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The Geiger Counter: What to stream when in self-quarantine

"Barry" stars Bill Hader as a hitman taking acting classes from Henry Winkler.
Courtesy HBO

Don’t know what to do this weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat to the counter, and I’ll tell you about everything that’s hot and happening.

Gov. Jared Polis declared a statewide stay-at-home order this week due to the coronavirus outbreak. It’s lasting at least through April 11, and new releases are being postponed, so it’s time to get comfortable with your personal entertainment system. If you’ve already been through your whole Netflix library and are looking for something new, or if you’ve been holding out on the bingeing, here are some recommendations to stream.

You could do the classics like “The Office,” “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “The Wire,” “The Sopranos,” etc., but there are many more options out there. And while shows like “Chernobyl,” “The Leftovers” and “Last Man on Earth” are fantastic, they’re a bit too on the nose for times like these.

In fact, there’s so many choices in the age of Peak TV that I narrowed it down by prioritizing original content with multiple seasons, save for some limited series. Yet there might also be some overlooked network gems worth watching. 

For the explorers

“The Expanse” on Amazon Prime: Set hundreds years in the future, humans have moved beyond Earth and colonized Mars along with various asteroids and moons. It’s not a utopia; however, and a political conspiracy shakes up between the multiple factions. 

“Legion” on Hulu: While this “X-Men”-related show doesn’t have interstellar travel, nor does it need knowledge of the Marvel universe, it sure is a trip. Son of Professor Charles Xavier David Haller deals with his psychic powers and past trauma in a mind-bending narrative.

“Farscape” on Amazon Prime: A present-day astronaut flies through a wormhole and meets The Jim Henson Co.-designed aliens, and the gang goes through funny and exciting adventures.

For thrill-seekers

“The Night Manager” on Amazon Prime: John le Carre’s tense espionage novel about arms deals is translated to a miniseries with Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. When you’re done, check out the other adaptation, “The Little Drummer Girl,” with Florence Pugh.

“Barry” on HBO: Bill Hader plays a hitman dealing with the Chechen mafia who gets sucked into an acting class taught by Henry Winkler. 

“Fargo” on Hulu: Created by Noah Hawley, who also created “Legion,” the show is based on the dark comedic film by the Coen brothers. Each season is a different cast, different setting and different crime that goes horribly wrong.

For the foodies

Summit County has a great food scene, but with not all restaurants offering takeout, you’re probably quickly going through the snacks in your pantry and could use some eye candy.

“Ugly Delicious” on Netflix: Chef and host David Chang dedicates each episode to a specific dish and goes in-depth with guests like Steven Yeun and Sean Brock.

“The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix: Calming like chamomile tea, this baking competition has funny and experienced hosts for a charming contest that isn’t as frenetic as American cooking shows.

For the jokers

“Archer” on Hulu: A parody of the “James Bond” series, this dysfunctional spy cartoon combines “Austin Powers” and “Arrested Development” for hilarious results.

“The IT Crowd” on Netflix: If you enjoy Noel Fielding in “The Great British Baking Show,” then watch him, along with Chris O’Dowd and Richard Ayoade in a sitcom about an office’s information technology department that has better nerd humor than “The Big Bang Theory.”

“Mystery Science Theater 3000” on Netflix: Since you can’t go to the movies, stay in and watch cheesy flicks as two robots and a human prisoner watch them with you and rip them to shreds to make it bearable.

“Atlanta” on Hulu: A cerebral and surreal comedy that follows Donald Glover as the manager of an up-and-coming rapper in Georgia.

For the young (at heart)

Yes, you could rewatch practically everyone’s childhood on Disney Plus, but the partnership with Netflix and DreamWorks has created thoughtful and engaging all-ages shows, too.

“Voltron: Legendary Defender” on Netflix: A reboot of the classic ’80s robot lion franchise with animation by Studio Mir, who also did “The Legend of Korra.”

“She-Ra and the Princess of Power” on Netflix: Another reboot, this one is helmed by cartoonist Noelle Stevenson and has a diverse cast and plot that bucks societal norms.

 “A Series of Unfortunate Events” on Netflix: An adaption of the book series that focuses on the three Baudelaire children hounded by Count Olaf, played by the devilish Neil Patrick Harris.

What I’m Listening To

“Staying in with Emily and Kumail”

Hollywood couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon know about self-quarantining since they made the movie “The Big Sick” together. Based on their real lives, the romantic comedy depicts the immunocompromised Gordon falling into a coma. So their podcast has tips, recommendations and advice on what to do when staying indoors for health reasons.

For instance, they suggest couples work in separate rooms and keep a routine to have healthy boundaries between work and life. They also advise using exercise bands and finding free videos online to stay fit, but they realize most likely everyone is going to put on weight, which is fine because body positivity is important.

They also have entertainment picks for games and shows that might calm you down, like the humane and funny “High Maintenance” or the apocalypse-adjacent “Horizon Zero Dawn,” which isn’t as bleak as “The Last of Us.”


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