Okay, so you’re probably holed-up in the house trying your best to practice social distancing and probably saying to yourself, “So, I guess now’s a good time to binge a new (or old) show.” But which one(s) are you going to pick? After all, it takes a special kind of watchability to merit a heavily invested two week binge watch session.
Allow me to help.
Each month, I pick a short-list of worthwhile titles waiting to be unearthed from the algorithms of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the like. Because life’s too short to watch the wrong stuff.
Here are a few wonderful (and maybe not-so-wonderful) TV shows that will upgrade your “To-Watch” list in true 2020 fashion this March.
Boy Meets World (1993)
So, you’re cooped up for an extended period of time and looking for fun, innocent escapism. Well, every single episode of Boy Meets World is on one platform just waiting for you to journey through the hallways of nostalgia. Don’t act like this wasn’t a monumental series from your formative years. This shouldn’t be a hard sell. Because as far as I’m concerned, Mr. Feeney’s likeliness belongs on Mt. Rushmore; Corey and Shawn remain the standard of bromance goals; and the unapologetically Disney hi jinx of it all gives us a world that always feels wonderful to enter. Somehow this show managed to be flawed and perfect all at the same time. Go ahead and re-visit it, it’s time.
FOR FANS OF: Lizzie Maguire; Saved by the Bell; The Wonder Years
If there was one recent show I wish I could take credit for writing, this might be the one.
Developing a series dedicated to the messiness and utter confusion of relationships isn’t novel. TV has been feasting on content of this sort for generations. What separates the astute ones from the forgettable pack is the generational factor: What did this have to say about who we are as a society in a specific time dealing with uniquely challenging things? From that standpoint, you could make the case that Easy stands head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve yet to come across a show that captures modern love, dating, friendships, marriage and their clumsy and confusing nuances better.
Easy is a new-age anthology series tracing the simple complexities of everyday relationships in 21st Century urban America. It’s open-minded, sexual, explorative, and–ultimately–non-judgmental. We follow a few main players
- A couple in a boring marriage looking to possibly be “open”.
- Brothers with growing families attempting to start a microbrewery.
- Sex workers and stand-up comics navigating their professions.
- Middle-aged artists and their failed relationships
- And more
All of these served over the backdrop of technology and how our seemingly uninterrupted connections influence our navigation of the most deeply human things. The kicker? Each installment of these players is told over single episodes sprinkled throughout different seasons. We pop-in for an important chapter, then pop-out to visit another group. Time passes, and we drop back by.
The trap of this show is obvious. It could easily have become nothing more than a kitschy, tone-deaf concept. But I’d contend that the unremarkable nature of this show is exactly what makes it beautiful. The awkward details, small but snowballing misunderstandings, and pure anxiety lacing each narrative is where this series eats. If you’re looking for something easy to binge yet unique in craft with something to say–this hidden gem is waiting for you to find it.
FOR FANS OF: Dead to Me; Girls; Love
Love is Blind (2020)
Clear out, folks, because Netflix has vaulted into the arena of trash reality TV and it’s comin’ in hot. What a perfectly bingeable and deliciously absurd experiment. There may be no better way to spend your self-quarantine than by trekking through this can’t miss train wreck with your boo on the couch, yelling over how much you hate Jessica … at an appropriate social distance of course.
Chances are shenanigans from this show have infiltrated your social feeds already–but in the event you’ve somehow missed it, here’s the logline: A bunch of dudes speed date a bunch of women without actually seeing each other–just voice and “real” connection. The goal? To find a spouse without ever laying eyes on ‘em. Weddings are a month away, and the game starts now.
Yes. This is absolutely real. No, Damien and Giannina are not a good match. Yes, Mark is clueless. No, L.C. didn’t get a fair shake. I’m just as confused about the widespread Barnett-mania as you are. For the love, I cannot understand why Nick and Vanessa Lachey are only in every other episode three minutes at a time. But thank the good man upstairs that we have Lauren and Cameron, the most adorable model of true love–number one in our hearts forever!
I know, I know. I can’t stand the sound of myself either. But this is who I’ve become … a Love is Blind-er. I can’t help it. The allure of trash reality has sucked me in and won’t let me go. Love is Blind is the best hate-watch I’ve ever had, and in the golden age of reality television, unlimited access, and endless streaming libraries–that means something. Or maybe it just means I’ve lost my standards.
FOR FANS OF: The Bachelor; Cheer; Real Housewives of [Pick a Location]
One Tree Hill (2003)
Silhouette of Lucas dribbling the ball across the bridge; lock eyes w/ Peyton; arrive at the river-court; and cue that one Gavin DeGraw song.
Sure general reality is complicated now, but there was a time when the most complicated stuff in our lives revolved around high school (and the loads of bad decisions that came with it). So, yeah, I’m planning to relive the simpler time of teenage complexity incredibly served up by the reliably angsty CW. Because, as Karen herself says, “There is only one Tree Hill.”
All jokes aside, underneath the bad hair, and Dashboard Confessional needle drops rests a pretty lucid and engaging commentary on small town life absurdities; familial conflict to the deepest degree; the pressures of establishing an identity; and why basketball remains the most entertaining of all the sports. OTH may not be timeless in the sense of seriously dated fashion choices or mobile technology, but it remains impeccably rewatchable while timeless in the sense that life is as much unfair as it is fun. There’s a part of me that lives in the “drama” of basketball squad politics alongside the seemingly constant finding of new love and subsequent heartbreak. Being uniquely CW it still packs all the feels and even a few moments of profundity. At certain times, comfort finds me there.
Give me all the P. Sawyer and B. Davis drama and watch me as I get angry–yet again–that Lucas ends-up with the wrong one. Because I just can’t quit you, Tree Hill.
FOR FANS OF: Gossip Girl; The O.C.; Smallville
Bloated queue? Don’t worry about it.
Add some of these ready-to-binge shows to your list and save your self-quarantine selections. If nothing else, no excuses on finding something to watch when there’s a angsty basketball high school love triangles right there.
What’s the best show streamed recently? Share in the comments and help me expand the list!