Listen here. As a natural recluse, I’ve been practicing social distancing before the term existed, and I’ve got a few suggestions to get you amateurs through it. Sure, you could catch up on your reading or do some work around the house, and that’s all well and good. But if you want to binge your way through the boredom, I’m here to help. Below, I’ve compiled 10 suggestions for shows you can stream right now, avoiding the behemoths of the prestige era—Games of Thrones, Succession, Watchmen, Fleabag (don’t tell me you haven’t seen Fleabag)—and steering you toward gems you might have overlooked.
Pour yourself a drink, plop your ass on the couch, and watch the old boob tube until your eyes bleed. Before you know it, you’ll be able to go out in public again—though you may not want to.
Bitter Daisies (O Sabor das Margaridas)
What it’s about: A limited series set in the Spanish town of Murias, Bitter Daisies focuses on a rookie cop investigating a girl’s disappearance. As might be expected, all is not as it seems. But Bitter Daisies isn’t a typical mystery, and you won’t see the end coming.
Like that? Try this: Locked Up (Vis a Vis) (Netflix)
Black Spot (Zone Blanche)
What it’s about: A paranormal mystery-thriller set in a picturesque French town with no cell service and an insanely high murder rate, Black Spot is full of intrigue, clever plot twists, and an almost Lynchian commitment to weirdness.
Like that? Try this: The Break (La Trêve) (Netflix), The Valhalla Murders (Netflix)
Dead to Me
What it’s about: Perhaps the most bingeable show on this list, the poignant, darkly funny Dead to Me centers on a recently widowed woman who goes to a grief-therapy group and befriends a woman who might have had something to do with making her a widow.
Like that? Try this: Russian Doll (Netflix)
Where: Amazon Prime
What it’s about: Probably the smartest sci-fi around, The Expanse explores a universe in which humans have colonized the solar system, Earth and Mars are locked in a cold war, and the miners who inhabit the asteroid belt are struggling for political recognition and economic freedom.
Like that? Try this: Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access), For All Mankind (Apple TV+), Devs (Hulu)
Where: HBO Now
What it’s about: It would be easy for a penis-heavy show about drug-addled high-schoolers to end up in R-rated Afterschool Special territory. Euphoria does not do that, at least most of the time. Centered on a girl just out of rehab and her trans best friend—Raleigh’s own Hunter Schafer—it’s about searching for meaning in a chaotic world.
Like that? Try this: Friday Night Lights (Hulu), Sex Education (Netflix)
What it’s about: A spy series that focuses on an at-times clumsy British intelligence agent tasked with capturing a peerless assassin, both of whom become increasingly obsessed with each other as the show progresses.
Like that? Try this: The Americans (Amazon Prime), The Night Manager (Amazon Prime)
Where: Apple TV+
What it’s about: Easily the best show on Apple’s new streaming service, Little America is an eight-episode anthology series telling the stories of American immigrants. The first episode, about a young boy who continues to run his parents’ hotel after their deportation, is at once heart-warming and gut-wrenching.
Like that? Try this: Modern Love (Amazon Prime)
What it’s about: A London detective with a collapsing home life who suffers unexplained blackouts is recalled to help with an 11-year-old investigation into a serial killer. During one of her blackouts, her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s lover is murdered.
Like that? Try this: Luther (Netflix), Broadchurch (Netflix), Shetland (Britbox)
What it’s about: A meta French horror series about a horror novelist who returns home to discover that the characters she writes are real—and one of them isn’t ready for her book series to end—Marianne is smart, intense, and scary as hell. You won’t be able to watch more than an episode or two in one sitting.
Like that? Try this: The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix), Castle Rock (Hulu)
The Righteous Gemstones
Where: HBO Now
What it’s about: A delightfully outlandish send-up of prosperity-gospel-style televangelism, Gemstones is very much a Danny McBride comedy, for better and worse. But it’s also anchored by John Goodman’s performance as a protective family patriarch who’s nonetheless not entirely comfortable with his family’s opulence.
Like that? Try this: Eastbound & Down (HBO Now)
Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at email@example.com.
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