Forget Xmas Specials. They're All Shit. Here Are 10 Good TV Shows You Should Actually Watch Over The Holidays…

From Mando to Helen Bidou...

Article heading image for Forget Xmas Specials. They're All Shit. Here Are 10 Good TV Shows You Should Actually Watch Over The Holidays…

Name us one good TV show Christmas Special (apart from The Office, UK, obviously). That’s right, you can’t. Just because you’re broken at the end of a long year doesn’t mean you have to put up with your favourite shows substituting their jokes for twee sentimentality and the dodgy singing of a rancid Christmas Carol by the cast. You can do better.

Here’s a list of TV shows currently on Australian streaming platforms to get you through the Christmas period. We’ve tried to pick some you might have missed (we figure everyone has either watched or is catching up on ‘Schitt’s Creek’ and ‘The Crown’, while if you missed ‘The Last Dance’ we can’t really help you), and if you did miss them, put that right this holiday season.


THE TEST (Amazon Prime)

Is there a better soap opera than the Australian Cricket Team? Certainly not one that so many of the country are this invested in. ‘The Test’ is an unprecedented piece of film-making, eight episodes of an amazing journey under Justin Langer from the lowest point imaginable to the end of last year’s Ashes. We know you’ve seen it already, but it’s that good, go back and have another go at it. You know you want to.



Lovely Billie Piper is lovely. And she’s also absolutely brilliant in this role in one of 2020’s most unusual shows, playing the victim of a phone hacking whose nude photos go public, throwing her new clean cut job as a Disney Presenter and her already awful marriage into disaster. Cleverly written with a lot of humour, especially from her sarcastic manager Naomi.


DARK (Netflix)

It really is. It is also one of the most thrilling, smart, stunningly shot and intricately plotted stories on tv over the past few years. 2020 saw the release of the third and final series as the damaged residents from the weird town of Nimben battle the consequences of time travel for their personal lives and community. The best thing out of Germany since Lothar Matthaus.  



Yes, you have seen this. But some people might not have. And if they haven’t, FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T TELL THEM!!! Suffice to say, if you have even a passing awareness of Star Wars, and no matter what you think of the prequels or whatever that Episode 9 was about, this series is everything you’re looking for. Providing the perfect end to a second series full of fantastic stories and characters, all we can say it “This is the way”.

Like Star Wars but missed a few? Or have a partner or mate who you are introducing the Galaxy Far, Far Away to and don't know where to start? We made this mini pod to help out:


Clever, moody people would put ‘Normal People’ here. Feel free, but for us that was a bit slow and dark for a show about teenagers rooting. Give us the funnier, more awkward, ‘Sex Education’, especially with Gillian Anderson as the sex therapist/loosest mum going every time. The latest series charts the individual development and divergent journeys of each character with real care (Aimee’s bus scene stands out as quite probably the best and most important scene in TV this year)… and yet also real laughs.



You could easily be forgiven for a) missing this completely, or b) not fancying the look of it much. But it’s a real hidden gem. The BBC do mockumentaries so well and this is made almost exactly in the style of the original ‘The Office’, except it is set in The Cotswolds, in a small village with quintessentially English rural folk - with their remarkably entertaining accents - going about items of everyday life that could not be more dull or weirdly English (Scarecrow Competition anyone?). The danger of the show is you just laugh at the dumb cousins, but set alongside the kind-hearted vicar (Paul Chahidi gives one of the best straight comedy performances you’ll find) and the clever use of real-life statistics about the challenges of living in rural UK, you don’t feel like you’re laughing down so much as participating in the culture. Plus it’s bloody funny.


After some heated discussions in the office about which episodes of 'The Simpsons' - it got a bit nasty, things were said. Bad things. We can't take them back, but we can put them in a podcast. So we counted down the top 25 Simpsons' episodes of all-time. Listen to the full list under 'Pub Talk on the Triple M App. And find out which "won" right here: 


We’ll be honest, we only saw one episode of this. And it blew our mind. All the grisly, shocking, sordid stuff you want from a dating show – except the twist with this one is that the couples have to meet, fall in love, and get engaged… without having seen each other. Achieved with the use of separate ‘pods’, which is challenging enough. But the real challenge seems to be when they are out of the pods and into real life with their new partners, as well as meeting their families, not all of whom are on board with the set up. Bizarre and weirdly compelling watching. We’re going to pretend we’re not going to watch the rest of it over the holidays…



Just brilliant. Better than ‘Breaking Bad’? Quite possibly. Both are among the very best of this golden age of TV streaming. And what maybe gives BCS the edge is not just the amazing performances led by Bob Odenkirk, but the fact that every single scene is so beautifully framed that you could print out stills and fill every art gallery in the world. Stunning television.


RATCHED (Netflix)

One of cinema’s deepest and most deplorable characters, in hindsight you wonder why nobody has ever given Nurse Ratched’s back story a platform before. But maybe they just didn’t think they could do justice to such an iconic role. Well, they have now. Uncomfortable, dark, depressing, and divine, this is one of 2020’s stand-outs, taking the viewer on a journey back in time to see just how far mental health treatment has come, as well as the profile of a stunningly damaged yet vulnerable woman. Sick in every sense of the word.



The funniest show of 2020 bar none. The genius comes from the casting of 10 quite different but all hilarious Aussie comics who bounce off each other amazingly, writing, performing and expertly delivering the best off-the-cuff and planned material you’ll ever hear… and not get any laughs for it. Frank Woodley, Anne Edmonds and Sam Simmons are especially mind-blowing, while Becky Lucas, Nick Cody and Nazeem Hussain are also incredible as the ten of them face six hours of torture attempting not to laugh… and that’s before they have to pour a bottle of fizzy orange soft drink over Sam Simmons’ penis while he sits in a paddling pool.

There wraps our Top Ten TV picks for Summer 2020. Once you're done with them and looking for more, we also made this list all the way back at the start of lockdown in March. Listening back, we stand by them too. 

23 December 2020

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