At first it was Tiger King, then Love is Blind. Then, many people rewatched old favorites. But as we are all still staying less social, it’s getting easy to run out of ideas.
For those of us who are looking for something different, here are some alternatives.
Something Smart, with New Episodes
Better Things. Created by Pamela Adlon, who directs and co-writes many of the episodes. It’s about a 50-something actress in L.A. who’s also a single mom of three daughters. Great combination of sarcasm and heart.
Something with a Few Seasons to Binge:
Catastrophe. Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney created, wrote, and starred in this very amusing show about a couple who meet while he’s on a business trip, then decide to build a life together when she finds out she’s pregnant. They’re both hilarious.
Something Utterly Absurd
Avenue 5. A sci-fi comedy starring the great Hugh Laurie, who was known primarily for comedy in his pre-House years. In the not-too-distant future, a group of rich tourists on a commercial space flight get knocked off course and find out their journey’s about to get a LOT longer.
Something with a Lot of Seasons to Binge:
Parenthood. The Braverman family is about as life-affirming as it gets… they’re all so REAL (albeit gorgeous). If you need to laugh a lot and cry a lot, this is for you. It’s one of those shows you feel richer for having watched, and you’ll want to make your way through it more than once.
Something with REALLY A LOT of Seasons to Binge
ER . A few summers ago, I watched all 15 seasons of it. Besides being a great show, the parade of guest stars includes a lot of really famous people, many from before they hit the big time.
A Reality Show Featuring People Who are Nice to Each Other:
The Great British Baking Show. The contestants are all so fascinating and kind! It’s the Tiger King antidote.
People Who Don’t Have the Talent of The Great British Baking Show
Nailed It! Underachievers, rejoice! A baking competition for people who aren’t very good at baking, and don’t take themselves too seriously.
A Sitcom that’s Funny and Still Smart
Black-ish. It’s fundamentally about a family, but it’s also about race, bringing up issues other shows are afraid to touch.
Something to Make You Glad You’re Not a Teenager
Pen15. Stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle co-created and star in this show about 7th graders who are about as 7th grader-y as you can get. You’ll totally buy them as kids. And cringe a lot.
Something to Sing Along to
Glee. Maybe skip the last few seasons, but this silly show was a hit for a reason. It’s chock-full of dance numbers and songs from all eras, performed by a very talented cast.
Something to sing along to Other Than Glee
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. It’s new and has a premise that makes no sense but works anyway: Zoe suddenly can see people’s inner feelings, which manifest as big musical numbers.
If You Still Need a Fix of Crazy People
My Cat from Hell. Cat behaviorist (yes, I said “cat behaviorist”) Jackson Galaxy visits crazy people in their houses and negotiates peace between them and their equally crazy cats.
p.s. There’s a great free app out there called JustWatch: you tell it what streaming/cable services you have, then search shows and movies, and it’ll let you know where to find them.
A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.