Despite being furloughed for a lot of this year, it wasn’t really until October time that I really sat down with Netflix. The last few years I’ve never been much of a TV person, I’d watch the odd show obsessively (Peaky Blinders, Line of Duty and Luther), and usually on flights. I never had the time to sit down at home, and even this year I didn’t until we got into the later part of the year. I’m not ashamed to say I found my Netflix mojo. I have watched SO MANY shows since then, that I thought I’d share some of my favourites movies and Netflix shows to binge over the Christmas holidays.
These aren’t Christmas themed, just good shows to watch while you’re likely to have more time, especially in those few days between Christmas and New Year nobody knows what to do with. And this year some of us aren’t going to be able to go out anywhere either. That said this is Blogmas so I have put some Christmas film suggestions in at the end.
Everyone has different taste so I’m not trying to force you into watching anything you don’t want, but here’s my thoughts on what I’ve enjoyed. There are no spoilers either just general plot summaries and my opinion on them, so you can read on safely.
Amazing, amazing, amazing. I almost wish I’d waited and watched all four seasons in one go as the fourth season has just been released and it went by far too quickly. I’ve loved both Claire Foy and Olivia Coleman as the Queen, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. As well as being hugely entertaining I learned a lot more about the Royal family too. It really is a great British watch and I’d 100% recommend if you haven’t already.
The Queens Gambit
A Netflix show about chess, sounds so dull to me but this was probably the biggest surprise for me. It’s brilliant and I was hooked from the first episode. It hasn’t quite made me want to learn how to play, but it’s shot beautifully and Anya Taylor-Joy is just perfect for it. She’s very striking and she massively draws you in as she battles alcoholism and addiction on he rise through the chess competitions across the world. Give it a chance and it will probably surprise you too.
After Schitt’s Creek made headlines for winning so many awards at the Emmy’s this year I began to watch it. It’s written and produced by father son duo Eugiene & Dan Levy – you’ll know Eugiene as Jim’s dad in American Pie. The general plot line is that a rich, New York family find themselves bankrupt and living in Schitt’s Creek in a motel. The first season I found it a bit slow, but with the odd laugh out loud moment until you tune in to the way they are and their characters.
It get’s a lot better from season 2 and I found myself laughing a lot each episode so stick it out. There are some very strong characters and as much as I love David, the absolute star has to be the mum Moira. She’s played by Catherine O’Hara aka Kevin’s mum in Home Alone. She is incredible, hilarious, dramatic, has a weird accent and is an absolute mood. She is everything I needed to watch this year.
Watching all six seasons of this again is what got me back into Netflix, and I was hooked all over again. I hadn’t seen it in so long so it was like watching it for the first time and remembering how iconic it was. New York is the perfect backdrop for some escapism while becoming entangled in the lives of the Upper East Siders. I’ve heard they’re making a modern new version which I will be watching, however you can’t beat vintage Serena Van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf.
Emily In Paris
I adored this and you could binge watch it in a day no problem. I’ve actually shared a lot of my thoughts on Emily in Paris and the dreamy Paris locations in the show already here. It’s an easy watch if you can get over some of the cringe moments, and you’ll be booking flights to Paris by the end of it.
Similar to Sweet Magnolias this isn’t amazing, but I still enjoyed it and was intrigued enough to keep watching the first season. The second season has been released but I haven’t rushed to watch it yet which might tell you something, but its still good. A nurse who has gone through a tragedy moves to start a fresh in a new town. There’s some lovely scenery and a gorgeous log cabin, but it can be a bit emotional at times so maybe don’t watch on a hangover.
A typical American family are split apart by a cheating dad (Chris Klein) who is now shacked up with his pregnant mistress (Jamie Lynn Spears), and the show follows the mother Maddie and her two friends getting through life’s troubles. They ‘pour out’ their troubles together over jugs of margaritas. There’s only been one season and I was hooked enough to watch it all, but it’s not ground breaking, up until 4 in the morning to finish it type thing.
There are a few little sub plots, and a dramatic cliff hanger to finish. Overall an easy watch, a good one if you want something on in the background. There are some questionable acting skills in there too.
This isn’t new but I really loved Dead To Me, especially the first season as it’s filled with very funny dark humour. Christina Applegate is very good in it so it’s worth a watch if you haven’t yet. I saw there are some old school throwbacks coming out like Sister Sister, if you fancy a trip down memory lane.
The shows I started to watch but lost interest in include Jane the Virgin – quite funny in parts, easy to watch but I got a bit bored and there were other things I wanted to watch more than persist with it. I saw Ratched on Gogglebox which made me want to watch it, and the first few episodes were good, it’s a creepy thriller but then it all got a bit far fetched and confusing so I gave up.
Other TV Shows
Speaking of Gogglebox I have cried laughing every Friday night recently, it’s been so good and if you haven’t seen it yet then I’d really recommend catching up. Before you do though the Sky Atlantic show you need to watch is The Undoing, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant.
Watch this before you watch Gogglebox to avoid the spoilers, as it’s only four hour long episodes and it finished recently so you can watch them all in one go. I really enjoyed this, and it was a big change to see Hugh Grant doing something very different to what you usually see him in. A woman get’s murdered and you spend the whole thing wondering who did it and who to believe until the dramatic ending. Definitely worth a binge.
We watched The Fall which was amazing, so gripping so if you haven’t seen that then give that a go. I could only watch it with Kieran though as it scared me being in the house by myself! And if you haven’t seen The Bodyguard yet that is also excellent.
Old favourite’s we have rewatched this year include Line of Duty – the intensity of this show I absolutely love it, Peaky Blinders and Luther. My Netflix taste has been quite girly while Kieran’s been at work, but these types of show are my favourite by far and really do keep you pressing play on the next episode one after the other.
I used to be a big film lover, mainly at the cinema but again more recently life just got in the way of that. I’ve not watched too many this year but if you’re going to watch any over Christmas make sure it’s Joker. An excellent and worthy Oscar winner, but it is a bit dark too.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood came out on Sky this year, which is good despite not being Tarantino’s best. We watched Rocketman and although I enjoyed it I probably wouldn’t watch it again, it was nowhere near as good as Bohemian Rhapsody.
Last year Kieran and I watched all of the Harry Potter films between Christmas and New Year, which I’d recommend if you enjoy Harry Potter and want hours of lying on the sofa with all your Christmas sweets. I loved doing it as Boxing Day was the first day we actually had no plans last year, and it was much needed.
What I did very much enjoy recently was Holidate on Netflix. It starts at Christmas so it’s sort of a Christmas film but it goes through all the national holidays of the year. It’s better than I was expecting and I did find it quite funny.
Which brings us on to…
I’m not going to list every Christmas film known to man, you already know them. My favourite is always going to be Home Alone 2: Lost in New York because it’s just amazing. It reminds me of my Christmas trips to New York and I always watch it the week before Christmas. I can’t wait.
The Holiday is a must watch every year, as is Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, Polar Express, Love Actually, and new to Sky this year Last Christmas. It’s not quite as predictable as most Christmas films so it’s worth a watch, but you will be singing George Michael for the rest of the day.
If you want a very predictable, feel good Christmas film, then the most Christmassy one I’ve watched recently is Christmas Town. It is the most Christmassy town I’ve ever seen, but it’s everything you’d expect from a film where a woman finds herself lost there and helped by the local town folk. It has Zelda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch in it, and Mutt from Schitt’s Creek so there’s a couple of familiar faces.
And if you don’t want to watch anything, then instead have a look at the Christmas screensavers on Sky Guide, there’s some beautiful ones. My favourite is the roaring fire because it makes the living room so cosy and it sounds so real, but there are a few other very festive scenes, including the Tyne Bridge, other cities in the UK, as well as Paris and New York.
What have you been watching? Anything I absolutely MUST watch?
Other posts you might like: