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Binge-Worthy TV (Quarantine Edition)

Last updated on April 28, 2020

When enforced isolation and unlimited free time mix, the only result can be a reckless binge of tv-watching. Indeed, America’s favorite pastime has also become their preferred quarantine activity. Streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu, have reported unprecedented increases in their subscribers and all-time highs in their stocks. This is arguably a good thing; for once excessive tv-watching is a healthy activity, as it encourages people to stay inside and entertain themselves with just a screen and a bowl of popcorn. In the spirit of quarantine binging, I therefore give you a list of movies and tv-shows that will keep you glued to your couch. 



Mood: Provocative Drama Meets Partially-Foreign Film

Streaming On: Netflix 

This four-part series gives a unique window into the Satmar (a sect of Hasidism) Jewish Community in Brooklyn. The protagonist, Esther (Etsy) Shapiro, is a young Hasidic woman who flees from her arranged marriage to Berlin, where she pursues her long-suppressed interest in music. Conflicted between the responsibilities of her Hasidic roots, and the desire to find herself, Etsy is constantly putting her mental and physical safety on the line. The themes of religious rebellion, self-development and costly sacrifice, make this an original, and moving limited series. 



Mood: A German Stranger Things (But Creepier)

Steaming On: Netflix

Set in a small German town, the disappearance of two children uncovers the dark history of four estranged families. Dark leads its audience through a mind-binding mystery with a supernatural twist. Fair warning, this pulse-pounding series is not for the light-hearted. 


Parks and Recreation

Mood: I have watched too much of The Office. 

Streaming On: Netflix

While some of you may know this series from back-to-front, Parks and Rec remains a hidden gem to many sitcom-loving tv-bingers. The series centers around Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), a public official of the fictional Indiana Town, Pawnee, who works on various community projects. Like its cinematic counterpart, The Office, the show delivers comical genius from the most mundane examples of American life (in this case, a small-time midwestern bureaucrat). With 125 episodes spanning seven seasons, this sitcom promises to entertain you for at least several weeks.



Mood: Hollywood Blockbuster Foreshadows COVID-19

Streaming On: On Demand, Amazon Prime

Over the past month, this 2011 thriller has received increasing publicity for its plot’s similarity to the outbreak of COVID-19. The story revolves around the fictional pandemic of MEV-1, where the death rate is 30% and the world is forced into quarantine. Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays a loving wife, is the first to be infected, and triggers a chain of outbreaks that devolves into global chaos. Contagion highlights how even the simplest of acts – touching a credit card or reaching your hand into a bowl of peanuts – can act as a vector for a fatal virus. In the end, the movie reveals the simple, yet disastrous way the pathogen was transmitted to humans. While the details are for the movie to unravel, let’s just say audience members are left reluctant to eat casino pork!


World War Z

Mood: Imagining Something Much Worse than Coronavirus. 

Streaming On: On Demand, Amazon Prime

For movie-watchers who can’t get enough apocalyptic plots, World War Z should fill your needs. With its easy-to-follow plot line and visual-appeal of Brad Pitt, there is little to critique in this action horror film. The movie centers around a former UN employee (Brad Pitt) who is called upon to help stop an unknown virus that has gripped the world. From keeping his family safe, to helping save humanity, Brad Pitt somehow makes a zombie apocalypse original and captivating.  


Princess Mononoke

Mood: Childhood Nostalgia with a Dark Twist

Stream On: HBO Max, Buy From Various Outlets

In this 1997 anime, filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki presents an apocalyptic fantasy with a strong message on environmental exploitation. The story follows the struggle between the spirits of a mystical forest, and the humans who abuse its resources. When the villainous ruler, Lady Eboshi attempts to expand her territory, she is faced with wrath of the forest dwellers, led by the beautiful, yet ferocious Princess Mononoke. Compared to Miyazaki’s other films, Princess Mononoke is graphically and thematically darker, making it fit for a much older audience. Its explicit confrontation of industrialism and human greed make it an unsettling and transfixing visual experience. 


Hopefully, this list motivates you to skulk back to your bed (if you are not already currently in it), and search your Netflix homepage. For whether you are watching award-winning cinema, or garbage reality-tv, either way you are helping to flatten the curve and keep your community safe! 


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