If there was ever a time to watch back-to-back episodes of your favorite TV show or get stuck into a new series, it’s now. Schools, movie theaters, bars, restaurants, and museums are closed throughout the country and people are being encouraged to stay home to reduce the risk of getting the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Basically, you have permission to binge-watch whatever you like. But if you need a little help, here’s a list of the perfect movies and TV shows to watch while you’re self-isolating.
Nobody’s better equipped to help you escape from the constant bad news cycle than 007. Nearly every Bond movie is on Netflix, so you can take your pick. Or watch them all – you probably have time. Just don’t miss 1964’s Goldfinger, starring arguably the best Bond of all time, Sean “shaken, not stirred” Connery.
La La Land (Amazon Prime)
The colors. The songs. The clothes. The songs. The Gosling and the Stone and their sublime chemistry. La La Land is two hours of unadulterated schmaltz that’s guaranteed to take you somewhere magical.
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Grace and Frankie (aka Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) will become Netflix’s longest-running original TV series when it ends after season 7 (sob). It’s a show about friendship, about love, about loss, about the roller-coaster of life. It’s pretty near perfect.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (Netflix)
With an amazing cast of queens, a stellar judging panel and some of the most hilarious moments in TV history, RuPaul’s Drag Race is TV talent show gold with a big takeaway. In the words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
Modern Love (Amazon Prime)
Modern Love, the hotly anticipated TV adaptation of the long-running weekly essay column in The New York Times, doesn’t disappoint. From a complex open adoption to a woman trying to date with bipolar disorder, each of the eight episodes is worth a watch – although the first three are definitely superior to the rest.
All-Time Classic Movies
The Shawshank Redemption (Netflix)
A rare example of a relationship movie centered around a platonic male friendship, The Shawshank Redemption will make you cry sad tears, then happy tears.
When Harry Met Sally (Hulu)
As an examination of love and single life that is as relevant and relatable today as it was upon its release in 1989, When Harry Met Sally is the best romcom of all time.
True Romance (Netflix)
You can’t beat a classic, sexy crime romp and True Romance more than deserves its cult following. As far as star-crossed lovers go, Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette have yet to be eclipsed.
Two Christian Slater movies on one list? Why not! In Heathers, the dark comedy about the dark times at high school, he’s Winona Ryder’s love interest. And he’s great but not as great as Ryder as Veronica, the self-loathing teen surrounded by vicious Heathers.
Carrie (Amazon Prime)
One of the greatest horror films ever made, the 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Carrie will send shivers down your spine no matter how often you’ve watched it.
The Feel-Good Factor
Silver Linings Playbook (Netflix)
A comedy about clinical depression might not sound like it has the feel-good factor, but Silver Linings Playbook is one of a kind. The cast is superb (Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, and Jacki Weaver) and it somehow manages to be edgy *and* leave you with a big smile on your face.
The Good Place (Netflix)
Netflix Originals series The Good Place has always been the perfect antidote to the news cycle (the 2016 U.S. presidential election took place midway through its first season on NBC, and we know how that turned out). It has all the whimsy, heart, and humor to provide a much-needed distraction from a pandemic as well.
Jane the Virgin (Netflix)
Yes, the premise of Jane the Virgin is completely over the top (after a mishap at a clinic, a committed virgin ends up pregnant) but it’s also charming, filled with diverse characters, and digs way deeper than you’d expect.
Love, Simon (Amazon Prime)
A big-screen gay romance that doesn’t end in tragedy? Yes, please. Love, Simon has no shortage of drama but it delivers the feel-good factor in spades.
The Golden Girls (Hulu)
How would Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia handle the coronavirus? Eat a lot of cheesecake, no doubt. Watching their on-screen chemistry and listening to their blistering one-liners is like putting on a cozy sweater – and we could all do with a bit of warmth right now.
The Sopranos (HBO Go)
One of the best TV dramas ever made, The Sopranos demands that you think about everything: Society, gender politics, mental health, love, hate, loyalty, corporate America… and then some.
The Wire (HBO Go)
The Wire dives right into all the things that are wrong with our society – lawmakers, the media, and the education system – and doesn’t come up for breath for 60 episodes. Neither will you.
Sex and the City (HBO Go)
For light relief, 30-something angst and fabulous footwear, Sex and the City can’t be beaten. Each episode is only 30 minutes long so you can easily watch an entire season in one day of isolation.
Grey’s Anatomy (Netflix)
If you’ve never watched Grey’s Anatomy, Primetime TV’s longest running medical drama, get ready for the emotional journey of a lifetime. If you have, you’ll still laugh and cry at all the right bits.
You might be stuck at home but at least you’re not stranded on an island in the South Pacific Ocean. Lost keeps you guessing over six seasons with the help of a diverse, dysfunctional group of characters who all have big stories to tell.
Lady and the Tramp (Disney Plus)
Disney’s charming game-changer has an enchanting cast of characters and a stellar soundtrack. The 1955 original is better than the 2019 live-action remake, FYI.
Old Yeller (Disney Plus)
The ultimate coming-of-age tale, made better by the inclusion of a furry best friend, Old Yeller. An oldie (1957) but a goodie.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Netflix)
An inspirational story for viewers of all ages, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is based in Malawi but has a climate change subtext that’s relevant to everyone.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (Netflix)
As far as superhero movies go, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is pretty radical. The comics-inspired visuals are stunning, and the emotional coming-of-age story is relevant and inspiring.
Frozen 2 (Disney Plus)
It seems that global pandemics come with unexpected gifts, like Frozen 2, three months early.
Hot Right Now
Love Is Blind (Netflix)
Is getting engaged to someone you’ve never set eyes on (and only “met” a couple of days ago) a good idea? Probably not. Is Love Is Blind completely captivating? Absolutely.
Next in Fashion (Netflix)
Sorry, but Project Runway is so 2006. Next in Fashion gives us Alexa Chung and her incredible wardrobe, Tan France and his incredible wardrobe, and is an unexpected tearjerker.
Encore! (Disney Plus)
If it’s nostalgia you’re after, Kristen Bell’s Encore! reunites former high school classmates from around the U.S. to re-stage the musicals of their youth, years after their curtains first went up.
Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Another female-led (Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon) TV drama based on a critically-acclaimed novel by a female writer (Celeste Ng)? Yes, please. The 90s soundtrack is the icing on the cake.
Fleabag (Amazon Prime)
Fleabag started life as creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival and is now one of the sharpest TV comedies around. There’s a bit of Fleabag in all of us, and that’s no bad thing.
In these uncertain times, there’s one thing we can rely on: Streaming services. Now is definitely the time to get your money’s worth from that monthly subscription. And whether you go for Goldfinger or The Golden Girls, stay safe.