Trying to avoid public places and coronavirus? Stay home and binge these TV shows and movies.

Trying to avoid public places and coronavirus? Stay home and binge these TV shows and movies.

Several movie theater chains have closed. Large events including Coachella, Stagecoach, SXSW, and Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, have been canceled or postponed, as have several conventions and conferences. Bond film No Time to Die, A Quiet Place II, Fast & Furious 9, Mulan, and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, and more have been pushed. Music tours and concerts have been put on hold. The NBA, NCAA, NFL, and MLB have all called a timeout. Disney’s theme parks, Universal Studios, Six Flags parks, and more have temporarily closed. COVID-19, a.k.a. coronavirus has forced city and state authorities to order restaurants, bars, and other businesses closed, and advise residents to isolate, work from home where possible, and practice social distancing. The virus, which has caused nearly 7,000 deaths (the number of those who’ve recovered is much larger, nearing 80,000), is expected to continue spreading.
So what to do while spending all that time at home while in isolation/quarantine? Sure, you can always Marie Kondo your home, but you may also wonder what TV shows or movies are worth watching. Maybe it’s time to get to that list of things you want/need to binge. If you wanna fill that sports void in your life, EW has you covered there, along with the below list of things to quaran-stream, as we’re calling it.
STAFF PICKS
By this point, you’d probably love the chance to escape into any world besides ours, so we recommend spending some time in the fantastical universe of Hayao Miyazaki. Therein you’ll meet friendly (and less friendly) forest spirits, the Catbus (yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like), a flying ace who happens to be a pig, and more colorful characters inhabiting lush, gorgeously hand-drawn landscapes. If you’re unsure of where to start, EW recommends Miyazaki’s most widely acclaimed masterpiece, Spirited Away, the story of a 10-year-old girl’s adventure through the spirit world to save her parents. But you really can’t go wrong — from the whimsical coming-of-age story Kiki’s Delivery Service to the fierce, Kurosawa-esque epic Princess Mononoke, each film presents delights, wonders, and beauty all its own, all masterfully realized by Miyazaki’s team of artists at Studio Ghibli. —Tyler Aquilina
Mind Field
For the current coronavirus pandemic, the CDC recommends many around the world practice social distancing. Three years ago, YouTube creator Michael Stevens conducted an experiment that pushed social distancing to the extreme in his Youtube Original series Mind Field. The premiere episode involved Michael putting himself in socially-isolated quarantine for three full days. No technology. No clocks. Just food, a bed, and a toilet. Dominic Monaghan (Lost) stops by during Michael’s preparation process to give him a taste of the ultimate form of loneliness in an isolation tank. Once the real experiment begins, we witness a true test of mental endurance as Michael slowly starts losing touch of what must be going on in the outside world. —Omar Sanchez
When it gets to day three of your self-imposed quarantine and talking to the walls starts to become an appealing option, take comfort in knowing that some people have found love doing the exact same thing! Netflix’s Love Is Blind is the perfect isolation binge because — beyond being aggressively addictive — it’s also quarantine relatable: On the show, people spend time alone in a pod without physical contact with others… See? Doesn’t it sound like your current situation? If relatability isn’t enough to draw you in, here’s the gist: Guys and girls talk to one another through a wall of frosted glass, then (insanely!) decide that because of the “emotional connection” they’ve made (without ever seeing one another!!), the logical next step is to propose, then meet face-to-face and — of course — get married just four weeks later. So do those relationships last and in doing so prove love really is blind? Take a break from wall talking and watch to see. —Ruth Kinane
It’s almost a little too on the nose — you’re stuck at home, so you’re going to have to watch reality show contestants cloistered in their tiny apartments only interact with others through social media via a platform dubbed “The Circle.” But don’t feel too bad for our (voluntary) quarantinees, because there’s 100k waiting for the one person who doesn’t get “blocked” by their fellow players at the end.
The competitors are fun and easy to root for (like my man Shooby!) and it’s genuinely fascinating watching Netflix’s digital answer to Big Brother show how social media can affect — and warp — peoples’ perceptions of likability, friendship, trust, and more. I binged the 12 hilarious and enthralling episodes at home in about two nights, so for those relegated to their couch for a week, you’ll feel like you’re actually competing in The Circle, and therefore avoiding real-world problems. —Rachel Yang
Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) won an Emmy for writing this BBC drama about a fictional news program in Cold-War era England. Bursting with British prestige talent including Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, Anna Chancellor, Andrew Scott, Vanessa Kirby, Peter Capaldi, and more, the two-season show combined the righteous defenses of journalism of shows like The Newsroom with the slick period piece vibes of Mad Men. Season 1 plays like a cold-war thriller à la John Le Carre, while season 2 is slicker and packaged with a Goodfellas gangster vibe. At the heart of the series is the yearning between best friends Bel (Garai) and Freddie (Whishaw), a swoony star-crossed romance that hits you right in the feels. Add in an impassioned defense of great journalism/a free press, gripping mysteries, a takedown of capitalistic greed, and to-die-for period-accurate sets and costumes, and the show is practically perfect. Its only shortcoming is that it was abruptly canceled by the BBC and ends on a cliffhanger. Regardless, the fictional program that shares its name with the series boasts, “It’s The Hour you can’t miss,” and we couldn’t agree more. —Maureen Lee Lenker
I firmly believe the key to a good hibernation — whether during a public health crisis or over a cold holiday weekend — is a solid procedural. Usually, you can count on USA Network to help with that because there’s always either a Law & Order: SVU or NCIS marathon on, but you deserve and can do better. That’s where CBS’ twisty, smart, and excellent Person of Interest comes in [*smashes Upgrade button*].
Sure, everyone is obsessed with Jonathan Nolan’s current technology-focused drama Westworld, but his previous series is far more entertaining and gripping. The five-season show followed Harold Finch, a reclusive billionaire-genius (Michael Emerson) who created an artificially intelligent surveillance system (a.k.a. the Machine) and teamed up with an ex-CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) and NYPD detective (Taraji P. Henson) to stop crimes before they happened. At first, this was your typical CBS procedural, but eventually it took on a sci-fi bent and became one of the most prescient shows about (and critical of) our surveillance state and even predicted Snowden! With the addition of Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi to the cast, and a second and less benevolent A.I., the series reached new heights as it effortlessly balanced its A.I. vs. A.I. story with another about police corruption. What makes it so thrilling is that you have to watch every episode because the cases of the week almost always ended up tying into the two larger arcs in surprising ways. By the end, you’ll be surprised how much you’ve come to care for the Machine. —Chancellor Agard
Stargate SG-1 (available on Hulu and Amazon Prime)
Need a break from the woes of Planet Earth? Focus on the woes of other planets instead while you binge the sometimes cheesy but always heartfelt sci-fi classic, Stargate SG-1. With enough seasons to produce a bedsore if you’re not careful, SG-1 follows a motley team of explorers who travel across the galaxy using a wormhole device called a Stargate. Scrapes, japes, and high-stakes adventures are never in short supply, but like all the best science fiction, what makes SG-1 special is its heart. Found families, scrappy underdogs beating the odds, aliens adopting cats — if you want wholesome, this show delivers. And, more poignantly now than ever, SG-1 always manages to look at the future of humanity with an unshakeable optimism. —Meg Smitherman
CLASSICS CORNER
While millions know Ginger Rogers best for her divine dancing duos with Fred Astaire, she was also a fantastic comedic and dramatic actress as evidenced by films like 1939’s Bachelor Mother. In it, Rogers is Polly, a salesgirl freshly let go from her department store job. When she picks up a baby left on the steps of the orphanage, she’s wrongly mistaken for the mother, prompting the playboy son of the department store’s owner, David (David Niven), to help her get her job back – perhaps the most awkward meet-cute ever for what becomes a hilarious rom-com. Niven and Rogers are firing on all cylinders in this underappreciated gem. Right now, we could all use something uplifting and funny – why not try this picture-perfect slice of Old Hollywood screwball comedy?
MORE BINGE PICKS
Opting to stay in this weekend because of coronavirus? Looking for some binge-worthy recommendations? Here are some recent and popular titles available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+ that maybe you missed, maybe you didn’t previously have time to watch, or maybe you’ve never heard of.
NETFLIX
BoJack Horseman
Cheer
HULU
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Hillary
High Fidelity
AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Escape at Dannemora
Hunters
APPLE TV+
Little America
Visible: Out on Television
DISNEY+
Encore!
The Simpsons
FACEBOOK WATCH
Sacred Lies
Red Table Talk
The Ruch Life
STREAM FOR FREE
Various streaming services are extending their free trial periods, some as many as 30 days.
Have a library card or university login? Themn you should be taking full advantage of Kanopy, where you have free access to a plethora of movies (including documentaries, foreign film, classics, and indies), educational videos, plus children’s movies and TV shows via Kanopy Kids. Content can be streamed on your TV, mobile phone, tablets, and online, and can be watched on your TV via Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and more. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, it’s all ad-free.
Dozens of titles are waiting to be watched for free via the PBS Video App, and PBS Passport, which is available as a PBS member benefit (within the PBS Video App. Among the options on the Video App: American Experience, American Master, Antiques Roadshow. Series available to binge via Passport: Masterpiece (Downton Abbey, Sanditon, Poldark, more); Finding Your Roots; The Great British Baking Show (seasons 1-5).
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