Saul Goodman is the go-to legal representative for much of the criminal underworld of Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, before he was known as Saul Goodman he was Jimmy McGill. We follow Jimmy’s trials and tribulations as he navigates his way through the early years of his legal life. Often finding himself in precarious situations it is clear that with Jimmy, the line between moral and immoral, legal and illegal, is easily crossed. Better Call Saul is very much trying to distance itself from most of the shows on TV these days. It is slow-paced, creatively shot, humorous, violent and downright strange at times. All of this makes it a very distinctive and often mesmerising series. Many argue that it is even better than Breaking Bad. We’ll leave that debate for another day. In the meantime, ahead of season 3 three airing later this year you can catch up now on seasons one and two.
Season 1 box set of Better Call Saul is available now on Amazon for $24.99
Atlanta debuted on our screens in 2016 and is by far one of the best TV shows to come out in many years. It is an amazingly confident creation from the mind of writer, rapper, actor and all-round hard worker Donald Glover. The story follows Earn (Glover) a college dropout who is desperate to start making something out of his life. Earn tries to provide for his child and ex-girlfriend by helping to manage his cousin’s rap career. Atlanta is a nuanced series with surreal humour that has you laughing but then quickly wondering are you actually supposed to laugh?! The time dedicated to each character (and even the minor supporting roles) allows you to invest in them immediately and is a testament to Glover’s lack of ego. The writing is so clever and unapologetic it is a breath of fresh air. The surprise of year for us. It really is very, very good.
Season 1 of Atlanta is available to download now from Amazon for $22.99
1) Stranger Things
When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront dark government agencies and malevolent supernatural forces in order to get him back. This hugely successful Netflix series captured the imagination of audiences around the world in 2016. With a unique nostalgic feel, Stranger Things harpers back to a time when movies and TV shows seemed to be simpler. The world fell in love the characters, particularly the wonderful kids, superbly portrayed by unknown young actors (who are now global stars). The thrillingly suspenseful story has you on the edge of your seat throughout and quickly loading up the next episode as you can’t wait to what happens next. The much anticipated second season has begun production, so if your one of the handful of people who didn’t actually watch this series last year, then catching up now is a must. And, if you have watched Stranger Things already, it’s always worth a second viewing – if even to spot the countless 80’s movie references.
Season 1 of Stranger Things is available now on Netflix
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