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Best boxsets: brilliant binge-worthy TV shows

Great shows to watch to pass the time.

Best boxsets: brilliant binge-worthy TV shows
Marc Chacksfield
03 September 2023

What makes a good boxset? They come in several flavours. For a suspense drama you might want show that has a separate story per season, in classic Kiefer Sutherland 24 fashion, getting its hooks into you while offering the reassurance of a sense of finality.

In a classic snackable comedy, short episodes and compelling character dynamics lull you into that calming cycle of chowing down on just another ep, just another chance to hang around with these fun characters.

Or for the most ambitious type of boxset show, there's a multi-season arc of a story that draws you further into epic world building with each episode. In each case, though, a great binge-ready boxset offers something to draw you through and keep you engaged, often until 3am in our case.

We've got examples of each type of boxset in our shortlist below. Think we should include your favourite show that's not currently represented? Submit your suggestions in the box below the article.

Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

1. The Americans

Stream now on Amazon

While the plot of a seemingly all-American family living in the US that turn out to be Russian spies may seem a little far fetched (ahem), The Americans is solid-gold television that has never quite risen to the stature that it deserves. Both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are mesmerising as the aforementioned couple and through its six seasons, the show rarely misses a beat.

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Timothy Olyphant was one of the highlights of The Mandalorian: Season 2 and his character reminded us of the sheriff he played in Justified, the fantastic series about a Deputy Marshall coming back to his hometown to police it.

Every good guy needs a bad guy of equal stature and Walton Goggins is just that, playing a horrific piece of work in such a sublime way that you almost start rooting for him. There are six seasons of this excellent show to get stuck into.

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Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

3. Schitt's Creek

Stream on Netflix now

Now that it is an Emmy winner (and it’s officially finished), you need to binge on Schitt's Creek. The main thing to say is that it does get better. It takes a few episodes to find its feet but once it enters its stride, the show about a family that had everything and lost nearly all of it, is fun, heartwarming and has six seasons full of filthy charm.

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A thinly veiled look at the writers’ room of Saturday Night Live, this is comedy at its finest. Creator Tina Fey has done a wondrous job of parodying both the show and the execs behind it, with a cast that’s just ace. Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and co are fantastic and the finale is one of the best for a show, ever. There are seven seasons to gorge on right now.

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One of the few on this list that is still on-going, The Expanse is still here thanks to fan support. This tale of politics and space shenanigans nearly exited the world early, but Jeff Bezos was a fan and decided to keep the show going. Given he owns both Amazon and Prime Video, this was a shrewd move by the billionaire and we're thankful as The Expanse just keeps getting better and better. Season 5 is currently streaming weekly, so there’s a lot to catch up on here.

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Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

6. Money Heist

Stream now on Netflix

Okay, this one may only have four seasons but a fifth is on the way and there's also a fascinating documentary about this Spanish crime drama. Each season is called a ‘part’ and it’s based on some of the most famous heists in the world. It’s the most-watched non-English language series on Netflix and is an absolute thrill ride. Don’t get us wrong, this one is a guilty pleasure, but it’s a boxset that will make the hours fly by.

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Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

7. Sons of Anarchy

Stream now on Netflix

A show so good that it deserves to be up there with the likes of The Sopranos in the God tier of bingeable boxsets. The show has been on Netflix for what feels like forever but if you still haven’t delved into this crime odyssey that’s positively Shakespearean in its tale of rival biker gangs in America, then we urge you to give it a go. There are seven seasons available and if you want to go further, then two series of spin-off Mayans MC are currently streaming on BBC iPlayer.

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This TV show is immensely binge-worthy, thanks to the sheer quality and engagement it exudes. But The Bear is also one to savour, as it’s one of the best productions of recent years. You can binge, but should you? Season one was released in 2022, season two in 2023. It charts the life of a big-time chef who returns to Chicago to take over his family’s rather more humble establishment. The writing and acting are super-sharp, and The Bear features some oft he best characterisation we’ve seen in years.

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Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

9. Orphan Black

Stream now on Netflix

With Tatiana Maslany cast in the upcoming She-Hulk, now is a perfect time to binge on all 5 seasons of Orphan Black, the sci-fi mystery show about people in the world that look alike. Because of the plot, Maslany plays myriad characters throughout and while there’s a dodgy accent or two, she’s fantastic at all the different roles she plays. Again, this is one show that doesn’t quite get the credit it deserves - it’s a really fun watch.

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It’s not quite up there with The Wire in terms of changing the TV landscape forever but Treme, also from David Simon, is a blistering political polemic that highlights the social injustices that are happening in America right now. Setting the show in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we see a battle-scarred New Orleans and its inhabitants try and put their lives back together. The soundtrack alone is worth the viewing but this is just jaw-dropping TV that doesn’t let up throughout its four epic seasons.

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Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

11. Midnight Mass

Stream now on Netflix

This supernatural horror show by veteran movie director Mike Flanagan is a creepy mystery about a priest who ends up preaching in an isolated community on an island. It’s a compelling seven-episode run that should appeal to fans of American Horror Story. And there’s more after you’re done with this particular mystery, as it is part of a trilogy of spooky tales, the third in a venerable line, following The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Haunting of Hill House. Each has a different feel and cast, but presses similar buttons in the audience. That's the real boxset here, the Flanagan triple bill.

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Is this the show that made Apple TV Plus essential? For many it was. The third and final season of Ted Lasso wrapped up in 2023, making this show ready for a true binge. It’s themed around football, but we’ve never seen a such a show appeal to so many people who can’t stand the sport. Jason Sudeikis plays Lasso, a football coach who knows plenty about American football, but almost nothing about “soccer.” It’s a heart-warming show that’s worth signing up to Apple’s TV streaming service just to sample.

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Best boxsets: TV to binge watch

13. Superstore

Stream now on Netflix

While you may not find Superstore among the list of the greatest TV shows ever created, it is immensely bingeable. Its 22 minute episodes are over in a flash thanks to the way you sink deep into the relationships of its core cast. Just as the name suggests, Superstore is set in a supermarket, a “big box” store based on US retailer Target. There are six seasons of the show, although key star America Ferrera is largely missing from the last, having decided to leave to spend more time with her family.

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