The best TV shows on Binge

A guided tour through the halls of HBO's new home.

Foxtel’s drama streaming sidecar Binge has become the on-demand destination for some of the best, and most popular, TV shows in modern history. But with over 900 series to choose from, navigating the labyrinth of top-shelf telly can be a little overwhelming. We’re hoping we can save you from the endless scroll with our monthly recommendations for the best TV shows streaming on Binge (you can find out top picks for movies here).

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Dave

2020, FX

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
1Comedy2020Stream it

At the start of quarantine, quiet nights at home quickly became the worst setting possible for an intense TV drama, so I turned to comedy. I returned to a few of the classics; Curb, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Nathan For You, but I was desperate for something new. That’s about when I stumbled across Dave, a biopic series about comedy rapper Lil Dicky. Coming from the producers of Curb Your Enthusiasm, you can expect a fair deal of cringe comedy as a socially inept Lil Dicky claws his way through the world of American Hip Hop.

Dave isn’t shy of some good old fashioned gross out comedy, but I was surprised to find as much heart as I did digging further into its debut season. At times, the comedy takes a backseat to the fledgling love shared between a mismatched group of friends. Eventually, it leads to some real tearjerker moments before swerving quickly back into its musical comedy lane with surprisingly solid tunes like My Dick Sucks. 

The Leftovers

2014 – 2017, HBO

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
1Sci-fi drama2019Stream it

If you were left reeling after the Watchmen’s finale, you might be disappointed to know there are no solid plans with a second season. Showrunner Damon Lindelof cut his teeth on Lost, where he proved he wasn’t afraid to leave some questions unanswered (for better or worse). But none of Lindelof’s work will leave you with as many questions as The Leftovers. Not loose-end questions, that sort of manufactured intrigue that Lost  was criticised for, questions you’re happy to explore and continue exploring long after the credits have rolled. We’re now three years from The Leftovers Season 3 finale, and it’s still a show I think about constantly.

I know a lot of people gave the first season a shot and dropped off after a few episodes, but I can’t recommend persevering enough. Season 2 and 3 go beyond the novel’s source material into some truly wild and fascinating places (including the Australian outback for the majority of Season 3).

If you never even took a crack at Season 1, the general gist is this: Three years after 3% of the world’s population disappears, the residents of small town Mapleton, New York are still grieving for the friends and family they lost in the ‘Departure’. It features historic performances from Justin Theroux, Ann Dowd, Amy Brenneman, and Christopher Eccleston as some of Mapleton’s most broken residents, but Carrie Coon is a revelation as Nora Durst, a government worker who lost more than most in the departure.

Watchmen

2018, HBO

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
1Sci-fi drama2019Stream it

The famously ‘unadaptable’ graphic novel Watchmen was always going to be comfortable on the small screen. The politically-charged alternative history superhero epic is far too dense for a feature-length film. I’m personally a big Snyder apologist, and I think his effort to cram such a complex narrative into a cinema-sized serving should be celebrated. But there’s no doubt that it was always going to be better served as a TV series.

Still, Watchmen’s history with on-screen adaptations was enough fuel for a few nay-sayers to bet against the 2019 series before release. What we got, in the end, was not an adaptation of the same story, but rather a continuation, or sequel, set in a future that more closely resembled today’s political climate. And to sweeten the deal, it was brought to life by Leftovers’ alumni Regina King (in the lead role as Sister Night), and creator Damon Lindelof.

While it’s not required reading, knowing the original Watchmen story will help you understand some of  the show’s weirder elements. It won’t give you all the context you need, but you can catch the 2009 movie over on Netflix if you can’t find a copy of the book.

Atlanta

2016 – present, FX

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
2Drama-comedy2016Stream it

Only two seasons of Donald Glover’s comedy-drama series of Atlanta are currently released but seasons three and four are already in the works, with both set to release in 2021. If you’re arriving late to this FX series, Atlanta follows Glover’s Earn – a young university dropout trying to prove to his ex-girlfriend Van (Zazie Beetz) that he can provide for her and their baby daughter, Lottie.

Earn reconnects with his cousin, Alfred, a rapper that goes by the name of Paper Boi, and quickly takes up the vacant position as the rising star’s manager. That’s the loose gist of it, anyway. Atlanta often detours into emotional, hilarious and absurd subplots, with occasional and unexplained departures from reality.

Atlanta’s Earn exists somewhere between Glover’s bubbly Troy Barnes, and his musical persona Childish Gambino. If you’re a fan of either of those, pay Atlanta a visit.

Doom Patrol

2019 – present, DC Universe

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
2Sci-fi drama2019Stream it

If DC’s TV show efforts haven’t interested you so far, you’re not alone. There’s something about the soap-opera sheen on CW’s superhero shows that just doesn’t gel with me. So I was wary when I first scouted Doom Patrol, DC’s original series for its own streaming service in America. But Doom Patrol is nothing like Arrow, or Flash. It’s a more mature comic-book adaptation with a cracking sense of humour, and its multi-pronged character arcs aren’t afraid to go to some dark places. It also has at least two of the most heartfelt scenes/episodes I’ve ever seen in a DC series or movie.

It’s not Doom Patrol’s more mature themes that make it such an exceptional adaptation, it’s the superhero slant on the “found family” trope and the tender handling of each characters’ struggle and redemption. Oh, and Brendan Fraser. Brendan Fraser also makes it worth watching.

Succession

2018 – present, HBO

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
2Drama-comedy2018Stream it

Dramas about rich people problems aren’t typically my cup of tea, and there was nothing about Succession’s marketing that convinced me it wasn’t just another Billions. But what I didn’t realise until consuming both seasons over a single week was that Succession doesn’t actually glorify the wealthy elite, rather tears them apart limb from limb with whip-smart satire and a healthy serving of schadenfreude.

Brian Cox is perfectly cast as a Super Saiyan-level bastard, Logan Roy; the Roy family patriarch and co-founder of a fictional media giant Waystar Royco that is maybe definitely based on Murdoch’s media empire.

In my opinion, Succession is HBO’s best replacement for Game of Thrones. It has all the familial conflict and back-stabbing, but it’s much wittier.

Devs

2020, FX

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
1Sci-fi drama2020Stream it

Very few writers and directors get an automatic pass when they bugger about with complex science fiction topics but Alex Garland is a creator that warrants season tickets, even when the science feels flimsy (see: Sunshine). Garland’s track record of bringing fascinating sci-fi worlds to screen was topped with 2018’s Annihilation on Netflix (easily one of the best flicks on the service). So when Garland’s television debut on FX was first announced, we started counting down the days, and we weren’t disappointed with the results.

Devs takes place in a Google-ish tech campus run by a Mirror Universe Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) where a mystery project is taking place. When software engineer Lily Chan’s boyfriend Sergei ascends to DEVS godhood, the career opportunity seems like a dream come true. But Sergei doesn’t return from his first day on the job, and Lily’s quest for answers leads her down a rabbit hole as the true nature of DEVS reveals itself over the season.

Devs is a limited, single-season series, so there’s no further commitment past what’s currently available, making it the perfect weekend binge.

Chernobyl

2019, HBO

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
1Historical drama2019Stream it

With no flesh-eating zombies, serial killers, or vampires involved, Chernobyl still manages to be the scariest TV show on this list. The fallout from the 1986 nuclear disaster in Pryp’yat’ is portrayed so graphically, your first instinct is to assume there’s been some embellishment for the sake of drama – then you do your research and realise that it’s an almost entirely accurate retelling.

The impact of the accident can be hard to stomach at times, but the attempted cover-ups, sheer ignorance of the powers that be, and the buddy cop duo of Stellan Skarsgård and Jared Harris make for a compelling drama.

Game of Thrones

2011 – 2019, HBO

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
8Fantasy drama2011Stream it

What’s there to say about Game of Thrones that hasn’t been said already. It’s the most popular and most expensive drama in history, and if you’re reading this list, you’ve probably already seen it. If the TV show’s divisive ending left a bad taste in your mouth, we’d recommend revisiting the show’s glory days (roughly seasons 1 to 4).

If the disappointment is too fresh, there’s more to see in the Game of Thrones Binge Centre, a home for every season, plus behind the scenes docos, cast interviews and more.

What We Do in the Shadows

2019 – present, FX

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
2Fantasy comedy2019Stream it

When the U.S., adapts a British, or in this case, Kiwi comedy, the results are often disastrous. We had zero faith in the TV adaptation of Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows but the end product is an utter delight. Thankfully, it’s Jemaine Clement’s hand at the tiller, and the leading vampires; Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetriou, and Matt Berry; are lovable substitutes to the original cast.

Unlike a lot of U.S. adaptations, What We Do in the Shadows doesn’t recycle the same jokes as the original, rather continues that joke with new and hilarious setups and punchlines.

The Sopranos

1999 – 2007, HBO

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
6Crime drama1999Stream it

If The Sopranos’ near-unanimous praise hasn’t been enough to get you tied up in Tony’s troubled and twisted family crime-drama, then it’s time to pull out the gabagool (capicola) , whipped cream, Neapolitan ice cream and buckle up for a Bada Binge.

Every season of the HBO classic is now streaming on Binge.

The Walking Dead

2010 – present, FX

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
10Horror-drama2010Stream it

Even though the ever-popular zombie apocalypse series has never been shy of killing off main characters, over the past few years, a large portion of the primary cast just up and left. But even after losing some of its most notable and interesting players, The Walking Dead just won’t die.

Now in its tenth season, The Walking Dead is still ambling along somewhere in Georgia, with a few OG survivors, and an army of faceless randoms ripe for the picking.

To be blunt, I dropped off a few seasons back when my favourite character met the business end of a baseball bat after a needlessly vague cliffhanger. But I’ll still go to bat for those earlier seasons, and the enduring popularity of the show years later speaks for itself.

For years, Foxtel was the only option for Australians when it came to streaming The Walking Dead but with the advent of Binge, there’s a friendlier and more affordable option in town.

Castle Rock

2018 – present, Hulu

SeasonsGenreFirst AiredWatch on Binge
2Thriller-mystery2018Stream it

If you’ve ever spent time in Stephen King’s fictional version of Maine, you’ve probably heard of the mysterious town Castle Rock. King’s Castle Rock is a town with inseparable ties to tragedy, a place where bad luck permeates the lives of everyone living in it.

The Castle Rock TV series isn’t based on any one Stephen King story, it’s a menacing medley of King’s characters and themes, repurposed to tell a new story each season.

Season 1, for example, revolves around a cover-up at the Shawshank Correctional Facility, where a young man is discovered, locked up for most of his adult life. The reason for his unlawful incarceration drives the first season’s mystery, implicating some notable characters from King’s literary works, such as Alan Pangborn, a police officer from Needful Things and The Dark Half, and the niece of Jack Torrance from The Shining. But the connections don’t stop there, a lot of the casting has throwbacks to King adaptations too, such as IT’s Bill Skarsgård (minus the Pennywise makeup), and Carrie’s Sissy Spacek.

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