Those of us at home practicing social distancing probably never realized we had so many viewing options. Between network TV, cable TV, and streaming services, offerings are aplenty.
Bingeing is becoming the norm, whether it’s an all-day event or something you do at night after work or on the weekends, and TV series seem to be the perfect binge material. Netflix has two series that everyone is talking about now. “Tiger King” is a documentary series that follows Joe Exotic, a country singer who runs an Oklahoma zoo populated by large creatures. The show is filled with the colorful characters who inhabit Joe’s universe, including his various husbands. Most notable is Carole Baskin, who owns a big cat sanctuary and becomes a rival to Joe. Many people believe Carole killed her husband and inherited his millions (the body was never found). The show can be absurd, but it’s absorbing fare.
“Ozark,” shot in Georgia, just dropped its third (and best) season. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star as Martin and Wendy Byrde, a couple who move from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where Martin has to launder money for a drug boss. The show doesn’t currently have any significant LGBTQ characters—one was killed off last season—but is dark and riveting. Linney and Tom Pelphrey (as Wendy’s brother Ben) are the Season Three VIPs.
Anyone not watching and raving about those two series was probably watching the beloved “Schitt’s Creek.” Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara star as a well-off couple who lose their fortune and are forced to move to a small town they bought as a joke. Levy and his out son Dan created the series, and Dan is also in the cast, which includes LGBT characters. The series just concluded its six year run, so this may be an opportune time to watch all 80 episodes again or for the first time. “Schitt’s Creek” airs on IMDb TV and Netflix.
Two series that premiered in the winter on Apple TV Plus are well worth bingeing. “Visible: Out on Television” is a fascinating five part series that looks at LGBTQ representation on the small screen. Directed by former Atlantan Ryan White, the series does a masterful job of showing early depictions of the LGBTQ experience from the ’60s and ’70s and onward. The dozens of interviews with television notables are fascinating. “The Morning Show” may be the best TV series of the season. After a network morning show (think “Good Morning America” or “Today”) fires its long time co-host (Steve Carrell) for sexual misconduct, it hires a relatively unknown reporter from the South (Reese Witherspoon) to pair up with its remaining co-host (Jennifer Aniston). Funny at times, but eventually dark and unsettling, the show is extremely timely during the #MeToo movement.
Witherspoon is also in the new Hulu series, “Little Fires Everywhere” with Kerry Washington. It’s based on Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel.
Also on Hulu is the new limited series, “Mrs. America,” featuring Cate Blanchett as real-life conservative Phyllis Schlafly fighting against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Among the heavy hitters in the supporting cast are Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Paulson, Niecy Nash, Tracey Ullman, and Rose Byrne.
It’s hardly peppy fare, but HBO recently aired the documentary series, “The Atlanta Child Murders.” Twenty-nine African American children were found dead in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981. Wayne Williams was tried and convicted for two of the murders, but most of them remain unsolved. The series looks at the aftermath.
Also worth bingeing are the dark BBC America spy drama, “Killing Eve,” starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, now in its third season, and the remarkable, Emmy-winning “Pose,” whose first season is available on Netflix. Ryan Murphy’s drama—starring a record number of transgender performers—had a second season that is arguably stronger than the first, with standout work from the likes of Billy Porter, Mj Rodriguez, and Angelica Ross.
If you’ve seen all of these shows already, grab your remote and start flipping. It’s likely you’ll find another binge-worthy series soon.