So awards season has started and we are but a few hours away from the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards where the glitterati come out to celebrate outstanding achievements on the small screen. In a few short moments Seth Meyers will grace centre stage at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles to welcome the stars and the audiences watching the live broadcast from home.

I love awards season and nothing gets me more excited than watching in anticipation and hoping my favourite show/actor/actress/writer/director etc.. wins the coveted statuette but this year I simply cannot pick the winners from the losers. We are, dare I say it living in a new golden era of television where there are no losers, the productions being recognised this year are of such high calibre and are so thoroughly entertaining that ultimately the viewing audiences are only winners for having such amazing content for consumption.

As lucky as we are for having such rich viewing content though, I am constantly surprised by people, friends and family that I’ve spoken who have not even heard of some of the brilliant shows that have screened over the last year or more. So here is my quick guide to just some of the shows you need to know about.

Breaking Bad

Ok so if you haven’t heard about this show then you need to get out of that bubble you’ve been living in for the last few years because since its first season aired in 2008 this show has gone from strength to strength and amassed a legion of fans among both critics and audiences alike.

Who’s in it?

Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk

What's it about?

A chemistry teacher (Walter White) who is diagnosed with terminal cancer decides to team up with a former student (Jesse Pinkman) to produce and sell methamphetamine in order to raise money for his treatment, and provide a financial safety net of sorts for his family.

Why's its awesome?

The road to hell is paved with good intentions – that's the saying right? This is why Breaking Bad is amazing. In season 1 we are introduced to Walter White, teacher, father, husband. When White is diagnosed with cancer he does not want to burden his family with his suffering, he keeps to himself and takes care of his business. However after spotting his former student, Jesse Pinkman fleeing a meth lab then subsequently forming a partnership with him, White and Pinkman start to manufacture and distribute the purest meth in Albuquerque. This fast becomes a profitable business for the pair. White justifies his criminal activities by telling himself that the proceeds of his venture, was to provide for his family after his death. However as each season unfolds we see White slowly transform from well meaning family man to a greedy, overbearing and calculated monster of a man. The character of White is so brilliantly layered and complex that he is both hero and villain and watching his story unravel I find myself both wanting him to succeed and get caught out because though White does some absolutely abhorrent things I keep telling myself that he’s doing it for his family. However (spoiler alert) the genius of this Shakespearean tragedy of sorts is that gradually but a surely, the closer and more focused White gets to amassing his fortunes, the further his family is driven away from him until ultimately all that he’s strived for in the first place is unequivocally lost. This show does what a great (notice I said great not good) show should – it leaves you thinking even after the last ever episode had screened. It makes you reflect on the what ifs – what if White had excepted a hand out instead of taking the criminal route to make his cash. What if he’d gotten out of ‘the game’ when things got hot, What if he’d been a little less pig headed, would things have turned out less grim, gah even writing about it now gives me goosebumps! It’s that brilliant!

See the Breaking Bad Season 1 trailer here

Game of Thrones

Based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novel series A Song of Fire and Ice this saga has spawned such a worldwide avid and active fan base that people are known to have planned their entire schedules around the airing of each episode, even viewing parties are planned for each eagerly awaited episode. In fact in some territories waiting is not even an option, fans instead opting to download illegal torrent files to watch instead of waiting for broadcast in their region. Game of Thrones is now one of the most pirated shows around.

Who’s in it?

GOT has a big and fine cast so I won’t list them all. However key players include Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jack Gleeson

What's it about?

As the title implies this series chronicles the battles, wars and struggles for power over the Iron Throne in the fictional lands of Westeros and Essos and how the politics and plays employed by both powerbroker and pawns in this epic tale unfold.

Why's it awesome?

Well if I’m to be honest it took me forever to get into this show, simply because fantasy is not my genre but once I did get into to it I was hooked and there are 2 reasons I love it. Peter Dinklage - as Tyrion Lannister, the Dwarf son of the Lannister House, Dinklage undertakes a role he was born to play. Tyrion is the unconventional hero and moral compass of this piece and Dinklage does an amazing job at bringing wit and hubris to a character that is small in stature but is pivotal in this epic piece. Also Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon is deliciously wicked. He was the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms/The King of the Iron Throne but acted more like the devil incarnate with his impish demeanour and vile actions. I loved to hate Joffrey Baratheon and I have to say that he will go down as one of my favourite villains in modern TV. Game of Thrones is the type of fantasy show that isn’t afraid to ‘go there’ wherever ‘there’ is. It’s story lines cover everything from incest to infanticide and the graphic nature of the sex and violence it conveys is such that many a scene from this fantasy drama has stirred up heavy debate among its viewers on whether or not it is merely avant garde in it's boundary pushing narrative or if it had crossed the line of decent and meaningful story telling.

Watch the trailer for Game of Thrones season 1 here

True Detective

This “McConaissance” vehicle (yes that’s a now widely popular term used to describe Matthew McConaughey’s return to form so deal with it) is a fresh take on the crime drama genre.

Who’s in it?

Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

What's it about?

A serial killer is on the loose in Louisiana and two homicide detectives are assigned to investigate the case. The difference is this show jumps across timelines from when Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are working on the homicide case and to us seeing an older and more weathered McConaughey in what appears to be a police office being interrogated by two other officers....and the plot thickens!

Why's it awesome?

This crime drama unfolds like a dream at times, images of open fields and isolated country vistas all come together to create a nuanced telling of what is essentially a murder mystery, except not only do we want to know ‘who did it’ in this tale, we want to know who the characters in this story really are and how they came to be as they are. Watching this show unfold, I get the sense that there is always something lurking beneath the surface of what I’m being told and I’m dying to get in on the secret.

Watch a trailer of True Detective season 1 here

Orange Is The New Black

If you like to watch a show that can make you laugh one second and recoil in shock and disgust in another then this one is for you.

Who's in it?

Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning, Kate Mulgrew, Laura prepon

What's it about?

Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, this show follows Piper Chapman as she acclimatises to being convicted and serving her sentence for a crime she committed a decade ago - smuggling money for her then drug dealing girlfriend.

Why's it awesome?

Though I’ve only just started watching this show, I can tell you that the characters are colourful in the most entertaining way and the story line is more bizarre and interesting when you think that the overarching narrative did happen in real life. The show employs the element of flashbacks to tell us how Chapman came to be in her current predicament, so the juxtaposition of circumstances is very interesting. When we first see her, Chapman was apparently living a happy middle class existence, happily engaged to her fiancé played by Jason Biggs, but in the flash back scenes we learnt that in her twenties, Chapman was with her lesbian girlfriend travelling the world, trafficking money. Now that her past has caught up with her Chapman must learn to fit in with her inmates and get along with some very distinct personalities. This show is darkly humourous but it also provides some poignant and emotional moments as we learn that behind every bravado, even the toughest character in the cell has a story to tell.

Watch the trailer for Orange Is The New Black season 1 here.

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