The Guide #29: From All 4 to Netflix, the one show to watch on every streamer

In this week’s newsletter: not sure what to stream next? Let us make it easy for you by picking the one must-watch on every UK service

We’ve reached the point in our streaming age where there’s an almost uncountable number of services to sign up to. And, what’s more, everyone seems to be signed up to a different combination of them. This makes recommending shows a tricky proposition; where one reader might just want the best of iPlayer, another might be signed up to niche delights like AcornTV.

To offer up something for everyone, we’ve gone all out this week, by recommending a show for pretty much every last streaming platform available. Whether it’s prestige crime drama or trashy reality TV you’re after, hopefully there’s something here for you.

Sign up for the Guide to get the best pop-culture journalism direct to your inbox.

AcornTV: The Chelsea Detective

This plucky streaming startup seems to primarily serve up cosy-if-old-fashioned detective dramas. If that’s your thing, then you may enjoy The Chelsea Detective, a cosy-if-old-fashioned detective drama elevated by the quizzical eyebrows of Adrian Scarborough.

All 4: Derry Girls

Lisa McGee’s comedy, set at the tail end of the Troubles, returns for its third and final series on Channel 4 next week. The previous two are available to wolf down in full on All 4.

Amazon Prime Video: The Boys

Hannah J Davies already flagged the excellent Hacks in last week’s newsletter, so let’s instead go for this acerbic, ultra-violent superhero satire, which returns in a couple of months for its third outing, giving you just enough time to rattle through the head-bursting, Marvel-skewering delights of its first two series. (Warning: it is really, really grisly at points.)

Apple TV+: Pachinko

I’m not alone in thinking that Apple is making the best TV of any streamer around at the moment. Regular readers of this newsletter will know about show of the year candidate Severance already, and there’s also rumpled spy thriller Slow Horses, speculative space race drama For All Mankind and likable comedies including Mythic Quest, Dickinson and, of course, Ted Lasso. Pachinko though might turn out to be the jewel in its crown: a beautifully shot, century-spanning epic following one family’s experiences as Korean immigrants in Japan, it’s TV elevated to the level of Palme d’Or-winning drama. Dynamite credit sequence, too.

BBC iPlayer: The Hunt for Bible John

Yes, we could point to any number of acclaimed scripted series from The Responder to This is Going To Hurt, but that wouldn’t be terribly novel, would it? Instead how about this excellent two-part documentary from BBC Scotland about a serial killer in 60s Glasgow, which largely sidelines the tawdry true crime stuff in favour of a fascinating social history of a city on the brink.

BritBox: The Beast Must Die

Predicted to fail pretty much from the moment it was announced, BritBox has endured thanks mainly to the strength of its back catalogue: where else can you catch all 10 series of Minder, after all? Its original shows are a slightly more patchy affair (*cough* Spitting Image *cough*) but The Beast Must Die was a pleasing exception: a taut thriller that sees the never-less-than-great Cush Jumbo aim to avenge her son’s death, with Jared Harris’s odious business magnate in her crosshairs.

Crunchyroll: Attack on Titan

Confession time: this anime-specific streaming site is very much not for everyone. And as someone slightly baffled by the appeal of most anime (except Akira, obviously), I’m not sure it’s for me either. But I did catch the first series of Attack on Titan – an extremely intense saga about a city beset by grinning, cannibalistic giants and the teens tasked with taking them down – when it was briefly on Netflix and I was completely and utterly hooked. It’s twisty, violent, very daft and often heart-stoppingly dramatic – so much so that every year I find myself signing up to Crunchyroll for a few months every year to keep up with the latest episodes.

Discovery+: The Men Who Sold the World Cup

Discovery’s splashy entry into streaming is good for those who want to catch up with the entertainment giant’s live TV channels without signing up to a costly TV package. It has some original shows too, including this revealing and timely two-part documentary about the grubbiness surrounding the award of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar.

Disney+: Reservation Dogs

Moon Knight? The Dropout? All nine series of 24? There’s frankly far too much to be found on Disney’s streaming service, but let’s opt for this slightly under-the-radar comedy-drama from Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo, about four Native American teens attempting to escape their reservation through fair means and foul. It’s stylish, sweet and extremely funny.

Paulina Alexis, Lane Factor, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai and Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan in Reservation Dogs
Paulina Alexis, Lane Factor, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai and Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan in Reservation Dogs Photograph: Copyright 2021, FX Networks. All rights reserved.

IMDb TV: The West Wing

For anyone who doesn’t want to fork out for streaming services, IMDb TV is a pretty spectacular option. You’ll need to watch it through the Amazon Prime app or have an Amazon-enabled TV or Firestick to view it (though you won’t need to fork out for a Prime account), and you’ll have to sit through a few ads, but there’s a hefty archive of TV shows and films on the other side of them: for example, it’s the only place you can stream all seven series of The West Wing at present in the UK.

ITV Hub: The Ipcress File

Pretty much everyone was expecting to hate this TV remake of the classic 60s spy thriller, but it turned out to be a welcome surprise: stylish, timely and with a lead (Joe Cole) who can go toe to toe with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer. Watch the lot on the ITV Hub.

Hayu: Top Chef

I run a mile from most reality TV, so Hayu – a streaming service that offers nothing but – isn’t really my thing. But it does have Top Chef, the much-loved US cookery show pitched somewhere between MasterChef and Great British Menu, and if there was anything that would sway me it’s probably that.

My5: Yellowstone

Alongside All Creatures Great and Small and many, many shows about Yorkshire, Channel 5’s streaming service has a pretty deep bench of American series, due to being owned by Paramount. Why not try one of the very biggest shows on US TV at the moment, the Kevin Costner-starring neo-western Yellowstone? My5 only has its first series at the moment, but series two is being repeated weekly from Saturday 16 April on 5Action.

Netflix: Standing Up

Netflix’s English-language scripted series have been a little weak as of late, but its international productions are picking up the slack. Here’s the latest sure-fire hit: a sharp comedy drama about Parisian comedians from the creator of Call My Agent!, no less.

NOW: Winning Time – The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

Did The Last Dance create a sudden and insatiable hunger in you for series about the NBA? You’re in luck: NOW are streaming HBO’s Adam McKay-produced, John C Reilly drama about the LA Lakers’ entertaining ‘Showtime era’ of the 80s and early 90s.

Shudder: Cursed Films

This horror-specific streaming service largely focuses on movies, be they thrillers, slashers, grindhouse shockers or anything in between. They do dabble in TV, too, notably ghoulish anthology series Creepshow, and this curious documentary format, that investigates the troubled productions of classic films, from The Exorcist to The Wizard of Oz. It’s a little uneven, but full of fascinating insight.

Starzplay: Ramy

You’ll have to have access to Amazon, but at £1.99 a month, Starzplay is a bit of a bargain, with a strong catalogue of original series. You’ll already no doubt have heard about Outlander, The Great and the spellbinding Station Eleven, so let’s opt for the less heralded Ramy, a very funny, very insightful comedy about a second-gen Egyptian-American’s attempts to be a good person and a good Muslim.

Sundance Now: Good Grief

Another Amazon add-on channel – you have to pay £5 a month this time – but it’s probably worth it for The Bureau, which we’ve raved about before, alone. If you’re after a second reason, there’s also Good Grief, a New Zealand comedy about two sisters haplessly running a funeral home, which has a nice line in droll, morbid humour.

If you want to read the complete version of this newsletter, please subscribe to receive The Guide in your inbox every Friday.


Gwilym Mumford

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Guide #34: The death of binge-watching
In this week’s newsletter: It once felt like we’d never go back from the all-at-once approach – but from Severance to Moon Knight, 2022 has been the year of appointment TV

Gwilym Mumford

13, May, 2022 @10:45 AM

Article image
The Guide #26: why Severance and Station Eleven are true TV standouts
In this week’s newsletter: after a slow start to the TV season, these ambitious sci-fi thrillers feel like the windfall we need

Gwilym Mumford

18, Mar, 2022 @11:44 AM

Article image
‘Grange Hill was bigger than Love Island’: the rise of nostalgia TV
From The Sopranos to The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, archive content has never been more popular. What do our choices say about the nation’s psyche?

Toby Moses

06, Mar, 2021 @12:00 PM

Article image
The Guide #9: The problem with The Problem with Jon Stewart
The former Daily Show host is back with a new show. But we’re not sure it’s terribly funny – or if it’s even meant to be

Gwilym Mumford

19, Nov, 2021 @11:43 AM

Article image
Best UK streaming and pay-TV services 2021: Sky, Virgin, Netflix and Amazon Prime compared and ranked
Our updated list of the best pay-TV and streaming services in the UK

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

05, Mar, 2021 @10:57 AM

Article image
Sexy Beasts to Acapulco: the seven best shows to stream this week
TV’s most ludicrous dating show returns, a pioneering American woman is recognised, and there’s a feelgood new coming-of-age comedy to tuck into

Phil Harrison

01, Oct, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
How did The Morning Show become the messiest show on TV?
In its second season, the star-studded Apple TV drama is a chaotic, uneven and ham-fisted yet compulsively watchable rumination on workplace ethics amid the pandemic

Adrian Horton

20, Oct, 2021 @5:14 AM

Article image
Netflix and bills: which streaming services are really worth shelling out for?
Paramount+ is the latest entrant into our bewildering and expensive streaming landscape. But if you are looking to streamline your streaming services which are the easiest to ditch without feeling like you are missing out?

Stuart Heritage

21, Jun, 2022 @9:00 AM

Article image
The Guide #10: the enduring appeal of the Beatles
In this week’s newsletter, why Peter Jackson’s eight-hour documentary proves the band still have a vice-like grip on our culture

Gwilym Mumford

26, Nov, 2021 @11:48 AM

Article image
Heartbreak High, Rings of Power, Blonde: what’s new to streaming in Australia this September
Plus a starry drama about the Bali bombings, new Rick and Morty and Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson

Luke Buckmaster

04, Sep, 2022 @5:30 PM