Our Netflix Guide for Self-Isolation

Scrolling through Netflix’s catalog can feel a bit like shopping at Walmart with only the broadest of overhead signs to guide you through, which is really disorienting and frustrating. Perhaps scrolling is more trouble than it’s worth when all you’re really after is a good meal to get your week going.

But in the time of a pandemic, folks are wisely staying home and self-isolating on their couches, leaving plenty of time to treat yourself to a big search of all the streaming services in order to find the perfect entertainment to pass the time. So, to make that quest a little easier, we are going to break down the major services’ offerings into a few distinct recommendations for you to leave you in the best mood possible at the end of this all… So come on! Grab some popcorn and safe a space on your couch, because this list is going to ensure you have a simply joyful quarantine!

For a badly needed laugh

Derry Girls: An unlikely group of Northern Irish teenagers face the daily indignities and unusual intensities of life in the middle 1990s. As the troubles draw closer this incredibly funny and beautifully written comedy series from showrunner Lisa McGee will dramatically expand your knowledge of Irish slang when it doesn’t have you in stitches. Haven’t seen it yet? Catch up!

The Other Guys, with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg: this irreverent action-comedy by the writer-director Adam McKay’s is by far his best film. Come for the high-octane antics as the duo’s outmatched New York City detectives take on very corrupt cops and lethal hit men while unraveling a wide-reaching conspiracy. Stay for the belly laughs and dive into a script full of hilarious one-liners.

For the best stuff you missed last year:

Russian Doll (one season):

Natasha Lyonne is marvellous in this unexpectedly delightful riff on Groundhog Day about a smart-mouthed New Yorker who finds herself inexplicably dying each night and resetting to the same moment at her 36th birthday party. It walks a tricky tonal tightrope, with a good balance of melancholy and laughs, managed with remarkable skill.

I Lost My Body

This French animated gem follows a severed hand that comes to life and, surreptitiously, makes its way across Paris back to its owner. Beautifully rendered in service of a story that is as strange as it is ultimately soul-affirming, this TV show pushes the boundaries of both animated and philosophical storytelling.

The Umbrella Academy (one season):

Who knew the best fix for superhero fatigue could come from the genre itself? My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way is the driving force behind this hyper-stylized adaptation of his punchy, peculiar comic about a dysfunctional family of superpowered individuals born suddenly, in the same moment, to women who’d previously shown no signs of being pregnant. In adulthood, the siblings (played by the likes of Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, and Robert Sheehan) drift to different corners of the world, but when they reconvene for the funeral of the eccentric billionaire who adopted and raised them, a time-traveler from the future alerts them that they have a few days to prevent the apocalypse.

To find your next binge-watch:

Breaking Bad:

What better time than quarantine to watch one of TV’s greatest all-time triumphs from the beginning again? If you’ve already witnessed the rise and fall of Walter White, everyone’s favourite high school teacher turned meth kingpin, few series were as elegantly, ingeniously crafted—from beginning to end—in such a way as to be worth of repeat viewings. And if you’re new to Breaking Bad, fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I Am Not Okay With This:

Toss most of the recent Netflix originals you love (Stranger ThingsThe End of the F—ing WorldChilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Sex Education) into a blender with Stephen King’s Carrie, and you’re somewhere close to this supernaturally tinged coming-of-age tale starring two of the It kids: Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Oleff.

Additional picks

Schitt’s Creek
Mad Men
New Girl
On My Block
Love Is Blind

For chills and scream:

V Wars:

Based on Jonathan Maberry’s graphic novel, the show stars Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) and Adrian Holmes (Arrow). They take on the roles two best friends who find themselves in opposite sides of a fight when Holmes’ character Michael Fayne is transformed by a virus and eventually becomes the powerful underground leader of the vampires. You better be ready for what comes next!

For the whole family:

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:

Thrilling, funny, soul-nourishing, and visually astounding, this animated caper is the wall-crawler’s finest outing, bar none. Half of its brilliance comes from the work of over 100 animators working to pull off the film’s groundbreaking, computer-generated-image-meets-hand-drawn look, and the other half comes from the story that innately gets the balance of heart and humour that’s always made Spider-Man, so super.

The Good Place:

We always need a show like The Good Place at the moment. Warm and thoughtful and effervescently optimistic about human nature, this critically adored comedy from Mike Schur starts in a very funny place, with a group of strangers in the afterlife contemplating their new reality. But over its four-season run, the show has become something far richer and more vital: a rousing, existential defence of an individual’s capacity for change, and a thoroughly timely look at how we humans can better ourselves, each other, and the world—just so long as we make the effort.

Additional picks

The Chef Show
The Princess and the Frog
The Great British Bake Off
Space Jam
National Treasure

So let’s seize this quarantine and get the best out of Netflix by settling in on a comfy couch and… why not, laughing until our bellies can’t stand it any more!