The next few weeks will prove a challenging time for those of us faced with the prospect of self-isolation. However, since it is for the health of society’s weakest that we practice social distancing, it’s a good idea we exercise recommended measures. In the next week, The Badger will be recommending some of the best art to while away the hours with. This section, myself, editor Chris Ahjem, and Film & TV editor Michael Humphreys are recommending the best television series for your self-isolation.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – Series 10, HBO
The new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm poses many questions, a key one being, how is Larry David still so funny? This series is essential self-isolation viewing due to its ability to appeal both to longtime fans and newcomers. David manages to deal with everything from antisemitism post-Trump to Weinstein and #MeToo. Aside from allowing us to hark back to not-so-distant, routine moral panics, the show may help to contextualise our relationship to the pandemic. One finds that after watching Curb, one looks at life through Larry David’s lens.
Flowers – Channel 4, 2016
Flowers was released in 2016. Shown every day of the week till its climax, it is the first example of Channel 4 promoting the binge watch format. I’m suggesting Flowers because I believe it to be one of the most overlooked series of the last decade. An all-star cast including Olivia Colman and Julian Barrett, it’s a refreshing look at mental illness executed through a distinctly artistic, and comic, lens, and features Barrett’s best performance to date.
The Clangers – BBC, 1969
Do you remember The Clangers? Probably not. Airing first in 1969, the show was ever-present in the peripheries of my childhood, played on my grandparent’s VHS, or on CBeebies repeats. Critically, there is not much to say about The Clangers, other than that it demonstrates a new kind of television post-The Moon Landings that look to the stars with fresh eyes. Not granted the kind of cultural merit as Pingu, I suggest its time the show has a renaissance.
Glee – Fox, 2009
Looking for a TV show so wild it’ll distract your from the craziness of real life even if only for 47 minutes a pop? Glee is the ideal show for you. A light hearted musical comedy drama that covers everything from hysterical pregnancies to gay marriage its perfect ‘escape the chaos of real life’ material. Spearheaded by the frequently questionable Mr Schuester (Matthew Morrison) you’ll be left thinking “How does he still teach here?” more times than you bop along to one of over 729 musical numbers over the six season fever dream called Glee.
Pose – FX, 2018
Missing your mum during self-isolation? Blanca Evangelista (Mj Rodriguez) is your mother now! Let her welcome you into the House of Evangelista and the wider black and latino queer ballroom culture of the 1980s and 1990s that Pose so expertly presents. Truly immersive and deliciously aesthetic, Pose is one of the best shows I’ve watched in recent years and it got me through my flu spell from a few weeks ago. You’ll be celebrating for the characters one minute to absolutely sobbing the next – it’s the perfect emotional rollercoaster for a pandemic binge.
Sense8 – Netflix, 2015
With self-isolation and travel bans in place, many will be imagining the holidays that could have been. Instead, watch science fiction drama Sense8 which features a globe-spanning adventure with Season 1 shooting in Berlin, Chicago, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Nairobi, Reykjavik, Mexico City and Seoul and Season 2 adding cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, Sao Paolo, Positano and Los Angeles into the mix. A truly visual delight, the show has an intense and captivating plot to match. Surrounding eight strangers connected mentally and emotionally having to avoid being hunted down by the villain, Whispers (Terrance Mann), Sense 8 is a thrill ride from start to finish and will have you on the edge of your sofa frequently asking “wait, what?”
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 – VH1, 2020
As self-isolation continues, days will begin to merge so to maintain an awareness of the concept of time I’d recommend following the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race that is being released every Saturday on Netflix. A light-hearted competition show, it’s the perfect show to watch as a group in your student house. Maybe even turn it into a competition between housemates. Place bets on which queen will get the crown and the winning guess is awarded with the last can of chopped tomatoes?
Torchwood – BBC3, 2006
Have you outgrown Doctor Who? or do you think the writing has gotten worse since it’s earlier seasons. Well welcome to Torchwood. From the writers of David Tennant’s doctor, comes the alien sci-fi show with more sex, violence, nudity and actual stakes. Following John Barrowman as the enigmatic and immortal time agent Captain Jack, we see more deadly aliens, brutally dark themes and harrowingly accurate depictions of our government. Also, even if you don’t want to watch an entire new show, series 3 can act as a standalone piece and is truly the greatest 5 episodes of television you will see.
Better Call Saul – AMC, 2015
At this point, the vast majority of those reading this page will have seen breaking bad, but far fewer will have seen its prequel following the tenacious lawyer that was instrumental to Heisenberg’s rise to power. With Vince Gilligan demonstrating possibly superior writing skill than his time on Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul expertly melds known and unknown characters to guarantee continuous levels of tension and mystery providing answers we didn’t even know we wanted. It is a slow burn, but always entertaining, so perfect for a long binge in isolation.
The Boys – Amazon, 2019
Superheroes are real, they are everywhere, and they are owned by companies. With the success of the MCU, superheroes are as popular as ever. However, the genre remains predominantly child friendly. The Boys is not. Imagine if Superman was a psychopath with mummy issues. With season 2 coming later in the year, this is the perfect time to catch up on the best show people have missed.