A few years back, when I was working for a church, I ended up being obliged to join in with a parenting course. In one of the sessions, we were grouped in small circles of chairs discussing our relationships with our spouses in a breezy, undeniably middle class manner. We were asked a natural enough question about our shared interests. I can’t remember now if Andrew was there to glance at for assistance but I do remember managing to come up with a nice, respectable first answer: walking the dog, that wholesome, healthy pursuit. My problem was that the other genuine answers at the forefront of my mind were eating and watching TV – and I felt that these lacked a certain finesse that would have been desirable in the particular company in which I found myself. When pushed, however, I managed to raise my chin, smile, look the other, more respectable couples in the eyes and say – with what I felt was an admirable visage of confidence given the circumstances – ‘we like to watch TV’. The group leader politely asked for elaboration and I managed to utter the names of a few American sit coms without betraying (I hoped) a shred of the embarrassment I felt. It really didn’t feel like the appropriate arena in which to admit that my main shared interests with my other half were chicken satay from the Chinese takeaway whose owner knew my name and the latest season of Ugly Betty.
To tell the truth, our interests haven’t changed all that much, and to be honest, why should they have? For all the couples travelling the world together, posting their adventure snaps online, I bet there are ten times as many sat in their living rooms with a cuppa and Netflix. As it turns out, Andrew and I have become quite the TV and film connoisseurs (of sorts) – perhaps not in the sense that we profess to have any real discernment on the subject, but certainly in the sense that we do watch an awful lot.
Forget paying twenty quid for a candle labelled ‘hygge’, sitting on the sofa at the end of a long day with the TV on and a plate of food on your lap has a certain cosiness of its own, particularly when shared with loved ones. Whether they make you laugh out loud, cry, keep you on the edge of your seat or take you somewhere you’ve never been, inspire, inform or amuse you, TV programmes and films can – controversy alert – actually be good for you.
With that in mind, here are a few of my current favourites (in case you’re looking for recommendations from a connoiseur ‘of sorts’ who claims to have no real discernment on the matter):
A well cast superhero story with great action scenes and important and powerfully drawn themes. New episodes currently being released every Tuesday on Netflix.
You might like it if you’re into: the Marvel films.
The Good Place
A kooky Netflix series about a selfish but indomitable woman who finds herself, apparently mistakenly, in ‘The Good Place’, when she dies. This manages to be thought provoking, weird and completely hilarious without being pretentious.
You might like it if you’re into: Brooklyn 99.
This one’s old news I know, but I love its sweetness. It is romantic and funny with great characters and relationships and a substantial dose of social commentary. Plus – 90’s fashion, pop tarts and pizza. What’s not to love?
You might like it if you’re into: Friends.
A US detective show in which an FBI agent joins forces with a master criminal. Gripping but with a fun, light-hearted feel and great characters.
You might like it if you’re into: The Mentalist.
This is the Channel 4 show that Andrew and I want to be on. Like every other viewer, we have made our own renegade plans from the comfort of our sofa, while rooting for the contestants – affectionately known on the show as ‘fugitives’ – who try to evade capture by ‘the Hunters’ to win £100 000.
You might like it if you’re into: weirdly – James Bond, or Goggle Box.
To Catch a Thief
A 1955 Hitchcock film with all the glamour of its French setting. When there is a spate of cat burglaries, everyone assumes it is known thief, John Robie, played by Cary Grant, but he sets out to clear his name with the help of Grace Kelly’s character, Frances.
You might like it if you’re into: Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
I am unashamedly excited that this is back on TV on Sunday evenings! It follows Inspector Morse in his early days. It’s got the glamour and grit of its 60’s backdrop, some good acting and cases that, for the most part, keep you guessing about who dunnit. It’s on ITV3 and the ad breaks clearly have an age group older than mine in mind, but don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it!
You might like it if you’re into: Foyle’s War.
What are you watching at the moment?