From Emmy and Golden Globe winners, to knockout seasons of annual favourites and hot new shows deserving of all the buzz, it was a great year for binge-watching.
1. Westworld: Season 1
HBO’s brilliant new sci-fi series expands on the core themes of Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name, raising questions on the nature of consciousness and the danger of playing God, and crafting an intriguing central mystery with more twists than a strand of DNA.
2. Game of Thrones: Season 7
Winter is finally here and the penultimate season of HBO’s fantasy phenomenon moves the players into position for the endgame. Characters and story arcs finally converge after six long years, and a reduced episode count results in more urgent pacing and bonus battle scenes.
3. The Crown: Season 1
The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning historical series offers a fascinating insight into modern royalty. The chain of events that swept Princess Elizabeth inexorably toward the throne, and the early years of her reign, are lavishly detailed over ten exquisitely produced and performed episodes.
4. American Gods: Season 1
Bryan Fuller and Michael Green bring fantasy favourite Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel to lurid life with potent imagery, a pervading sense of dread, biting cultural commentary, and impeccable casting. A dark and delirious journey into the mystical underbelly of America.
5. The Leftovers: Season 3
Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta’s enigmatic series was never about what actually happened to the two per cent of the world’s population that disappeared. It’s always been a layered character study, and the final season brings a satisfying sense of closure for both dramatis personae and viewers.
6. Legion: Season 1
FX’s venture into the X-Men universe is one of the boldest treatments of comic book superheroes to date. Its genius lies in having the events unfold mostly inside its mutant protagonist’s fractured psyche (like Mr. Robot), resulting in a trippy and cerebral take on the line between mental illness and superpowers.
7. Vikings: Season 4
The History Channel series took a huge risk this season that few shows would be gutsy enough to attempt. What feels like an ending is actually a whole new beginning that furthers the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons, and takes the series in new and unexpected directions.
8. Planet Earth II
Sir David Attenborough and the BBC Natural History team remain the benchmark for wildlife documentaries, and this follow-up to the 2006 series is every bit as breathtaking – and shot for UHD viewing. From islands and jungles to deserts and cities, witness rarely seen animal behaviour in stunning 4K.
9. The Expanse: Season 1
A new sci-fi series that’s shaping up to be every bit as gritty and gripping as the revamped Battlestar Galactica. Adapted from the series of novels by James S.A. Corey, it’s space opera blended with detective noir and geopolitical intrigue, set in a near future where humankind has colonised the solar system.
10. Big Little Lies
The multi-Emmy winner weaves a murder mystery into a suburban melodrama involving three upper middle class Monterey moms and the illusion of perfection they struggle to maintain. Adapted from the best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty (which was set in Sydney) and one of the most talked about shows of 2017.