Whether it’s a robot uprising, a woman catfishing into the publishing world or a bunch of lovestruck islanders, Neon has you covered. Here’s what we’re bingeing on Neon for the foreseeable future.
Just in time for lockdown, there’s a buzz-worthy show with endless discussion points coming out on a weekly basis. Yup, it’s Westworld. In case you’re not aware: it’s set in an immersive theme park in the future filled with Hosts (robots who are uncannily like humans), where punters can live out their individual fantasies, be they related to sex, violence or general mayhem. Slowly, the Hosts begin to become self-aware, and all may not be as it seems. I should underline that: things are definitely not what they seem to be. Half the pleasure of the show is trying to figure out what the hell is going on – it’s as much of a mystery to the viewers as it is to the characters.
And don’t worry – we’re only two episodes into the third season at this point, and they’re released weekly so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up. When you get up to season three, we’ve even got a handy little primer for you. / Sam Brooks
We’ve all heard about The Wire. Vulture called it “the greatest drama of the past 25 years”, while the Guardian reckoned it might just be the best TV show ever made. It’s a television classic, but how many of us have actually watched all five seasons? Now’s your chance to soak up every moment of the gritty crime drama set in the drug-ridden streets of West Baltimore, where the lines between good and evil are forever blurred. The Wire is like a novel for the telly, with connecting characters, complex storylines and intricate details, all anchored in the brutal realities of inner-city America. Sixty episodes means there’s no hurry on this one, so get comfortable, you’re about to meet a masterpiece. / Tara Ward
Hands down: this was my favourite piece of television of 2019. Less an adaptation of the Moore comic and more a sequel to it; it took a blueprint and ran with it to create a show that reflected and commented on the current political climate. Better yet, it did so while giving us some of the best performances on TV (Regina King, Jean Smart, Hong Chau to name a few) and some of the most bewitching, captivating moments. Each episode feels like its own entry in the same universe, leading to one of the most satisfying and full experiences on television that I’ve had for some time. / SB
This feel-good comedy-drama about three best friends working in a New York women’s magazine ticks a heap of TV boxes. Smart, likeable characters? Tick. Storylines that tackle contemporary political and social issues, without getting too heavy? Tick. A distinct feminist viewpoint? Tick, tick, tick. Based on the real-life experiences of former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, The Bold Type follows Jane, Kat and Sutton as their professional and personal lives intersect in the offices of Scarlet magazine. Fun and feisty, with definite Sex and the City and Gossip Girl vibes. / TW
Come because you love the books. Stay because this is the best-realised version of Philip Pullman’s ridiculously successful, and tremendously good, series. While it makes Pullman’s steampunk-inspired, Catholic church gone wrong world feel a bit darker (though not so dark that you can’t share it with your kids), the best thing it does is enrich and give more life to the characters. This is particularly true of the adults; it really gets us into the heads of Ma Costa, Lord Asriel and especially Mr Coulter, and turns these paper figures into real-life flesh as we see them navigate this world, whether it’s struggling against the power of the Magisterium or executing that very power themselves. Also? The polar bear looks really cool. / SB
There are two gaps in my life that I didn’t even know were gaps: a lack of 30 Rock and a lack of Regina Hall. Thankfully, Black Monday fills both those gaps fantastically. The premise is inherently high-stakes: it revolves around a stock firm in 80s New York, run by Mo (Don Cheadle), who is basically a cooler version of Leonardo DiCapro’s character in Wolf of Wall Street, right before the stock market crash. It goes a bit darker than 30 Rock, but the rapid-fire jokes are entirely within that wheelhouse, and it goes even deeper, thanks to a career-topping performance by Regina Hall as Dawn, the beauty, brains and brawn behind the whole firm. / SB
Don’t be put off by the cutesy premise of Younger – it follows a 40-year-old woman sneaking her way back into the publishing world by pretending she’s 28 – because it’s one of the most heartfelt and wholesome things you’ll ever watch. Sutton Foster, one of the greatest actresses ever to step down from the stage onto the small screen, is entirely winning as Liza Miller, who gets a new high-stakes lease on life when she successfully worms her way back into the industry she’s loved her entire life. But what starts off as light-hearted corporate espionage quickly turns into a wholesome ensemble that will scratch the itch that Gilmore Girls gave you all those years ago. Plus: Hilary Duff! / SB
If you want something fabulously trashy to watch this pandemic, then go with the best: Love Island UK. A bunch of gorgeous young singletons self-isolate in a luxurious mansion for two months, their every pash and side-eye caught on camera, with the last couple winning £50,000. Yes, it’s problematic, and yes, you’ll have questions, but it’s also highly addictive, mostly thanks to the show’s snarky Scottish narrator who refuses to take any of it seriously. There are nearly 50 episodes of this reality beast, so drag the deck chair out of the garage, turn on every lightbulb in the room and escape into this fantasy world filled with beautiful people and eternal sunshine. / TW
Carrie Bradshaw worked from home before it was cool and/or a government directive, so what better way to pass the time than to hark back to the innocent days of Sex and the City. We loved SITC first time around for its fierce female characters, for the fabulous New York fashion, and for how the show unashamedly put female sexuality front and centre, in a way that TV had never done before.
Looking back, they were simpler times – no social media, no climate change worries, and definitely no four-week lockdown. But what hasn’t changed is the power of friendship between these four different women. No matter what happens to Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, they always have each other, and that’s a life lesson we all need right now. / TW
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.