Orange is the New Black. Image: Netflix.
Orange is the New Black. Image: Netflix.

1. Arrested Development

This is the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together.

Acknowledged as one of the greatest comedies of our time, Arrested Development boasts one of the best ensemble casts currently on TV. Having been cancelled in 2006 due to the writers’ strike, it was resurrected in 2013 by Netflix for a fourth season.

2. House of Cards

Political thriller exploring the seedy underbelly of Washington DC, starring Kevin Spacey.

This is told from the perspective of a ruthless, up-and-coming congressmen, willing to claw his way to the top by any means necessary. It is a compelling piece of television that sheds new light on background government politics.

3. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Comedy about five narcissistic, borderline psychotic friends running a pub in Philadelphia.

This one is slightly more subject to taste. It involves a lot of shouting, arguments and competitions between five thoroughly unlikeable characters, one of whom is played by Danny Devito. It’s also very, very funny, if that’s your sort of thing.

4. Orange Is the New Black

Comedy about a young woman’s experience of life in a women’s prison.

This show can easily be classed as one of Netflix original’s runaway successes. Noted for its exceptional character development, this show has been named as the successor to Weeds.

5. Black Books

Classic British comedy detailing the surreal misadventures of three Londoners running a bookshop.

With cameos from many of the biggest names in British comedy, Simon Pegg and Martin Freeman to name a couple, this show earns its place in the pantheon of great British TV, despite only running for three short series.

6. Louis Theroux

The journalist investigates the stranger aspects of American subculture. 

Making for interesting viewing, these documentaries manage not to make their subjects the point of ridicule, mainly due to the respect with which Louis Theroux treats them. The one about the Westboro Baptist Church is particularly fascinating.

7. Lilyhammer

A mobster is placed in the witness protection programme and ends up in Lillehammer, Norway.

Another Netflix original, this fish out of water comedy-drama is well worth the watch. Steve Van Zandt, of Sopranos fame, plays the mobster in question against a backdrop of beautiful Norwegian scenery, making for compelling television.

8. The Bridge

Scandinavian murder mystery series centred on the bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden.

If you can deal with the subtitles, then The Bridge is some of the most addictive television on our screens at the moment. It’s part of the wave of Nordic television that’s recently become popular, but the second series in particular stands out as exceptional.

9. Life On Mars

A policeman is shot in present day and wakes up in the 1970s. It’s much better than it sounds.

Beyond the bizarre concept, this show is one of the most creative and engaging in the BBC’s repertoire. Despite running for only two seasons in this incarnation (Ashes to Ashes would follow) it is truly outstanding, due in part to its terrific cast and in part to its crackling script. Anyone looking for some enjoyable TV with substance would be well served here.

10. Wilfred

A man recovering from a suicide attempt sees his neighbour’s dog as an Australian man in a dog suit.

Much under-appreciated, Wilfred is actually a terrifically funny comedy. Frodo (Elijah Wood trying not to be Frodo) spends the series trying to understand the odd situation he finds himself in upon meeting Wilfred. This exploration of what’s happened to him to make him see a dog as a person prevents the show from being too silly and keeps you invested until the very end.

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