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On the Binge: What to watch over the next few weeks if football isn’t your game
Nikhil Taneja  5th Jul 2014

Emily Hampshire and Claudia Bassols from The Returned

ot everyone watches football. If that's a truth about you that your friends are struggling to process, and have turned you into a social outcast, here's how you can reclaim your mojo and be too busy to do anything except ignore them. Spend the nights your friends are up watching football, catching up on these highly addictive television recommendations from all over the world —we consider these to be outstanding, under-the-radar TV series. It'll get you some massive street cred too, in the long run, considering you'll have watched all the cult shows before they even start making their way to India.

The Returned (France) Even as HBO and the rest of American cable TV take giant strides in storytelling, there's been some remarkable dramas being churned out of Europe year-on-year. A recent example is one of the creepiest and most terrific shows you'd have ever seen. The Returned turns the zombie phenomenon on its head: the story is about a town whose dead start turning up again, but alive, with no recollections of how and when they died. Strange things happen within the show, but the strangest is how you cannot stop watching it once you start.

Forbrydelsen (Denmark) Dear fans of 24, Homeland, Dexter, and generic crime thrillers on TV, if you haven't seen Denmark's Forbrydelsen (that was remade in the US as The Killing), you have no idea what a crime thriller can possibly be. Because each 20-episode season of this Danish show has redefined the boundaries of what constitutes the genre itself. The show about a detective, Sarah Lund, who has to juggle the maze of police bureaucracy, media attention and manipulative politicians, as she tries to go about solving an emotionally devastating case, is the perfect example of how much life can offer, if only we embrace subtitles.

Luther (UK)

Memorise this name: Idris Elba. Because the 6'3" British actor, who you may only know from Thor as the gatekeeper of Asgard, is soon going to reach (Benedict) Cumberbatch-level heights because of another Brit detective show that's just as addictive as Sherlock, but with a garnish of noir. If Sherlock is Iron Man, Luther is The Dark Knight: both are equally awesome, but the latter is shot a lot more at night.

Black Mirror (UK) — Created by Charlie Brooker, who's married to British TV presenter Konnie Huq (google her... you're welcome), Black Mirror is a genius anthology series with hour-long films about the dark future that lies ahead of us if we continue to live our lives obsessed with technology, voyeurism and our own selves. The series is so insanely well-written that if I were the President of the world, I'd pass a law to make it compulsory viewing to everyone who takes selfies or has watched a reality show.

Dear fans of 24, Homeland, Dexter, and generic crime thrillers on TV, if you haven’t seen Denmark’s Forbrydelsen (that was remade in the US as The Killing), you have no idea what a crime thriller can possibly be.

Dates (UK) — Created by Bryan Elsley, who is best known for creating the controversial British teen show Skins, Dates is possibly one of the best arguments for the importance of dialogue in the visual medium. A nine-episode series, where each episode is about the first date between two people who met on a dating website; the series builds humour, suspense, thrill, romance and drama entirely from brilliantly-scripted conversations. The cast includes some interesting faces like Oona Chaplin (Talisa from Game of Thrones) and Andrew Scott (Moriarty from Sherlock), making it a must-watch.

The Americans (USA/Canada)

A spy series on USA's FX channel about two undercover Soviet KGB officers where you root and sympathise with the Soviet spies and hope the CIA is never able to catch them is akin to a show on Colors about ISI spies where you root... THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, OBVIOUSLY. The absurd levels of maturity of American television creators and audiences aside, the reason to watch the show is a fantastic plot: The undercover agents in the show pose as a married couple who now have teenage children, and have to spy for the Soviet Union but also protect their very American family. Bonus reason? Rahul Khanna makes his American TV debut.

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