79ºF

What to watch this weekend: A show for every quarantine mood

You CANNOT go wrong with these 11 shows

From L-R, top to bottom: Gabi Butler from "Cheer," Michael C. Hall and Freddy Rodriguez of "Six Feet Under," Anne Hathaway in "Modern Love" and Marin Hinkle, Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
From L-R, top to bottom: Gabi Butler from "Cheer," Michael C. Hall and Freddy Rodriguez of "Six Feet Under," Anne Hathaway in "Modern Love" and Marin Hinkle, Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." (Getty Images)

If you’ve followed the orders and recommendations from our state and federal leaders, you’ve been staying at home now for about a month -- even though, yes, we know: this period, at times, has felt like an eternity.

It’s necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

Let us guess: You burned through “Tiger King” in a weekend, you checked out the new episode too; maybe you’re an overachiever and you even knocked out season three of “Ozark.”

What to watch next?

Once you’ve taken your dog on 47 walks and baked a loaf of sourdough, you’re going to need a fresh show recommendation.

Some of these are newer and some are old.

We’re sure by now, you’ve seen lots of TV lists. So this time, we’ll break it down by mood or occasion. Without further ado ...


For when your expectations are low, but you need a pleasant surprise.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” anyone?

Available on: Amazon Prime

Why?

This show is darn near perfect. The cast? Incredible. The writing? Next-level. The throwback outfits? Superb.

You can watch Maisel with your parents, your significant other or just by yourself. There’s truly something for everyone here. Sometimes it’s hysterical and you’ll find yourself laughing along all episode. Other times it’s incredibly touching and a bit deeper. We can’t imagine anyone but Rachel Brosnahan playing Midge (stage name Mrs. Maisel herself), and Tony Shalhoub as Abraham “Abe” Weissman will have you in stitches. “A romper, Joel — I wear a romper.” Jane Lynch has never been better -- or more cringe-worthy, as Sophie Lennon.

This show garnered some buzz around 2018 and won some Emmys as well, but we haven’t heard much about it lately -- despite a strong season three and the additions of several key cast members (we lovvvve Sterling K. Brown).

Go binge it! There are only three seasons, so you’ll whip right through them.

For when you’re ready for something deep.

Enter “Six Feet Under.”

Available on: HBO Now or HBO Go

Why?

Admittedly, this show can be heavy, at times. And well, as it should be, when you consider that it’s about a family that owns a funeral home, and in turn, death. Each episode starts with someone dying -- sometimes it’s quick and you don’t get much back-story, and other times, it’s more directly tied into the events of the episode that will follow -- but there are plenty of light moments, as well. The show can even be surprisingly funny.

“Six Feet Under,” just like “Maisel,” was truly cast to perfection. It might be this writer’s favorite series of all time -- with the best-ever series finale I’ve ever seen or heard of.

You’ve got “Dexter” (Michael C. Hall) before he was Dexter. “Dwight” before “The Office.” Kathy Bates. Frances Conroy, Peter Krause (but not in a hokey “Dirty Sexy Money” role. This is the best he’s ever been, by a landslide). It’s just a genius combination of actors and actresses, all in their prime.

At times, this show already seems a little old; can you believe it wrapped up in 2005? That was 15 years ago. But the life lessons, the acting, the music -- which isn’t used often, but it’s used well -- the themes: they’re all timeless. It’s a hauntingly beautiful show about love, loss, life, death and family. You’ve GOT to watch. And if you tuned in back in the day, it’s time to re-watch.

For when you want to be in your feelings.

“Modern Love” is the answer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime

Why?

Maybe you’re going through a breakup. Maybe this chapter of life that we’re currently stuck in is just strange, and you’re not sure how to handle things or what to think.

Maybe you’re grieving something: the loss of your child’s senior year of high school, the rescheduling of a wedding, or going through something even deeper. “Modern Love” is a refreshingly beautiful show, and the best part is, each episode is kind of its own short film. You don’t have to watch episode one to prepare yourself for episode two -- it’s all new cast members and new stories each time. There has only been one season so far, with eight episodes, and they move fast. You can knock this out in a weekend. Creators of the show, by the way, have confirmed they’ll be back with a season two.

The show brings to life some stories that have been featured in The New York Times’ Modern Love column. It explores love in all of its complicated forms. The actors involved are quite A-List, as well, including Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, Tina Fey, John Slattery and Julia Garner (a little different from her character in “Ozark!”) It’s a must-watch.

For when you’re ready to be on the edge of your seat.

Your homework? Go check out "The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Available on: Hulu

Why?

Two words: ELISABETH MOSS. You loved her in “Mad Men” (more on that soon!) and you’re going to love her even more in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” We know, we know -- you’re thinking that’s impossible. Gear up, because your brain is about to go 🤯.

This show can be dark and grim, to put it mildly. Parents of young children beware, you’re going to be mad when you see the kids separated from their families. It’s heart-wrenching and we hate it.

HMT doesn’t revolve around death, like the aforementioned “Six Feet Under,” but it might be even bleaker.

Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid’s Tale” shows us what life might look like in the dystopian future. The country is called Gilead and it’s ... horrible.

But all those negatives aside, this is best program currently on TV, if you ask me.

Moss’s performances are brave, gut-wrenching and raw -- and they make the whole show incredibly suspenseful. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, heart pounding, palms sweaty at times, like, “What could possibly come next?”

Sometimes you don’t even want to know.

For when you’re going through a life transition, or you just need to giggle.

Give us ... “Girls.”

Available on: HBO Now or HBO Go

Why?

Lena Dunham’s show ended in 2017, but we could re-watch this all day. Episodes are quick hits, most will have you giggling the entire time, and we just loved watching these four young women grow up and transform over the course of six seasons.

“Girls” has been described as a “more realistic” version of “Sex and the City” -- the girls are in their 20s, they’re understandably broke at times, they have roommates, they’re not always polished, their love lives are a mess (OK, maybe that part is the same as SATC!) ... but it’s just SO relatable.

There are three episodes that really stand out as the best of the best, after watching the series at least twice all the way through, and those are “The Panic in Central Park," “One Man’s Trash," and “American B----.”

Plus, Adam Driver and Andrew Rannells are pure gold.

For when you need something new to chat with your girlfriends about.

“Shrill.”

Available on: Hulu

Why?

This comedy will make you adore Aidy Bryant, who you’ll know if you also watch “SNL." She plays Annie, a journalist grappling with bad boyfriends, her at-times crazy parents and an impossible-to-handle boss.

The show also explores topics (some directly, some indirectly) involving weight, taking up physical space and how the world reacts to Annie’s body.

It’s deep, without being in-your-face deep. Mostly you’ll just laugh and enjoy Bryant and her co-stars’ acting. The show is based on the book “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman” by Lindy West.

Season one premiered in 2019, season two just came out in January and reports say there will be a season three.

It’s modern, effortless and just the show you need in your life.

For when you want to take a trip back in time.

We’ll order up all of your “Mad Men,” please.

Available on: Netflix

Why?

“Mad Men” is basically perfect. Some call it slow. I say, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” Seriously though, that’s crazy. It’s not slow! It’s just set to a different pace. It was a different time.

Now that you’re able to watch “Mad Men” straight through without having to wait between episodes or seasons, trust us when we say it’s *that* much better. Give it a revisit!

Sometimes you don’t want to engage with anything new -- it’s almost like, with the pandemic and all, you have enough on your plate already. It’ll feel familiar but fresh, all at the same time.

And if you haven’t seen the 1960s show about the underbelly of the advertising world, you have no more excuses. Seven beautiful seasons await!

There are SO many great moments. The show is like artwork unfolding in front of your eyes. You’ll cringe at Pete Campbell, roll your eyes at Betty Draper and smirk alongside Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway. Pour yourself an old-fashioned or a Manhattan (but skip the cigarette), and buckle up. Seat belts optional.

For when it’s time to be pushed out of your comfort zone.

Go watch “Cheer.”

Available on: Netflix

Why?

You have no experience in the world of competitive cheerleading? Doesn’t matter.

Oh, you’re a man, so you assume there’s nothing to see here? You couldn’t be more wrong.

Give us all of your excuses but we’ll push each one to the side -- “Cheer” is a show for everyone, no matter who you are.

This is NOT “Bring It On” -- this is the harsh and very real world of competitive cheer. The sport (yes we said SPORT) has evolved an incredible amount since it started. Cheerleading isn’t just about cheering with poms on the sidelines of a football or basketball game. It’s about tumbling, stunting, pyramids and an incredible amount of athleticism. This can be a really scary sport at times, when you consider people are just throwing each other into the air without much more on their heads than a ponytail and a big smile. (If anyone else recently watched the Aaron Hernandez documentary, you’ll definitely find yourself thinking about brain safety and CTE). And how crazy is it that some of these Navarro College cheerleaders are basically social-media famous, but not even known to most around town in their small Texas city just south of Dallas?

Finally, in what other sport does it all come down to just 2 minutes? It’s not a schedule full of games and there’s no chance at the playoffs to redeem a missed opportunity from earlier in the season.

For these athletes, they’ll spend a lifetime training for just 2 minutes in Daytona. There’s no going pro. There’s nothing beyond the university level. It’s just one shot for a title, or to walk away empty-handed.

This docu-series is truly fascinating. Learning about these athletes is heart-breaking and heart-warming, all at the same time.

For when you’re in the mood for something light and quick.

We give you ... “Schitt’s Creek.”

Available on: Netflix

Why?

These episodes truly fly by. This is the polar opposite of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Six Feet Under.”

Oh, and the series finale just aired earlier this month. Topical!

Seriously though, “Schitt’s Creek” episodes are so light and easy. You can half-pay attention while you’re making dinner, FaceTime with a friend while watching, or knock an episode out before bed with your spouse if you’re starting to get sleepy but you still want to stay up for 20 more minutes and finish your tea or wine.

Moira (Catherine O’Hara) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) are my favorites, but you’ll love David, Johnny and the rest of the crew just as much.

The show is about a family that used to be filthy-rich in New York City -- until they suddenly find themselves broke. They have to abruptly leave their pampered lives to regroup within the rural city limits of their only remaining asset -- Schitt’s Creek, an armpit of a town they once bought as a joke.

Ew, David.

For when you’d like to laugh so hard your sides will hurt.

“Veep”

Available on: HBO Now or HBO Go

Why?

The buzz is out about Emmy Award-winning “Veep,” but we couldn’t just *leave it off our list.* There were seven glorious seasons and we loved every moment.

You’re probably starting to see a trend here: All of these amazing shows start with their incredible casts. But seriously: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer. Anna Chlumsky as Amy. Timothy Simons as Jonah. Tony Hale as the love-able Gary. What could go wrong?

It’s a political comedy, it’s a satire; as my 4-year-old daughter likes to say, it is “all things.” There are way too many funny moments, favorite episodes and (profanity-laced) quotes to list here. It’s hard to believe this aired from 2012 to 2019! If you’ve never seen it before, lean in. Get comfy. Prepare to chuckle. Quite crass at times, but delivered well.

For when you’re craving something a little ... trashy.

You’ve got to check out “90 Day Fiance.”

Available on: TLC (if you have cable), or the TLC app

Why?

OK, hear us out on this one.

We won’t go into too much depth spelling out the premise: Basically, two people fall in love (if you want to call it that), maybe while one was on a vacation or perhaps scouting for a spouse online. Then, in order to get the other person to the United States, the couple has to apply for a K-1 visa, or a marriage visa, which gives you 90 days to tie the knot.

Some of these couples really are sweet, and in it “for the right reasons,” if we can crutch on “The Bachelor” talk for a minute: Danny and Amy (season two), Loren and Alexei (season three) and Kalani and Asuelu (season six) seem to have met under reasonable circumstances and actually made it work.

Others are straight-up disasters: Danielle and Mohamed (season two), Jorge and Anfisa (season four), Molly and Luis (season five), Ashley and Jay (season six) and Colt and Larissa (season six), to name a few -- most of them are now divorced, as you can imagine.

There is drama. There are tears. It’s NOT going to broaden your horizons or make you any smarter, but it’s the kind of TV you can’t turn away from. Good when you need to tune out the rest of the world for a bit. Riveting, a bit ridiculous at times, but oh-so entertaining.

BTW, if you burn through all of the seasons available, just know that there are several spin-offs, as well!


Honorable mentions: Homeland (Showtime), Parenthood (Netflix), Shameless (most seasons available on Netflix), Euphoria (HBO apps).

What will you watch first? Sound off in the comments!


About the Author: