Seasons: 1 season, 8 episodes Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Krysten Ritter, Charlie Cox, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Jon Bernthal, Rosario Dawson, and Elodie Yung. Description: This is another miniseries from Marvel featuring favorites such as Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Luke Cage. They all come together in New York City to fight against their common enemy, The Hand. The Defenders was released one month after the first season of Iron Fist and two months after the second season of Daredevil. It’s great to see how this motley crew of superheroes are able to work together for a shared cause.
Why it’s a keeper: The Defenders is a great series for anyone who is a Marvel fan. Not only is it great to see your favorite characters in action, but this mini-series is very effective in its character development. And the more you get to know the characters, the more invested you become in their story. There is also all of the usual action and witty dialogue that we’ve come to expect from Marvel.
On My Block (BEST)
Seasons: 4 seasons, 38 episodes. Starring: Sierra Capri, Diego Tinoco, Jason Genao, Brett Gray, Jessica Marie Garcia, and Ronni Hawk. Description: Set in the city of Los Angeles, the story follows four childhood friends who have their relationships tested when they start high school. Although the issues might be familiar, this isn’t your classic high-school drama. The characters learn about life and love against a backdrop of gang brutality that poses a real danger to their day-to-day lives. On my block received critical acclaim when it was released and has already won the Teen Choice Award for Breakout TV Show of 2018.
Why it’s a keeper: This show deals with all of the regular issues teens face, only this time it's not dealing with them from a place of privilege. These teenagers live in a world where every decision seriously impacts their future. It is extremely interesting to see this talented cast of actors navigate discrimination issues and poverty, all the while delivering a heartwarming performance.
Seasons: 1 season, 6 episodes. Starring: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louise Ford, Jonathan Bailey, Damien Molony, Julie Dray, Amit Shah, and Adrian Scarborough. Description: Not to be confused with a US series of the same name, Crashing is based in the UK and follows the lives of six twenty-something people who decide to live together as property guardians of a disused hospital. Living in a place like this has its pros and cons. While the rent may be cheap, there are some pretty strict rules they have to stick to. As you can imagine, they get into all kinds of situations.
Why it’s a keeper: This series is one of a kind. Not only does it take place in an unusual setting, but the cast is an unconventional ensemble that lends itself to some interesting relationships. There is also some very British humor, the highlight of which has to be the leading lady, Lulu, who manages to show a range of skills as a character. Aside from being very funny, she and the entire cast are very relatable, you won’t be able to help but fall in love with them all.
Peaky Blinders (BEST)
Seasons: 6 seasons, 36 episodes. Starring: Cillian Murphy, Annabelle Wallis, Paul Anderson, Helen McCrory, Sam Neill, Joe Cole, and Sophie Rundle. Description: Set in the slums of 1920s Birmingham, a gang known as the Peaky Blinders comes to power under the careful management of the eldest son, Tommy Shelby. The family business of pubs and betting shops is not enough, and Tommy is willing to do almost anything to make his gang the most powerful in the UK. This leads them into a world where they have more money than they could have ever imagined. But as always, success comes at a price.
Why it’s a keeper: Peaky Blinders manages to be a period drama with themes that are relevant today. At the end of each season, you are left wondering how things will ever work out for them, and like all good series, leaves us impatient for the next season. The cinematography is excellent, and each member of the cast is able to hold their own. Perhaps most notable are the strong female characters that truly make their mark on the family.
The Great British Bake Off (BEST)
Seasons: 12 seasons, 114 episodes. Starring: Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins, Sandi Toksvig, and Noel Fielding Description: Each year, The Great British Bake Off welcomes 10 new amateur bakers to a tent, where each week the contestants have to tackle a different baking discipline. The viewers can marvel at the amazingly baked creations and try to imagine what they might taste like. The weird part is that there is no cash prize for the winner, just the accolade of being crowned the best amateur baker. This helps attract contestants who are only in it for the love of baking, and not for fame or fortune.
Why it’s a keeper: As cooking shows go, this has to be one of the best. The standard of baking is very high, although there are inevitable disasters that are also fun to watch. The presenting team is wonderfully quirky and brings a real charm to the show. All in all, it's like getting a big hug.