It’s still a very very weird time in the world and most of us, that I know, are just taking things day by day. Isolation has been and is a scary prospect for a lot of people, and it is extremely important that you take care of your health; both mental and physical at this bizarre time, and do your best to take care of those around you too.
Besides this, it looks like most of us have a lot more time on our hands. This has been the best time to work on any projects you have been meaning to get to, spring clean your home, start a patchwork or do some gardening. Or, if you’re me, you’ll be binge-watching all the series you’ve missed out on and trying to make a dent in the towering TBR pile by your bed. Here’s a list of series on various streaming platforms which will see you through your self-isolation period.
I am an old school Grey’s obsessive, I’ve been watching since day one and I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve watched almost the whole lot through more than once. Some episodes I’ve watched more times than I can count (007! Denny! The Plane!). Anyway, it might be a little bit on the nose for some to be watching a hospital drama at this very uncertain and frightening time, but for those of you who can stomach it, it really is a fabulous, dramatic epic which at 16 seasons and counting, it guaranteed to keep you occupied for a long while.
The last series of this aired last year and it was still as good then as it was when it first came out in 2011. New Girl is a classic sitcom but it has a modern millennial twist with its ‘manic pixie dream girl’ protagonist, Zooey Deschanel, and it’s quirky, surreal, scene-stealing cast of Lamorne Morris, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Hannah Simone. The episodes are short and snappy and more than one will have you crying with laughter. It is the ideal distraction from all the bizarre-ness that is happening in the world just now and there are a few pretty gripping plot threads thrown in as well.
Channel 4 Catch Up
I’ve never watched this classic, vintage, perfectly aged hospital drama, partly because it was on TV when I was a little kid and partly because until now, I’ve not had the time to dedicate to it. The starting block for George Cloony and Eriq La Salle has a reputation for being not only excellent but also, these days, comfortingly nostalgic. Late last year, channel 4 gained the rights to stream the show on their site but it has been streaming on Hulu since 2018. Now that I am going to be at home for a couple of weeks I fully intend to finally watch this classic series.
Another show that went totally viral when it came out, and that I’ve not seen. I can’t actually believe I’ve not seen this, because I am obsessed with TV and pop culture and there are SO MANY references I need explained to me because I’ve not seen this show. I guess I always felt a little bit intimidated committing to it. But things are about to change, I’m about to join the rest of the world in understanding who Walter White is and… something about a guy called Saul? Anyway, I’m actually really looking forward to getting into this over the next few weeks.
The Good Place
This brilliant series finished only just the other month. Until then, it was being released an episode at a time, like a ‘real’ tv show, which was actually pretty great because it was something to anticipate. But this is great too because now you can binge watch all the twisty turny hilarious mind-bending wisdom that is The Good Place. If you don’t already know the premise then here it is: a group of strangers find themselves in ‘the good place’ a sunny, friendly little town somewhere seemingly American. But, why are they there? What’s so good about ‘the good place’? Who even are these people?! Watch to find out!
Okay so, this show is my Breaking Bad equivalent. When I meet people who’ve not seen it I say ‘HOW have you not seen The Sopranos? You have GOT to watch it’ (which is not a good way to make friends). The Sopranos is the closest thing to a perfect tv series as I can imagine. It is cinematic, it is tightly plotted, it is dramatic, emotional, mysterious… In a word, it is masterful.
The one and only criticism I have of the show is that it is heavy going sometimes and could do with being interspersed with some light relief, just to stop things from getting too bogged down. But, watch this show! It is the TV equivalent to reading Jane Eyre, it opens metaphorical doors, makes links between things you’ve never realised were linked. It’s amazing.
This mockumentary follows Kerry and Kurtan, two cousins in the rural Cotswolds as they navigate life’s ups and downs such as a rigged scarecrow contest, a long walk to a petrol station, where the holes have gone on their crumpets and other challenges.
For anyone who grew up in a small British town, particularly if you couldn’t drive or didn’t really have any money, then this show is going to ring true. It is extremely funny but it also shines a light on a certain group of British people that we don’t often see represented on screen and who a lot of us can relate to in some little way. The show is written by Daisy-May and Charlie Cooper who are real life siblings and who play Kerry and Kurtan and the way they fictionalise their observations of rural living is incredible.
Call The Midwife (also available on Netflix)
If all else fails then you need to just make a cuppa, settle in for the afternoon and start yourself off at episode one, series one of this British Sunday night institution. This is one of my main comfort watches (along with The Durrells which can be found on Netflix too) as it follows a group of young midwives working in Poplar just after the war.
The show progresses through a very interesting period of history and it does a fabulous job of depicting historical significance whilst maintaining an entertaining, cosy plot line. The show also tackles things like racism regarding immigrants, anti vaxxing, the windrush generation, addiction, domestic violence, disability rights… the list goes on. All with grace and a firm sense of moral right-ness and without compromising its sunny, comforting aura and attitude.
As mentioned earlier, isolation is a scary prospect for many people. There are therapy services offering online sessions, there are lots of youtube workout videos and there are swathes of articles offering advice on how to cope with loneliness, and feelings of helplessness and anxiety.
Leah is a literature graduate from Bristol. Likes: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, My So Called Life, Goodfellas, and Ally McBeal.