If you’re like me, this whole social isolation has given pause to most of your social life. As someone who has dealt with chronic illness and social isolation by doctors’ orders in the past, I’ve spent more than a few hundred hours watching movies and TV shows across a variety of platforms over the years. Below is a list of some of my favorite, underrated (or maybe properly rated, or even overrated by some opinions) TV shows and movies to watch during social isolation.
1) Justified (FX)
Starring Timothy Olyphant (one of Hollywood’s most underrated actors in my opinion) and the always brilliant Walton Goggins, Justified follows the story of U.S. Marshall Raylan Gibbons from his journey as a Miami lawman back to his hometown, in the backwoods of Lexington, Kentucky. Guest appearances from Patton Oswalt and Michael Rapaport make for an entertaining, well-written and scripted drama. You can find Justified on Hulu.
2) The Wire (HBO)
Considered by many to be one of the best shows of all time, The Wire could seem outdated to some (it came out in 2002). However, the show’s brilliance, beloved characterizations, and real-life depiction of today’s American cities bring about an unforgettable viewing experience. Based in Baltimore, The Wire includes appearances from the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Wendall Pierce, and Idris Elba. The Wire can be found on HBO and on Amazon Prime Video.
3) Twin Peaks (CBS, Showtime)
The cult classic is more than worth your time to dive into. Airing in 1990, legendary director David Lynch weaves a story that was genre-bending in every possible way. Part drama, horror, mystery, super-natural thriller, and science fiction, Twin Peaks is the perfect mix of campy humor, intense scenes, and unforgettable moments. Most modern television drama can find its root in some form of story or characterization done within Twin Peaks. The show was canceled back in the early ’90s and fans were left with a rather incomplete story. Just a few years ago, Showtime bought the rights to the show to finish it and start a new chapter. While very different in story, it is still a brilliant piece and David Lynch brings an excellent ending to a beautiful work. You can find Twin Peaks on Showtime and CBS All Access.
4) Atlanta (FX)
Donald Glover’s masterpiece explores the life of hip-hop from a surrealist perspective. It’s a masterful piece of sarcasm, comedy, and take on culture today. You can stream Atlanta on Hulu.
5) 30 Rock (NBC)
The brilliance of Tina Fey comes through in this comedy that was often overshadowed by The Office. Both Donald Glover and Hannibal Burress were writers on the show, and the mastery of the jokes of almost every line shines through. Also starring Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock is fun comic relief. It can be found on Hulu.
1) The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Amazon Prime)
A movie that explores gentrification and the emotional toll of seeing families and communities displaced, The Last Black Man in San Francisco explores how one of America’s most infamous and currently wealthy cities has left many former residents behind, to the city’s detriment. Danny Glover even makes an appearance.
2) Mulholland Drive (Various Paid Services)
Another work from David Lynch starring Naomi Watts, Lynch’s Mulholland Drive is a fascinating movie that leaves viewers with lots of different questions. Lynch loves non-linear storylines, and Mulholland Drive is no different. The story is haunting, tragic, and beautiful almost simultaneously.
3) Chef (Various Paid Services)
Jon Favreau’s masterpiece is a father and son adventure surrounding good food. A film that didn’t get much fan-fare at the time, Chef provides a feel-good story when it may be just what we need.
4) It Comes at Night (Netflix and other Streaming Services)
One of the darkest films I have ever seen, It Comes At Night is a hard watch. Spoiler Alert: A pandemic is involved in the movie, so if anxiety is a thing for you right now, you may not want to watch. Writer and director Trey Shults used this film to deal with the death of his father, and it shows from start to finish. A difficult film to wrestle with it, but at some point in life, it is certainly worth watching.
There are many more, and thankfully in today’s world, there is a never ending supply of films such as these. Hopefully they help pass the time in moments when it seems like everything is in slow motion.