As winter sets in, DVD weekends are looking increasingly appealing. What could be better than snuggling up on an icy Sunday with your doona and a couple of DVD boxed sets? The hardest part is deciding which series to turn to. Here is a guide to four very different TV series which are currently taking Australia — and the world — by storm.
“Downton Abbey” is a British post-Edwardian drama series. History lesson meets high-drama in this colourful saga that depicts the life of the aristocrat by following the highs and lows of the wealthy Crawley family. Through the eyes of Robert Crawley, his wife Kora and his three daughters, you witness the impacts that major events in British history had on everyday society. These include the sinking of the Titanic, the women’s suffrage movement and World War I. The costumes are spectacular and the setting of Highclere Castle takes you to a totally different era. Earlier this year “Downton Abbey” took out the top prize at Screen Actors Guild Awards, beating the likes of “Mad Men”, “Homeland” and “Boardwalk Empire”.
You love it if: Period dramas are your thing.
Watch it with: The girls.
“Game of Thrones” is a hugely successful fantasy series produced by HBO and based on the novels by George R.R. Martin. Through a number of complex plot lines, “Game of Thrones” explores themes regarding social standing, punishment, war and religion. The first storyline centers on a number of noble houses across seven kingdoms infighting for the rights to the Iron Throne, which all the kingdoms answer to. The second explores the dawning of winter, coupled with the rising in the north, a far-flung area filled with unknown threats and strange creatures. The third storyline follows the journey of an exiled heiress and her fight to take the Iron Throne once and for all. The majority of filming takes place in Northern Ireland and across various parts of Europe, including Malta, Iceland and Morocco, so expect to see some beautiful scenery. Throw in some feasting, a few dragons and the occasional beheading, and you have yourself quite a saga.
You’ll love it if: You’re a fantasy fan and “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Wheel of Time” series line your bookshelf.
Watch it with: Your boyfriend (if you’re female), or your best mates. You’ll win easy points for your good taste in fight scenes.
Graphic, raw and full of twists, “Breaking Bad” another masterpiece by Vince Gilligan, creator of “The X-Files”. Although now in its final season, you can get all of the previous seasons if you shop around for DVDs online. “Breaking Bad” is about the life of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a passive chemistry teacher living with his family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After being diagnosed with late-stage brain cancer, Walter falls into the business of making and selling methamphetamine to try and establish some form of financial security for his struggling family. An array of murky characters, a clever plotline, a series of twists, some serious violence and some really stellar acting made this series a huge success. You’ll cringe, laugh, cry and gag your way through every single episode.
You’ll love it if: You’re a bit of a crime buff, and the underbelly of society tickles your fancy.
Watch it with: People who have strong stomachs.
This home-grown favourite has most of Australia sitting on the edge of their seats. The brainchild of Australian television/screen writer Debra Oswald, this local drama/comedy series follows the story of Nina Proudman, an obstetrician in her mid-30s, as she stumbles her way through life. There are plenty of awkward moments, a bit of romance and lots of laughs. It’s “feel-good” with depth. This year, at the 2013 Logies, “Offspring” cleaned up with a total of eight nominations, including Asher Keddie taking home the Gold Logie for the Most Popular Personality on Australian Television. Show your support for local projects by watching this one.
You’ll love it if: You love a close-to-home storyline and a cringe-worthy main character.
Watch it with: Women — mums, sisters, girlfriend’s, daughters. It’s a chick thing.
About the Author: Timothy Mclean is a self-confessed film and TV addict, much to the disgust of his lovely girlfriend Anna. Tim has recently taken his addiction to a whole new level — he will be starting a film school degree program come autumn.