Catch-Up TV: Boxsets You Missed In 2018 (& Now Have Time To Binge)

Courtesy of BBC.
Staying on top of the latest and greatest television is a pain in the ass. There, I said it. 2018 was awash with brilliant new shows across Netflix, Amazon Prime and the good old BBC, which has had a corker of a year (see: Bodyguard, Little Drummer Girl, The Cry). I wouldn't blame you if a few gems slipped beneath your radar.
With many shows only running for six, four or even three episodes a series, there's even less opportunity to catch up in time to join the water cooler conversation at the office. But Christmas has finally come and you're going to need something to do in that awkward limbo between now and New Year's Eve. I recommend filling it with the great TV series that you missed the first time around.
I'm not here to blab about Killing Eve because I'm sure you've watched it twice and are religiously tracking the progress of series two. And I'm going to assume that you've already said hi and bye to the big power players on your favourite streaming service. Here is where we'll rewind to some of the familiar-sounding shows that either didn't get shouted about enough earlier in the year, or were gone from the line of popular chitchat before you had a chance to tune in. May I present your end-of-year television binge list...
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Derry Girls

Set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, this comedy follows a group of 16-year-old girls as they navigate everything from desperate crushes and strict school rules to the strange normality of having armed soldiers strolling around town. It burst onto our screens in a bit of a flurry at the very beginning of 2018 but it's worth revisiting. Full of lols and nostalgia.

Watch on All4
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The second season only concluded two weeks ago so you're not all that far behind. Drenched in suspense, provocation and an almost-too-close-to-home narrative, Clique makes for a bold and challenging series – but in the right way. Holly is in her second year of university and falls in with a mysterious and charismatic "clique" of young men in her year. Danger quickly follows, as does Holly's internal struggle with identity and doing the right thing.

Watch on BBC iPlayer
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Another early release that you might've just missed over on Channel 4. Without giving anything away, it must be said that Kiri's ending divided audiences quite dramatically, so be prepared to arrive at a conclusion you might not have expected. For now, just know that it's a tense four-part drama that revolves around an abducted child. Sarah Lancashire plays the rattled social worker who finds herself in the middle of it all.

Watch on All4
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Sharp Objects

Based on Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel of the same name, this eight-episode psychological thriller is about Camille (Amy Adams), a journalist who's sent back to the hometown she actively sought to escape to investigate a murder. She's in a vicious cycle of using alcohol to cope and bury the things she doesn't feel able to face, and has mastered the art of deflection. We can do little more than watch intently as she tries to get to the bottom of the case without losing herself completely. In true Flynn style, Camille is one of the most captivating characters on TV, but you'll find yourself as drawn to her complexity as you are frustrated by her steadfastness.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video
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It’s a classic case of upper middle class couple – Oscar’s humble brag is that he’s a dentist – living a safe and contained suburban life until one of them, June (Bridesmaids' Maya Rudolph) gets a niggling feeling that their well rehearsed routine isn’t enough. They swap their annual fishing trip for a ski holiday and all of a sudden they’re forced into a new perspective. The series is made up of easily bingeable 30-minute episodes that intentionally glide into each other. It’s funny (Rudolph doesn’t disappoint), offbeat and has a really satisfying twist.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video
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Louis Theroux's Altered States

Louis Theroux gifted us another mini-series this year. Altered States is a three-part series in which the documentary king takes on birth, death and relationships in the most extreme and challenging sense. Love Without Limits, which saw Theroux explore the realm of polygamy, was an audience favourite. Take My Baby discussed the heart-rending reality of adoption in the United States and Choosing Death had viewers emotionally torn over the topic of euthanasia.

Watch on BBC iPlayer
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Black Earth Rising

Consider this one of the BBC's heavyweight dramas that flew largely under the radar when it aired back in September. The topic matter is meaty – Michaela Coel stars as Kate, a young woman who survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide and was adopted by Eve, a leading international prosecutor in the UK. As an adult she learns that nothing happened quite in the way she understood and evidently, history-altering secrets have been kept. Her mother takes on a case that directly links to the now 20+ year old injustice that Kate still feels fiercely connected to, and the process becomes a fierce test of identity, loyalty and morality.

Watch on Netflix
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If there's any nugget of knowledge to take into 2019, it's don't underestimate Julia Davis. She threw herself at our TV screens full throttle this year with her delightfully filthy sitcom about Emma, an aspiring performer who takes a shine to Sally, an unassertive woman who's wildly unhappy in her boring marriage. Emma is her way out – and into a world of uncomfortable sex scenes, hilarious romantic mishaps and the type of awkward interaction that'll leave you squirming for a few seconds after it's over. It's unrelenting and brilliant.

Watch on Sky and NowTV
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Save Me

Lennie James (The Walking Dead and Line of Duty) writes and stars in this pacy drama. He plays Nelson "Nelly" Row, a London guy coasting through life on the little he can get by (and get away) with. That's all turned on its head, though, when he's arrested on suspicion of kidnapping his 13-year-old daughter who has recently gone missing. He insists he hasn't been part of her life for the last 10 years, let alone near enough to abduct her, but suspicion only grows as he tries to track her down himself.

Watch on Sky and NowTV
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Mrs Wilson

Putting the phrase "you can't make this shit up" to good use is the true story of Mrs Alison Wilson, a woman who discovered her husband's three other wives in the aftermath of his death. He was working in the secret service during WW2 and Mrs Wilson is fixated on unravelling the elaborate web of lies that hid his other lives (and children) from her. The clincher is that in the show, Mrs Wilson is played by her real-life granddaughter Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Luther), who discovered much about her grandfather in putting this very short series (three episodes) together.

Watch on BBC iPlayer
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Sorry For Your Loss

Grief is a difficult one to tackle on TV. It's temperamental, stubborn and normally not the most inviting thing to translate into a series – at least not if you're being real about it. But Facebook Watch's recent show (yes, Facebook. Who'd have thunk) is one of the better explorations of such an emotionally far-reaching topic. Elizabeth Olsen is at the helm, the comedy (it's funny and sad) is legit and you'll come away from it both exhausted and fulfilled by an authentic account of how one young woman became a widow in her late 20s.

Watch on Facebook Watch
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The Bisexual

When was the last time you watched a TV show about bisexuality that neither fetishised nor trivialised its meaning? Oh, never? Well Desiree Akhavan's comedy-drama rose to the challenge and thrust a defiantly female perspective on what bisexuality does and doesn't mean. Through the lens of a recently broken-up woman in her 30s, we get to explore, laugh and cry at the reality of finding IRL love when you're not entirely sure it exists.

Watch on All4

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