Our favorite classic shows to quarantine-binge
We’re all stuck inside for the foreseeable future. It could be a few weeks or months… nobody really knows at this point. It all depends on how successful we are at “social distancing” and flattening the curve.
Anyhow, on the upside, this period of isolation is the perfect time to binge a TV show that everyone says is great but you never watched, for whatever reason. Sure, there are a million Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO originals you could watch. That’d keep you occupied for… months if not years. But wouldn’t you rather pass time watching a beloved series of yore?
Another great thing about old network shows is that they aired once a week, like, six months out of the year. So you’re looking at seasons that’re around two dozen episodes long. It’s a veritable goldmine of bingable content. Here are some favorite old-TV options from the Mic team.
This one comes from Ramy Zabarah, Mic’s director of social, who’s mid-binge — though he’s seen Lost before (he watched when it was on ABC between 2004 and 2010). Nowadays, you can find the J.J. Abrams-and-Damon Lindelof-helmed series on Hulu. Remember when Lost-mania was such a real thing? There were Lost-themed bars in several cities around the world, including New York. I remember “the numbers” painted on the metal grate outside the one in the East Village. I wonder if any are still in business? Not right now, obviously. But in normal times, when it’s safe to do things like go to bars…
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This one is a personal fave. I’ve been working my way through Buffy for the last two years probably. Wow. I mean, it’s a lot of television to watch. There are seven seasons (which aired from 1997 to 2003) that run, like, 22 episodes each at 45 minutes apiece… plus there’s Angel, Joss Whedon’s spinoff series that aired on The WB from 1999 to 2004, which I haven’t even touched yet.
I love Alias so much. I binged it a few years back, all five seasons at once. It’s another J.J. Abrams action thriller, but it’s centered on Jennifer Garner, who stars as Sydney Bristow, a double agent for the CIA also posing as a spy for a super-secret criminal espionage ring. This show jumped the shark around season three or four. But it’s worth watching the early seasons for all of Sydney’s disguises alone. There are so many wigs!
Mic’s culture editor, Jeff Ihaza, recommended Top Boy, the gritty British crime drama revived by Netflix, in our year-end TV roundup — noting he thinks he finished it in 24 hours “in part thanks to Drake.” Here’s the rest of his glowing recommendation: “Not since The Wire has a series so comprehensively examined and illuminated the nuances of the drug trade. The soundtrack bangs, too.”
Love Is Blind & The Circle
To really understand these dystopian times — when we’re all trying to connect with loved ones in different isolation cells while simultaneously trying not to kill the family members and roommates we’re cooped up with — I think you need to watch this double-dose of reality TV mania. My best friend Sarah binged Love Is Blind last weekend; she live-texted me during the wedding finale, which was an hour’s worth of high-quality entertainment in itself.
I personally watched Love Is Blind a few weeks back; this week, I streamed episode one of The Circle. While it’s a little “too real” for me in our current “socially-distanced” situation, I appreciate a lot of aspects of the show: host Michelle Buteau, for starters; its generally diverse casting choices; and its tongue-in-cheek approach to the successes and pitfalls of technology.
My mom is watching this one (LOL). She’s in the middle of season one, flying through episodes, and she only started the series a few days ago. I warned her in advance about all the sex (and rape and general violence). As she put it yesterday, “You were right, this show has a lot of heavy breathing.” (ROFL)
Okay, here’s another really excellent Joss Whedon show that you’ve gotta see, if you haven’t. Sadly, Firefly only lasted a single season before Fox unceremoniously cancelled it in 2003. On the upside, Whedon and Universal Pictures released Serenity in 2005, as a filmic continuation and conclusion to a series gone before its time.
The Simpsons (Seasons 3 to 8)
Alrighty, I admit it: I am a snob. Because The Simpsons is a show my dad liked when I was in elementary and high school, I have always, always turned up my nose at cartoons for adults. As I’ve grown older, I’ve been schooled in anime and been forced to watch Rick & Morty. I’ve had friends recommend Bob’s Burgers (love it!) and BoJack Horseman (haven’t watched yet! Hmm, maybe another corona-binge for me to consider). My boyfriend keeps telling me to give King of the Hill an honest try, but I cannot bring myself to stomach it yet.
But back to The Simpsons: largely thanks to this article penned by Naomi Fry for the New Yorker, I’m inclined to give Marge, Homer, Lisa, Bart and Maggie another go. Specifically, I’ll be focusing on the mid-90s golden era of The Simpsons episodes, from seasons three to eight.
Happy quaran-viewing, everyone. Stay safe, healthy and home.