tv

'I watch TV for work. Here are my favourite shows on every single streaming platform.'

I don't know about you guys, but it feels like there's a new streaming service popping up every week. 

I swear, I was walking down the street the other day and a streaming service jumped out of the bushes. I screamed and batted it with my handbag, then signed up immediately because I bloody love TV. 

And in 2022, we're spoiled for choice. 

Lucky for you, it's part of my job to watch all the new TV shows and figure out what's worth your time and what's not. 

With that in mind, I've put together probably the most comprehensive TV recommendations round up you'll ever wrap your eyes around. (P.S if you'd like to see my weekly recommendations, follow me on Instagram.) 

Here are my top TV shows on each of the streaming services: 

Stan

Hacks 

Image: Stan.  

Hacks was one of the best new TV shows of 2021, and season two is shaping up to be just as brilliant. 

The comedy-drama series follows veteran comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart). Deborah has been at the top of her game for years, but when her regular Las Vegas show is in danger of being cancelled, she is forced to hire 'woke' millennial Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder) to help write her jokes. 

What follows is a story about generational differences, female friendship, and what happens after failure. 

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It's a brilliantly warm and funny show. 

Watch it if you like: Leopard print, laughing at cancel culture, and road trips with your frenemies. 

Bump

Image: Stan.  

Bump made me fall in love with Australian TV all over again. 

The Stan Original Series follows the story of Olympia 'Oly' Chalmers (Nathalie Morris), a high-achieving 16-year-old who has her entire life mapped out in front of her when she suddenly has a surprise baby. 

Not a surprise pregnancy. A surprise baby. 

After feeling unwell at school, Oly has a baby in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital, and immediately becomes a mother, and her parents, Angie (Claudia Karvan) and Dom (Angus Sampson) become instant grandparents. 

Bump is a series about embracing the unexpected, and learning to love the messy, unplanned parts of your life. 

Watch it if you like: Surprise babies, dysfunctional families, and coming to age in the most unexpected ways. 

It's A Sin

Image: Stan.  

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It's been 18 months since I first watched It's A Sin, but I still think about it often. 

The mini-series was both one of the most heartbreaking and life-affirming TV shows I have ever seen. 

It was created by critically-acclaimed screenwriter and television producer, Russell T Davies, whose previous works include Queer as Folk, and Years and Years

Set in London in the 1980s and 1990s, the series follows a group of young friends who are discovering who they are and who they love, and living their best lives in London's vibrant gay scene, just as the AIDS crisis hits. 

It's not an easy watch, but it's an important one. One of the most brilliant and beautiful series of the past couple of years, It's A Sin will make you laugh out loud in one scene, and break your heart in the next. 

Watch it if you like:...Crying. 

Amazon Prime Video

The Wilds

Image: Prime Video.  

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The Wilds is one of the most underrated TV series in recent years. 

The series follows a group of teenage girls who are en route to a women's empowerment retreat in Hawaii – led by Gretchen Klein (Rachel Griffiths) – when their plane crashes into the ocean.

Miraculously, the young women survive the crash, finding themselves stranded on a deserted island with no memory of how they got there.

At first, it seems like an unfortunate accident. But as the series moves forward, it becomes clear that good ole' Gretchen Klein is up to something. 

And in season two, things get even weirder. 

Watch if you like: Being stranded on a deserted island, WILSOOOOOON, plot twists, Rachel Griffiths and cans of Coca-Cola fresh out of the middle of the ocean. 

Luxe Listings Sydney

Image: Prime Video.  

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Prime Video original series Luxe Listings Sydney follows D'Leanne Lewis, Gavin Rubenstein, Simon Cohen and Monika Tu, as they buy and sell the biggest, most expensive properties in Sydney. 

The series features plenty of flashy cars, multi-million dollar mansions, and harbour views. 

It also features a lot of... drama and some truly eccentric characters.  

Watch it if you like: Small men and big houses, rich people throwing their money around, and plenty of manufactured drama. 

Cruel Summer

Image: Prime Video.  

Cruel Summer is a dirty little thriller that will have you hooked from the very first episode. 

The series follows 'cool girl' Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) and nerd Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) over the summers of 1993, 1994, and 1995. In 1993, Jeanette is admiring Kate's life from afar. By 1994, Kate has disappeared and Jeanette has stepped into her life. And by the summer of 1995, Kate is back, and she has accused Jeanette of being complicit in her disappearance. 

Cruel Summer has all the elements of a bloody good teen thriller including a cast of characters who are both really likeable and a little bit duplicitous, a small town setting, plenty of true crime references, and a mystery that keeps you intrigued right up until the final credits.

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Watch it if you like: The Cranberries, teenage angst, mysterious disappearances, and plenty of plot twists. 

Harlem

Image: Prime Video.  

If you're a fan of Sex and the City and Insecure, you need to watch Harlem immediately. 

The comedy-drama follows the story of four best friends navigating love, sex and career highs and lows in Harlem, New York. 

There's Camille (Meagan Good) an up-and-coming anthropology professor with her eye on tenure. Dating app mogul Tye (Jerrie Johnson) who's always dating the wrong kind of woman. Aspiring singer Angie (Shoniqua Shandai), who is still waiting for her big break. And finally fashion designer Quinn (Grace Byers) who is way too hard on herself. 

Over the course of the 10-episode first season, the women navigate breakups, new relationships, career setbacks and rising tension among the group. 

It's one of the most realistic depictions of female friendship on TV (i.e. they fight all the time) and it's a really fun watch. 

Watch it if you like: Gossiping with your friends, cocktails after work, and knowing your mates always have your back. 

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Fleabag

Image: Prime Video.  

Ok, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a legend. 

The first season of Fleabag took us into the messy, broken mind of a 30-something woman who just can't seem to get her sh*t together. 

Then season two took it to a whole new level and also made millions of people around the world develop... unusual feelings for sexy Irish priests. 

Both seasons were groundbreaking and the final scene will stay with you for years after you've watched it. 

Watch it if you like: Hot priests, smoking in alleyways, and breaking the fourth wall. 

Binge/Foxtel 

Mare of Easttown 

Image: Binge.  

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I think about Mare of Easttown and its brilliant twist at least once a week. 

When it premiered in April 2021, it quickly became one of my favourite shows.  

There are two reasons for this:

1. In just six episodes, the writers created a TV universe that I fell in love with. Although it was bleak, the people and the stories of Easttown were so compelling, I never wanted to leave. 

2. The twist was a stroke of genius. It WENT there. 

In case you missed it, the series follows the story of Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet), a detective in the fictional American town of Easttown, where everyone is a bit down on their luck. 

Mare is a divorced single mum, who is raising her young grandson after her son ended his own life. Her mum Helen (Jean Smart) is also living with her. 

While trying to keep her life together, she is tasked with investigating the murder of a local teen mum. And everyone in town is a suspect. 

What I loved about the series was how it combined a brilliant mystery, an amazing cast, a few well-placed laughs, and a study of the human condition into one show. 

Watch it if you like: Greasy ponytails, dive bars, bleak weather, and brilliant twists. 

I May Destroy You

Image: Binge.  

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It's been two years since I first watched I May Destroy You and it remains with me.

The series is created by and stars Michaela Coel, the brains behind the hit British comedy, Chewing Gum

The series - which took two and a half years and 191 drafts to complete - is a fictionalised version of Coel's own experience of sexual assault. 

In episode one, the show's heroine Arabella Essiedu (played by Coel) is drugged and sexually assaulted. She spends most of the 12-episode season unable to remember the night in question and attempting to put together the pieces of the puzzle to bring her assailant to justice. 

While I May Destroy You deals with serious topics, it's punctuated by scenes of pure humour and life-affirming moments. 

Watch it if you like: Your trauma with a side of lols and strong female leads. 

Succession

Image: Binge.  

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I love watching rich people do terrible things to each other. 

Succession follows the story of the Roy family (loosely based on the Murdochs), a wealthy media family who find themselves locked in an ongoing battle for power when the patriarch of the family suffers some health issues. 

It's like Game of Thrones without the throne and more... money. And nice suits. 

Watch it if you like: Angry short kings, The Beastie Boys, daddy issues and backstabbing. 

The Staircase

Image: Binge.  

The Staircase is not always an easy watch, but it might just be the series that changes the true crime genre forever.

Created by Antonio Campos (Martha Marcy May Marlene), the series is based on one of the most fascinating true crime stories of the past two decades. The story of wealthy North Carolina business executive Kathleen Peterson (played by Toni Colette), her untimely death at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and the subsequent arrest and conviction of her crime novelist husband Michael (Colin Firth) for her murder.

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The series explores all the possible scenarios surrounding Kathleen's death and the impact it had on her family. 

Watch it if you like: Stories within stories within stories, enduring true crime mysteries, and perfectly executed soundtracks. 

Love Me

Image: Binge.  

If you love Australian TV series like Love My Way and Offspring, you need to watch Binge's first original series, Love Me, immediately. 

The six-part series was written by Alison Bell (The Letdown) and directed by Emma Freeman (The Newsreader, Glitch, Offspring), and it stars Hugo Weaving, Bojana Novakovic, and William Lodder as three different generations of the same family who are dealing with grief and looking for connection. 

Glen, alone for the first time in decades, is wondering whether he can take a chance on love again. Clara is approaching 40 and wondering whether love and a family is in her future, and Aaron is navigating heartbreak and all the messy, complicated feelings of being in your early 20s. 

Love Me is a beautiful series about family, love, loss, and second chances. 

Watch it if you like: Baby boomers having sex, dysfunctional families, and second chances. 

This Is Going To Hurt

Image: Binge.  

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This Is Going To Hurt is a completely different type of medical drama. 

The gritty BBC comedy-drama, which is based on Adam McKay's bestselling memoir of the same name, takes the audience behind the curtain of Britain's much-loved National Health Service (NHS). 

Set in 2006 in a busy obstetrics and gynaecology ward in an NHS hospital, the series follows junior doctors Adam (Ben Whishaw) and Shruti Acharya (Ambika Mod) as they juggle abusive patients, horrible bosses, and medical emergencies.

The series shows the horror and the hope of working in a labour ward and doesn't shy away from the more confronting storylines. 

It's absolutely brutal one minute, and laugh out loud funny the next. 

Watch it if you like: British humour, unexpected loss, and lots and lots of blood. 

The White Lotus

Image: Binge.  

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Like I said earlier, I love watching rich people doing terrible things. 

And that's exactly what The White Lotus is about. It's a dark comedy, with a pinch of murder, that sends up mostly white, rich, privileged people and how they view their place in the world. 

It also tackles race relations, the generational divide, and... public poos. 

The cast is phenomenal and includes Jennifer Coolidge at her best, Connie Britton, Steve Zahn and Australia's very own Murray Bartlett. 

Did I mention there's a wee bit of murder? 

Watch it if you like: Sipping cocktails by the pool, watching rich people doing terrible things, and... unexpected poos. 

Apple TV Plus

Ted Lasso

Image: Apple TV Plus.  

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I think if I could choose what heaven looks like, it would involve me sitting on a comfy couch, eating chips, while Ted Lasso gives me inspirational speeches and Roy Kent yells at me a little.

That is how much joy I get from watching Ted Lasso

The series stars Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, an American college football coach who is unexpectedly recruited to coach an English Premier League team, AFC Richmond, despite having no experience in association football.

And knowing absolutely nothing about the game. 

What makes Ted Lasso such a brilliant TV show is the main character's relentless positivity in the face of adversity. And Roy Kent's relentless... swearing. 

It's heartwarming and funny and exactly what we need right now. 

Watch it if you like: Moustaches, swearing a lot, believing in something, and unexpected friendships. 

Severance 

Image: Apple TV Plus.  

For the past few months, I've been wondering whether I'll ever feel the desire to return to the office full time. 

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After watching Severance, I think I have my answer. And that answer is... hell no. 

Severance is a dystopian thriller that takes all your anxieties about work and the corporate world and turns them into a true horror story. 

Created by Dan Erikson and mostly directed by Ben Stiller, the series follows a group of "severed" employees working at a mysterious company called Lumon. 

The employees have voluntarily undertaken a procedure which severs their outside self from their work self. Their "outies" have no memory of their time at work once they step out of the elevator and walk into the carpark, and their "innies" have no memory of their outside life once they step out of the elevator and onto their work floor.

Mark (Adam Scott) chose to be severed after the death of his wife, in the hope it would lessen his grief. 

On the inside, he’s the happy-go-lucky department head of the macrodata refinement division at Lumon, where he and three other employees - Dylan (Zach Cherry), Helly (Britt Lower), and Irving (John Turturro) - organise some mysterious numbers all day. 

But after one of his ex-colleagues reaches out to him, Mark's "outie" begins to have doubts about what's really going on at Lumon. 

After a slow start, Severance builds to a cliffhanger finale that will leave you on the edge of your seat. 

Watch it if you like: Office gossip, depressing colour schemes, and secretly believing that your bosses are 'up to something'. 

The After Party

Image: Apple TV Plus.  

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The Afterparty is just a whole lot of fun. 

It's like Bridesmaids meets an Agatha Christie novel.

The series follows a group of former high school friends who come together for their 15-year high school reunion. When someone dies at the reunion afterparty, everyone else immediately becomes a suspect. 

Each episode is told from the perspective of one character/suspect as they tell their own version of events to a rogue detective (Tiffany Haddish) who is trying to crack the case before it's taken off her. 

The cast includes Dave Franco, Ilana Glazer, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz, Zoë Chao, and Sam Richardson. 

Watch it if you like: Your high school reunions with a side of murder, nostalgia, and bad rapping. 

Disney Plus 

Only Murders In The Building

Image: Disney Plus.  

Only Murders In The Building was the most unexpected TV hit of 2021. 

The 10-part series follows three New Yorkers living in a posh apartment building called the Arconia, who come together to make a podcast when another resident dies under suspicious circumstances. 

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There's Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), a former actor who was once very famous for playing a detective in a police procedural series. Charles-Haden now lives alone and makes himself sad little omelettes each night. 

Then there's Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), a struggling Broadway director who has had a bunch of flops and is struggling to pay his bills. 

And finally, there's Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), a mysterious young woman who lives in a massive apartment in the building and claims she's renovating it for her wealthy aunt. 

When Tim Kono, a resident in the building who seems to have rubbed everyone the wrong way, dies in an apparent suicide, Charles-Haden, Oliver, and Mabel decide there must be more to the story. 

So they start their own investigation, and a podcast which they call Only Murders In The Building. And everyone in the building is immediately a suspect including... Sting, who is one of the residents. 

It's part murder-mystery, part-comedy, part study of the human condition. 

Watch it if you like: Solving murders, talking about making a podcast, and unexpected friendships. 

The Dropout

Image: Disney Plus.  

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There's a scene in The Dropout which I'm still thinking about months after I watched it. 

In the scene, Amanda Seyfried's character Elizabeth Holmes slowly dances towards her much older partner Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews) in their co-joined offices. 

She's lip-syncing to Lil' Wayne's 'How to Love', while sipping on a green juice, and making these robotic movements with her arms, which I believe deep down in my soul she believes are... sexy. 

The moment is so cringe-worthy that I felt an urge to cover my eyes with my fingers, but then I wouldn't have been able to bask in the glorious awkwardness of it all. 

That scene pretty much sums up the brilliance of The Dropout and Seyfried's portrayal of Elizabeth Holmes. 

What the series does so well is present both Holmes the human, with faults, unresolved trauma and truly terrible dancing, and Holmes the con woman, who seemingly would stop at nothing to live out her fantasy of being the next Steve Jobs. 

It's brilliant, compelling TV.

Watch it if you like: Girlbossing, black turtlenecks, and terrible dancing. 

Abbott Elementary

Image: Disney Plus.  

If The Office and Parks and Recreation had a wholesome baby in the middle of the pandemic, the result would be Abbott Elementary

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Abbott Elementary takes us behind-the-scenes of a fictional elementary school in Baltimore, where the teachers are underpaid and overworked, and there's not enough money to buy even the most basic of supplies. 

But don't worry, this series is anything but a downer. The "mockumentary" style of filming, plus the Michael Scott-esque principal, the burgeoning love story between two of the junior teachers, and the genuine friendships between the characters mean you'll be laughing out loud one minute and genuinely moved by the wholesomeness of it all the next. 

Abbott Elementary is the best TV show no one is watching yet. 

Watch it if you like: Jim Halpert, classroom supplies, and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Stumptown

Image: Disney Plus.  

I know what you're thinking... 

You're telling me there's a TV show in which Robin from How I Met Your Mother and Nick from New Girl (AKA the greatest nose in TV) have this will they/won't they thing going on plus also wrestle with their past demons, all while solving a bunch of mysteries in Portland, Oregon? 

That's exactly what I'm telling you. 

It's funny, packed full of drama and it has hands down the best soundtrack of any TV show ever made. 

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Watch it if you like: A nose you can write home about, dive bars and straight whiskey, small town mysteries, bloody good music and unrequited sexual chemistry. 

Paramount Plus 

Yellowjackets

Image: Paramount Plus.  

Yellowjackets was the biggest show in the world at the end of last year. 

The teen survival thriller quietly premiered on Paramount Plus in Australia in November and achieved a 100 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes from just one episode. 

Set in the mid-1990s, the series follows a group of high school champion soccer players, the 'Yellowjackets' who are travelling to the national championships on a private plane, when it crashes in the middle of nowhere. 

The survivors spend the next 18 months in the wilderness before finally being rescued. During that time, clans are formed, alliances are broken, and not everyone makes it out alive (we're talking cannibalism here, people). 

The series flashes between their time in the wilderness and 25 years later, when four of the survivors are still trying to piece their lives together. 

It's gritty, funny, full of twists, and the soundtrack is the stuff of 90s dreams. 

Watch it if you like: 90s music, high school cliques, plot twists and just a touch of cannibalism. 

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Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber

Image: Paramount Plus.  

The first season of Super Pumped tells the story of the rise of Uber and the eventual downfall of its founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Travis as the series follows him from the initial days of Uber, that time he referred to it as... Boober, to when he was eventually pushed out of the company. 

Watch it if you like: Silicone valley douchebags, angry taxi drivers, and Uber surge prices. 

Spreadsheet

Image: Paramount Plus.  

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If you're a fan of Sex and the City and Offspring, you need to watch Spreadsheet immediately. 

The Aussie series follows newly divorced Lauren (English actress, Katherine Parkinson) as she juggles her law career, parenting her two kids, and her... spreadsheet full of sexual conquests. 

In order to shake up her sex life post-divorce, Katherine and her assistant Alex (Rowan Witt) create a spreadsheet so she has a database of potential lovers. 

But instead of the no-strings-attached sexual revolution she was expecting, Katherine soon finds her life becoming more and more chaotic, which makes for hilarious viewing. 

It's a bloody funny series with a brilliant Australian cast. 

Watch it if you like: Keeping your messy love life organised, sassy personal assistants, and finding love in the most unexpected place. 

Why Women Kill

Image: Paramount Plus.  

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This show definitely doesn't get enough love. 

Starring Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste, the first season of Why Women Kill follows the lives of three women living in the same house in three different decades. 

And each of their stories ends in... murder. 

Watch it if you like: Shoulder pads, taking down the patriarchy, and your soaps with a side of murder.  

Netflix

I left Netflix for last and thought I'd just share a few of my favourite shows on the streaming giant that you should definitely check out if you haven't already! 

Schitt's Creek

Image: Netflix.  

It took me most of the first season to get into Schitt's Creek. 

For at least the first five episodes I didn't get it and I, quite frankly, found the characters... annoying. 

Sometime between the end of the first season and the start of the second season, I fell in love with the Rose family. By the series finale, they felt like family... albeit a Canadian/American family who wore a lot of black and chucked epic tantrums whenever they were mildly inconvenienced. 

The series follows the Johnny and Moira Rose, and their two grown-up kids, David and Alexis, who are forced to move into a motel in the small town of Schitt's Creek after they lose all their money. 

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Over six seasons, the Rose family slowly learn that there are more important things in life than money. 

Well, kind of. 

The series also gave us the greatest love story of all time. I can't listen to 'Simply The Best' without thinking about David and Patrick. 

Watch it if you like: A genetic disposition for great eyebrows, dysfunctional families, and small, quirky towns. 

Anatomy of a Scandal

Image: Netflix.  

At the end of the first episode of Anatomy of a Scandal, Rupert Friend's character James is literally blown backwards by the force of his own shock after he is accused of rape. 

While it's a shock to James and his wife Sophie (Sienna Miller), it's not a shock to those of us playing along at home who have watched this story play out many times before. 

You see, it's no longer surprising to us that a man in a position of power (James is a prominent British MP) would use that power to take advantage of someone working under him. 

That a man would casually rape a woman and wholeheartedly believe that he will get away with it. 

Because it's happened so, so many times before. 

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That's what makes Anatomy of a Scandal such a compelling watch. It's both a 'dirty little thriller' that you'll rip through in an afternoon, and a study of a marriage which asks: can we truly ever know what the people we love are capable of? 

Watch it if you like: Soft cashmere clothing, scandals ripped from the tabloids, and twists you truly can't see coming. 

Sex Education

Image: Netflix.  

Sex Education is the complete opposite of the teen TV shows I grew up with, where there were clear social groups and predictable storylines. 

The series takes all these teen show tropes and turns them on their head. 

It stars Asa Butterfield as Otis, a sexually repressed teenager who lives with his single mum Jean (Gillian Anderson), who is a sex therapist. 

Soon Otis and his potential love interest Maeve (Emma Mackey) start charging their classmates for sex advice. 

In a nutshell, Sex Education is about a bunch of gloriously diverse, funny, smart teenagers who are learning to love their bodies, what makes them different, and what makes them feel good. 

And it deals with things like sexuality and sexual assault like no show before it. 

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More than anything, it's bloody funny. And warm. And feel-good. Which is exactly what we need right now.

Watch it if you like: Wearing stylish kaftans while raising your socially awkward son, hustling in school toilets, and unexpected friendships. 

The Chair

Image: Netflix.  

In the opening scene of Netflix's The Chair, Sandra Oh's character Dr Ji-Yoon Kim walks into her new office. 

She opens a package that's sitting on the desk. It's a plaque that reads: F***ER IN CHARGE Of You F***ing F***s. 

It's a bloody brilliant opening scene and a good indicator of what's to come. 

The six-part series explores race and privilege, the battle between the old world order and the new, and the fact that sometimes getting everything you want is the worst thing that can possibly happen to you. 

It's also wickedly funny and there's a smattering of David Duchovny in budgie smugglers. 

Watch it if you like: David Duchovny, budgie smugglers, and David Duchovny in budgie smugglers. 

Keryn Donnelly is Mamamia's Pop Culture Editor. For her weekly TV, film and book recommendations and to see photos of her dog, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.  

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