Temperatures are about to plummet, the evenings are starting to draw in, and while this autumn has brought with it a clutch of gripping new shows like Bodyguard, Killing Eve and The Cry, it’s also the perfect season to indulge in some comfort viewing. You know the drill: as soon as our calendars reach October, we find ourselves craving shows that are solid, reassuring and, in other words, perfect hibernation material. We’re talking about the televisual equivalent of a huge duvet and a warming bowl of pasta – and after sitting out the heart rate-raising twists, turns and conspiracy theories of September’s watercooler television (yes, we are referring once again to Bodyguard), don’t we all deserve a palette cleanser?
From the shows that always make us think of falling leaves and pumpkin spice to comforting comedies and the best escapist costume dramas to get stuck into, these are the not-so guilty pleasures we'll be watching next time we're in need of some hibernation-friendly viewing material...
Banish all memory of the distinctly lacklustre (if cameo-heavy) standalone movie from 2016 and give this endlessly quotable guilty pleasure another go. Absolutely Fabulous, available in its entirely on Netflix, remains a riotously funny (and easy) watch – though in the days of Instagram influencers and wellness gurus, its vision of a champagne-swigging fashion industry seems more than a little quaint. Just don't watch it with a hangover…
Pride and Prejudice
It's a truth universally acknowledged that the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice (or, as we prefer to call it, the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice) is a. still the best adaptation of Jane Austen's best-known work and b. an excellent hangover cure, mood-booster and all-round panacea.
Anne With An E
If you're looking for another costume drama to add to your autumn hibernation material, try Anne With An E, Netflix's take on Anne of Green Gables. For those not already au fait with the classic children's tale, it has all the elements of a good comfort watch, following plucky orphan Anne as she arrives in picturesque Prince Edward's Isle, charming its residents one by one.
This autumn, you'll mainly find us in a duvet cocoon re-watching both seasons of Queer Eye: if anything can get us through the colder weather, it's the combined efforts of the Fab Five. Each episode of the newly rebooted makeover show sees Jonathan, Tan, Karamo, Antoni and Bobby transform the life of a deserving 'hero,' to heart-warming effect.
So your affection for Bake Off has been on the wane ever since the show jumped ships to Channel 4? Allow us to introduce you to Nailed It!, the Netflix original reality show in which home bakers that are far from GBBO's semi-professional standards compete with one another to recreate Pinterest-worthy masterpieces for a $10,000. What could possibly go wrong? So, so much. Plus, look out for the Queer Eye crossover episode for added Netflix goodness.
The Good Place
With a third season starting up on Netflix, now is the perfect time to visit (or re-visit) The Good Place, one of the cleverest, most warm-hearted comedies around right now. Thanks to a celestial admin error, the not-so angelic Eleanor Shellstrop ends up in heaven following her bizarre accidental death. Desperate not to let her new neighbours discover the truth about her former self, she resolves to become a better person.
Autumn is the season of lavish period dramas, and you don't get more lavish than The Crown, rumoured to be Netflix's most expensive original drama to date. Sadly, a third season is unlikely to arrive in its usual November slot (a time-consuming casting shake-up has meant that filming is still happening), but colder weather and longer nights are the perfect excuse to revisit the first two decades of royal drama from Queen Elizabeth's reign and give Claire Foy a proper send off.
If all the best bits of autumn were distilled into a TV show, that TV show would be Noughties favourite Gilmore Girls – and not just because Stars Hollow, the postcard-perfect Connecticut home town of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, seems trapped in a perpetual fall, forever carpeted in orange leaves and with pumpkins sat out on porches.
Jane The Virgin
If you're not already acquainted with Jane The Virgin (though it previously aired on E4, it's criminally under-watched on this side of the Atlantic), Netflix has five seasons ready for your autumn hibernation needs. Like Ugly Betty, it takes its cues from telenovelas with a larger than life plot and a side of off-beat humour: though she's vowed not to have sex before marriage, a mix up at the gynaecologist office causes Jane (the excellent Gina Rodriguez) to become pregnant. And that's just the first episode…
Gavin and Stacey
Gavin & Stacey is pure unadulterated comfort viewing: it's the on-screen equivalent of a massive bowl of pasta. The story of Essex boy meets Barry Island girl is far from cutting edge (the Noughties indie soundtrack hasn't exactly aged well either) but it's the brilliant and often bizarre cast of supporting characters that keep bringing us back to BBC Three's greatest hit, from the pathologically mundane Uncle Bryn to Alison Steadman's meme-able Pam, Billericay's premier fake vegetarian.