Top 5 Netflix shows for all your binge-watching needs

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Photograph: Global Panorama

It’s that time of year again; exam season is looming like a dark shadow on the horizon. Staying sane whilst revising is tough, so sometimes you need to take a breather. Fear not, as help is at hand – Netflix have some great original shows to choose from, so here’s a countdown of my top five Netflix shows for binge-watching your way through procrastination.

5. Marvel’s Jessica Jones
As the next Netflix Marvel installation after Daredevil, on the surface Jessica Jones is just a superhero origin story, but the heart of the programme deals with the terrifying psychological impact of PTSD and how it can affect even the strongest amongst us. All the primary characters face a knock-on effect from Jessica’s dealings with supervillain Kilgrave as his horror touches everyone around her, even when she tries to distance herself to protect them. David Tennant is the most chilling Marvel villain I’ve seen yet, and a far-cry from his eleventh Doctor – this show is worth watching for that alone.

4. Black Mirror
This show will mess you up in the best way possible. After just finishing the third season, I can guarantee there is nothing else out there like this series. Each episode deals with a completely different hour-long story, so it’s easy to jump right back into without following long-winded plotlines. What links the show together are the warnings in each story about society and the modern age – ranging from relying too much on online ratings to becoming completely inhuman ourselves. Not strictly great for binge-watching, but good for watching one at a time whenever you feel like escaping.

3. 13 Reasons Why
This is an adaptation from the 2007 novel by Jay Asher, which I read several years ago. I am only three episodes into the series, but the heart-breaking story of Hannah Baker’s suicide retold in the tapes she has left for those people who led her to take her own life already has me hooked. The title character listening to the tapes is a boy called Clay Jenson, who you can’t help but feel for. The series touches on the shock of Hannah’s suicide upon the whole community and addresses a taboo topic in a refreshingly honest way that’s moving and cathartic for both the characters and the viewer.

2. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
This show is by far my favourite on the list but I’ve put it at second place because it’s frankly mind-boggling to get your head around, which isn’t always what you want after a long day’s revision. The show is basically five genres merged into one – I’d describe it as a detective sci-fi adventure blended with a sit-com. It’s based on the books by Douglas Adams but given a modern twist or two that makes every moment entirely unpredictable, even for fans of the books. I won’t spoil anything but all the subplots that, at first, seem completely random tie together in a neat little package in the finale because as Dirk himself says, “Everything is connected”. The whole show is laugh-out-loud funny and completely ludicrous; I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.

1. Stranger Things
For a series with only eight episodes, this Netflix original took the internet by storm last summer. With a lot of self-restraint, I managed to stretch out watching it in three days. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the series follows a group of young children in their search for their lost friend Will, along with Will’s mother’s struggle to find the truth about her son. The sci-fi story is set in a sleepy American town in the 80s (bringing with it a great retro soundtrack) as the backdrop for a government conspiracy, unexplained disappearances and alien worlds. To make things even better, the second series is set to come out later this year which gives you something to look forward to after the stress of exams has subsided.