During the current content drought Elizabeth Parker looks at some of the best box sets around that you may have missed.

As the lockdown eases and we see some sort of normality returning to our lives – ‘the new normal’ as we like to call it, I have found myself reflecting on what occupied my mind during the last few months. I am an avid reader but found that my mind wouldn’t focus. Wandering into the exciting worlds that every new book has to offer but unable to make it past chapter five.  Still I desperately needed the escapism that a good story provided. Instead I have found myself in a different form of departure from the reality we found ourselves in… the world of the box set. I watched a lot during the lockdown, not all award winning. But here are my top three. Reese Witherspoon features twice. She certainly is a long way from Leagally Blonde (2001) which scored a respectable 6.3 on IMDB. However these two score much higher Little Fires Everywhere – 7.8 and The Morning Show – 8.4. Well worth a watch what ever the weather.

The Morning Show
Apple TV+, 1 season

I have to admit that I was drawn to watching this show by the fact that Jennifer Anniston and Reece Witherspoon are two of the main characters. This series is based on a morning breakfast show, which is very different to the style of program that I usually watch. I was engrossed in this series from beginning to end. It has an intricate web of characters. Storylines based around the issue that Steven Carrell’s character is accused and dismissed due to inappropriate behaviour. The ripple effect from the initial dismissal of Mitch Kessler (Carrell) who co-hosted the morning show with Alex Levy (Anniston) to the surprise installation of Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) which was instigated at an awards ceremony by Alex to exasperate the management as they wouldn’t agree to her demands. Herby starts the complexities of the cat and mouse game that is behind the scenes at the morning show. The series is inspired by Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.

Morning Show
Little Fires
Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds
Amazon Prime, 15 seasons

If you like, an American detective series with a difference then this is the box set for you. An elite team of criminal profilers can led by Aaron Hotcher head of the FBI Behavioural Analysis Unit. Although based in Quantico, the team will fly all over America to assist the local police forces to solve serial murders using the evidence to profile the killer. The team is like a family, a group of people with very different personalities and always ready to drop everything to fly off to stop another heinous case and their private lives are not exactly smooth.  I absolutely love the different characters in the series. The initial team includes Gideon, a top profiler coming back from mental health issues, Dr Spencer Reid a young man with an ability to speed read and remember everything that he has read, Derek Morgan, an enigmatic, good looking man who has a very flirtatious relationship with the very eccentric IT whiz Penelope Garcia.  The team sees several changes through the series but the added complications and interactions within the team make this a box set you are going to watch from beginning to end. 

Little Fires Everywhere
Amazon Prime, 1 season

I have found myself watching very different genres to what I would normally watch and have really enjoyed watching this very different series. Based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, the story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster. Reece Witherspoon is the matriarchal figure in the picture perfect Ricahrdson family during the 1990’s. When the arrival of the enigmatic Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) and her daughter cause immense upheaval in this family’s lives and the cracks within the family deepen to breaking point. Every single member of the Richardson family are affected. With repercussions spreading to friends and work colleagues.

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