Mindhunter; The Handmaid's Tale; Stranger Things 2; Blue Planet II
Mindhunter; The Handmaid's Tale; Stranger Things 2; Blue Planet II


The best of 2017 TV to watch this Christmas

From the much anticipated return of Stranger Things to Elisabeth Moss’s turn as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale, 2017 has been an outstanding year for television. Here’s what to catch up on over the Christmas break

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By Emily Baker on

1. Stranger Things 2

The second instalment of the Duffer Brothers’ retro sci-fi saga returned to mixed reviews, but that didn’t stop many of us devouring it in just one weekend . All of the characters from season one returned (except Barb, may she rest in peace), but unfortunately so did the Upside Down. You’ll find no spoilers here, but let’s just say Will Byers didn’t have a very good year – again.
Stranger Things seasons one and two are available on Netflix

2. Big Little Lies

With 16 Emmy nominations and eight wins, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman’s adaption of Liane Moriarty’s novel was one of the most successful shows of 2017. From its brutally honest depiction of domestic violence to the voyeuristic look inside the lives of rich Californians, Big Little Lies hooked us all so much that, despite originally being slated as a mini-series, a second one is underway.
Big Little Lies is available on Amazon Prime, or buy the box set here

3. Mindhunter

The director behind Fight Club and Gone Girl turned his attention to Netflix this year, with his crime drama Mindhunter. Set in the 70s, the show sees two FBI detectives use psychoanalysis in their investigations for the first time, making for some pretty intense interrogation scenes with suspected murderers. Not the most festive of Christmas watches, but definitely worth your time all the same.
Mindhunter is available on Netflix

4. Line Of Duty

The BBC’s wildly successful police drama came back for a fourth series in March. Vicky McClure starred as DS Kate Fleming, charged with investigating a senior colleague’s alleged mishandling of forensic evidence. As with every series of Line Of Duty, there are themes of police corruption, lies and cover-ups, but as each story stands alone it will work for a quick in-between day binge.
Line Of Duty series one, two, three and four are available on BBC iPlayer

5. The Deuce

With an all-star cast including James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce charted the rise and rise of 1970s New York’s porn industry. Rather than being a one-note reason to have naked women on the telly, most of the characters are treated with compassion and depth, creating a multi-faceted world of coercion, money and sex work.
The Deuce is available on Amazon Prime and Sky

6. The Handmaid’s Tale

This was possibly the most eagerly anticipated series of the year, at least in The Pool offices. Elisabeth Moss played the inimitable Offred, with Alexis Bledel, Samira Wiley and Joseph Fiennes joining her in the terrifying state of Gilead. The red cloak and white hood costumes quickly became a symbol of resistance throughout 2017, making Hulu’s adaption absolutely vital viewing.
The Handmaid’s Tale is available on Hulu and Amazon Prime

7. The Crown

This month saw Claire Foy begin her final turn as Queen Elizabeth before Olivia Colman takes over for season three of The Crown. The Suez crisis, Jackie Kennedy, and Princess Margaret’s wedding are all covered in the second season, but the main focus is on Elizabeth’s relationship with Philip – who isn’t exactly a model husband to the Queen.
The Crown seasons one and two are available on Netflix

8. Blue Planet II

What would life be without David Attenborough? This year he brought us the second instalment of nature documentary Blue Planet, which varied between the deep depths of the arctic circle and the coral reefs of Australia. We met friendly dolphins and families of fish, making our Sunday nights as comforting as possible through the dark winter nights – a family-friendly rewatch for Christmas.
Blue Planet II is available on BBC iPlayer. The first series is available on Netflix

9. Alias Grace

Another adaption of a Margaret Atwood novel, Alias Grace was a little overshadowed by its more popular Hulu sister, but it’s worth getting stuck in if you missed it. Although it’s set in the 19th century, Grace Marks’s story of mistreatment and degradation is still relevant to working-class women today, further proving that Atwood’s tales work both on and off screen.
Alias Grace is available on Netflix

10. The Keepers

The Keepers is the least cheering inclusion on this list, not least because it’s a true crime story. In the same vein as last year’s mega-hit Making A Murderer, this documentary series attempts to unravel the mystery behind nun Catherine Cesnik’s murder but quickly turns into something else as a complicated web of abuse and cover ups is revealed.
The Keepers is available on Netflix

I was going to stop at 10, but Team Pool shouted at me for not including the rest of their favourite shows. So here’s 10 more…

11 Ozark (Netflix)

12 The Good Place (Netflix)

13 Dark (Netflix)

14 Gypsy (Netflix)

15 Doctor Foster (BBC iPlayer)

16 Motherland (BBC iPlayer)

17 BoJack Horseman (Netflix)

18 The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (Amazon Prime)

19 Sinner (Netflix)

20 Crazy Ex Girlfriend (Netflix)


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Mindhunter; The Handmaid's Tale; Stranger Things 2; Blue Planet II
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