Assignments are handed in, lectures are done and the days are short – that makes the festive holidays the perfect time to find your new TV obsession. After a long first semester back on campus, these dramas and comedies will provide the escapism needed from the dark winter nights.
Seasons: 2, 12 episodes
Where to watch: Netflix, All Four
The Irish comedy is set in 1990s Derry against the backdrop of The Troubles. It combines themes of adolescence, family life and Irish history, creating a show that feels intimate and joyful. With each episode lasting 20 minutes, Derry Girls is the perfect boxset for someone looking for laughs or just an easy watch. The show boasts a talented cast with a stand out performance from Nicola Coughlan (aka Penelope from Bridgeton). Here, she portrays Clare Delvin, one-fifth of the comedic friendship group who struggle their way through detentions and school altercations all while in a Catholic school. With the comedy’s third and final series currently being filmed, now is the perfect time to jump into the hilarious and touching world of the Derry Girls.
Seasons: 4, 53 episodes
Where to watch: Netflix
If you’re looking for a Christmas binge that’ll teach you something between its humorous moments, The Good Place may be the show for you. The plot follows Eleanor Shellstrop, played by Christen Bell, as she enters the afterlife’s ‘Good Place’. There, she must navigate her moral and personal issues that arise due to her dubious past. The Good Place will keep you on your toes with a clever script that encompasses everything from Plato and Kant to giant ladybirds and mythical creatures. Each episode combines humour and poignancy, with its driving theme summed up by the Good Place’s overseer: “What matters is if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday”. It is the journey of the central six characters through self-discovery and self-improvement, and of course lots of genuinely funny interactions, which will be the reason you’ll want to keep on clicking the ‘next episode’ button.
Seasons: 1, 12 episodes
Where to watch: BBC iPlayer
After her award-winning debut, Michaela Coel returned in 2020 with her self-written and directed drama I May Destroy You. The show documents the experiences of dynamic main character Arabella after the night she was drugged and raped. Coel won a Bafta for her portrayal of Arabella, drawing on her own experiences as a survivor of sexual assault to track the character’s journey through trauma and acceptance. Coel creates a thought-provoking and beautifully filmed series with a vibrant soundtrack and contemporary London setting. There’s still an element of warmth and humour in the face of such a complicated subject matter. I May Destroy You is incredibly powerful, and, if you haven’t yet seen any of Coel’s work, the Christmas break is the perfect time to start.
Seasons: 3, 26 episodes
Where to watch: BBC iPlayer, Netflix
This expansive, diverse drama tells the story of the New York drag ball community from the 1980s, drawing on its rich history to create fictional characters firmly rooted in reality. The show was in itself groundbreaking, featuring the largest cast of trans actors in TV history, focusing its central stories on the lives of minority characters; shining a light on their inspiring stories of self-expression and struggle. Pose retains its credentials as an acclaimed drama, tackling important themes including unapologetic love, homophobia, loss, HIV and AIDS. The costumes, sets and cinematography are exuberant and vibrant, making Pose the great option for someone wanting a new TV obsession that combines escapism with true heart and feeling.