The days are getting shorter, and for many Australians, the cold winds and colder nights have already arrived. You get through the front door, hang up the 6 layers of coats and scarves, turn on the heater, make some food and sit down in-front of the TV.
And your trusty streaming app or device is there, opening up a world of ways to spend a cozy winter’s night in front of the TV. Here’s some suggestions to get you started.
Winter is coming, they said. And as you huddle near the heater you realise that House Stark was completely right about that. As Game of Thrones enters its sixth season of dramatic events and dragons, you can feel a little better about the weather where you live as the citizens of Westeros push dramatically forwards through copious amounts of snow and ice. By the time we’re in the dead of winter in Australia, season 6 will be coming to an end, but you’ll be able to stream it for a while afterwards via Foxtel Anytime.
Netflix (4 Seasons)
There’s few TV drama shows that are more binge-worthy than Homeland, which recently wound up its fifth season of high-quality, high-stakes drama. It’s a show that’s constantly reinvented itself, moving completely away from its original premise (a US soldier rescued from captivity who may have been “turned” as an agent of the enemy) and switching to international locations. Claire Danes as CIA agent Carrie Mathison is the real centre of the story here, and it’s that story that’ll keep you watching. Netflix currently has the first four seasons, with the fifth available on iTunes if you can’t stop there.
Presto (11 seasons)
It’s said there’s no better place to be on a cold night than in a warm bar amongst friends, and loads of people agree – running for over a decade, Cheers ranks as one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, and despite the passing of time it’s still one of the funniest things you can watch on TV, especially once it finds its beat and fleshes out its characters in the early seasons. The wonderful thing about on-demand streaming is that you have access to every single episode ever made – all 270 of them.
Presto (8 Movies)
Also on Netflix (Movies 3, 4 and 5) and Stan (Movies 7 and 8)
If you’ve got kids, you probably know all about Harry Potter and the books and movies that feature him. If you’ve never seen them, though – you’re in for a treat. With all the movies running over two hours and a total running time of just under 19 hours, you’ve got enough epic story here to fill an entire week of winter – and you get to see the cast literally grow up before your eyes, too! All eight of the movies are on Presto in HD, with Netflix and Stan managing to only have small parts of the series available.
Stan (7 Seasons)
Now, one for the grown-ups. This brilliant, bitingly funny, irreverent and ultimately soft-hearted drama ran for seven seasons on Showtime, finishing up in 2014 – and Stan’s got the entire thing in crisp HD, making sure the golden sun, blue skies and eye-popping colours of Los Angeles help you forget whatever cold temperature we’re experiencing in our winter. David Duchovny reinvented himself for this role, and he inhabits frustrated writer Hank Moody so thoroughly you forget that he used to be famous as a geeky FBI agent. It’s not for the prudish – there’s plentiful sex, nudity and colourful language throughout – but don’t be fooled by the controversy. This show’s got a warm heart.
Netflix (8 Seasons)
Stan (8 Seasons)
The 2005 “reboot” of the legendary BBC sci-fi show that millions of kids grew up with was a bold but brilliant move. Bringing the time-travelling Doctor into the world of modern television with a big budget, proper special effects and epic storylines, it could have failed spectacularly – but instead ended up finding the Doctor a whole new audience. It’s brilliant stuff, with each season made up of bite-size mini-adventures that take place around a main overarching story that (more often than not) involves saving the universe. All eight of the modern seasons are on both Stan and Netflix (encompassing no less than four actors playing the Doctor); be aware that the first four seasons were not made in HD (it’s not your TV’s fault!)
Netflix (7 Seasons)
Ah, the 1960s – the era of Sunday night roasts, open fireplaces in winter and the golden era of the advertising industry, as depicted in this gloriously detailed and incredibly stylish drama about Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the creative director and junior partner of the Sterling Cooper advertising agency, along with his team of colleagues and co-workers. Recreating the era lavishly and focusing in particular on the very different social conventions of the day, it’s also loaded with incredibly more-ish stories – perfect for binge watching on a long winter weekend. All 92 episodes are on Netflix waiting for you to dive in!
There’s plenty more treats lurking around the streaming services ready to entertain you on a night in, but these should serve as a great place to start. And don’t forget, if snuggling under the doona on a cold night is more your thing, all the above are just as easily played on your phone or tablet via the various services’ apps.