In theory, lockdown should be the perfect time for binge watching that series everyone was raving about six months ago, or that epic movie you missed at the movie theaters. In reality, we're all finding comfort in different entertainment, whether that be old favorites, our Disney Plus subscription, or horror films that manage to be just about worse than the real world. We got our team to share what's getting them through the evenings and weekends.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter. (opens in new tab)
I’d avoided Ozark for years as a kind-of low-budget Breaking Bad knock-off and, truthfully, it kinda is, but this picturesque money-laundering drama is one of Netflix’s most-compelling shows. Marty, played by Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) is a preternaturally-gifted accountant whose partner betrays a Mexican drug cartel, and is forced to plead for his safety in return for laundering a mere five million dollars in four weeks. The catch? His family doesn’t know who he works for and he needs to relocate them to the sleepy Ozark lakes overnight to begin his plan. Marty’s web of lies slowly unravels, as the threat from local redneck crooks (led by a brilliant Julia Garner as Ruth), and psychotic hillbilly drug dealers, provokes his wife Wendy into breathtaking resilience, played by a majestic Laura Linney. As each episode unfolds, you’re left muttering ‘How the hell are they going to get out of *this*?’, but scenes of human warmth, wit and black humor balance the ratcheting tension; as Marty and his family try to placate an irate cartel and threats on all sides, while adjusting to rural life after the luxuries of city living. Dan Dawkins
Arigatō, Terrace House
Usually when I’m not feeling my best I return to the old faithfuls, something like Parks and Rec, The Simpsons, Drag Race. Shows where I know the outcome of every episode and nothing takes me by surprise. Recently, however, I’ve discovered the joys of Terrace House. Imagine a more respectful, humble version of Big Brother, set in Japan, with incredibly attractive people with big career and life goals. No politicians pretending to be cats or people committing unspeakable acts on a champagne bottle, just genuine individuals looking to better themselves and each other. Sometimes they fall in love, other times they achieve their dreams, all of which is intercut with the thoughts of a selection of regular hosts with the most impeccable fashion sense in television. It’s comforting, wholesome and I cannot recommend it enough. I only wish I had more people to discuss it with... So if you decide to watch it after reading this, hit me up. Ellen Causey
In our house, we're not really binge-watching anything right now. We're picking up a couple of episodes of Normal People here and there, and our weekly episode of Killing Eve S3, but other than that I'm personally finding it hard to binge-watch anything. My Disney+ subscription is languishing, Netflix feels like a wall of just too much, and the less said about Amazon Prime the better. I'm taking comfort in diving into the huge open-world games I've not completely explored: just got the platinum for Horizon Zero Dawn, I want to finish off the Assassin's Creed Odyssey DLC finally, and I might even go back to Red Dead Redemption 2 in between the Animal Crossing sessions. I feel like I'm making more of being in lockdown with things I'm in control of, so being a passive TV or movie watcher isn't doing it for me right now. Sam Loveridge
Generally, I would say that I have become quite jaded with the onslaught of superhero films from Marvel and DC; I just find it so relentless. I will absolutely concede that the films are, largely, fantastic in their own right but having the hype, marketing and drawn-out chat about each one, back-to-back, all the time is a bit wearing. However. With a recent acquisition of Disney Plus that my wife bought to help entertain her while off work, we have been blitzing through all the available superhero films. But this time we've chosen to do it in chronological order of when the film is set, not in release order. This made it a much more interesting way to follow the films and the journey toward Endgame and see how it all tied together, right from an early stage. Combine that different way of watching them with the fact that I/we're doing it on our terms, without the marketing and hype sideshow, and it's been a really fun way to binge some quality films. And although that mainly applies to Marvel's 'main' films, we're now going through the X-Men films (in release order because those stories are way convoluted and holey) and it's still proving a cool, fuss-free way of binging on the moving pictures. Rob Dwiar
The Last Dance
It feels wrong to even say this as the site’s Entertainment Writer – but I hate binge watching. Packing as many episodes as possible into a short period of time has never really appealed to me. That’s why The Last Dance has been such a slam dunk, and is close as I’ve gotten to binging anything in lockdown.
The documentary, which charts the career of basketball legend Michael Jordan including his fateful 1998/99 season with the Chicago Bulls, only releases two episodes a week. Beyond that, I can get caught up in research and discussion online, debating over the many stories and anecdotes that crop up as a result of the retrospective. It feels like an event, designed to be endlessly picked apart every Sunday. When was the last time you could say that about a television show? No, Game of Thrones doesn’t count.
It helps, too, that the series’ strengths lie in its characters, ones that are compelling as any serial drama on Netflix or otherwise. There’s the relentless perfectionist Michael Jordan, the underappreciated number-two-in-chief Scottie Pippen, forever in MJ’s shadow, and the flamboyant work-hard, play-harder Dennis Rodman. It all folds together to create a portrait of one of the finest (and flawed) icons of our time. I just hope the main takeaway from this is more streaming services and channels go the weekly route and want to Be Like Mike in future. Bradley Russell
The only thing I'm really bingeing at the moment is Call of Duty: Warzone (Verdansk may be full of steely soldiers out to hunt you down, but it's still less scary than Great Britain in 2020), but we've definitely watched far more Disney movies than we would have if… [gestures] all of this wasn't going on. Disney Plus has been my ticket to catch up on the Disney and Pixar movies I missed during their theatrical run, and when some of those movies include The Lion King remake… let's just say I'm glad I didn't pay a full price ticket at the box office for all of them. Still, the likes of Ralph breaks the Internet, Zootopia, and Coco have made for perfect Friday night entertainment; the kind of visual comfort food to warm the troubled soul that only a Disney production can achieve. That said, the Aladdin remake is up next on the watch list… it must have some redeeming qualities to it, right? Right?! Alex Avard
Freestyle rap YouTube videos…
Please don't ask why. I'm not lyrically inclined by any means - my musical tastes range from Fleetwood Mac to Dizzee Rascal to Bonobo - but after a clip from one of Harry Mack's Twitch streams (opens in new tab) went viral, I've been addicted to watching his YouTube content. Before COVID-19, this guy would approach people in L.A. and ask for them to shout words at him so he could freestyle about them, and good grief he's talented. He can rap and rhyme off the top about practically anything he sees, and in his streams he incorporates all of the comments and donations he gets. It might not sound like your sort of thing, but give it a watch even if it's just to appreciate how damn talented Harry Mack (opens in new tab) is. Ford James
There’s a lot of grazing right now TV wise but nothing’s really sticking. Tales from the Loop, Killing Eve, Westworld, Normal People - all are getting picked away at but nothing’s being devoured. Possibly because being sat around the same place day in and day out right now means I’m less enthused about sitting down to watch TV for extended periods. Instead I’ve been playing games, coding, drawing, practicing guitar and just about anything else to feel like I’ve done something while I can’t actually do anything. The only thing I’ve watched to completion is the recent War of the Worlds from Fox. The first four episodes are incredible; some of the best sci-fi I’ve seen in awhile. Then it just sort of shits the bed and does nothing for the last four episodes, abandoning all plot in favor of a droning, persistent existence, desperately trying to avoid any resolutions in the hope of a second season. The ending is such a nothingness that I didn’t even realize it was the end until I tried to watch the next episode. Leon Hurley
I've not been the biggest binge watcher in recent years - as a teen I'd watch large chunks of American sitcoms, whereas now I'd maybe get two or three episodes in a sitting - but I found it difficult not to race through Normal People. As a huge, if recent, fan of the book, I couldn't wait to see how Sally Rooney's tale of a complex young love would translate to the screen. In the hands of co-directors Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald, it's a lush, vivid portrayal of two people both falling in love and trying to navigate those feelings during the turbulent time of moving from school to university.
What makes that broad premise so enticing is that the central pair, Connell and Marianne, feel achingly real. Their mannerisms, the way they talk to each other as well as others, the way they handle pitfalls and conflicts becomes so affecting as both characters are so well realised. Plus, with nearly every episode clocking in around 30 minutes, it means there's hardly a moment wasted, especially in the back-half of the series where the narrative takes some devastating turns.
Look, half of Radar hates me because I won't shut up about it, so please know that if you made it this fair, other people have had to put up with me being more earnest in recommending the show. But you really should watch it. Ben Tyrer
ASMR videos and horror
My two lockdown moods are either grinding anxiety or mental numbness, so I switch between the soothing YouTube videos of GibiASMR - who should get some kind of award for services to the nation - and any horror I can find. Shudder's Blood Quantum, a story about first nation people in a zombie apocalypse was a stand out, but even the nonsensical Brahms: The Boy 2 did it's job. When I can't find new horror in the depths of the iTunes Store I've gone back to the greatest hits of the 80s and 90s, Stephen King adaptations like Cujo or Sam Neill giving it his all in In the Mouth of Madness. I've also got a new pre-bedtime ritual of watching one episode of a Belgian Netflix show called Into The Night, where the sun is - for reasons - killing people, so a group of passengers have to try and stay in the dark by constantly flying between time zones. Something about the accents, mad premise and subtitles - so I have to put my phone away - has hooked me, and I'm a bit freaked out about what happens when I run out of episodes. Rachel Weber
To be honest, I don't have it in me to commit to starting a new series at the moment. What I have been doing is mostly watching movies or anime series I've seen a hundred times already for comfort, or having shows like Brooklyn 99 on in the background while I play copious amounts of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I don't know if this counts as bingeing per se, but I have been working my way through all of the Studio Ghibli movies again - they never fail to cheer me up. With their enchanting worlds, fantastical stories, and uplifting messages, they're just the kind of slices of escapism I need right now. Heather Wald
As always, most of my free time has been going into games and books lately, so if I'm going to sit down and actually watch something in these troubled times, you'd better believe it's going to be a comfy anime. This week, that's been Mysteria Friends, a short series about a magic princess having fun with her cute half-dragon girlfriend. That's it; that's the show. I think it's a spin-off of something Granblue-adjacent from Cygames which may or may not have been an event in the Shadowverse card game at some point, but I honestly couldn't tell you. I'm just here to see two cute characters do cute things. This is at least the third time I've seen it, and it won't be the last. Every episode is a spoonful of sugar, and it's just so cathartic and relaxing. I'll probably rewatch another comfy anime next. Maybe I'll keep the dragon theme going with Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Austin Wood
The original Mobile Suit Gundam
Fans of giant robot fiction speak in reverent tones about the original Mobile Suit Gundam; about the way it expanded its narrow remit as an extended toy commercial to tell the story of young people on both sides of a terrible war. Personally, I tried to watch the first few episodes when they aired on Toonami in the early '00s and immediately got turned off by the old-school animation and character/mecha designs that ranged from relatively plain to outright bizarre. I've wanted to fix that oversight for years, so I finally took this quarantine as an opportunity to pick up the whole series on Blu-ray. I'm about 20 episodes in and I'm loving it so far - shout out to Mobile Suit Breakdown (opens in new tab) for helping me better appreciate both the context and subtext of this giant robot battle show! Connor Sheridan
Westworld season 3
HBO's latest visit to Westworld had a lot to prove. Season 2 was a bit of a slog that suffered from an obnoxious level of complexity, so its successor was starting on the back foot. Luckily, it didn't disappoint. Season 3 is a different ball-game entirely; it strips things back while ramping up the action, and I couldn't stop myself from binge-watching it this week. Evan Rachel Wood is arresting as stone-cold Dolores, Aaron Paul's Caleb is very watchable, and Thandie Newton turns in another great performance as Maeve. Most intriguing is this season's glimpse of a world beyond the parks, though. In doing so, it offered the usual moral quandaries… but they revolved around a genuinely intriguing concept. What if you were never in control, and all your choices had already been made for you? How would you react? Benjamin Abbott
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