The Girlfriend Experience. Picture: Supplied

Want to know what South Africans have been binge-watching on Showmax in 2018? 

In no particular order, here are six of the most popular international series of the year:


After being mistaken for being younger than she really is, a 40-something single mother (Sutton Foster) decides to take the chance to reboot her career and her love life as a 26-year-old.

Why you should watch: 
1. It’s the best show yet from Sex and the City creator Darren Star. 
2. It puts the romance back into romantic-comedy. 
3. It’s set in the publishing world - and you’ll recognise your favourite authors in fictional form.

1. People’s Choice nominee for Favourite Cable Comedy and Actress (Hilary Duff). 
2. Teen Choice nominee for Breakout Show and Summer TV Star (Hilary Duff). 
3. After five seasons, it still has a 99% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.


Game of Thrones

An adaptation of author George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasies about power struggles among the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Why you should watch: 
1. It’s the best medieval fantasy series of all time, complete with knights, dragons and an army of the dead. 
2. You’ll fall in love with the characters, from Tyrion Lannister to Daenerys Targaryen to Jon Snow to Ned Stark. Some of them will die. 
3. It’s fantasy for adults and realists. 
4. Unlike Lord of the RingsGame of Thrones is full of strong, complex female characters.  

Accolades: #3 on IMDB’s list of the top-rated TV of all time.


The Handmaid’s Tale

Set in a dystopian future, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

Why you should watch: 
1. It’s based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel from 1985, which remains depressingly relevant. 
2. As Offred, Elisabeth Moss won both the Emmy and the Golden Globe for lead actress, among other things.

Accolades: 49 international awards, including Best TV Drama at both the Golden Globes and Emmys.


The story of the family of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a Viking warrior and farmer who yearns to explore - and raid - the distant shores across the ocean.

Why you should watch: 
1. You’ll rethink everything you thought you knew about vikings. 
2. Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) has been called “the most exciting feminist character on TV”. 
3. The fight scenes are epic.

Accolades: 11 Emmy nominations, a  93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 8.6 rating on IMDB, where it’s listed as one of the Top Rated TV shows of all time.

The Girlfriend Experience

Follows women who provide emotional and sexual relationships at a very high price.

Why you should watch: 
1. “TV’s most adult show.” Newsday
2. “The most compelling drama on TV.” The Guardian
3. “You can’t point to anything else like it on television.” Indiewire

1. Riley Keough was nominated as Best Actress In A Limited Series at the Golden Globes and won a Gracie Award
2. Best Mini-series nominee, Women’s Image Network Awards
3. 81% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes


Premise: Joe Turner (Max Irons) is a young analyst who joins the CIA hoping to reform it from within. His idealism is tested when he stumbles onto a terrible but brilliant plan that threatens the lives of millions.

Why you should watch: 
1. “Quite the little pulse-pounder — the sort of thing 24 fans can eat with a spoon.“ Washington Post

2. “Homeland with a touch of Tom Clancy.” Vulture
3. Brendan Fraser continues his 2018 career resurgence by scene-stealing as a professional killer.

1. 85% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes
2. 91% audience score, Rotten Tomatoes