Anytime TV

Martha Hegarty tells you what TV shows your laptop shouldn’t be without.

Late nights and early deadlines may be curbing your television intake, but every cloud has a silver lining: consolidate your time by picking only the creamiest crop of what online TV has to offer.

Black Mirror

Don’t be daunted by the title, Black Mirror is not aimed at vampire-obsessed tweens, instead it’s one of the smartest, interesting shows around. Its two seasons are comprised of six hour-long episodes in total which reflect the flaws of society back at itself like a – you guessed it – black mirror. Though may sound like heavy stuff on paper, it’s anything but on screen. Thanks to the writing of Charlie Brooker, every episode shines with such crispness, originality and charm that you hardly notice yourself being sucked into its true meaning until the punchline just before the credits. And how the lines punch. The show remains constantly entertaining while providing something nearer a buffet for thought than just some food. Plus, as each hour is a completely different and unrelated story, it’s easy to dip into at any point if you’re looking for something more like a short film than a 20-minute eye nugget.
For fans of – Sherlock

The Hour

No, it’s not that Virginia Wolfe thing, it’s a fast-paced, witty drama set in the 60s focused on the goings-on of a television show called The Hour. Think Mad Men with more wearable clothes and less long, symbolic silences. With an absorbing cast and plotlines that are wrapped up long before you stop caring about them, The Hour spawned an online petition of nearly over 24,000 signatures after it was cancelled after its second season. Humour, pizzazz and fantastically fleshed-out characters, it’s a stylish investigation of the ebb and flow of struggles and triumphs far more than it is just another homage to the oft-cited Swinging Sixties.
Why watch? For the hand-chewing riveting finale of Season 2 as well as any scene with Ben Whishaw.

Breaking Bad

An obvious choice if you’re one of the few people who haven’t been avoiding the internet/TV articles/people in general after the show’s finale in an effort to watch the last few episodes spoiler free. If you’re not one of those, you’re probably one of the people being harassed on a weekly basis to dip a toe into some meth. The fictional meth of Breaking Bad of course! Now that every addictive episode is available online to watch back to back, there’s nothing stopping you snuggling up with Walter White for hours on end without the barrier of ads or week-long waits to discourage a thriving obsession. The show is nothing if not consistently good, with Bryan Cranston as the one who knocks steering forth an excellently character-driven descent into badass badness with the help of a choice cast. Simply check out IMDb’s 25000-people-strong rating of Season 5’s Ozymandias if you’re not convinced.
For fans of – Malcolm in the Middle