For the past few weeks, I have unfortunately been experiencing a severe flare in symptoms. Although the symptoms I live with are constant, however, I experience blocks of time in which these symptoms worsen causing much pain and suffering.
Pain, trembling, dizziness and especially fatigue have all been particularly acute of late. Often I have been unable to do much at all, with the pain and trembling in the legs shackling me to my bed due to difficulties with getting around, even in the house. Crippling fatigue has also confined me to rest in bed on numerous occasions especially after being out of the house or doing chores around the house.
And it’s in these moments, being incapacitated by the illness that I am unable to do much more than just lie on my bed and entertain myself with a light or comforting book. But more often than not, however, I have been distracting my mind from the pain and other symptoms with a box-set binge of one of my favourite television programmes.
In this post, I thought I would share some of my favourite box sets that have recently helped me into a chronically (ill) induced boxset binge.
Anyone who knows me will know that I am a huge fan of procedural crime dramas, and Bones has to be one of my all-time favourite shows in this genre.
‘Bones’ centres around the relationship between forensic anthropologist Dr Temperence Brennan and Special Agent Seeley Booth of the FBI whom together combine their skill and expertise to solve murders using evidence recovered from dead bodies. “Bones” is the nickname given to Dr Brennan who heads up the team of forensic scientists of the Jeffersonian Institue (based upon the real-life Smithsonian Institue). As the show is based on the character created by real-life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs (and who is also an executive producer on the TV series) the science and techniques used adds to the show’s realism and authenticity. Alongside murder inquiries, the show also explores the relationships and private lives of the characters.
Not only is the science of the show interesting and compelling but the writers of the show beautifully write engaging and relatable characters whom you can’t help but fall in love with, especially the show’s protagonist ‘Bones’ whose directness and clumsy demeanour makes her both hilarious and endearing to watch. Also, what I love about the show is its ability to inject humour seamlessly alongside the horror and gore of its depictions of its murders and dead bodies.
“Jane Doe” wakes up stuffed inside a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square, naked, unaware of her own identity and covered in strange tattoos covering most of her body. And it’s this enigmatic twist that makes it so different from any other police drama before or since.
The FBI, headed by Special Agent Kurt Weller, whose name also appears on the back of this mysterious tattooed woman, realises the tattoos are much like a treasure map and when decoded reveals clues to crimes and instances of government corruption. Also while trying to discover Jane Doe’s real identity, and who sent her to the FBI and why.
If you love dramas that make you think, then this is one to put on your list. Once you start to watch you cannot help be instantly intrigued with these beautiful and ornate and tattoos as well as the methods used to uncover the messages behind them. As the series develops, the momentum builds closer towards a shocking and dramatic conclusion, raising more questions than it actually answered, and brilliantly introducing new avenues for future series to explore. Everything about this series really impressed me, but the standout performance came from Jaimie Alexander as ‘Jane Doe’ who although excelled at the action stunts it was the vulnerability she showed portraying a woman whose entire identity had been erased that made it such a compelling watch. A series I could happily watch again and again!
I wouldn’t say that I am a huge fan of action dramas, but Strike Back has to be the one exception and one I can happily watch over and over again. I’ve even been known to have come to the end of the entire series of the show and then immediately go back and watch it all over again. The original series of Strike Back was adapted from a novel written by former soldier Chris Ryan and starred Richard Armitage. John Porter is a disgraced soldier recruited by a secret branch of the British military to travel around the globe in the attempt to stop major global threats while his boss does his best to cover up a mistake from his past. It was a solid series, however, Strike Back really came into its own during its second outing with the introduction of soldiers, Sgt Scott and Sgt Stonebridge, two leads who share amazing chemistry, and rival any of the best television or film comedy duos. They are engaging, and a delight to watch, and the banter they share is really what makes the show so fun and entertaining. The one-liners between the two are hilarious, and as it’s a show I watch so of, I am even able to quote them! But be warned, throughout all of the series there are many instances of explicit language as well as gratuitous sex and nudity. Certainly not something I will watch in front of my Dad!
But what also makes the show so brilliant is the high octane drama and action. The stunts are both impressive, and looks incredibly realistic and what the show will be most remembered for. Although the action is what mainly drives the show, I also enjoyed the emotionally driven storylines, examining the tortured psyches of the soldiers and the moral quandaries that they are forced to confront in their line of work. It was great to love a show that seemed fresh and new at the beginning of each new series, with ever evolving characters and brilliantly complex storylines, hunting new enemies that threaten not only the UK but it’s political and military allies. The episodes are so intense and exciting it’s hard not to get carried away and watch several episodes in one sitting!
Gavin and Stacey
Written by friends Ruth Jones and now very famous James Corden, Gavin and Stacey tells the story of the eponymous characters; one a boy living with his parent in Essex and Stacey, a young woman from Barry, a town not very far from where I live! They navigate their love affair alongside their best friends Nessa and Smithy, who although they seemingly hate each they keep sharing romantic trysts themselves!
The show is absolutely hilarious, and it never fails to make me belly-laugh no matter how many times I have watched the episodes! A great boxset to watch when feeling down, feeling the effects of living with a neurological condition.
Other Notable Mentions:
Grey’s Anatomy – it’s fun, addictive and beautifully written with strong and relatable characters that despite their flaws you can’t help but love
Criminal Minds – as someone with a psychology degree, I find their abilities to get inside the minds of serial killers fascinating
Ghost Whisperer – Jennifer Love Hewitt is absolutely compelling to watch as reluctant medium Melinda Gordon. Each episode is so emotional to watch and never feels to leave you with tears in your eyes
Designated Survivor (on Netflix UK) – with elements of 24 and The West Wing, this show is undeniably intriguing and also complicated at times. Tom Kirkland (played by Keifer Sutherland) on the eve of the State of the Union becomes the President of the United States after a catastrophic explosion claims the lives of the President and everyone in his line of succession. It’s absolutely addictive, and all 21 episodes are now immediately at your fingertips making it perfect binge-worthy material.
I always love to discover new box sets to watch on those days which leave me incapacitated by my symptoms so I would love to hear your favourite box sets and any recommendations on what to watch next!
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!