5. Star Trek Discovery
The show: It was a risk to set a new Star Trek show several years before the events of the Original Series, but, as it turns out, it was a risk worth taking. Star Trek Discovery explores a whole new realm of the Trek universe through the experiences of science officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). Yep, the captain isn’t the lead here. That’s the first of many smart decisions made by creators Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, who deliberately avoid rehashing what worked in other Trek shows to craft something different, charting the experiences of the USS Discovery crew during wartime.
Why it’s worth watching: Loaded with expectation, there was every chance that Discovery would fall flat, failing to live up to its significant potential… and then it arrived and blew everyone’s collective socks off. Strong, intelligent casting twinned with some of the most compelling storytelling of recent years, and that doesn’t even touch the twists and turns. Get watching. Now.
The show: Forget the 2003 misfire - this is the Daredevil fans have been waiting for. The first of Marvel’s Netflix universe charges out of the gate, a blustering blend of brooding character drama, hyperreal action, and some of the best villainy since Heath Ledger embodied the Joker. It hails from Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) and Steven S. DeKnight (Blade), and the show received universal applause for its uncompromising take on blind lawyer-turned-do-superhero Matt Murdock, who vows to rid the streets of its criminal element, no matter the cost.
Why it's worth watching: It boasts some of the most adventurous stunt choreography ever seen in a TV series. Yes, I'm on about that season 1 corridor fight sequence. It's simply breathtaking to witness Murdock’s athletic prowess - because you know, he’s blind. The ambition of this first season has yet to be bettered elsewhere in the Netflix Marvel universe.
3. Rick and Morty
The show: Hallucinatory hijinks and jet-black humour are the touchstone of Rick and Morty, Adult Swim’s most successful show in years. Created by Community’s Dan Harmon, the premise is like a bad family drama with a sci-fi twist. Rick Sanchez, a crackpot inventor (think Doc Brown with a bad mouth), suddenly arrives on his daughter’s doorstep after 20 years. After turning her basement into a laboratory for his schemes, he lures in his grandson Morty who becomes his sidekick in his adventures across the galaxy.
Why it's worth watching: Remember when everyone and their mother was watching Breaking Bad and you were all “Yeah, I’ll get to it.” Well, don’t wait around on Rick and Morty. Sure, we’re not entirely certain when season 4 is due to arrive, but that doesn’t mean you should slack off on one of those most iconoclastic and seriously addictive shows of recent years.
2. Stranger Things
The show: THE binge-watch series of the last few years, the Duffer Brothers cobbled together a patchwork of '80s references then siphoned all of that into a killer plot about government experiments on members of a small town in Indiana. Things come to a head when a young lad goes missing, causing his mother (Winona Ryder) and friends to consider the strangest possibility: that there's a parallel world to ours. And it ain't nice.
Why it's worth watching: These kids! The whole cast is terrific (I personally was very pleased to see Winona Ryder back in the thick of it), however it's the young leads who steal the show. Scurrying around Hawkins on their bikes in the dead of night and hunkering down in basements trying to find their missing pal; they will melt your hearts, especially Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven.
1. Breaking Bad
The show: It’s hard to believe Breaking Bad recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary (!) when it remains one of the best TV shows to emerge in recent times. The killer premise of a chemistry teacher-turned-meth dealer spins out of control across five seasons. The teacher in question, Walter White, transforms from nice guy to antihero while hiding his illegal shenanigans from his family.
Why it's worth watching: There’s a reason it’s the biggest watercooler series to arrive in the last decade. Just when you think the stakes can't get raised any higher, Mr. White steps up his game, taking his quest to ever-crazy heights of excess. His quietly simmering rage is spectacular to watch thanks to a nuanced turn from Bryan Cranston, who manages to make White a incredibly compelling character.