On a typical day, I don’t have an excess of free time, and so it usually takes me longer to catch on to the hot, trending shows that all my friends and colleagues are raving about — I predict I’ll get around to Tiger King sometime in May or June. Plus, the recent release of Animal Crossing has encroached into my evening free time.
Despite all that, I’ve still amassed a healthy collection of go-to options to stream while I’m toiling away on my virtual island. So without further ado, here’s a list of recent faves I’ve been streaming while we’re all staying at home.
Schitts Creek (5 seasons on Netflix): My wife and I were a bit late to this party, only just recently discovering the wonder that is Schitts Creek. We’ve binge watched the first five seasons over the last few weeks and now I love everyone in that town. Fictional locale aside, there’s so much of it that feels familiar, and the town hall reminds me of city council meetings I used to cover in my newspaper days.
Bates Motel (5 seasons on Netflix): Apparently we have a fascination with shows set at roadside motels. Bates Motel, which acts like a modernized prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, features powerhouse performances from Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore. If you’re into psychological horror and want to see a new spin on a classic thriller, it’s well worth a watch.
Mortal Kombat (on Netflix): And now for something completely different. Mortal Kombat is certainly not the finest in cinematic entertainment, but as far as movies based on video games go, it was a relative and early triumph. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa plays a deliciously evil Shang Tsung and the opening theme is the most ’90s thing you’ll hear all week.
The Office (9 seasons on Netflix… for now): It’s not exactly groundbreaking to say we’re huge fans of The Office, but it remains one of the most beloved shows for both my wife and myself. It’s also not terribly profound to say the quality wavers at times during the show’s nine-year run, but we grew to love so many of these characters and we find ourselves coming back to the show several times throughout the year.
Stargate SG-1 (10 seasons on Amazon Prime Video): One of my all-time favorite shows, sci-fi or otherwise, Stargate SG-1 is a thoroughly entertaining show that manages to build multiple layers of story complexity without taking itself too seriously. Richard Dean Anderson is delightful as a quippy, but capable team leader and the show’s use of religion and mythology as a basis for many characters is fascinating. Highly recommended.
This is Us (4 seasons on Hulu): This is Us has earned a reputation for not just tugging on heartstrings, but also grabbing hold and yanking them really, really hard. It’s likely to resonate more if you happen to find a storyline or character you can deeply relate to. In our case, and without getting too spoilery, recent plotlines that revolve around a child with a disability and potential clinical trials for uncurable diseases really hit home. Our daughter was diagnosed with Batten’s Disease last year, and we can really relate to the moments of anguish and hope. In case it’s not clear: It’s an emotional roller coaster, but it’s filled with interesting characters.
Jeopardy (60+ episodes on Hulu): This recommendation takes a bit more concentration than the others on my list, and it’s not really something I can watch in the background. The game show really needs no introduction, but it’s a fun way to have a friendly competition either with those around you or against the on-screen contestants. There’s a certain level of pride when you get something right that everyone else gets wrong.
New Girl (7 seasons on Netflix): An ensemble show works best when you find something to like in all of the characters and New Girl effortlessly pulled that off for me. Yes, there are some amusing similarities between this show and Friends — attractive thirtysomethings in a curiously large apartment, someone getting stung by a jellyfish, Dermot Mulroney showing up and briefly dating one of the main characters. But it’s also a lovely show in its own right and another that we regularly turn to.
Midsommar (on Amazon Prime Video): The first thing I did after watching Midsommar for the first time was watch Midsommar for a second time. Ari Aster’s second movie is layered in symbolism, foreshadowing, and foreboding. It’s 100 percent not for the faint of heart, but it’s among those few movies that are truly worth a rewatch, especially if you read up on some Easter eggs beforehand. And I feel I need to repeat myself: It’s not for the squeamish.
Bumblebee (on Hulu): Lastly, I’ll end with some much lighter fare. As someone who grew up on Transformers, the long-running movie franchise has left me, shall we say, wanting. But the recent Bumblebee was a refreshingly pleasant surprise. More likeable main characters, more discernible action sequences, and robot designs that are instantly recognizable to longtime fans add up to a much more focused and enjoyable film. It’s Transformers done right and I hope there are more to come.
Well, that’s a brief look at what I’ve been streaming of late. I’m sure I’ll get around to some of the newer series and movies eventually. The Witcher certainly caught my eye as have Picard and more. For now though, if you decide to check out some of the recommendations above, let me know what you think. Also, feel free to comment down below with some of your favorite go-to shows and movies.
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