Everyone is experiencing a lot of emotions right now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Fear. Boredom. Uncertainty. Annoyance. Frustration. Anger. Acceptance. Gratitude. The list goes on.
Whether you want to enhance or dampen those emotions, we’ve picked out 10 things available to watch on various streaming platforms to suit a variety of emotional and mental needs. Whether you want to enjoy something with the whole family, it’s just you and your significant other, or it’s just you and your dog and your blanket — try one of these. If you don’t like it, try another. You have lots of time to try new things!
True crime, but not scary true crime: “McMillions” on HBO
True crime is a hot genre these days. Looking to scratch that itch, but want to back off on the violence and mayhem, given our troubling circumstances? HBO’s “McMillions,” which just ended its six-episode run a few weeks ago, tells the tale of the all-but-forgotten McDonald’s Monopoly game fraud of the 1990s and early 2000s. There’s no murder to be found — but there is a lot of intrigue, plot twists, detective work and, best of all, some truly memorable real-life characters (especially FBI agent Doug Mathews). It’s on HBO streaming, so you will need a subscription to that network to watch.
Soothing and sweet but still funny: “Joe Pera Talks With You” on Adult Swim
On the surface, this is a show about a mild-mannered middle school choir teacher named Joe Pera and his relatively uneventful life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But it’s so much more than that. Alternately hilarious and unbearably sweet, this oddball show on Adult Swim, the Cartoon Network’s nighttime adult programming, is as wholesome as your nana’s chicken soup. It takes real, tangible pleasure in the small things — ice cream, dogs, rainstorms, beer, singing, dancing. Maybe Joe can help you take that kind of pleasure in those things as well. It’s on Amazon, and many episodes are on the Adult Swim website as well.
Wholesome, but not squeaky clean: “Schitt’s Creek” on Netflix
Have you watched this show yet? If not, now is a great time to dig into the story of the Rose family and how they learn to adjust to regular-person life in small-town Canada after losing all their millions of dollars. At the heart of the show are relationships — between husband and wife Johnny and Moira, between brother and sister David and Alexis, and between all the residents of the ridiculous town of Schitt’s Creek. Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy have created a fully realized world for them all to live in. Five out of six seasons are on Netflix.
Explosions, but in a nice, educational way: “MythBusters” on Hulu
Even though its original format ended back in 2016, the cult favorite Discovery Channel show “MythBusters” has lost none of its goofy, madcap appeal. It’s the perfect sort of show that inserts real educational content inside jokes and explosions, with some of the most charismatic hosts in recent TV memory. You can learn things about physics, chemistry, anatomy and much more — and it’s excellent family viewing, especially if your kids like science or engineering. All 200-plus episodes are on Hulu.
It’s funny, plain and simple: “I Love Lucy” on Hulu
More than 60 years after the last episode aired, it remains just as true as ever: “I Love Lucy” is still one of the funniest TV shows of all time. What’s not to love? A handsome and talented husband, two loyal but wacky best friends and the central protagonist, Lucy — a motor-mouthed, klutzy, inherently good wannabe star. Teach your kids about pop cultural history. All episodes are on Hulu.
A different sort of talk show: “Desus & Mero” on YouTube
Colbert and Fallon and all of them are great, but for the future of late night talk shows, look no further than “Desus & Mero,” an outrageously funny talk show on Showtime. Desus Nice and The Kid Mero are two boisterous, lightning fast New Yorkers, who each episode spend 20 minutes or so talking with celebrities, musicians and politicians about literally anything — sandwiches, their careers, their favorite songs, whatever pops up. It’s loose, and it’s unlike any other talk show. Plus, Mero may have the best laugh on TV. It’s on Showtime, but multiple episodes and clips are available on YouTube.
Absurd, and filthy: “Toast of London” on Netflix
This is definitely for adults, and you’ll figure out why that is once you start watching. Starring the multi-talented British comedic actor Matt Berry, this absurd, filthy series centers on Stephen Toast, a washed-up actor who finds himself constantly screwing up the lives of himself in others in delightfully entertaining fashion. If you like British comedy, if you like Adult Swim shows, if you like general weirdness, you’ll love it, and you’ll find yourself quoting it for the foreseeable future. All episodes are on Netflix.
A reminder that our planet is amazing: “Night on Earth” on Netflix
If you’re like many of us, you’ve probably already watched every episode of the “Planet Earth” series and its related David Attenborough-narrated nature series. One of the newest nature shows to hit screens is “Night on Earth,” a six-part series that shows what the natural world is up to after humans have gone to bed. It’s dark, beautiful and hypnotically narrated by Samira Wiley. Must-see TV for those who love nature shows.
Attend your own DIY film school: Everything on The Criterion Channel
Do you consider yourself a film buff? Are you sad that you won’t get to go to the movies for a while? Take our advice. Sign up for The Criterion Channel. Thousands of films from acclaimed directors from all over the world are at your fingertips, lovingly curated by the staff at the Criterion Collection. Never seen a film by Akira Kurosawa? Want to see what the fuss is all about when it comes to Federico Fellini? What is French New Wave, anyway? Who is Clare Denis? What constitutes a film noir? Learn all that and more. The Criterion Channel is $10.99 a month, but there’s a 14-day free trial, or it’s $99.99 for a year.
A feel-good sports documentary: “Cheer” on Netflix
You may think to yourself that the subject of this six-part reality TV series on Netflix — a cheerleading team at a Texas community college — sounds a bit silly. But you’d be wrong. The people are engaging and portrayed with surprising depth, and the leaps, kicks and throws are astounding. You’ll be shocked by how much you love it. Unless you already love cheering, in which case why haven’t you watched it already? All episodes are on Netflix.