Life under lockdown: Time to catch up on TV

Catching up on TV during lockdown
Catching up on TV during lockdown 02:39

By Daniel Fienberg, TV critic for the Hollywood Reporter: 

With movie theaters and public performance venues shut down and countless workers in quarantine, much of the population is eying a future spent disproportionately glued to our couches looking for good things to watch on television.

In short, we're becoming a nation of TV critics.

As somebody who was on this bandwagon professionally long before various public officials made it mandatory, allow me to offer some advice.

First off, even if actual Hollywood production has ground to a halt, the crisis hit us just as some of TV's best shows were launching new seasons.

Pamela Adlon's FX comedy "Better Things" is compassionate, funny and uncomfortably realistic.

Better Things | Season 4: Official Trailer | FX by FX Networks on YouTube

AMC's "Better Call Saul" may not be better than "Breaking Bad," but it's far closer than anybody could have imagined, and Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn are giving great performances.

Better Call Saul: 'Joyride' Season 5 Teaser | AMC by amc on YouTube

And if you like twisty, somewhat confusing mythology, mixed with lots of robots, HBO's "Westworld" is over-stuffed. That's a lot to watch right there.

Westworld | Official Season 3 Trailer | HBO by HBO on YouTube

But this is also the perfect moment for rainy-day shows, those ambitious or long-running TV series that you've been putting off until you could give them the concentration they deserve. Mine include Netflix's "Peaky Blinders" and "Fauda," but if you haven't watched all-time classics like "The Wire" or "The Leftovers" or "Rectify," no more excuses!

Peaky Blinders | Season 5 Trailer | Netflix by Netflix on YouTube
Fauda - Season 2 | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix by Netflix on YouTube
The Wire Trailer (HBO) by HBO on YouTube
The Leftovers Season 2: Trailer #1 (HBO) by HBO on YouTube
RECTIFY Season 1 Recap by SundanceTV on YouTube

Seeking something funny and emotional? Try Freeform's unusual family comedy "Everything's Gonna Be Okay," and this may be the perfect moment for "Parks & Recreation," the most hopeful show ever made about government dysfunction.

Everything's Gonna Be Okay Official Trailer | Premieres January 16 | Freeform by Freeform on YouTube
Parks and Recreation Series Trailer - Season 2 on DVD by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on YouTube

Missing travel? HBO's "My Brilliant Friend," adapted from Elena Ferante's novels, is like a passport to an Italy from a different era. Or check out Hulu's under-rated comedy "Ramy," which wrapped its first season with two great episodes filmed in Egypt.

My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 | Official Trailer | HBO by HBO on YouTube
Ramy Season 1 Trailer | Rotten Tomatoes TV by Rotten Tomatoes TV on YouTube

And if you're exhausted by your family, catch up on HBO's "Succession," a reminder that no matter how crazy your relatives are making you, it could always be much, much worse.

Succession: Season 1 | Official Trailer | HBO by HBO on YouTube

All told, that's hours and hours of television that offer you something we all could use right now: distraction from the outside world. 

       
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Story produced by John Goodwin and Jay Kernis. Editor: Ben McCormick.

      
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