MASTER OF NONE
Comedian Aziz Ansari plays jobbing actor Dev in this series about life, love and tacos. Actually, one suspects Ansari is really playing himself (his real-life parents even play his onscreen parents here) and a big part of the charm is watching him work through various subjects over the course of the series, which now features two full seasons.
It’s very self-obsessed and some will find the whimsy hard to stomach, but it's also funny, charming and occasionally thought-provoking. Well worth a few hours of your time.
AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE V OJ SIMPSON
It’s a testament to the slick brilliance of this docu-drama that despite EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOWING WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END it’s still shot through with near-constant tension and moments of utter disbelief. Truly, you finish almost every episode thinking ‘That’d never happen in real-life’ before remembering that yes, it did.
Maybe it’s the story we should be crediting, because it has everything: murder, sex, fame, money, race, power and John Travolta’s really odd-looking face. But at the same time it feels wrong to be positive about it, because the events depicted here are almost uniformly tawdry and leave almost all of the major players looking distinctly flawed. And, y’know, two people got killed.
Outside of the story itself, the reason why it all works is that the the script is razer-sharp and the acting excellent - Sarah Paulson is particularly good as lead prosecutor Marcia Clark, and Cuba Gooding Jr, David Schwimmer and Sterling K. Brown all shine too. The period detail also helps; despite the fact that these events took place only 20-odd years ago, it might as well have been 200, and you’re swiftly plunged back into a world of perms and mullets. Joy.
Has there been a more high-profile murder case this millennium than that of ‘Foxy Knoxy’ – the American student arrested as a 20-year-old in Perugia for the murder of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher?
Nearly a decade later she’s back home in Seattle having been acquitted by an Italian court. But if she didn’t do it, who did? Considering the amount of coverage the case received at the time – coverage that the film is keen to criticise for being OTT – it’s probably not surprising that it doesn’t reveal anything particularly new, although it does introduce us to tabloid journalist Nick Pisa, a man who makes Piers Morgan look like a shining example of his profession.
Knox’s one-to-one interviews are the most compelling part of the film, revealing a thoughtful, articulate woman who’s had plenty of time to think about what happened that day. It’s just a shame the film spends so long going over old ground, rather than examining what it’s like to live in the shadow of such a distressing crime.
A Netflix exclusive, this animated series features Arrested Development’s Will Arnett as the titular Horseman, a, er, “horse man” who enjoyed success while in a popular 1990s sitcom but now lives in a haze of booze and self-loathing as a washed-up former star.
Set in a skewed version of Hollywood in which humans live alongside anthropomorphic animals, BoJack Horseman features a strong cast (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul plays BoJack’s best friend Todd) and strong writing, and the 26 episodes available now (two seasons plus two specials) will be supplemented with a third season, due to arrive later in 2016.
What, did you think we'd forgotten? Breaking Bad has been praised to the heavens by critics and those members of the public who clap their hands over their ears and shriek "spoilers!" when you start talking about it. Of course we were going to put it in this list.
Bryan Cranston's Walter White is one of the great characters of modern fiction; a mild-mannered chemistry teacher whose cancer diagnosis prompts him to turn his skills to creating crystal meth – with the help of his former student Jesse. Series creator Vince Gilligan claims that he pitched the show as being the story of "a man who transforms himself from Mr Chips into Scarface." And where the early episodes play up White's hilariously incompetent attempts to enter the drugs trade, as the series progresses he develops into a genuinely chilling character.
Watch it. Now. If only so that you don't have to keep clapping your hands over your ears and shrieking "spoilers!" whenever anyone mentions it.
HOUSE OF CARDS
House Of Cards is still perhaps the jewel in Netflix's crown. With David Fincher behind the camera and Kevin Spacey in front of it as scheming Democratic Majority Whip Frank Underwood, its depiction of the White House as a cesspool of self-interested career politicians is light years away from The West Wing – and seeing Spacey's Machiavellian plots unfold is a delight.
The fourth season was added in its entirety in March 2016, so if you haven't already checked it out, now's the time to start.
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
Netflix’s second-best original series after House of Cards, this is a prison show that goes its own way: less brutal than Oz, less daft than Prison Break and more compelling than Prisoner Cell Block H, it’s a fish-out-of-water drama (based on a true story) in which a white, middle-class Brooklynite ends up in a low-security women’s jail for a crime committed almost a decade previous.
A character-driven show that uses Lost-style flashbacks to explore the pre-prison lives of the cast, Orange Is the New Black proved such a hit that a second season was swiftly commissioned and a third followed fairly shortly after that. Season 4 is due for a 17 June start date.