One Tree Hill
Seasons 1-9 – ITVX
One small town, many heavy teenage hearts...
Created by Mark Schwahn, One Tree Hill is an American drama series which first hit our screens back in 2003. The show is set in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina, and follows the lives of two half-brothers – Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) – who compete for positions on their school’s basketball team, as well as the affections of the young women around them.
Nathan’s girlfriend Peyton (Hilarie Burton) is growing tired of his boorish ways, and finds herself struggling to admit her growing attraction to his more sensitive half brother, Lucas. Meanwhile, Lucas’s life-long best friend Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) begins to be drawn toward Nathan, who may be more than first meets the eye.
As the boys navigate their romantic lives as well as compete for status on the basketball court, the gaze of their cruel and calculating father, Dan (Paul Johansson), never falls far from either of them, despite him choosing to disown Lucas as a child and concentrate only on Nathan. Could this source of Nathan and Lucas’s rivalry ultimately unite them, or will their toxic father keep his sons forever apart?
A worthy successor to the likes of Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill will give you the fix of teen drama you’re looking for, and comes with a great soundtrack to boot.
With strong performances from a talented cast, One Tree Hill has weathered better than expected, and is well worthy of a binge if you’re nostalgic for a little high school heartbreak.
Shadow and Bone
Seasons 1-2 – Netflix
Based on the books created by American author Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone is a fantasy delight that first hit our screens in April 2021.
Developed by Eric Heisserer, it is based on two series of books in Bardugo’s ‘Grishaverse’, and offers a thrilling ride through an incredible fictional world.
In the world of Shadow and Bone, Grisha are magically gifted people who can practice the ‘Small Science’. The land of Ravka is one of few places they can live safely; there they are trained for the Second Army and divided into three orders.
Etherealki summon natural elements like wind or fire, Materialki control materials such as metal and glass, and Corporalki manipulate people’s bodies.
Ravka’s Second Army is led by General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), who has spent his life searching for a Grisha who can summon light; the only person who could destroy the Shadow Fold – a region of impenetrable darkness, created hundreds of years ago. Since then, Ravka has been at war, and is now on the brink of splitting in two as the west seeks independence.
Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) turns out to be such a Grisha, and word spreads that a ‘Sun Summoner’ has been found. In the trade city of Ketterdam however, Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) is hired to kidnap her, Fjerdan witch hunters are sent to kill her, and the people of Ravka venerate her as a saint. Alina must come to terms with who she is, and decide who she can truly trust as she searches for the power that will allow her to destroy the Fold and save Ravka.
With great performances all round and a compelling plot, for fantasy fans, this one is a ‘can’t miss’.
Series 1-5 – ITVX
When in Rome, do as the Romans do...
Produced by Tom Basden, Caroline Leddy, Sam Leifer and Teddy Leifer, sitcom gem Plebs first hit our screens back in 2013.
Starring Tom Rosenthal, Ryan Sampson, Joel Fry (Series 1-3), and Jonathan Pointing (from Series 4), the series focuses on the trials, tribulations and misadventures of a group of twenty-something Roman lads, trying to navigate life in the ancient city.
With flavours of The Inbetweeners and Up Pompeii, Plebs had a hallmark silly sense of humour, and was perfect ‘watch-with-a-takeaway’ fodder for chaps and chapesses looking for a bit of daft escapism.
Marcus (Rosenthal), Stylax (Fry), and their slave Grumio (Sampson) arrive in Rome looking forward to being lads about town. And just like the twenty-something gents due to populate the world 2,000 years later, their lives revolve around the ladies, scraping the rent together... and the ladies. While Marcus and Stylax work dull day jobs at a city grain company, Grumio earns his reputation as the worst slave in the world by doing his utmost to avoid hard work of any kind. When two young women from Briton move into the flat next door, Marcus sets his cap at seduction, with his many efforts never failing to lead to hilarious consequences.
As with The Inbetweeners, the chemistry between this show’s leading lads is golden, and is maintained surprisingly well when Fry exists and Pointing arrives in the fourth series. With five series available on ITVX (along with a straight-to-stream feature-length finale, Plebs: Soldiers of Rome), Plebs is ready to sate your hunger for a bit of bant-tastic nonsense.