Editors’ Picks: What to Stream When You’re Social Distancing

Life has taken a weird turn. But at least we’ve got internet access as we experience this pandemic, so we can stay entertained in between anxiety spirals. While there’s more than enough COVID-19 coverage to fill your days, if you don’t work some pop culture palette cleaners into your new social-distancing lifestyle, you’re going to lose it. Here’s what our editors are streaming to take the edge off.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Where to Stream: Netflix & Crave

I know I’m late to the party here but I was really just waiting for the right medical emergency to really dive into the beloved reality series. I’ve managed to watch two seasons over four days, because the frivolity and gleeful irreverence of it all has been a soothing balm in these chaotic times. When I run out of episodes, perhaps I’ll start practicing drag makeup and emerge when this whole pandemic is done with a bold new office look. A warning, though, that this excessive consumption combined with all the health news can result in some insane (glitter-filled) dreams. —Stacey McLachlan, executive editor

Full House

Where to Stream: Netflix

Maybe I should be ashamed that I’ve been binging a largely outdated TV show known for its corny G-rated humour and cavity-inducing sweetness. Maybe I should watch something a little more “topical” or “intellectually stimulating” or “for audiences over the age of 12.” But—especially in these trying times—all I want to watch is Full House. So I find comfort in family-friendly comedies where every problem is solved in 21 minutes. So I imagine what the title sequence would look like if I was part of the cast (I’d kick a soccer ball over a fence, turn to the camera, and shrug adorably, obviously). So what? Worry all you want about tweens hunting aliens and reality stars sharing wine with their dogs— I’ll be happily consumed with DJ Tanner’s junior prom drama. Also, young John Stamos is a total babe. —Alyssa Hirose, contributing editor


Where to Stream: iTunes or Amazon Prime (with PBS subscription)

I appreciate the title of this is what “to” watch, but some times cautioning you against what to avoid is equally is valuable, no? So let’s be clear—I can’t fathom a lockdown long enough that would justify you downloading the gussied-up train wreck of an 8-episode show. And let me present my bona fides: I have a wife who’s watched the BBC Pride & Prejudice (with a then young Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle of recent Contagion fame) 44 times. We recently rewatched the Gwyneth Paltrow (also of Contagion fame) version of Emma and were delighted. We (that’s the Royal we to be fair) like period dramas, we love Jane Austen, and Masterpiece Theatre rarely lets us down. But this adaptation of Austen’s unfinished novel is so all over the places as to be baffling: characters intentions change with each episode, as do plot lines. Very few people are likeable, and our male lead, played by erstwhile hunk Theo James of the Divergent series…well, he’s no gentleman. I suspect diehard Austen-heads will want to plough ahead regardless assuming it can’t be that bad. But it can and it is.—Neal McLennan, food editor 

The Outsider

Where to Stream: Crave

(Light spoilers ahead)

Hey, things could be worse. There could be a mysterious, supernatural being haunting your town by controlling residents via bubbling eczema on the back of their necks and also turning into different ones and committing horribly violent crimes as the person in question. That’s essentially the premise of The Outsider, the impeccably acted and produced HBO series based on the Stephen King novel and starring Jason Bateman, Cynthia Erivo and Ben Mendelsohn. Erivo (Widows, Harriet) in particular is incredible as Holly Gibney, an erratic private investigator. Getting wrapped up in a horror drama in which the unknown is truly terrifying seems somewhat fitting during these times, no? Usually, I’d be out on almost all things horror. But the spookily relevant subject matter and the incredible characterization have turned out to be everything I need right now. Stretch out these 10 hour-long episodes for as long as you can.—Nathan Caddell, associate editor 

High Fidelity

Where to Stream: Crave

First of all, I’ve yet to find anything the ridiculously cool Zoe Kravitz touches that I haven’t adored. (Ok, maybe the second season of Big Little Lies was a bit problematic.) And of course, she kills it in what was once John Cusack’s role in this remake. It’s one of those series that from the first episode, I was 100-percent in, in no small part of its not-so-subtle nods of nostalgia (Kravitz wears some of the same attire that Cusack did), but also because the whole damn cast is great. Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Cherise and David Holmes as Simon, record-store employees of Kravitz’s “Rob” (née Robyn) are warm, funny and just the right about of music nerd; Kingsley Ben-Adir as Mac, her lost love is ridiculously charming; and Jake Lucy as her potential (and very poorly treated) new one is perfect to have you rooting for him as an underdog—plus, the soundtrack is to die for. Honestly, I want to watch the whole damn thing again as soon as it’s finished. And I will. —Anicka Quin, editorial director

The Vampire Diaries

Where to stream: Prime

No time like the present to binge embarrassing, guilty-pleasure shows free of judgment from the rest of the world. Pick your poison from the CW’s long list of melodramas starring hot 30-year-old “high schoolers.” Personally I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better form of escapism than the vampires, werewolves, and witches roaming Mystic Falls (does it get bonus points for multiple love triangles involving all three?). I’m not saying it’s good, but I have garnered an intense investment in the characters over the past few days. Plus all eight seasons are on Prime, which should get you through at least the first week of isolation. —Elia Essen, editorial intern