The Weekend Series: the best binge-worthy shows of 2017 (so far)

It’s been a pretty stellar year as far as television is concerned. Some of the ‘already greats’ returned for killer new seasons, while some fresh faces drummed up an incredible amount of hype. With the new season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, now is the time to catch up on these shows before you are consumed by the world of dragons, wildlings and white walkers. To make it easier, we’ve picked five of the best binge-watch worthy shows of 2017 so far.

The Handmaid’s Tale
One of the most talked about shows of the year to date is without a doubt the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Buzz for this show built quickly after a viral marketing campaign saw actors dressed as handmaids stalk the streets of America in eerie silence, but nothing could prepare audiences for the grim tale the show tells. Set in a dystopian America where fertility rates have plummeted after an environmental crisis, The Handmaid’s Tale places audiences in the aftermath of a civil war. A new totalitarian government has implemented laws that subjugate women who are still able to conceive, forcing them to become slave-like ‘handmaids’. Elisabeth Moss plays a handmaid that has been assigned to the home of a high-ranking government figure, and the show explores her life before the war and her experiences under the constant scrutiny of the new regime. Delve deep into The Handmaid’s Tale right now through SBS on Demand.


American Gods
Blending surrealist cinematography and mythological influences, American Gods is one of the most imaginative shows to emerge in 2017. Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, American Gods follows the exploits of ex-con Shadow Moon, who finds himself in the middle of a war between gods old and new. The power of the established mythological figures is waning as people begin worshiping other concepts such as wealth, media, technology and drugs, and Shadow is recruited as a bodyguard for Mr Wednesday (played by Ian McShane) – a key figure in the war. American Gods pushes the limits of visual effects on television, making for a feast for the eyes as well as the brain. Witness the spectacle of American Gods on Amazon Prime Video.


Legion
With the advent of the age of comic book movies, you’d be forgiven for being a bit tired of the superhero trope. Contrasting with the gritty nature of Marvel’s Netflix menagerie, Legion takes a different and fresher approach to superheroes on the small screen. The show focuses on the X-Men character David Haller, a young man who has ben diagnosed with schizophrenia at the young age. As the show progresses, David realises that his afflictions might not be due to a mental illness, but rather because of something much more powerful. The show features performances by Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens and the hilarious Aubrey Plaza. You can watch Legion in Australia on Foxtel.


Twin Peaks: The Return
Did you hear? That gum you like has come back in style! David Lynch’s cult television series Twin Peaks made its triumphant return to the small screen this year, bringing back the original cast for a third season of seedy suburban surrealism. The series brings back a host of original characters, including Special Agent Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer, Audrey Horne, The Log Lady, Deputy Hawk and a host of new characters played by the likes of Naomi Watts, Michael Cera, Laura Dern, Ashley Judd, Madeline Zima and more. Catch Twin Peaks: The Return on Stan.


GLOW
Although professional wrestling isn’t as popular in Australia as it is in the United States, nearly everyone has a passing familiarity with names such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Hiding in the shadows of these iconic wrestlers are stories that have nearly been lost to the passing of time. GLOW shines a light on a different side of the wrestling industry – particularly women’s wrestling in the mid-eighties. In GLOW, Alison Brie plays a struggling actress who lands herself a role at a fledgling wrestling promotion called Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, where she interacts with a range of weird personalities and tries to survive her time in the ring unscathed. You can watch GLOW on Netflix.

Honourable mention: Big Little Lies, I’m Dying Up Here, The Good Place, The Young Pope

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