As we are facing weeks of home isolation as the world attempts to win the battle over COVID-19, we are finding ourselves with plenty of time on our hands, particularly if your hours have been cut or you can’t work from home. While this is the perfect time to get some jobs done around the place (time for a massive spring clean – you never know what you might find that you might be able to get a couple of bucks for), it’s also a great time to catch up on those shows you’ve been meaning to watch. Here is my top five pick of recent releases.
In so many ways this is perfect viewing for the current situation. Interesting, feel-good stories, plenty of drama, and amazing routines whose main purpose is to boost spirits. Released in January, the six-part Netflix series follows the Navarro College Cheer Team from Corsicana, Texas as they prepare to compete in the annual National Cheerleading Championship in Daytona, Florida. This series is seriously addictive, even for people like me with really no interest in cheerleading. With the first season a huge success, there are plenty of rumours of a second season, but nothing has been confirmed by either Netflix or the Cheer Team.
Sex Education (Netflix)
If you haven’t watched this series, where the hell have you been? It is bloody hilarious, informative and with such an adorable cast of characters that you will quickly binge through the first two seasons. Starring The X-Files and The Fall’s Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist single mum and Asa Butterfield as her long-suffering teenage son Otis, Sex Education sees Otis set up a sex help business at his high school with school rebel Maeve (Emma Mackey). The eight episode second season was released in January and certainly didn’t disappoint. Unlike a whole slew of Netflix series, Sex Education has been renewed for a third season.
Harlots (Hulu / SBS OnDemand – Australia)
So the third season of this British-American drama about the lives of London’s Covent Garden prostitutes and their clientele in the middle of the 18th century aired last year, however, it was released slightly later in Australia and though looking for it at the time, I’ve only now seen it is released here and I am relishing it. This is not only a beautifully produced series with wonderful costumes and sets, but a fantastic cast dominated by some powerhouse female actors – Samantha Morton, Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay, Liv Tyler (from season 2), Kate Fleetwood and Lesley Manville. If you love period dramas or sex, lust and intrigue, Harlots is the series for you. Beware, they pack no punches and everyone is fair game.
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
If you haven’t seen a single The Kid (or Baby Yoda) meme, I would love to know how you’ve managed it. While North Americans and Aussies have been able to watch the first season of this new series from the Star Wars verse, Brits and Europeans will shortly get their first taste when Disney+ arrives later this month. Set five years after Return of the Jedi, the Empire has been defeated but there are still outposts across the galaxy and plenty of work for bounty hunters. Enter The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) who is tasked with collecting a target. This turns out to be The Child and this job takes both of them on a journey neither expected. Production has recently finished on a second season, with the season expected to drop this October.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (Netflix)
Note this Netflix documentary I have not watched yet, but it’s next on my list. The three part doco examines former NFL star Aaron Hernandez’s fall from grace ending up a convicted of killing Odin Lloyd, a suspect in several other murders and his eventual suicide. The series makes use of interviews with friends, players and insiders. It was well received both by critics and the public and I’m interested in checking it out.
Other honourable mentions that are worth checking out include Grace and Frankie (Netflix), Stateless (ABC for us Aussies), Homeland with its eighth and final season currently airing (Showtime), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), and Secret City (Netflix).