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The Best TV And Docuseries To Binge While You’re On Leave

There's no better time than now to be a couch potato.

If you’re fretting over the shows to catch up on during your end-of-year leave, we’ve got you covered. From dramas about prostitution to documentaries about journalism, and period dramas to the seedy workings of the mafia underworld in Hong Kong, these are all the best, binge-worthy shows (and movie anthologies) that you are going to be looking out for.

Feature image: Instagram (@theromanoffs)

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Now playing: On Netflix An odd culture trip that has you boning up on what’s #trending. Buzzfeed reporters delve into fascinating topics, from the impact and proliferation of fake news, to the potentially therapeutic uses of sexbots. Released this year, the docuseries is split into three parts, and offers 20 fascinating episodes to view. Photo: Netflix The Haunting of Hill House
Now playing: On Netflix This highly rated gothic drama is gonna give you night frights. The grief-ridden story of the Crain family is addictive in a way that nothing else has been this year. Fans discuss every last detail of the show, from episode breakdowns that answer the burning question “WTF just happened?!!”; to ghosts you might’ve missed (director Mark Flanagan likes to plant out-of-focus creepies in screen corners). Based on a 1959 novel, this is a slow-burn ghost story rife with tension and the best jump scare tactics. Ten episodes are available, with season 2 unconfirmed for now. For more ghostly suspense fixes, check out other titles available on Netflix. Victorian horror show Penny Dreadful, starring Eva Green and Josh Hartnett, is an excellently spooky watch and three full seasons are online, while Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) is one of the best big-screen adaptations of a Stephen King story. Photo: Instagram (@_haunting) The Romanoffs
Now playing: On Amazon Prime Video What’s it like to be the descendant of a tragic Russian royal? According to Matthew Weiner’s latest show, The Romanoffs, the answers would be: Fraught, crazy, and intent on keeping the bloodline alive. Each episode is a self-contained story, and follows the supposed descendants of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II, whose family ruled Russia for three centuries. He was brutally executed — along with members of his family — in the Russian Revolution. With a budget of US$50 million, the show features a breathtaking list of names including Aaron Eckhart, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery. For another Prime must-watch, tune in to Sneaky Pete, a suspenseful and smart show about a con-man who hides from his debtors by assuming the identity of his cellmate. Stars Giovanni Ribisi. Photo: Instagram (@theromanoffs) Harlots
Now playing: On Hulu If you’re on vacation in the United States and your Airbnb has Hulu, then stream this now. The scene: London. The year is 1763. The streets are filthy, life is cut-throat, and one in five women earn their living through prostitution. The story follows two warring brothels and the ruthless women who run them. So, one can expect plenty of saucy talk (and action), shifting alliances, and plot twists – not to mention pushed-up boobs, sky-high wigs, and shots of man bums. There’s oodles of lavish visual style and snappy editing — enough for Variety to describe this show as Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones. Two seasons are on offer, and season 2 stars Liv Tyler as an heiress with secrets she’s keen to keep hidden. Photo: Instagram (@harlotsonhulu) Story of Yanxi Palace
Now playing: On streaming sites like here. Where have you been if you haven’t heard of this period drama that took the world by storm? The storyline is predictable and cliched, but its characters are not — the female protagonist, for instance, is spunky, empowered and does almost everything under the sun to get what she wants. Production values are high as well — the cast’s wardrobes have been painstakingly created to mimic history and have had critics raving about them, so much so that there’s now a wave of Yanxi-related fashion (not to mention beauty looks and nail art as well). There are 70 episodes, so you’d be well occupied during your leave. But consider yourself warned: the show is utterly and completely addictive. Photo: Instagram (@styleslicker) The Rise of Phoenixes
Now playing: On Netflix If Yanxi has stirred your desires for all things Chinese period, here’s another drama you should dive into. This highly-rated series follows the ambitious sixth prince Ning Yi’s road to becoming the ruler of the Tiansheng Kingdom, and is an explosion of dazzling extravanganza of carefully styled costumes and set pieces not unlike Yanxi. It stars Chinese actor Chen Kun and Chinese actress Ni Ni, both familiar names of the silver screen. Beyond the slow pacing of the show is a complex and intricate plot with attention to detail (the actors’ real voices are used in the show) that’s sure to get you binge-watching. Romance, politics, revenge, betrayal — what’s not to like? Photo: Instagram (@hxxpxxkai) OCTB
Now playing: On Netflix Originally released as a web series, this Hong Kong Cantonese series (English subs available) reprises many familiar faces such as Jordan Chan and Brother Wai Man of the Hong Kong triad movie genre. About an former undercover cop (Chan) who rejoins the underworld during the final years of Hong Kong’s rule under Britain, this thriller is enthralling to watch if you grew up watching HK triad movies. Plus, the veterans’ seasoned acting chops also carry the show through all the way to the end — in fact, viewership ratings for the finale in 2017 ended on a 1.3 billion high in China alone. If you’re still not convinced, they’re already filming season 2, with season 3 in the pipeline. Photo: Instagram (@hkoctb)