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10 TV Shows You Need to Be Watching in 2015

From British gangster thrillers to lone-wolf-cop dramas, these are the series you should be catching up with ASAP

Peaky Blinders and Outlander

Cilian Murphy in 'Peaky Blinders' and Catriona Balfe in 'Outlander.'

Let's face it: We are currently living in the all-you-can-eat-smorgasbord era of TV viewing choices. And as more brand-name players jump into the original-programming game on what feels like a weekly basis (we're assuming that Google, Twitter and Buzzfeed are going to be announcing their own in-house networks any minute now), both the bounty of shows and the burden of keeping up are only going to increase. The upside, of course, is that there are more opportunities for both creative types to get their dream series made and for anyone with a television, a cable subscription and/or an Internet connection to check said series out. The downside is that the abundance of stuff at our fingertips also makes it easier for jaw-dropping, mind-expanding small-screen masterpieces to come and go without so much as a peep.

So while we've got a few moments to catch our breath before April unleashes a tidal wave of must-see TV (new seasons of Louie, Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, Veep and the final seven episodes of Mad Men will all be coming to you in the same freakin' month!), we've signaled out 10 shows you should be watching if you're not already. Some have been around for a little while, some are imports finally making their way to our stateside screens and some are straight out of the box. But all of them are either currently running or readily available to binge-stream from Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon, etc. And most importantly, whether it's a small-town murder mystery, a big-city cop drama, a historical romp or a modern-day character study, every single one of them deserves your attention. Happy viewing.

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‘Outlander’ (Starz)

Sure, this Starz fantasy series can occasionally come across like a Harlequin romance book cover come to life or a big-budget Renaissance Faire. But Battlestar Galactica producer Ron D. Moore's adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's popular time-traveling novels has slowly but surely become a stealth cult hit, and personally, we'll take this over Helix, Moore's science-run-amuck riff on The Thing that's unspooling on Syfy, any day of the week. British army nurse Claire Randall (big up Caitronia Balfe!) is reunited with her academician husband after WWII and travels to Scotland to rekindle their marriage. After witnessing a local Pagan ritual, she mysteriously finds herself transported from the 1940s to the mid-1700s, landing smack-dab in the middle of rebels-vs-redcoats shenanigans — and into the brawny arms of the world's most photogenic highlander dreamboat. (With that square jaw, male lead Sam Heughan looks like a comic-book drawing of Superman come to life.) It's small-screen kiltsploitation done on a grand scale, complete with violent set pieces, heaving bosoms, horse whispering, billowy shirts and a haggis' worth of heavily accented intrigue. Sold!

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‘Peaky Blinders’ (Netflix)

Imagine Boardwalk Empire relocated to England and revamped as outright pulp instead of prestige TV, and you'd have something pretty close to Steven Knight's historical gangster drama — the kind of semi-lurid pleasure that screams B picture instead of blockbuster. Based on the exploits of the notorious West Midlands mob of the same name, this Netflix-via-the-BBC crime series follows slim, serpentine boss Tom Shelby (Batman Begins' Cillian Murphy) as he consolidates his hold on the local underworld scene in Birmingham during the 1920s. Hoods in impeccably tailored vintage duds dole out violent beatings as anachronistic garage rock blares over the soundtrack; it's the type of show that will teach you as much about WWI post-traumantic stress disorders as it will about ways to hide razor blades in your newsboy caps. And if you stick around for Season Two, you'll get to watch a lumbersexualized Tom Hardy tell tales of hammering nails into people's noses. That's entertainment, people.

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‘The Returned’ (SundanceTV)

Though A&E is airing its American remake of this award-winning French series — and it's a decent enough cover version, as far as these things go — you're advised to go straight to the original, especially since the whole first season is currently streaming on Netflix. A small town suddenly finds that a number of its deceased denizens have inexplicably returned to life. Some have been deceased for years, others for decades; they aren't ghosts, exactly, nor are they craving brains. These "revenants" simply want to reintegrate back into their old lives, which causes problems for their loved ones who've mourned and moved on, or who've made grieving a huge part of their post-loss identity. This is small-screen existential horror that's both sensitive and skin-crawling, helped immensely by Mogwai's moody score and child actor Swann Nambotin's portrayal of a blank-eyed, back-from-the-dead kid.

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‘Togetherness’ (HBO)

You want primo binge-watching fodder? Now that the first season of Mark and Jay Duplass' extraordinary bougie-Angeleno dramedy has just ended its run (on one hell of a cliffhanger, no less), you'll want to rush through the show's inaugural eight episodes in a single sitting. Though the brothers are better known through their acting gigs — Mark is on FX's The League; Jay plays the record-producer brother on Amazon's hit Transparent — they've been fixtures on the indie-filmmaker scene for years, and this look at the agonies and ecstasies of an unhappily married couple with the sort of funny, painful truthbombs that's their stock in trade. Each one of the performances are spot on, though Amanda Peet and co-creator Steve Zissis, respectively playing an immature sister and an immature best friend, jockey for MVP status; the dialogue makes you feel as if you're eavesdropping on a group therapy session (but in a good way). Despite an initial trumpeting of publicity, it felt like this gem of a series came and went without so much as a whimper. Now's you're chance to catch up with it.

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