- 24 Mar 20
With the world in lockdown, it’s the perfect moment for catching up on all that great TV you’ve been missing. As we continue to live with the coronavirus epidemic here, then, are 10 essential shows to bunker down with.
1: The Mandalorian (Disney +)
Coming to Ireland on March 24, Disney’s new streaming service is aimed largely at kids and teens. One exception is Jon Favreau’s fantastic Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars series. With the dreadful Rise of Skywalker still a lingering memory, the new show is the ultimate palate-cleanser. Pedro Pascal stars as the eponymous interstellar bounty hunter, whose life and career are changed forever when he has a run-in with cuddly alien Baby Yoda
2: The Boys (Amazon Prime)
The Cult of the Superhero is taken down in the goriest fashion in this funny, sometimes profound and often violent satire of caped crusaders and their role in society. Alan Moore’s Watchmen made much the same point – but The Boys is zingier, pacier and so much more gleeful. With Dominique McElligott as Celtic-themed Wonder Woman Queen Maeve.
3: The English Game (Netflix)
As you would expect of Julian Fellowes the class politics in this soccer original story are… a bit strange. Surly mill workers are lined up against noble Old Etonians in a war for the soul of the sport which, in the 1870s, is just getting started. Yet there is a compelling true story tacked on as Fellowes traces the rise of Scottish player Fergus Suter, one of the first professional footballers and a pioneer of the passing game that would transform the sport. For those who like that sort of thing, the frocks are fab too.
4: Ozark Season Three (Netflix)
Arriving March 27, season three of Netflix’s riff on Breaking Bad stars Laura Linney and Jason Bateman as a sniping husband-and-wife who also running their own home-grown crime empire. Cliched and derivative it may be, but the pace is cracking, the leads compelling.
5: Altered Carbon, season two (Netflix)
Anthony Mackie takes over from Joel Kinnaman as immortal cyberpunk anti-hero Takeshi Kovacs. The setting is a far future where death has been cheated and, those who can afford it, are downloaded over and over into fresh bodies or “sleeves”. Thus Kovacs comes back as MCU-star Mackie and is immediately tasked with solving a murder on his home planet. The real mystery, however, is why he can’t get a problematic ex-lover out of his head.
6: Good Omens (Amazon Prime)
Neil Gaiman’s adaptation of his 1990 novel with Terry Pratchett is at moments awfully pleased with itself. Yet this is urban fantasy escapism of the first order, with David Tennant and Michael Sheen as devil-and-angel frenemies whose cozy understanding is thrown off-kilter when God decides to trigger the apocalypse. Hey God - stop being such a bastard.
7: Fleabag (Amazon Prime)
We could all do with a laugh. As it turns out, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s tart observational comedy is just the tonic in these weird times. As the titular selfish-but-adrift millennial she sweeps you back to the days when our problems were bite-sized and often just in our heads. However, with Waller-Bridge’s character quietly morning a friend who took their own life, Fleabag doubles as a powerful meditation on grief.
8: Forever (Amazon Prime)
Comedians Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen will crack you up as a middled-aged married couple who suddenly find they are forced to spend a lot more time together than they had ever imagined. When it was released several years ago, Forever was received as a dark relationship fantasy. Now…it feels like a diary entry ripped from all our lives.
9: Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)
More escapism! Netflix’s prequel to the classic Jim Henson fantasy is set in a fantastical world of feuding elf-like creatures and wicked magic turkeys. Just like Game of Thrones only with less incest and more latex.
10: Next In Fashion (Netflix)
Part of a new trend in kinder, sweeter reality TV. Alexa Chung and Tan France are the presenters in a series in which successful designers looking to take their business to the next level vie for a deal with Net-a-Porter and a $250,000 first prize. It should be a frenzy of back-stabbing. Yet everyone is so nice it makes your heart swell.