Tune In: The 9 Best Shows to Watch (& Love) That’ll Distract You from the Chaos
OK, enough trash TV. We’ve got the best shows to watch — stuff on the small screen that’s actually worth watching. From brainless comedies to sob-out-loud dramas to serious sci-fi, use this time to watch something that’ll bring a smile to your face 10 years from now.
Lockdown measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 have been extended, which means that you’ve got nothing but time to sit with your eyes glued to the screen. Watching TV can be a form of escape, taking your mind off everything that’s going on, if only for a few hours. Whether you’re sitting on the couch with your computer on your lap or curled up with a furry friend, here are a bunch of shows I’ve watched and loved. I hope you like them too.
Are you quarantined alone? Used to the backdrop of ringing phones and talking colleagues? Need something to fill the silence so you don’t feel like the last person on earth? Or are you just the sort of person who can work in front of the TV without getting super distracted?
Don’t make the mistake of tuning into the latest episode of a show you really enjoy or you’ll soon find that you’ve only managed to type one sentence in 50 minutes. Instead hit play on an episode of Bob’s Burgers. I return to this time and time again whenever I need to watch something that doesn’t need the mental gymnastics involved with following a plot. Even better, you can jump in at any point without worrying that you’ve missed anything. Seeing the daily burger specials always makes me crave a burger or two so don’t be surprised when you find yourself Uber Eats-ing some Shake Shack.
If there ever was a show that personified the New York attitude, this is it. Where else could you walk up to a stranger, ask them a weird question in exchange for a dollar, then cuss them out when they don’t answer fast enough? It’s got enough nonsense going on to let you tune it out, but a few of the games and the general banter between Billy and his short-term hostages will draw you in from time to time. It’s quirky and funny, but it’s not an arresting drama or intriguing reality series, so I think you’ll be able to get quite a bit done with this show playing in the background.
I resisted watching this for so long because it just didn’t seem that exciting to me, but boy, was I wrong. Miriam Maisel is not just a ’50s housewife, she’s smart, fashionable, and a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and she knows it, and now she wants other people to know it too. I wasn’t aware that “raunchy” comedy used to be a punishable offense, and how much of an impact the People v. Bruce case had on the evolution of free speech, so the history lesson was a nice bonus.
I have never met a Son Ye-Jin rom-com I didn’t like. She does romance so well, and her characters are always spunky, intelligent, and really funny. Something in the Rain, or Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food as it is alternatively titled, is one of those shows that makes me wish I owned a neuralyzer so I could zap myself and watch it all over again like it was the first time. I’m a sucker for angst and yearning so it ranks high on my list of most-loved dramas.
If you haven’t watched Crash Landing on You yet, my question is — why? You have to correct that mistake immediately! Again starring Son Ye-Jin alongside Secret Garden heartthrob Hyun Bin, it’s the story of border-hopping star-crossed lovers that we never knew we needed. I’m not sure how accurate the portrayals of North Korean life are, but this drama humanizes the citizens and a country that many simply view as faceless prisoners to an authoritarian government. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn how to practice self-care from the queen of it herself.
This is your classic good-guy-trying-to-fight-the-corrupt-system conspiracy drama with a twist. A man has been murdered in his home, but it’s not just a simple homicide. Cho Seung-Woo stars alongside Bae Doo-Na as a prosecutor and cop, respectively, who try to reveal the truth behind a serial murder case. The plot twists and turns, revealing truths you won’t see coming. The good guys come out on top in the end, but the road to justice is long and riddled with obstacles. It’s so good it’s getting a second season, which is unusual for Korean drama.
Seasons come and go, and Buffy Summers and the Scooby Gang remain iconic. This is a show that was so ahead of its time that it became the subject of university courses across disciplines ranging from gender studies to philosophy and cultural theory. If you love the supernatural, there’s no way you haven’t watched this show at least once. But it’s so great you can re-watch as many times as you want without getting bored. It’s one of those shows where new things become apparent every time you do, making it more enjoyable. And when you’re done, you can watch Angel’s spinoff too.
Pose (Netflix & FX)
I love Pose with all my heart, and I’m so grateful to the writers and actors who brought us this beautiful show. On its surface and to those who don’t know much about LGBTQ history, it might seem like a light, fun show about what people did before drag became the sort of thing people went to bars for or watched on TV. But it’s so much more than that. It’s heart-wrenching in its depiction of issues like abandonment by family, homelessness, and most-devastatingly, the HIV/AIDS crisis. A lot of people forget, but there is a whole generation of queer people who never got to live, to be role models to younger folks, because their lives were snatched away. Pose is also about community, about how a chosen family can love you so much more than the one you were born into.
A brilliant space opera based on books by the same name, The Expanse is a dazzling insight into the future of humans in space. The world-building is exceptional, spanning not just the planets we know of like Earth and Mars, but terraformed moon colonies like Ceres. Badass women and interplanetary-conspiracies abound, and it’s even got its own language. The science is sound too, demonstrating the thought that went into the story’s writing and production. If you’re a fan of shows like Firefly and Star Trek: Discovery, you’ll love The Expanse. Watch it now and thank me later.
What are your best shows to watch have been getting you through self-isolation? Share in the comments!