My Top Binge-Watching Recommendations for COVID-19 Isolation

My Top Binge-Watching Recommendations for COVID-19 Isolation

Photo by Josh Kahen on Unsplash

Today I got the email from my university that we will be transitioning to completely online, following the same decisions that many tertiary institutions across Australia and the world have made.

If you’re in the same boat, whether that be with your studies or work and are slowly spiralling into a bundle of stress, I’ve got you.

Binge-watching TV shows may only be a temporary distraction, but from someone who has been practising social isolation for years now it does the trick.

I’ve divided my recommendations into three categories for whatever headspace you might be in right now and where to find them (within Australia).

Too stressed to think about taking on a show that is going to require effort:

Alexa and Katie – Two teen best friends who live next door and have a tree linking their bedroom windows navigate the cancer treatment and recovery of Alexa as well as school. Feels very Disney/Nickelodeon and doesn’t require you to follow storyline or put in any effort. Cute sitcom with three seasons to keep you occupied for a day or so.
Where to stream: Netflix

Schitts Creek – An aggressively rich family of four suddenly go bankrupt and are forced to move to their only asset deemed not worth seizing, a town called Schitt’s Creek they bought as a joke. Very dramatic and always entertaining, this one got me through a night in the emergency room last year and has six seasons to get you through some of your isolation.
Where to stream: Netflix

Derry Girls – A group of Irish best friends and one of their cousins, James attend an all girls catholic school amongst Ireland’s 1990’s political conflict. Funny and light, not requiring very much attention with short episodes and two seasons. It’s worth a watch just for Sister Michael.
Where to stream: Netflix

The Office (US) – What is there to say about The Office? It’s one of my favourite shows of all time and for me at least, it never gets old. Highlights include the infamous CPR episode and office supplies in jell-o.
Where to stream: Stan

Broad City – Best friends Ilana and Abbi bounce between jobs trying to stay afloat in New York City. Broad City follows a similar structure to Seinfeld, these two aren’t great people to anyone but each other and despite all of their mishaps, never actually learn. Hilarious and features a RuPaul cameo in season four.
Where to stream: Stan

Bad Education – A series by Jack Whitehall who plays a teacher to a hilariously unique group of students. All you need to know about Jack as a teacher is that his Twitter handle is written on the board in the classroom. It’s funny, at many points shocking and gets bonus points for having a movie to add to your watch list when you’ve finished the show.
Where to stream: Netflix

New Girl – This is a solid binge, and a show that has me literally laughing out loud while watching. May require a preemptive apology to your roommates or family members, but absolutely worth it.
Where to stream: Not on any Australian streaming services (as far as I’m aware) but you can find it online.

The Twilight Saga – This isn’t a series but the movies are pretty awful so if you need a bit of light, slightly ridiculous entertainment this is a solid choice.
Where to stream: Netflix

Nothing requiring very much but a decent binge-worthy distraction to keep me occupied:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – A new take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch following Sabrina torn between her witch and mortal sides as she comes of age. To stay with and protect her mortal friends or sign her name in the Dark Lord’s book and harness the power that brings. Beautifully illustrates female friendship and allyship, along with the dismantling of a misogynistic system in both worlds mortal and witch. Big fan of the intersectional feminism which runs through the whole show.
Where to stream: Netflix

The Bold Type – Three friends who work in different areas of the womens magazine Scarlett navigating their relationships and careers in the movement from print to digital media. The show is rooted in feminism and strong, supportive relationships, whether that be with each other, partners or mentors. Season four is currently streaming with a new episode each week, but there are plenty of episodes to get to that point.
Where to stream: Stan

Lovesick – Dylan discovers he has chlamydia and decides to visit each of his past partners in alphabetical order to deliver the news, accompanied by his friends Evie and Luke. I’ve recommended this before but this is one of my favourite series of all time and is perfect for binging, so funny, so heartwarming and who doesn’t love a love triangle.
Where to stream: Netflix

Please Like Me – I’ve recommended this before but if you’re a lover of Josh Thomas, this is for you. Equal amounts awkward and amusing, Josh explores his sexuality while dealing with his mum’s mental health, his dad’s obscure sense of self and his friend’s equally messy lives. Beautiful show, fantastic dog presence but may not be for you if suicidal characters and depictions are a trigger.
Where to stream: Netflix

One Day at a Time – I’ve written about one day at a time before here and here but it will always deserve a mention. It has the light family dynamic of a sitcom but tackles so many issues such as addiction, depression, ptsd, harassment and questioning sexuality so beautifully. These parts can get heavy, but its spirit isn’t overwhelmed by it, remaining a funny, relatable and entertaining sitcom for this day and age.
Where to stream: Netflix

Lucifer – I’m yet to meet anyone who has watched Lucifer and doesn’t like it. The Devil decides to leave Hell behind for life as an illustrious night club owner in Los Angeles. There he meets a detective investigating a murder of a close friend, who he joins forces with in the hopes of continuing to punish those who deserve it on Earth. Funny, charming and investigative, what more could you ask for?
Where to stream: Netflix

Orange is the New Black (but only up until the end of season four) – As much as I wouldn’t rewatch it because the lead character and all of her love interests are simply the absolute worst, if you haven’t seen it it is pretty binge-able. However you won’t get the closure you’re looking for in season five and that season bored me so much I never made it into the final season, so I 100% suggest stopping at the end of season four.
Where to stream: Netflix

Need a solid distraction to take over my brain:

The OA – OA returns home after being missing for seven years, and to everyone’s surprise is no longer blind. An exploration into interdimensional travel, near death experiences, abduction and human experimentation. The second season requires a bit to get your head around and there are parts in Russian throughout the whole show but it’s super interesting and well worth a watch.
Where to stream: Netflix

Euphoria – I’ve recommended Euphoria before, but I’ve just finished rewatching and it is just as brilliant as the first time. First of all, Zendaya. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. The representation across the show is fantastic, from body types to family dynamics, domestic abuse, mental health and addiction. Also Labrinth did the score and its absolute magic. Production of season two has unfortunately been halted due to COVID-19 but it’s definitely worth getting attached now.
Where to stream: Not on any Australian streaming services (as far as I’m aware) but you can find it online.

Cheer – This is a docuseries by Netflix about a collegiate cheerleading team in their preparation for their only competition of the year. Being a team of 40 where only 20 will be ‘on mat’ for the competition, it’s cutthroat and tough but what the can do is incredible. Just keep in mind you probably won’t breathe during their competition performance. Also, I would die for Jerry.
Where to stream: Netflix

Grey’s Anatomy – Grey’s is an emotional rollercoaster, fair warning. I cry in most of the episode and am currently stalled in my rewatch because I’m not prepared to watch a particularly traumatic event that kicks of season nine. But 13 seasons ready to stream makes for great binging and you probably won’t get a better opportunity to dedicate your life to a medical drama.
Where to stream: Stan

Unbelievable – Two detectives link together multiple rape cases of women across multiple areas. The show highlights that the only commonality that the rapist was looking for was women that live alone, regardless of age, race or physical appearance. Obviously a trigger warning for rape and failures of the police to support and believe victims so proceed with caution. It is a fantastic portrayal of the horrific experiences of so many women, cannot recommend enough.
Where to stream: Netflix

The Umbrella Academy – This is one I will probably be rewatching in my social distancing, it’s a fantastic take on superheros with the added element of the end of the world. The COVID-19 panic reminds me of the end of the world scapes from this show, people’s insane reactions matching that scenario more than our own. I don’t want to give anything away so you’re going to have to watch it to see for yourself.
Where to stream: Netflix

As a side note here are the shows I don’t recommend:

Gossip Girl – Unless you’ve never seen it and don’t find constant manipulation and playing the victim utterly nauseating, I urge you not to fall into the ‘I haven’t watched that in years, why not rewatch’ trap. Serena, as well as all of the Humphrey family are possibly the worst characters ever written and it’s not at all worth it.

Friends – UGH. That’s all I have to say on that.

13 Reasons Why – I wasn’t even going to give this a mention but even though it has finally been cancelled please don’t encourage this type toxic and unsafe production ever.

That should keep you going for a while, happy binging and stay safe!

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