Essential TV

Essential TV

DERRY GIRLS (CHANNEL 4)

Lisa McGee’s nostalgic comedy set in 1990s Londonderry is a groundbreaking slice of modern comedy/drama as we follow a group of family and friends through the changing political and social landscape of Northern Ireland as the Good Friday Agreement comes into view. Derry Girl’s intelligent, laugh-out-loud humour is laced with emotion as we follow the daily trials and tribulations of Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle and their wee-English fella, James.

FOUNDATION (APPLE TV +)

Foundation’s complex intergalactic story demands your full attention as it slowly builds its narrative arc over each stunning episode with every meticulous detail lovingly crafted, from the performances to its beautifully realised alien worlds. And while each episode may require your full attention to keep pace with the story, your time, patience, and commitment are worth the wait.

QUEER AS FOLK (CHANNEL 4)

Queer as Folk changed TV forever and ushered in a new age of confidence in the LGBTQ+ community. Full to the brim with shocks, sex, humour and charm, Russell T Davies would joyously smash the rainbow-coloured glass ceiling while sticking two fingers up at conservative media. It was Queer as Folk that paved the way for a new golden age of LGBTQ+ drama.

GENERATION WAR (ARROW)

Generation War is nothing short of a stunning TV drama as it opens up an important debate on political ideology, personal belief and duty while reflecting on the destruction of personal, social and cultural identity during War. Generation War asks how intelligent and cultured people can be blindsided by political rhetoric and barbarism. In doing so, it asks us to reflect on the continued danger of political systems built on nationalist ideologies.

THE FLASH (CW)

CW’s DC Universe may have started with Arrow, but it is The Flash that stands head and shoulders above the rest on CW, despite its poor later seasons. Grant Gustin reinvented Barry Allen for the small screen, offering us a character who would become the defining model for the modern TV superhero. Capturing the Saturday tea-time fun of 1970s classics ranging from The Incredible Hulk to Wonder Woman, nobody can deny the pure joy, energy and electricity The Flash generates.

WORZEL GUMMIDGE (BBC)

Many will have fond memories of Jon Pertwee as the lovable, if slightly cantankerous, scarecrow Worzel Gummidge. His interpretation of Barbara Euphan Todd’s 1930s character shone onscreen from 1979 to 1981. However, Christmas 2019 would see BBC One resurrect the famous scarecrow under the creative guidance of Mackenzie Crook, and the result was a beautiful, loving and assured re-imagination bathed in stunning cinematography, laugh-out-loud humour and delightful performances. 

WE ARE WHO WE ARE (BBC/HBO)

Bathed in stunning cinematography, We Are Who We Are transcends the boundaries of TV drama in its cinematic power, with the frequent freeze-frame shots creating a collage of teenage memories. But, when you add to this the genuinely outstanding performances of Jack Dylan Grazer and Jordan Kristine Seamón, We Are Who We Are becomes one of 2020s most creative, engaging and beautiful TV dramas. Here its intimate portrait of identity, conformity and rebellion shines with originality, love and innovation.

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