What to watch while the coronavirus keeps you in the house
Here are the shows to catch up on while you practice social distancing
By now you’ve burned through your digital video recorder.
Everything you saved to watch when you had some free time at home — all of that network TV, old episodes of The Office that are aired constantly in Comedy Central marathons, all of the daytime talk shows that you never get to watch because, you know, you work outside of the home — is finished.
What to watch now?
There’s a lot out there. Maybe too much. It’s a little overwhelming to turn on Netflix and scroll through all the original shows and figure out what’s worth the watch.
We’re here to help!
There’s some really great new stuff that we can all group watch. And now that you’re spending all of your time on the couch with your laptop teetering on your knees and your flat-screen on more hours than normal, you may as well join the cool kids.
Little Fires Everywhere
Little Fires Everywhere, which is now streaming on Hulu, is a new limited series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon in some of their best work. The series is adapted from Celeste Ng’s 2017 novel, which looks inside Shaker Heights, Ohio, the community where the author grew up.
Critics have seen the first seven episodes, and it’s an amazing dive into racial transgressions as they existed in the late 1990s and how they still exist today.
You’ll come because Witherspoon and Washington are a dynamic pair of actors with a lot of Hollywood currency. But you’ll stay because the show delivers takes so realistic that it feels like you’re watching a really good MTV docuseries about teen life in the ’90s. The series (like the book) is fictional, of course, but perhaps it’ll make you revisit how your own ideologies were shaped.
Hulu dropped the first three episodes this week and plans to release more later, but for the love of all that’s holy, please drop the rest now!
If you were too busy being romantic on Valentine’s Day, then you may have missed this incredible series, High Fidelity, on Hulu starring Zoë Kravitz, the daughter of rock god Lenny Kravitz and ’80s boho dream girl Lisa Bonet.
The series reimagines the 2000 film of the same name, which starred John Cusack as the owner of a failing Chicago record store (which in turn was based on the Nick Hornby novel set in a London record shop). Kravitz is a record store owner (but in Brooklyn, New York!) with an impressive knowledge of all types of music — Questlove is the music supervisor and there is not a miss. She’s trying to get over the breakup with the love of her life and revisits the four previous heartbreaks before him. Also fantastic is Da’Vine Joy Randolph (who delighted us in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name). As one of Kravitz’s best friends, she provides much-needed comic relief and healthy doses of keep-it-real.
The show is hilarious and relatable and the second season can’t come quickly enough. But we’ll have to wait because Kravitz will be soon filming The Batman — the latest in The Dark Knight series – where she will star as Catwoman and, well, because the coronavirus has sidelined productions near and far.
If there’s one thing that Jordan Peele does well, it’s turning the horrors of racism – and in the case of his new Amazon Prime series, Hunters, anti-Semitism – into victorious, root-for-the-disenfranchised hero stories.
There’s lots of blood and lots of gore as a multiracial group of Nazi hunters fight a quiet war as they target (and kill!) high-ranking Nazis quietly hiding out in 1970s America. In this series, the baddies are trying to create the Fourth Reich, and the hunters are determined to take them out before more horrific genocide occurs.
Prepare to both cover your eyes at some of the gruesome parts, and cheer for kills in ways you may never have before. Al Pacino is excellent as the leader of the hunters in a very different role from what we’re accustomed to seeing from him in a period piece.
Love Is Blind
If you’re a lover of reality TV and sheer ridiculousness, then join in on what everyone on Twitter and Facebook was talking about before coronavirus sidelined us all.
At its best, this Netflix show, Love Is Blind, is an experiment to find out whether love truly is blind. Men and women “date” from pods in which they never see each other and must get to know one another by taking part in this archaic thing known as talking. They only find out what the other person looks like if they propose marriage.
And if you miss filling out an NCAA bracket, take wagers on who you think will and won’t make it down the aisle. At its worst, the show is just pure entertainment served up reality TV-style. (Wait until you learn what people mean when they’re tweeting about “Messica.”)
Also, it’s nostalgic. You’ll love remembering when people had to rely on verbal communication and not swiping left, right and upside down.
Ah, the good old days.
Another easy to binge show is Hulu’s Shrill. The tone is outstanding: It’ll mirror all the saucy things you talk about in your private group chats. You know, the ones you probably would lose your job over if they were ever leaked.
Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant plays a young journalist who really needs to see herself as the beautiful, smart and thoughtful person that she actually is. The thing that’s crippling her? Low self-esteem. Once she finally ditches the diet she’s been on for her entire life, she starts to take on the world, along with her best friend, portrayed by Lolly Adefope, a British stand-up comic who really breaks out in this series.
The good news is that there are already two seasons streaming — the most recent dropped at the end of January. So this ought to last you at least two days.
Atlanta isn’t new, and if you haven’t already watched the first two seasons of this sharp FX series, there’s no better time than the present.
We’ll have to wait another year — hope it’s not longer! — for the third season, but this is Donald Glover at his absolute finest. He plays Earn, a wannabe manager for his cousin’s wannabe rap career. He’s brilliant, an Ivy League dropout with an equally brilliant ex-girlfriend (with whom he shares a daughter). He just needs to get it together. Sound familiar?
Also fantastic in this series is LaKeith Stanfield (this really became such a breakout moment for him) and Brian Tyree Henry, who earned his stripes as the luminous Paper Boi.
It’s only a few episodes into its first season, but after you’ve watched the Atlanta marathon (or watched the marathon again!), start streaming this FXX show on Hulu. Dave (Dave Burd) is a neurotic dude in his late 20s who fashions himself the best rapper you’ve never heard of. Thing is — once he finally rapped at the behest of real-life rapper YG — he might be right!
A white dude trying to make it in a world where black men dominate, he doesn’t come from struggle, but he knows how to spit a hot 16 and hopes that he gets his big shot. Originally from Philadelphia, Dave is now living in Los Angeles and is ready to risk it all — including his never-spent bar mitzvah money — to get into this rap game.
Kevin Hart produces the series, which began airing in March, and it also stars GaTa (playing an intensified version of himself). Odd Future’s Travis “Taco” Bennett plays Dave’s best friend from home and is an audio engineer who really aspires to be a music producer. Can they all make it?
And will YG record a guest verse for Dave?
There aren’t any live sports right now, so there’s nothing to cheer about, right?
Netflix’s docuseries Cheer — it started streaming in January — takes us into the world of competitive cheerleading at a small junior college in Texas. The backstories of the kids on the nationally ranked, 40-member Navarro College Bulldogs cheer team are incredible. If you’ve ever watched Last Chance U – if you haven’t, you should also start streaming that immediately – this will feel very familiar because it’s done by the same creator. It’s only six episodes, so it’s a quick binge, but the emotionally gripping stories and the will-they-or-won’t-theyness of it all will keep you salivating for bonus extras.
Or at least a season two.
Please let there be a season two.