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10 binge-worthy boxsets from Sky you might have missed

So you’ve devoured Big Little Lies and Girls; hoovered up Scandal, Billions and Boardwalk Empire; you’re poised and ready for the final season of Game of Thrones. What to do in the meantime?

Sky is well known for its great selection of blockbuster boxsets, and Sky Atlantic in particular has become a haven in Ireland and the UK as the go-to point for next-day airings of the most hotly anticipated shows from across the pond. Gone are the days when we would/could stand to wait for our TV fix. We’re living in what many are calling “The Platinum Age of Television” where the amount of quality programming on offer is so abundant it’s no wonder some real gems fall under our radar in favour of bigger, shinier productions.

That’s why in this article we wanted to shed some light on some lesser known, but no less enjoyable shows that you might have missed. Below you’ll find our recommendations for 10 great boxsets, all available from Sky or NOW TV, for you to get your teeth into.    

1. The Enfield Haunting

What’s it about?

A three-part mini series from Sky Living, this spooky Timothy Spall led paranormal drama is based on one of the most documented accounts of poltergeist activity in the UK. Exploring the events that allegedly took place in a London council house in the late seventies, The Enfield Haunting draws upon recordings and witness statements to dramatise a case that held a nation captivated for decades.

Watch if... you’re looking for a well-crafted, chilling tale with a small time commitment.

Rating: Holding a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Enfield Haunting is Sky Living’s most successful programme ever. The Independent called it "North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama."

Commitment: 1 Season, 3 Episodes

2. Fortitude

What’s it about?

Set in an icy arctic tundra town that boasts a reputation of being one of the safest dwellings in the world, citizens shocked to discover that one of their members has been brutally murdered. Headed up by a talented cast including Michael Gambon and Stanley Tucci, Fortitude presents a high production value, slow-burner murder mystery with a cold blooded heart.

Watch if… you are looking for a noir crime show in a similar vein to The Bridge or Eyewitness.

Rating: The first season holds a score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes with many critics' only complaint being the slower than average pacing. One critic’s opinion “Fortitude is a superior crime show because it makes clear, from the start, the guilt of all involved. You can't keep the cold out forever.”

Commitment: 2 Seasons, 21 Episodes      

3. Hunderby

What’s it about?

Set in the 1830s, Hunderby is a black comedy that acts as the comedic antidote to the abundance of ardent period dramas around like Downton Abbey or Jamestown. It follows the story of Helene, a young woman washed ashore after a shipwreck. She is quickly courted and married to Edmund, a local pastor on the understanding that Helene is still a virgin. However, she has a dark past that she must hide from him...

Watch if… you love dark humour and like period dramas but wish they weren’t so stuffy!  

Rating: The series won two comedy awards at The British Comedy awards in 2012 and the show’s writer Julia Davis also won a BAFTA for best comedy writing. The Guardian said "Hunderby is filth... the filthiest filth, but also top quality filth, and you can get away with a lot by being very good, and very funny, which it is."

Commitment: 1 Season, 8 Episodes (plus 2 extra hour long specials)

4. Penny Dreadful

What’s it about?

Think of a classic horror character and you’ll most likely find them hiding in a corner of this atmospheric psychological thriller series. Set in Victorian London (though much of it was shot in Ireland), Penny Dreadful stars Eva Green as the unsettling Vanessa Ives in a story that weaves together classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama.  

Watch if… you’re a fan of classic and gothic horror stories like Dracula and Frankenstein but also be prepared for campy, hammed up acting.

Rating: The three series of the show cumulatively hold a score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and is only critiqued for its sometimes overly convoluted plots. As one critic put it “Some of its mumbo jumbo may hurt your head, but the last words of Episode 2 are precisely on point. They whet the appetite for more, more. We'll see how it all comes out in the bloody wash.”

Commitment: 3 Seasons, 27 Episodes  

5. Wayward Pines

What’s it about?

With an all-star cast including Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis and Terrence Howard, Wayward Pines is an intense and mind-bending thriller from suspenseful storyteller M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Split). The story is based on a bestselling novel and follows a Secret Service agent on a mission to find two missing federal agents in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines but every step closer to the truth makes him question if he will ever get out of the surreal town alive.

Watch if… you’re a fan of the twisty suspense of classic Shyamalan.

Rating: The first season of Wayward Pines received very favourable reviews and holds a respectable score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the second season lost a lot of fans as it was seen to have lost the mystery and intrigue of the first season. Of the first season one critic said; “All in all, Wayward Pines is a delightfully twisty romp that always seems to be winking at audiences, even during its most seriously complex moments.”

Commitment: 2 Seasons, 19 Episodes

6. Finding Carter

What’s it about?

A teenager’s life is turned upside down when she discovers that the single mother that she was raised by and loves dearly, is not her real mother. After finding out that she was abducted as a three-year-old, Carter is reunited with her real family which includes a twin sister, a younger brother and a mother and father completely alien to her. The story centres around Carter’s attempts to adjust to her new life and particularly on the very strained relationship between her and her new mother, a police detective hellbent on finding and catching her daughter’s abductor - despite Carter’s protestations.

Watch if… you’re looking for a solid teen drama. If you liked Switched At Birth you’ll enjoy this.  

Rating: Finding Carter was very popular with its target audience and critics were very favourable towards it. It holds a score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. As one critic put it  “Finding Carter isn't some teen show. It's a stellar drama.”

Commitment:    2 Seasons, 36 Episodes

7. Hit & Miss

What’s it about?

Hit & Miss was Sky Atlantic’s first original drama commission and is like nothing you’ve seen on TV before. It stars Chloë Sevigny giving a career best performance as Mia (though her Yorkshire accent leaves something to be desired), a transgender contract killer who discovers that she has a child with a former lover. Mia, who has become somewhat detached from normal life due to the nature of her job, struggles in her new role as mother while trying to maintain her job as a hired assassin.  

Watch if… you like a good genre-mash up. Hit & Miss offers a pleasing blend of family drama and tense thriller.

Rating: Reviews of the show are pretty favourable with a score of 72/100 on Metacritic with most critics agreeing that once you get past the somewhat improbable premise, Hit & Miss offers up an engaging story with fully rounded characters. The Los Angeles Times said "every performance here is good — the young actors are remarkable — and though the script sometimes goes just where you would expect it to, the characters seem authentically unpredictable."

Commitment: 1 Season, 6 Episodes

8. Sensitive Skin

What’s it about?

This Canadian drama is a remake of a British original starring Joanna Lumley. Here it stars Kim Cattrall as Davina, a woman in her 50s who works in a gallery and lives with her pop-culture critic husband played by Don McKellar. The couple have sold their comfortable suburban family home and moved to downtown Toronto to an ultra-modern condo, in a transitional neighbourhood, in a conscious effort to change their lives, keep relevant, and begin again.

Watch if… you wondered whatever happened to Kim Cattrall after Sex and the City. She’s on fire here delivering a delicately nuanced performance as the image obsessed Davina.  

Rating: The first season of Sensitive Skin was nominated for 6 Canadian Screen Awards and won four, including Best Actor in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role and Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series for Don McKellar. Critics praised Sensitive Skin for creating a worthy remake, as The Guardian put it; “Sensitive Skin proves that you can return to a show and create something new and interesting from it.”

Commitment: 2 Seasons, 12 Episodes

9. Twin Peaks

What’s it about?

Twin Peaks hardly needs introduction as one of the most iconic cult TV series in history, but given that the show returned to screens earlier this month after a 26 year hiatus, perhaps we are due a refresher!

Though the premise is fairly straightforward; an investigation into the murder of a high-school homecoming queen in a Pacific Northwest lumber town - Twin Peaks couldn’t be further from straightforward. Created by legendary surreal filmmaker David Lynch the drama is “a mysterious and mystical (when it wasn't merely murky) excursion into the dark side of human nature, rife with sex, violence, dream sequences and a gallery of bizarre characters” as Rotten Tomatoes puts it.

All episodes of the original series are available to watch from Sky’s boxsets and there are new episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return every week.

Watch if… you loved the original show and want to refresh your memory or you’re new to the series and want to be up to date for the new series!

Rating: Twin Peaks holds a cumulative score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes across its three seasons and as already mentioned, has legendary cult status. Critics gush with praise such as “Twin Peaks is like the horrific, teasing fever nightmare that takes you to the head of the darkened staircase and throws you off, leaving you frozen in midflight at an exquisite peak of terror and wordless exhilaration.”

Commitment: 2 Seasons, 30 Episodes (Twin Peaks) 1 Season, 4 Episodes (new episodes weekly) (Twin Peaks: The Return)

10. A Young Doctor’s Notebook

What’s it about?

A dark British comedy based on the short story collection of the same name by Mikhail Bulgakov, A Young Doctor’s Notebook stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe as the same doctor at different ages working in a Russian hospital. The first series is set in 1917 during the Russian Revolution and the second takes place the following year during the Russian Civil War.

Watch if… you’re looking for something a little different with thoroughly fascinating source material.

Rating: At the time of its airing, the average viewing for the first series of A Young Doctor’s Notebook was the highest in Sky Arts 1’s history. Critics were fans and it was nominated for several awards including the Magnolia Award for Best Television Film or Miniseries at the 19th Shanghai Television Festival in 2013 as well as the Satellite Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 2014.

Commitment: 2 Seasons, 8 Episodes

Sky’s FREE LG TV offer:

Love the sound of all of these series but don’t have Sky? If so, it might be time to sign up because Sky are offering a FREE 32” LG TV to anyone who signs up to any of their TV only deals through our site by the 8th of June. If you sign up to any HD package you’ll have access to all of the great series mentioned above as well as hundreds of other great boxsets. Interested? Why not Compare TV Only Deals to find your perfect package.  

Not interested in a Sky contract? Try NOW TV:

Still really want access to all of the above content but don’t fancy being locked into a long contract with Sky? NOW TV could be the perfect option for you. NOW TV is a new contract free service from Sky which launched in Ireland last April. You can get access to all of Sky’s boxsets for as little as €15 a month and you can cancel your subscription at any time. Read all about the service in our NOW TV Review.  


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