The 10 best TV shows to stream on Hotstar

What to watch on Hotstar's streaming service. Updated for February 2018
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It might lack the overall cachet of Netflix and Amazon Prime, but Hotstar is a streaming service worth shouting about. 

Not only does Hotstar feature a best-in-class Movies package (see our recommendations from that line-up here), it also offers access to hundreds of TV shows and documentaries under the same 'Premium' banner.

There's a lot of stuff to sift through on Hotstar but as always, we're here to help. How? By picking out 10 shows we think you should watch, that's how.

*Additional words: Khumail Thakur

AMERICAN CRIME STORY (S2): The Assassination of Gianni Versace

The second season of American Crime Story is here and it's very bit engrossing as season one that touched upon the trials of O J Simpson. This time, it's about the murder of Gianni Versace, the designer and the founder of the world-renowned brand Versace.

Even if you think that the world knows what happened, the show really keeps you on the edge of your seat with its razor-sharp script and stellar acting by Darren Criss that will keep you cringing. Oh and Penélope Cruz is playing Donatella Versace and Ricky Martin takes in most of the screen time playing Gianni Versace's lover. Woah! 

Watch American Crime Story (S2): The Assassination of Gianni Versace on Hotstar

Big Little Lies

It’s not often a TV series manages to land Hollywood royalty like Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, but Big Little Lies isn’t your average show. A miniseries (albeit one that, owing to its success, is now set for a second season) based on the novel of the same name, it’s a briskly paced, tightly written, impeccably directed and lavish production with a fantastic soundtrack and a tone that hovers between somewhere menace, comedy and drama as it tracks a few months in the lives of a collection of families in swanky Californian coastal town Monterey.

The story opens in the aftermath of an apparent murder, but we don’t know the victim and we don’t know the perpetrator – in fact, we don’t know anything about the setting or the characters at all. This foreshadowing of violence is used brilliantly by veteran writer David E Kelley and director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyer’s Club), as we’re kept guessing as to what (or who) went down right up until the final reel of the final episode.

Watch Big Little Lies on Hotstar

Band of Brothers

There’s a strong argument to be made that the “Golden Age of Television” in which we now apparently live started here, with this glorious 2001 World War II miniseries made by HBO (not to mention the BBC, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks).

Boasting mammoth production values (at the time of its making, it was the most expensive TV show ever), a cast of dozens and an impeccable script, Band of Brothers tells the story of the war from the perspective of Easy Company, a US Army parachute company. Stretching from Easy’s jump training through their deployment on D-Day to the very end of the war in Europe, with each of its 10 episodes bookended by interviews from the real-life veterans on which the story is based, it’s compelling from start to finish, and will likely leave you in floods of tears by the end.

Watch Band of Brothers on Hotstar

Dexter

Just what is it about Dexter? What is it, within an apparently straightforward contemporary drama series – police department employee with dark secret – that let it get green lights all the way through to eight seasons and 96 episodes? Its sunny Miami setting, perhaps?

It's certainly not hampered by its charming titular protagonist and his goodly mix of attractive and/or amusing cohorts. Nor by its slick production. So it must be those moments when Dexter – both the character and show – hovers, knife already bloodied, unsure of itself... And then does what you thought it wouldn't.

Watch Dexter on Hotstar

Billions

Think of Billions as the high-finance counterpart to House of Cards and you won’t be far off the mark.

Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti are superb as, respectively, the win-at-all-costs head of a massive hedge fund and the win-at-all-costs district attorney determined to put him behind bars, although both are thoroughly upstaged by the even better Maggie Siff as the woman who keeps both at the top of their game.

It can get a bit bogged down in financial jargon - unless you’re a hedge-fund manager yourself, you’ll likely not understand a word of what’s being discussed at times - but that’s never really a problem, because this isn’t really a show about global financial markets. Well, no more so than Game of Thrones is really a show about dragons.

Instead, it’s a show about power and whether the kind you can buy is more important than the kind you earn. Well worth a watch.

Watch Billions on Hotstar

THE STRAIN

Created by that master of creepy fantasy movies Guillermo del Toro with Chuck Hogan, and based on the books the pair wrote together, The Strain takes some familiar tropes - vampires, a deadly plague, the collapse of society, a rogue scientist battling to save the day - and manages to make a fresh-feeling show out of them.

Four seasons are available on Hotstar and while it gets a bit muddled halfway through season two, it’s well worth watching if you’re a fan of fantasy horror. 

Watch The Strain on Hotstar

QUARRY

What should be a happy return to Memphis and his wife after a tour in Vietnam becomes far less pleasant for Mac Conway when the local community shuns him as a result of his involvement in an apparent massacre.

Jobless and suffering from PTSD, Mac allows himself to be drawn into the world of contract killing, and so begins a very dark, gritty and tough TV series that revels in its 1970s Deep South setting.

Watch Quarry on Hotstar

Westworld

You thought Game of Thrones is the only best show out of HBO's stables? Think again. Westworld is a brilliant excuse for science fiction nuts to call in sick at work just to binge watch an entire season. You'll love this even if you ain't a big fan of science fiction, trust us.

The plot revolves around a theme park which is a massive playground for anyone looking for a wild west adventure. It's populated with android hosts that are indistinguishable from humans and you can do anything and everything possible, given you have the bucks to support your weird fantasies obviously.

Amazing plot line backed by an amazing cast with the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris filling your small screening will leave you waiting for season 2 in no time.

Watch Westworld on Hotstar

The Wire

Considered by many to be among the greatest TV series ever made, The Wire is a compelling crime show that’s far, far more than your common or garden police procedural.

Set in Baltimore, Maryland (or Bodymore, Murderland as the graffiti in its opening credits puts it), its five seasons take a novelistic approach to detailing the interplay between the city’s power structures, all the way from the mayor’s office to the corner boy crack dealers. As much as The Wire is driven by its season-spanning plots and huge cast of wonderful yet believable characters, it’s perhaps its brutal examination of the failure of American institutions – politics, the press, schools, the police force – that cements its status as one of the 21st century’s best TV shows so far.

Watch The Wire on Hotstar

Deadwood

Whenever we talk about the greatest TV shows to suffer an untimely cancellation, Deadwood is the name that comes first to most people’s lips – and the ones that don’t say it probably just haven’t seen it yet.

David Milch’s Old West drama, set in the eponymous frontier town, is so much more than a simple tale of grizzled gamblers and driven lawmen. It’s more like a rich, ugly, booze- and tobacco-stained tapestry, encompassing so many threads of early American life that it’s almost novelistic in its scope and detail.

That detail came at a huge budgetary cost, which is why HBO decided to cancel it after three seasons, despite several storylines being very much unresolved. Keep that in mind while watching, but also retain a little bit of hope in your heart, because rumour has it a feature-length final instalment is coming to tie up all those loose ends and give Deadwood the send-off it so richly deserves.

Watch Deadwood on Hotstar