The weather in our town isn’t expected to top six degrees this weekend. Add that to the foot of snow from earlier this week that’s now solid and specked with bits of dirt, sand, and salt and you’ve got what I call a recipe for staying inside all weekend. Since we brought Bananagrams into our house over the holiday break, I’ve been watching less TV and spending more time looking up words with Xs and Qs (thank you, Xenon and Quixotic!), but I still find myself sinking into the sofa at some point to indulge in some easy entertainment. Since so many of us are spending these cold winter days indoors, our team decided to share our recommendations (with specific episodes!) for our favorite streaming shows — things you can watch on your phone or computer — of the season. We hope these can provide a little inspiration and entertainment on cold winter days. Until Monday, have a safe and warm weekend! xo, Grace
Grace’s pick: Michaela Coel can do no wrong in my book. She is a comedy genius. Every second of this weird and wonderful show makes me laugh and I seriously cannot get enough of Tracy (Michaela’s character) and her sister Cynthia (played by Susan Wokoma). Their super-religious upbringing leads to some hilarious moments with their mother and Tracy’s best friend’s mom, Esther, is incredible.
Notable episode (spoiler alert!): Season 1, episode one: I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as hard as Tracy’s attempted hookup with Connor. The nose-kissing scene still makes me roll on the floor in laughter.
Erin’s pick: From her amazing apartment and wardrobe, to the quick-wit writing, it has everything. It’s charming, hilarious, dark at times, and it was cast so well! The lead is such a strong character, you just can’t wait to hear what she will say next.
Notable episode (spoiler alert!): I think my favorite episode is the last episode of season one. We’ve seen Mrs. Maisel searching for herself, her place, how to make it on her own throughout the season, but in the last seven minutes of the last episode, you see the comfort she carries and you know, you just know that she’s arrived. She’s found herself.
Garrett’s pick: Nowadays we all need a laugh, and who better to make us smile than the hilarious Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara? In the show, the pair plays Johnny and Moira Rose, an extremely wealthy couple that are left penniless after their financial advisor accidentally doesn’t pay their taxes. Because of the oversight, the family gets evicted and they’re forced to move to a very small town. Naturally, hilarity ensues as we watch them adjust to rural life.
Notable episode: My favorite episode is Season 1, Episode 6. Washed-up soap actress Moira Rose is given a chance to reclaim the spotlight when she lands the lead in a local fruit wine commercial.
Grace’s pick: Susan Wokoma (also in Chewing Gum!) is amazing in this girls-kick-demon-butt comedy. Along with her evil-fighting partner, played by Cara Theobold, Wokoma shows off her admirable acting range going from puritanical sister in Chewing Gum to confident throw-down demon killer in this show. It’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a new generation.
Notable episode: Season 1, episode one. You really have to start from the beginning to get the entire concept for the show set up clearly, so I’ll just say start there and enjoy Susan’s persistence in getting her partner in crime on board.
Rebekah’s pick: I have loved the oft-dark futuristic Black Mirror since it came out a few years ago, and I am just about done watching the latest season. While it tends to occasionally fill me with dread and anxiety about the future of technology and how it will/does impact our lives, it’s also incredibly addictive and hard to look away from.
Notable episode: It’s a tie between “San Junipero” (Season 3, Episode 4) and “Be Right Back” (Season 2, Episode 1). “San Junipero” was a rarity in that it wasn’t totally depressing AND it won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing! My close second would be “Be Right Back” (which starred Domhnall Gleeson before he was an evil Star Wars general) which made me sob, but was, as most Black Mirror episodes, incredibly thought-provoking and makes you wonder about things you’ve likely never questioned before.
Sofia’s pick: I have a tendency to binge-watch TV shows, but finishing the entire first season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale in less than two days sets a new record for me! An adaption of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian story set in post-revolution United States. The nation, now called Gilead, is run by an authoritarian regime. With most of the population sterilized by environmental toxins, the regime enslaves fertile women, “handmaids,” and assigns them to wealthy families where their duty is to serve as reproductive surrogates through ritualized sexual encounters. The story follows a handmaid called Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss, who must play her cards right to survive, find her young daughter and escape.
Notable episode: In each episode, the narrative jumps between the present and the past, offering glimpses of how the country as we know it turned into an oppressive nation run by men with extreme values. Learning the ways of the regime makes the first episode especially chilling.
Grace’s pick: This show has just been canceled, which breaks my heart, but it is absolutely worth noting and watching. What Tig Notaro did with her platform and the way she shared her personal story and stories of sexual assault from a woman’s point of view was incredible. The show’s complicated relationship with Louie C.K. is referenced in season 2 in a startling episode that is still on my mind today. The messy and nuanced way that Tig addresses racism and sexuality in the south is spot-on.
Notable episode (spoiler alert!): There is one episode I want to highlight, for both uplifting and very serious reasons. Season 2, episode 5 addresses a workplace sexual assault that is all too common. The way it’s shot from the character’s point of view is eerily powerful and familiar. I am so glad they tackled this issue in the way they did. The same episode brings together Tig’s father and his new girlfriend in a single sweeping moment that is jubilant and honest and wonderful.
Caitlin’s pick: I’ve been mesmerized by the Netflix series Ozark for a couple of reasons: 1) Jason Bateman as an anti-hero accountant, Marty Byrde, makes so much sense. His ever-calm demeanor in the face of worst-case scenarios is beyond inspiring. 2) Julia Garner. I repeat, Julia Garner. I fell in love with her in her small role in The Americans (another favorite!) and her would-be junior crime boss character, Ruth Langmore, hits my heart with her scrappy, phoenix-like ability to rise from a life full of ashes. 3) The whole Ozark recreational landscape is fascinating. Described in the first episode as the “Redneck Riviera,” it shapes up to be both hell and purgatory under the guise of vacation heaven for all those who land on its shores.
Notable episode (spoiler alert!): Season One, Episode 6 – “The Book of Ruth.” Ever the survivor, Ruth hatches a plan to murder Marty Byrde for his money. When her plan fails, the wave of expressions that ripple across Ruth’s face is a study in the frailty of humanity. Her eyes sing a poignant song of relief, disappointment and about 15 other emotions at the same time. It’s a moment I think we’ve all felt, but seeing in the hands of such a skilled and intimate actor makes those times in our own life somehow easier to grapple with.
Kristina’s pick: The Australian comedy Offspring has everything I need when I just want to be in another place. It has the cool Melbourne homes and apartments I could never afford, a neighborhood hangout, no traffic between any of the places you need to go, curbside parking in front of the door everywhere you go, sweet love stories, and sarcastic friends. And most importantly, it has the character Billie Proudman who made me laugh out loud almost every show. To specify which episode is my favorite would kind of give away the plot, but I can narrow it down to a scene in the episode in which Billie is hysterical and her sister Nina (Neens) asks if she’s going to keep having unpredictable crying fits — and Billie answers yes, because it releases endorphins.
Lauren’s pick: My favorite show I’m watching on Hulu right now is The Last Man on Earth. I started binging a few months ago and now I’m all caught up. I love it because it’s the perfect mix of suspenseful, hilarious and painfully awkward. The main character makes me cringe but it’s heartwarming in such a unique way. I love everything from the sets to the music to the humor.
Notable episode (spoiler alert!): One of my favorite episodes is from Season 2 called The Boo. Phil accidentally leaves Carol at a gas station while traveling across the country in an RV and doesn’t realize it for several hours and then can’t remember where the gas station was. He backtracks and stops at every gas station he finds. It’s a turning point in Phil’s character where he stops being the worst. This doesn’t make it sound funny or sweet but it is.