Wasn’t it exciting in the first lockdown to scroll through Netflix and pick new things to watch? Fast-forward the best part of a year and watching TV almost feels like a chore. There have been some Tiger King worthy gems lately though. Here’s my top 5.
It would be quite impossible to have completely escaped the hype surrounding this oh-so-steamy period drama narrated by Julie Andrews. Think Pride and Prejudice meets Fifty Shades of Grey in an entertainingly, whimsical way. When you find out Shonda Rhimes (writer of Grey’s Anatomy) produced it, that feeling of familiarity becomes clear. A period version of Meredith and Derek’s romantic love story only without the scrubs, well or death. As soon as the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) makes his entrance, you won’t actually care about the storyline. Trust me.
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Honest, hilarious and an unlikely friendship you are constantly rooting for. Whilst the storylines are painfully predictable at times, the chemistry between Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) is so beautiful you can’t help but envy their crazy life, despite their husbands leaving them to marry each other. Things to note: Firstly, Jane Fonda defies all aging and you will spend the first episode googling her skincare regime and or plastic surgeon. Secondly, beach-front houses in San Diego are mentally expensive so don’t bother giving it a Rightmove search. Thirdly, yes! Frankie’s son was in Empire Records the film.
The Sopranos (Sky)
An oldie but a goodie. David Chase wrote and produced this gritty, mafia drama that is set in New Jersey and based around the Soprano family. Amazingly it first aired in 1999 meaning that not only are the people born when it came out now fully-fledged adults, they can even legally drink in America. It holds up surprisingly well though and still makes me stay up too late to watch the next episode. It is violent and gory at times but balances this well with family-based plotlines and is written and acted so well, you are totally on the mafia’s side. If you have never seen it and enjoyed Peaky Blinders, I would definitely give it a try. Man was James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) a good actor.
Sex Education (Netflix)
This was probably on your viewing list during the first lockdown but with rumours circling that the Season 3 drop might be imminent, maybe a re-watch is in order. Set in a fictitious town with an American High School vibe, it is actually mainly filmed in Wales against the stunning backdrops of the Wye Valley. The storylines delve into the lives of a group of teenagers, their sexual antics and, well, their parent’s sexual antics too. Toe curlingly cringe at times, the characters are all loveable, relatable and leave you wanting to know more. The stunningly beautiful Gillian Anderson plays the mother of the main character, Otis, (Asa Butterfield) and is quite possibly the coolest mother on TV.
Virgin River (Netflix)
Created by Sue Tenney who wrote the 90s TV show Blossom, this really is easy watching at its best. The first episode makes you question if you can manage the puke-in-your-mouth lines, predictable plots and over the top small-town charm but I promise if you stick with it, it really does get better. The full will-they-won’t-they love twists of the two main characters Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack (Martin Henderson) have you screaming at the TV but there are enough shocking moments to keep you hooked. The scenery is insanely stunning too. Sadly I googled that also and it isn’t really in California but mainly filmed in Canada.
What have you been watching this lockdown? Let me know what to add to my list next. The longer the pandemic goes on though, the weirder it is to watch people actually touch, meet in a pub or even meet up at all.