It might not have the fame or popularity of Netflix or Amazon Video, but Now TV – Sky’s internet-based video streaming service – has an increasingly impressive library, especially if you’re more interested in big name movies than TV series.
But, as with all streaming services, the sheer size of Now TV’s library can be somewhat daunting when you’re looking for something to watch. To save you being paralysed by choice, we’ve trawled through the Now TV archive to find the best TV shows and films to stream.
Whether you’re looking for comedy, drama, documentary or action, there’s something for you below.
Back to the Future Trilogy
We could mention something about hitting 88mph, or talk about how where we’re going, we won’t need roads, but there’s no point. You’ve heard it all before, and you know all the lines inside out. Why? Because the Back to the Future movies are engrained into all of our heads. They’ve got it all – time travel, a mad scientist, 80s nostalgia, action, hoverboards, and more easter eggs than you can shake a Gibson ES-345 at. So what if the guitar itself came out two years after Marty’s high school dance? Just enjoy the show, man.
J. K. Simmons’ portrayal of a neurotic jazz conductor still haunts our inner insecurities to this day. Verbally and physically abusive to his students in a bid to push them beyond their limits to absolute musical greatness, each and every scene with him and lead student Andrew Neiman is crackling with tension. Does he get results? Yes, but at a cost we’d never be willing to pay. We’ll stick to shredding on the triangle, thank you very much.
Mads Mikkelsen is, quite frankly, one of the most watchable actors of his generation, and never more so than when in the immaculate suits of this TV incarnation of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
As per the original books, Lecter is a psychiatrist brought in to assist FBI profiler Will Graham, but it’s not long before the doctor is taking advantage of his position and manipulating the fragile Graham.
This is pretty high-brow stuff, chock-full of startling imagery, Lynchian characters and dinner scenes that will make your stomach growl – a little unsettling once you know what’s in most of them.
Voiced by H. Jon Benjamin (the man behind Sterling Archer’s vocal cords), Bob Belcher is an average bloke trying to make a living for his family by doing what he does best – flipping burgers. Compared to the Griffins or the Smiths, the Belchers are (relatively) normal, though full of enough quirks and uniquely-delivered dialogue to provide plenty of laughs.
It’s more story-driven than Family Guy, falling more in line with American Dad in that sense, but it’s carved out its own unique spot amongst its rivals and deserves to stand up there with them. Well worth a look if you’ve grown tired of Family Guy‘s senseless cutaway gags.
Forget the unnecessary 2014 reboot – if it’s a RoboCop you’re going to watch, it has to be the Paul Verhoeven-directed original. On one level an ultra-violent futuristic thriller about a cybernetic policeman battling to take down a criminal gang, it’s also a deft satire on the corporatisation and militarisation of law enforcement. OTT in the best possible way.
Hank Moody is a writer, but he behaves – and is treated – like a rock star. It’s all Hollywood parties and excess in all its most debauched forms. It’s glorious to watch in the same way Entourage was when its characters were at the peak of their success. What’s more fun than watching someone living the dream?
The show’s guilty of getting a little too bogged down in the relationship between Hank and his paramour and “baby momma” Karen, but Duchovny plays the roguish charm so well that it’s always pretty irresistible. And an outrageous sexual encounter or improbable cameo is never far away. Marilyn Manson and Tim Minchin pop up in the final series, for heaven’s sake.
If you’ve never seen Rocky you’ll probably have made a few assumptions about it already. After all, it’s a film about boxing which stars everyone’s favourite meathead Sylvester Stallone. Not only that, but its plot – affable loser, struggling to stay afloat in a harsh world, gets a shot at the big time – sounds, well, like a walking, talking cliché.
But Rocky is no brain-dead punch fest. What it is, is a film with an enormous heart that somehow manages to never be cheesy. Much of that is probably due to its origins: it was written by the then completely unknown Stallone, who somehow convinced the producers to also let him star in it. Stallone’s own outsider status undoubtedly helped it avoid feeling like a typically slushy Hollywood drama and lends it a proper authenticity.
Besides all that it’s also just a great watch: we challenge anyone to watch the famous training sequence that peaks with Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art without breaking out into a massive grin.
Not since The Sopranos has there been a mainstream television show where so much goes on behind the surface, and so much is left for the viewer to interpret.
Mad Men is, on the face of it, a drama series about people who work in advertising in 1960s New York, and it succeeds on that level thanks to a fantastic cast of characters, an intriguing plot and an almost absurd amount of attention to period detail. But really – like The Sopranos – it’s a show about capitalist America, a show about family, a show about what it is to be a human being. Whoa, man.
You could probably call it existentialist if you were feeling fancy, and you’d be well within your rights – but it’s devilishly witty, moving and entertaining with it. It may be the most painstakingly crafted television show of all time, and it’s certainly among the finest.
You’re reading Stuff, so you’re a tech fan. Which means you’re the target market for this satirical sitcom from Mike “Beavis and Butthead” Judge, which skewers California start-up culture as it follows the peaks and troughs of compression service Pied Piper and its crew of socially dysfunctional creators. As crude and raucous as it is insightful about the nature of the tech biz, Silicon Valley is one of the few genuinely funny sitcoms that doesn’t make you feel stupider the more you watch.
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones probably doesn’t need much of an introduction from us – it’s probably the most popular new TV show of the past five years, and certainly the biggest in terms of production values. But for those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past seven years: it’s a dark fantasy epic with a cast of dozens (including a good handful of non-humans) and an utterly gripping twist-riddled plot spanning continents, years and taking in several wars along the way.
With the seventh (and penultimate) season due to air in July, Now TV has brought back the box sets of the previous six. If you’re up for a blood-soaked binge session, now’s the perfect time.
A decade before Westworld started glueing our eyeballs to the telly, another of HBO’s prestige TV shows was exploring the Old West in a very different way – albeit with similar levels of sex and violence, and much worse language.
Deadwood, like the best westerns, probes beyond the cosy myths and clichés of noble gunslingers and bad hombres, flipping expectations upside down as it follows the lives of various colourful inhabitants of a lawless frontier town.
Gritty and compelling, it’s brilliant binge material – but sadly ends in quite an odd, unsatisfying spot, having been cancelled unceremoniously. Rumour has it a feature-length movie is coming to give this story the ending it deserves – so why not prepare for that by watching the whole thing right now?
Jurassic Park‘s masterful mixture of special effects and CGI means that its visuals impress to this very day, more than 20 years after its release. Being big dino fans in our youth, this movie had it all – big teeth, gigantic beasts, and just enough humour to lighten the mood in between scenes brimming with terrifying suspense. We still get the odd recurring T-rex nightmare even now and – wait, can you hear that thumping?
Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters
Starting life in the unpromising guise of a series of web shorts for chemical-packed lager-water Fosters, Mid Morning Matters is now a Sky-owned show – and hence available to stream on the Sky-owned Now TV. And for Steve Coogan fans seeking more of Alan’s time-worn brand of awkward, cliché-ridden, foot-in-mouth patter, it’s absolutely brilliant; a snackable form of Partridge – set entirely in his local radio studio – that exhibits everything we love to hate about Norwich’s most famous export since Colman’s Mustard.
A Sky original – and thus exclusive to Now TV at the moment – Fortitude is an icy, dark drama with a superb ensemble cast. Like a cross between John Carpenter’s The Thing, Twin Peaks and The Andromeda Strain, the taut thrills come thick and fast as the mysteries of this arctic Norwegian town unfold. Fortitude is a place where the hungry polar bears are the least of your worries, as a London detective – played somewhat incongruously by the very American Stanley Tucci (don’t worry, they explain it) – finds out very quickly after he flies in to investigate a brutal murder.
Now TV has recently added the second series too.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
We’d waited over 30 years for a decent Star Wars film to be made, and J.J. Abrams didn’t let us down. This is a gripping space adventure with relatable characters, superb effects and a sense of pace that banishes memories of the prequel trilogy’s wooden, dead-eyed awfulness.
At times, The Force Awakens feels like fan service, a tribute to the original trilogy (and A New Hope in particular) that’ll have you mentally totting up the references and callbacks – lightsaber duels, bleepy droids, spaceship dogfights, alien-packed cantinas, sacrifice, a big evil space weapon! – but it features enough emotional heft and storytelling vim to stand on its own.
Nowadays we take intelligently written, beautifully shot big budget television series for granted – but a couple of decades ago such programmes (bar the odd miniseries) were a rarity. Then along came HBO and David Chase’s The Sopranos, a long-running drama about the New Jersey mob, family and millennial America.
Gripping, funny, moving and often hard to watch, this show made a bone fide star of the late James Gandolfini, who excels, attracts and repels in equal measure as angst-ridden mafia boss Tony Soprano.
Every single episode of what might be the greatest TV show ever is currently available on Now TV, so if you haven’t watched it already – or it’s been a few years since you did and you’re missing Paulie Walnuts, Silvio, Big Pussy and Christopher – grab yourself a bin bag full of snacks, several gallons of your preferred bevvie and get settled in for a mobster marathon.
Lawrence of Arabia
Clocking in at a bum-numbing 216 minutes, David Lean’s biopic of mercurial British Army officer T.E. Lawrence is epic in every sense of the word (when first released, it had an actual intermission in the middle so cinema-goers could stretch their legs).
Stunning desert vistas, grand battles, a cast of thousands and some of the best acting talent of the time all go towards making Lawrence of Arabia an unforgettable film about war, Empire, loyalty, individual brilliance and, yes, what happens when foreign powers meddle in the affairs of the Middle East. There’s no better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The Godfather trilogy
Look, if you haven’t seen The Godfather and The Godfather Part II by now, stop reading this and just go watch it. And then maybe watch the third one just to round things out, even though it’s a bit of a dud by comparison.
Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia epic spans a generation, weaving the tale of a Sicilian immigrant who becomes a powerful mobster and his son, who strives to turn his father’s “business” into a legitimate concern but finds it impossible to keep his two families together without getting his hands dirty. With fantastic performances all round and a true sense of scale and grandeur that no later mob movie has ever matched, The Godfather trilogy (or at least the first two thirds of it) can rightly be called one of the greatest feats in cinematic history.
No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men always felt like the most screen-adaptable of Cormac McCarthy’s novels, and with the Coen brothers at the helm it would have taken some kind of disaster to stop this movie from becoming an instant classic. And it is, thanks to not only the source material and its sympathetic treatment by two of America’s finest filmmakers, but due to strong performances from Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Tommy Lee Jones and, most memorably, Javier Bardem as a philosophising, seemingly unstoppable mass murderer. If you like your thrillers as contemplative and lyrical as they are nail-biting, look no further.
There’s a new generation of people who didn’t grow up with Wayne’s World. Could that be why the world’s in such a state at the moment? We’re not saying that but the evidence speaks for itself. If you know someone who’s never seen it, sit them down in front of Mike Myers’ finest moment and introduce them to the Mirthmobile, gun racks, Grey Poupon, the Suck Kut, and Alice Cooper in Milwaukee (which is actually pronounced “Mill-e-wah-que”). The world will be a better place for it.