I am not one to be so obsessed with the remote control but when I get my binge on, it’s because there’s something interesting showing. The five TV shows below are so addictive that they will have me staring at a screen for hours on end. And the best thing about all of them is that they’re available on Showmax, which means you can download them onto the Showmax app on your smartphone or tablet on Wi-Fi before you go on holiday, and then binge on the whole series for free while you’re offline. And trust me, they’re the kinds of shows that you’re going to want watch back-to-back, so make sure you download every. single. episode. (The Showmax app lets you download up to 25 series episodes at a time, which you can keep on your device for 30 days.)
1. Game of Thrones
You knew this would top my list, didn’t you? If you follow me on Twitter then you know that my obsession with Game of Thrones, or GoT as we fondly refer to it, is far from being normal. I am even on a number of WhatsApp groups whose sole purpose is to analyse every little detail about what’s going on in the land of ice, fire and dragons: the fictitious continents of Westeros and Essos where it all goes down.
If you somehow missed out on the most popular TV show on Earth, then worry not, Showmax has got you covered. The same applies if, like yours truly, you are nursing withdrawal symptoms after three months of no Mother of Dragons on television. The subscription video on demand service has all the seasons of Game of Thrones, from Season 1 through to Season 7. As we get ready to bid a tearful farewell to the Starks and Lannisters next year – or even 2019, if rumours are to be believed, when Season 8 comes out, you can go ahead and make Game of Thrones the centre of your holiday TV consumption. Just be warned, if you’ve never watched Game of Thrones before: the internet is dark and full of spoilers.
I have never been to the United States. I am stuck in a cold Nairobi but even then, I am able to feel the freezing cold of Minnesota, where Fargo is set, to the point of dreading it and being sure not to include it in my itinerary were I to make a journey to the land of Obama. This is because right from the onset, in Season 1, Fargo‘s showrunners set out to explore one of the most disturbing strings of murders in gun-happy America. It’s scary, to say the least, and each season, of the three that have been out so far, brings something different and more exhilarating than the previous one to our screens. Trust me, you’ll need to watch this with someone by your side. It makes for an interesting watch, but one that will make you dread the dark and the snow, nevertheless. Or, like yours truly, the North Dakota that you’ve never been to. Seasons 1 to 2 are on Showmax and Season 3 arrives in January, along with the Coen Brothers movie that the series is based on.
Ghost is not usually a name that you would associate with a high-level street-smart drug dealer who runs high-end pubs, wears the most exotic of suits and looks like someone straight out of one of those runway shows. Yet that is the kind of person that James St Patrick, the character around whom Power‘s plot revolves, really is. Laden with randy scenes (what else would you expect from Starz, the people who brought us Spartacus?), murders, drugs and a nightlife worth envying – all the ingredients of a good watch, if you ask me – Power goes above and beyond to keep you glued to your seat.
What I love in this show is that the characters use a bunch of early generation Android-powered devices that remind me how far tech has come in a few short years.
My nerdy self aside, you might want to watch Power for other reasons as well. Like the eye candy that is Tasha, Ghost’s wife, and FBI attorney Angela Valdez, Ghost’s girlfriend. Yeah, it’s that complicated.
4. The Newsroom
I don’t have that much experience with newsrooms but the little I have gathered in those so-called newsrooms has nothing on the “real” newsroom. The one dominated by star anchor Will McAvoy, who, if he really existed, would have made us take a little longer to leave behind our traditional media consumption habits. How Charlie Skinner and company manage to make what are otherwise dull environments the epicentre of a major drama, episode after episode, is beyond me. I don’t need to say much. Watch The Newsroom in its entirety, since it is no longer in production, on Showmax. It expires at the end of December, so there’s no time to waste.
5. The Borgias
Can the Pope have a wife and children?
Going into the holiday season where we are all religious, family-first people and stuff, I can’t think of anything better to watch than The Borgias. Set in the Middle Ages when the church, to use common Nairobi street parlance ndio ilikuwa kusema (had authority), The Borgias explores the vast powers of the Roman Catholic papacy in those times when kings, the high and the mighty, had to plead fealty to the Pope sitting in Rome and the misuse of those powers that, somehow, led us to where we are now.
The Borgias might be a no-no TV series for the devout Catholic but a great learning point for the curious and the open-minded. Today’s saints are yesterday’s sinners. Truer words have never been said. You’ll agree with me on that one once you have sampled The Borgias, because there’s just no polite way to tell you some things if history has never been your strongest suit or your area of interest.
The beauty of Showmax is that you can watch these shows and many more (tens of thousands) wherever you are. Far away from your TV and computer? That’s what your smartphone is for, right? [Download the Showmax mobile app on the Play Store right away] Away from the comfort of the school, office or home internet? You can download the episodes and watch later at your own convenience. Afraid that it might cost you an arm and a leg? Don’t worry, Showmax has got you covered. For a whole year. What’s your other excuse?