Watchonista And Chill: Our Team’s Selection Of The Shows We’re Watching
Find yourself with some time on your hands? Here's Watchonista's list of binge-worthy television for when you’re stuck at home, or just in need of an escape from the news cycle.
If you’re like us, you are probably finding yourself working from home these days. No doubt, your workdays are comprised of video conferences, numerous emails, and a side helping of cabin fever. But your evenings don't have to be a dreadful affair of aimlessly scrolling through Netflix’s catalog. To that end, our team has put together a list of the shows we've been watching while in self-isolation. Enjoy and stay safe out there!
Rhonda Riche | Kids in the Hall
Show – Kids in the Hall
How To Watch – US: YouTube, Amazon Canada: CBC Gem
Four days into self-isolation here and while I’m trying to avoid TV during the work-from-home hours, at night, I’ve been working my way through five seasons of the 1990s sketch comedy series The Kids in the Hall.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the troupe was reuniting for a new Amazon Prime series, and 25 years later, the old episodes hold up incredibly well. Sure, there are the classic characters like the Chicken Lady and The Headcrusher, but there's plenty of hilarious scenes that play well in our current culture. Maybe it's because it's an absurdist take on everyday life that provides the point of view we need in these surreal times.
Even the 1990s era wardrobe feels au courant. Party sweaters, plaid shirts, dewdrop glasses, Gucci 4200 series tank watches, and post-modern Swatches are all ready for their comeback.
Liam O’Donnell | Dark
Show – Dark
How to watch – Netflix
Dark is one of the best international TV series on Netflix that you're not watching, or even aware of for that matter. With a nod to H. P. Lovecraft's weird and cosmic horror and the investigative narrative of True Detective, you're sure to be consumed by the time-shifting, existential story of Jonas Kahnwald and the people of his small German town.
For those who know me, I have a penchant for seat-gripping horror, puzzling mysteries, and intense dramas. If you're a fan of anything Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro, or H. R. Giger, you'll find something to like about Dark.
Marco Gabella | YOU
I first became interested in the main character, Joe, as he seemed charming, albeit creepy. But after subsequent episodes, I learned to hate him. YOU is an original concept because it disturbs the viewer, yet it's a fascinating portrayal of Stockholm Syndrome. Perhaps it’s also a subtle reminder that, while staying home isn’t particularly exciting, it could be worse. You could be stuck in Joe’s basement.
Elena Fichtel | Forensic Files
Show – Forensic Files
How to watch – Netflix
If you’ve never heard of the series, here’s a quick primer: Airing from 1996 to 2011, Forensic Files is a documentary-style show that explains how forensic science is used to solve violent crimes, accidents, and mysterious or suspicious outbreaks of illness. It is one of the longest-running, criminology shows in television history and is considered the reason why shows like CSI, Criminal Minds, and NCIS were made. Its IMDB trivia page also claims the U.S. Department of Justice has used some episodes to train their personnel, but I’m not 100% convinced that’s true.
Anyone who knows me is aware of my true crime obsession. True crime podcasts, audiobooks, documentaries, shows, I love it all. So, during these long, lonely days of isolation and mounting cabin fever, I'm watching criminals get their comeuppance and reveling in the schadenfreude. Fortunately, with a whopping 360 episodes available on Netflix, Forensic Files will feed my habit and keep you entertained for a looooong time.
Need more convincing to give Forensic Files a try? “Time Will Tell” (Collection 5, Episode 18 on Netflix) tells the story of Ronald Platt’s murder, and the integral role his Rolex Datejust Oyster Perpetual played in bringing down his killer.
Thomas Hendricks | "Threat Level Midnight" (The Office)
Show – “Threat Level Midnight” (The Office)
Well, I've actually been reading a lot of books lately. Psych!
My current obsession, aside from online watch shopping, is “Threat Level Midnight,” the previously unreleased one-off episode of The Office. The 2011 special features Michael Scott (or shall we say, Michael Scarn) as the suave secret agent on a mission to thwart evil mastermind Goldenface (Jim) from blowing up the NHL All-Star Game. It's a James Bond flick written and directed by Michael, and it's just as endearing and cringeworthy as you'd hope it would be.
The magic of this episode (which I've watched a few times now) is how well done the bad writing is. All the tropes of the genre are there (high stakes, catchphrases, love interests, etc.), but they're captured using the budget and cinematography fitting a small-to-midsized paper company in Scranton, PA. It's less than 25mins long, but in times like these, smart laughs from familiar faces are the best medicine.
Viviana Shanks | The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Show – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
How to watch – Amazon Prime
I could watch this series all day. It's empowering, funny, well thought out, and extraordinarily written. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel follows the life of the beautiful and fashionable Midge Maisel, who lives in a fancy Upper West Side apartment. She’s the picture-perfect traditional Jewish wife who spends her days taking care of her two beautiful kids and cooking the best brisket in town. She is extremely close to her conservative parents.
However, things turn sour when Midge leaves her husband after discovering he is cheating on her. Drowning in sorrow, she drunkenly finds herself in a nightgown telling jokes at an underground bar, much to the amusement of the crowd.
She then meets Susie, who convinces Midge she has a thing for comedy. We are then taken on her journey. We follow her successes, failures, and her battle to be respected as a woman who wants to work as a professional comic.
What I love about this series is that she lives in a world where women are not supposed to work, nor have an opinion, yet Midge fights extremely hard to have her voice heard and change the world. It’s inspiring, fun, and makes you see life from a different perspective, one that’s not full of beautiful clothes and champagne.
Vittorio Della Canonica | Scorpion
Show – Scorpion
How to watch – US: CBS All Access, EU: Netflix
Scorpion is about a group of five geniuses and friends who come together to save lives. Each with an area of expertise (behavioral psychology, coding, mechanical engineering, mathematics, etc.), the team works for Homeland Security solving complex cases that need solving in very little time.
Josh Shanks | Hillary
Show – Hillary
Source – Hulu
The question we ask a lot to ourselves in these times is “what if?” As such, I’ve found myself immersed in Hulu’s new Hillary Clinton docuseries. This four-part series covers Clinton’s 2016 run for president and shines a unique light on the Clinton legacy. Plus, it’s provided some wrist spotting opportunities as Bill Clinton is an avid watch collector. While I could only spot IWC and Shinola, see if you can find an A. Lange & Söhne.
Sébastien Aeberli | Le Bureau des Légendes aka The Bureau
Show - Le Bureau des Légendes
How to watch - Amazon, YouTube TV
Cross the ocean for a more European choice (A Swiss office favorite) and focus on the best French series of the moment. Broadcasting on Canal + and available on Amazon Prime in the US is Bureau des Légendes aka "The Bureau." The show follows Mad Men at the DGSE (French CIA). The four seasons interweave realistic intrigue, masterful staging, and a very realistic depiction of a team of heroes.
Beyond the mastery of the subject, the interpretation offered by the actors in a dark register combines the strength of character and weakness of feelings. The rigorous construction of the narrative arches (the scenarios are supervised by the DGSE) with management twists and turns. This all combines for a relevant spy series with a different and credible tone.
Season 5 arrives on April 6, just in time for containment…
Sophie Furley | The Night Manager
Show – The Night Manager
How to watch – Amazon Prime
My mum had been going on at me to watch this for the longest time, and one evening I turned to my husband saying, “We have to watch it, so I can tell her we have watched it!”
Five hours later, we were still on the sofa glued to our television!
It is based on a novel by John le Carré that tells the story of an ex-British soldier who is recruited by MI6 to infiltrate the inner circle of an arms trader. If you love a good BBC drama, I can thoroughly recommend it, as can my mother! Watches to spot: IWC and Tissot.