Sky Atlantic is probably the best channel ever conceived and there are loads of great new shows – as well as new series of fan favourites – to get excited about in the coming months. Here’s our pick of the best shows, current and upcoming, as well as some older favourites repeating on Sky Atlantic right now.
Our favourite channel right now has to be Sky Atlantic, the only way for UK viewers to watch HBO content at the same time as our American cousins.
HBO produces absolutely loads of great shows, most of them intense dramas. From big hitters such as Game of Thrones and the new Twin Peaks to twisty thrillers like Riviera and Tin Star, you’re never short of a scandal or some horrific bout of violence to relax you after a long day of work.
Sky Atlantic also offers up plenty of classic episodes of our favourite series, including West Wing and The Sopranos. Not to mention the odd spot of comedy from the likes of John Oliver.
So what are the biggest shows on Sky Atlantic right now? What’s the best series you might have missed, and need to catch up with on Sky Box Sets? And what new shows or upcoming series do we all have to look forward to in late 2017 or early 2018?
If you don’t have Sky but want to check out this great channel for yourself, take a look at our guide on watching Sky Atlantic without a costly contract. You can also check out our complete guide to Sky TV for all you need to know about Sky’s current UK packages and deals.
Read next: Best TV shows of 2017 so far
Best shows on Sky Atlantic right now
Here we’ll run down our favourite TV shows that you can catch on Sky Atlantic, either live on the channel or via Sky’s Box Sets offering. Some of them are in the middle of a season run, while others will hit our screens with a fresh new series in the coming months.
Game of Thrones
Now in its seventh season and just as gripping as ever, Game of Thrones has proven that you really can make a super-violent, sweary fantasy show about zombies, incest, magic and the like, and the masses will watch.
Shocking twists and well-drawn characters have ensured this series’ success, and kept viewers hooked. Not to mention flocking to social media to type ‘OMG #GoT’ over and over. With just one more season to go, we’re both excited and a little bit sad that the climax is almost here, promising plenty more drama and bloodshed – not to mention the long-awaited answer to the ultimate question. Who’s gonna win the game?
You can watch seasons one to six of Game of Thrones right now on Sky Box Sets, while old episodes and season seven are being aired on Sky Atlantic. You can also get up to date with the latest series on Sky’s Catch Up TV.
Coming in 2018, the final season of Game of Thrones has to be the most anticipated piece of television of recent times. At long last we’ll see who survives, who gets killed off in spectacular fashion and who finally ends up on the Iron Throne.
Twin Peaks: The Return
Just when you thought telly couldn’t get any weirder. David Lynch and Mark Frost’s surreal 90s drama has been resurrected twenty years later for a shiny new series and it’s just as batsh*t bizarre as before.
We’d highly recommend checking out the first two seasons of Twin Peaks before dipping into the new show, as the new episodes will only be slightly baffling then (as opposed to completely bewildering). However, even when you have no idea what on earth is happening on-screen, the long-awaited return of Agent Coop and the rest of the gang remains utterly gripping.
That’s mostly down to Lynch’s sublime direction. Few others can create such dazzling yet horrifying scenes, which linger in the memory for days after. The darkness factor has been ramped up in this third outing, with several moments of shocking cruelty and murder most foul in the pilot double-episode alone.
You can check out Twin Peaks: The Return on Sky Atlantic and also via Sky Catch Up TV.
Admittedly you can skip the second season of True Detective as it was kind of all over the place, with a confusing and uninteresting story and a whole new set of characters that simply weren’t as watchable. However, the first series remains one of the best crime shows ever conceived.
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson put in career-best performances as the ever-so-slightly troubled anti-heroes, tasked with solving a 17-year-old murder case. We see them in past and present as they bicker, fight, drink and generally get on each other’s nerves, all while tracking down the mysterious killer.
An engrossing mix of horror, crime drama and character study, this is a season that can’t be missed. You’ll catch repeats on Sky Atlantic occasionally, while Sky Box Sets also offers every episode to stream on demand. Series three is currently in production, starring Mahershala Ali of The 4400 fame. You can expect it to hit Sky Atlantic in 2018.
Now in its fifth season, Ray Donovan is just as entertaining as ever. Liev Schreiber plays the eponymous ‘hero’, who battles with his own personal problems while sorting out the lives of the rich and famous (and overprivileged).
Eddie Marsan and Jon Voight are on top form as always as Ray’s brother and father, while the rest of the cast does a sterling job too. You can check out new episodes of Ray Donovan on Sky Atlantic right now and catch up with the series via Sky Box Sets and Catch Up TV.
Ever since the financial crisis ten years ago, we’ve predictably seen several shows and movies covering corrupt and devious hedge fund managers. However, few are as watchable as Billions, which focuses on the clash between inside trader Bobby Axelrod and U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades. Each side is willing to risk everything to bring the other down, which proves absolutely devastating and utterly gripping in equal measures.
With a hearty dose of drugs, alcohol, swearing and filthy behaviour throughout, Billions is yet another mature HBO drama that you can catch repeated on Sky Atlantic. And as usual, the show’s two seasons are available via Sky Box Sets. Season three is coming in 2018.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
British comedian John Oliver has made it big over in the States, first on The Daily Show and now with his very own Sunday slot. Each week he looks back at the biggest event from the past seven days (which right now almost always involves President Donald Trump, strangely) and covers it in a viciously comic manner, usually with a fair few F-bombs for good measure.
You can watch Last Week Tonight on Sky Atlantic, while old episodes are available on Sky Catch Up TV.
Best new shows coming to Sky Atlantic soon
If you’ve already seen all of the above and you’re looking for a new telly fix, the good news is that some quality shows are set to hit Sky Atlantic in the coming months. Here’s our pick of the very best series you can check out at the end of 2017 and in 2018.
David Cross of Arrested Development fame is back with a new comedy show later in 2017, to air on Sky Atlantic. Bliss is a six-part series starring Stephen Mangan as a travel writer living a bizarre double life with his two wives, played by Heather Graham and Jo Hartley. When these dual existences threaten to collide, Mangan has to resort to increasingly desperate and dramatic measures to keep things from blowing up.
So far, so promising, and with Cross involved you know you’re in safe hands. The show will be airing some time in autumn/winter.
Bigged up as ‘Sky’s most ambitious drama ever’, Britannia stars the excellent David Morissey as General Aulus Plautius, Julius Caesar’s successor. Plautius is obsessed with conquering the land of Britannia, which lies at the furthest reaches of the Roman Empire. In his way stand rogue druids, bloodthirsty Celts and Kelly Reilly, who plays a reluctant ruler of the territory in question.
There’s more than a hint of Game of Thrones about Britannia, which isn’t too surprising given that show is rushing towards its bloody conclusion. Here’s hoping this new series can fill the massive hole left by Sky Atlantic’s treasure, when it begins later in 2017.
Stephen Graham and Suranne Jones star in this new show by Walking Dead actor Lennie James, who also plays the lead role of Nelly Rowe. Nelly is a bit of a rogue, who likes nothing more than a drink and a fight, until he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit. The first season sees our anti-hero pursuing the real guilty party, all while coming to terms with the consequences of his hedonistic lifestyle.
There’s no set air date for Gone just yet although it should hit Sky Atlantic before the end of 2017.
Everyone’s favourite funny-named thesp, Benedict Cumberbatch, is set to star as the eponymous Patrick Melrose in this new five-part drama penned by David Nicholls.
Based on the novels by Edward St Aubyn, this semi-autobiographical story charts Melrose’s life, from his troubled childhood to his just as troubled adulthood. Substance abuse and inner turmoil threaten to tear him apart, although we’re guessing it’ll all work out alright in the end.
Set in France, New York and London between the 1960s to the turn of the millennium, Melrose should certainly offer some picturesque locations and interesting period drama. You can catch it on Sky Atlantic later in 2017.
Best old shows on Sky Atlantic
As well as keeping our arses glued to our sofas with high quality new shows, Sky Atlantic also repeats classic episodes of fantastic old series such as The West Wing and The Sopranos. Here’s our favourite older shows that you’ll spy on Sky’s channel.
The West Wing
Frankly, if you haven’t seen The West Wing, then you’re doing it all wrong. Sure, a series about a bunch of politicians struggling to cope with endless crises in the White House doesn’t sound like particularly thrilling television. Thankfully Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant writing and a perfect cast make this a frequently hilarious, dramatic and addictive show.
Sky Atlantic constantly repeats old episodes and you can binge on the lot on Sky Box Sets.
Another classic crime drama that’s more than stood the test of time, The Wire is a gritty-as-hell thriller following a specialist Baltimore police squad’s surveillance of the city’s drugs kingpin and his cronies.
Actors including Dominic West, Michael Kenneth, Idris Elba and Sonja Sohn really made a name for themselves with their expert portrayal of some very memorable characters. From the ice-cool creepiness of Stringer Bell to the desperation and determinedness of Jimmy McNulty, The Wire offered up a brilliant cast and as many shocking moments as Game of Thrones.
The Wire is occasionally repeated on Sky Atlantic, and can be revisited on Sky Box Sets too.
The Night Of
Riz Ahmed is the hapless son of a taxi driver caught up in a brutal murder case, when the girl he spends a night with ends up slashed to bits. He flees the scene but doesn’t get far, which lands him in a holding cell with sleazy chancer lawyer John Stone (played perfectly by the entertaining John Turturro).
The question of whether the defendant did the dirty deed lingers throughout the series, as Stone attempts to clear the kid’s name. Of course, the final verdict could prove moot, as Riz finds himself in a brutal prison and making some deadly enemies – as well as some very sinister friends.
The Night Of is a gripping thriller from start to finish, with some excellent performances and tight plotting. You can catch episodes repeated on Sky Atlantic, or binge watch the lot on Sky Box Sets. Sadly there’s no noise on a second season just yet, although here’s hoping Stone will return to take on another killer case soon.
Frankly, we don’t think we’ll ever watch anything quite as brilliant as The Sopranos ever again. This intimate look into the lives of a New Jersey mobster family is tense, hilarious and horrifying, often all at once, with some of the best characters ever created.
Classic episodes of the show can be caught each week on Sky Atlantic, while all six seasons are also available on Sky Box Sets.