Don’t have the time for a proper binge session? Keep the end in sight with our pick of the best single season TV shows on Netflix
Netflix is great for catching up on your favourite TV shows. We’ve all faced the “Next Episode” buffering icon, forced to make the choice on whether or not we’re going to be productive that day. We’ve all binge-watched five seasons of Breaking Bad over the course of a week – and then wallowed in our unproductive guilt.
But sometimes there just isn’t the time to cram 60+ episodes into your schedule. Sometimes you’ve got a life to lead.
What you’re looking for is a snack-sized series, a one season show you can digest in a single Sunday’s viewing. A single Sunday!
Joel Draba-Mann digs out some of the best single season shows on Netflix for a mini-binge session.
14 Episodes & One Film
Adored by millions the world over, this classic space-western, straight from the mind of Avengers Assemble director Joss Whedon, was controversially canned after a run of just 14 episodes. That didn’t stop Firefly from becoming one of the most celebrated and acclaimed TV series of all time though.
The cult following and fan demand to continue the story of the Firefly crew even led to Whedon and Universal Pictures teaming up to produce the 2005 film Serenity, which acted as a condensed version of season two.
Top of the Lake
An eerie crime drama from writer/director Jane Campion, Top of the Lake stars Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men fame as a detective investigating the mysterious disappearance of a pregnant 12-year old in a secluded New Zealand community. It’s a horrifying, thrilling mini-series following the small, inward community archetype.
One of the better Netflix original series, this animation follows the titular Bojack Horseman: an anthropomorphic horse and former ’90s sitcom star whose career has spiralled downwards in recent years.
In an effort to force himself back into the spotlight, the narcissistic character recruits a ghost writer to start on his memoirs. Boasting similar humour to the excellent Archer, this also benefits from a stellar voice cast including the likes of Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Alison Brie (Community) and Amy Sedaris (Shrek).
The latest creation of New Zealand parody comic Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords), Short Poppies is a TV mockumentary following struggling presenter David Farrier as he talks to ‘real life’ New Zealanders in the fictional town of The Bay. The prolific Darby plays many of the characters and stars alongside the likes of Stephen Merchant (The Office), Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings) and TV survival expert Bear Grylls.
Walking with Dinosaurs
Six Episodes & Four Specials
This groundbreaking BBC series brought wondrous special effects to the small screen for the first time. Using state-of-the-art VFX and animatronics, they created a six part documentary series chronicling the time of the dinosaurs, from humble beginnings to their extinction 65 million years ago, in the style of a nature documentary.
The effects look a little dated now, being almost 15 years old, but the show remains fascinating and wholly exciting, like a TV version of Jurassic Park.
Arguably the most visually stunning TV series ever conceived. As the most expensive nature documentary ever produced, Planet Earth took more than seven years to film and features some of the most iconic footage of the animal kingdom in recent memory.
Each episode focuses on a particular biome or habitat and is, at times, truly awe-inspiring.
The Blue Planet
The oceanic version of Planet Earth, if you will. But this series actually came first and featured ground-breaking underwater cinematography.
Beautiful at times, as well as abundantly fascinating, The Blue Planet even led to a number of new species being added to the record books, particularly with regards to the deep-sea episode. Particularly startling is the world-first footage of migrating Blue Whales, the largest living animal on the planet.
The State Within (BBC)
Jason Isaacs stars as Sir Mark Brydon, the British Ambassador to Washington, who becomes embroiled in a deep governmental conspiracy that threatens to throw the Western world into war and turmoil.
This British-American co-production is very loosely based on the story of Craig Murray, the British Ambassador who exposed US and British complicity in human rights abuses in the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan.
From Dusk Till Dawn
This Netflix original drama is based on the Robert Rodriguez film of the same name. But though it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, it’s more than entertaining in its own right.
Pursued by Texas Rangers, notorious bank robbers Seth and Richie Gecko find themselves in a strip club inhabited by vampires – where they must fight (until dawn, funnily enough) in order to survive.
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