Tiger King – Netflix
If you haven’t seen this yet, ask yourself why. Tiger King, from the same producers as the infamous Fyre Fest documentary, follows the eponymous ‘King’, Joe Exotic. He tries his best to juggle running a zoo in Oklahoma, a gubernatorial race, and a law suit from his arch-nemesis, big-cat conservationist and alleged husband-murderer Carole Baskin. Throw several polyamorous big-cat breeders, an assassination plot, and a lot of recreational drugs into the mix, and Tiger King is sure to distract you from the world outside.
Race Across the World – BBC iPlayer
Remember when travelling was legal? Remember other countries? Race Across the World might just help jog your memory. This fun, heart-warming show follows several teams as they race each other across South America with only the amount for a (forbidden) plane ticket in their pocket, exploring and building their relationships along the way. A highlight is mother and son duo Jo and Sam, aiming to build Sam’s confidence so he can travel by himself. It’s educational, tense, inspiring, and might give you ideas for places to go when we’re allowed more than just a government-mandated walk.
Lovesick – Netflix
This sitcom, starring recent Emma heartthrob Johnny Flynn, follows Dylan, tasked with contacting all his past lovers after getting a chlamydia diagnosis. I’m aware this sounds grim, but it’s one of the most joyous shows I’ve seen in a while. Friends Luke, Evie and Angus bring their own drama, with a couple of love triangles thrown in for good measure, as well as some classic yearning and heartbreak along the way. Relatable, but above all, escapist.
My Neighbour Totoro – Netflix
All the Studio Ghibli films are now on Netflix (praise be!) but start with My Neighbour Totoro. What better to distract you than a massive animated rabbit-spirit? Delightfully whimsical, this is a feel-good favourite, and the well-known Studio Ghibli animation style is breath-taking. Put this on and transport yourself to a world where cats are buses and trees are magical.
Mistress America – Netflix
As someone who has been there, done that, and literally bought the Greta Gerwig t-shirt, I thought I’d experienced all the mumblecore queen had to offer. And then I remembered that this film existed, watched it, and was blown away by just how funny and relatable it is. Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America follows Tracy, a freshman at Columbia, desperate to infiltrate the ranks of the esteemed writing society, and her soon-to-be stepsister, the erratic it-girl Brooke, played by Gerwig herself. It’s charmingly dramatic and will throw you right back into being a teenager struggling to find your feet.
John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch – Netflix
John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch isn’t your average Netflix special. If you’ve seen any of his stand-up shows (also highly recommended, also on Netflix), you’ll know that Mulaney has a unique brand of humour. This show, “made for and by kids”, takes that and amplifies it, AND sets it to music. With hits like ‘I Saw a White Lady on the Street Just Sobbing (And I Think About it Once a Week)’, skits involving David Byrne, Richard Kind, Hadestown star Andre De Shields, the most talented children I’ve ever seen, and an on-screen musical breakdown by Jake Gyllenhaal (undeniably his best role to date), it’s as baffling as it is hilarious. But don’t be fooled by the ‘kid-friendly’ nature. Mulaney’s brainchild asks the big questions: what are you most afraid of? What would you tell your future self? And, of course, ‘Do Flowers Exist at Night?’ I feel like this is something that can’t really be explained, but watch it and you’ll understand, and then get addicted to the soundtrack. An absolute joy.