The coronavirus pandemic has pushed entire cities to take unprecedented measures. With experts advocating social distancing, several people are choosing to work from home. Thousands of people have also either been asked to home quarantine or stay in isolation wards.
Without the usual urban entertainment options of dining out, meeting people, hanging out in cafes or watching movies in theatres, web series and movies on over the top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hotstar are safe options for those who want to take their minds off the situation for a while.
Here's our list for those who are looking to binge watch online content:
Mindhunter (Netflix): Based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E Douglas and Mark Olshaker, the American series follows FBI agents Holden Ford, Bill Tench and psychologist Wendy Car who set up the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit at Quantico. The team interviews serial killers to understand their mind, documenting this information to solve cases they have in hand. The fact that the serial killers are based on real life criminals makes the series even more addictive to lovers of true crime. Two seasons of the series are out.
The Sinner (Netflix): This American series follows detective Harry Ambrose as he cracks the 'why' of a crime rather than the 'who'. The perpetrators are already known but it's not clear why they chose to commit the crimes. Season 1 was about a woman who stabs an apparent stranger on the beach while Season 2 was about a young boy who kills a couple he's traveling with.
Broadchurch (Netflix): The British crime series begins with the discovery of a young boy's body on the beach and focuses on the efforts of detectives Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy to solve it. Set in a small town where everyone knows everyone, the series also explores how relationships are affected when such an incident happens in the community. Three seasons are out.
You (Netflix): This American series is about Joe Goldberg, a young man who compulsively stalks women in the belief that he's doing it for "their own good". He obsesses with them and ends up committing a series of crimes to "protect" them. However, the narration is entirely from his perspective, almost making the viewer empathise with him completely. Two seasons are out.
Unbelievable (Netflix): The American series is based on the real life story of a young woman who was raped by a masked intruder. She is, however, not believed by the detectives handling her case because she isn't consistent with her retelling of the crime. However, it's only when two women detectives – in real life, Stacy Galbraith and Edna Hendershot – begin collaborating, with a sensitive approach towards crimes against women, that they uncover the truth.
Killing Eve (Hotstar): The British spy-thriller series follows the story of Eve Polastri, an MI6 operative, and Villanelle, a psychopath assassin. The two women become increasingly obsessed with each other, even though they are on the opposite sides. The charming, gripping and sometimes comic series streams on Hotstar and has two seasons, with the third releasing on April 26.
Money Heist (Netflix): Titled La casa de papel (The House of Paper) in Spanish, this crime/thriller/heist show originally aired on Spanish television, and was then repurposed as a web-series for streaming on Netflix. Told from the perspective of a woman – who, along with seven other robbers and aided by a mysterious "Professor", holds the national Mint of Spain hostage and steals (by printing their own) currency worth over 2 billion euros. Three seasons out now.
Fleabag (Amazon Prime): This British comedy series created by comedian Phoebe Waller-Bridge is about a young woman and her relationship with various people around her – from her high achieving sister and artistic stepmother to her dead best friend. Hilarious and profound at the same time, Fleabag has also been applauded for its feminist undertones. Two seasons are out.
Pushpavalli (Amazon Prime): Starring stand-up comedian Sumukhi Suresh, this Indian series is about a young woman who becomes obsessed with a man and goes to desperate lengths to win his attention. Darkly funny, the series is set in Bengaluru and is multilingual, shifting between Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and English but still being somehow comprehensible. Two seasons are out.
Derry Girls (Netflix): This British sitcom is based in Northern Ireland and is a quirky series that chronicles the lives of five high school students in the times of the 1990s political conflict. Two seasons are out currently.
The Good Place (Netflix): A fun, light-hearted and unique American series, this show has an interesting take on the afterlife, and the concepts of heaven and hell, and life itself. It begins with the protagonist Eleanor Shellstrop arriving at The Good Place which is akin to a utopian heaven-like world. However, all ‘hell’ breaks loose when she realises that she is not supposed to be there. While the show’s last season (the fourth) already aired on NBC, you can watch the first three seasons on Netflix.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Netflix): The show follows a motley crew of police officials and detectives in a fictional precinct of the New York City Police Department. Hijinks ensue as Jake Peralta, played by Andy Samberg (who also produces the show) attempts to crack case after case on the streets of Brooklyn, along with detectives Amy Santiago, Rosa Diaz, Charles Boyle, Sergeant Terry Jeffords and Captain Raymond Holt. The show has been praised for its diverse cast of characters as well as its handling of tricky topics, from race to LGBTQ issues with sensitivity. Six seasons out so far.
Sky Castle (Netflix): This Korean drama series follows the stories of residents in Sky Castle, a high-end residential area where ambitious parents plot and scheme to send their children to the best university possible – not too different from the situation in India. There are 20 episodes in all, each blending enough humour, conflict and intrigue to make us want to watch the next one.
Modern Love (Amazon Prime): An anthology series based on the eponymous column in the New York Times, Modern Love will make you laugh, cry, and give you the warm fuzzies. The series redefines and explores love in multiple forms – romantic, friendship, sexual, for the self and so on – based on six stories taking place in New York city. The eight-episode series has an ensemble cast – Dev Patel, Anne Hathway, Cristin Milioti and Tina Fey being a few notable names. Only one season is out as of now.
Sex Education (Netflix): Funny and sometimes profound, this series with teenage protagonists has a universal appeal. It follows the story of high school teenagers in a British town called Moordale as they begin to get acquainted with their gender and sexuality. The series pretty much does what its name suggests – educates about sex, but in a normalised, inclusive and humane way without being preachy. Sex Education has two seasons so far.
Good Omens (Amazon Prime): A wonderful, wonderful adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name, Good Omens stars Micheal Sheen and David Tennant as the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, who strike up an unlikely, deep friendship through time. An end-of-the-world drama with copious amounts of humour – and a bond between the lead characters that you absolutely feel for – Good Omens is a rare show that you can rewatch multiple times to get all the subtext. The show has just one season.
Made in Heaven (Amazon Prime): This Indian series is about Tara Khanna, a middle class woman who marries into money, and has set up an elite wedding planning company with her gay friend. The series exposes the high drama and behind-the-scenes hypocrisy in Indian weddings while also revealing bits and pieces about Tara's past. Only one season has come out so far.
Lucifer (Netflix): Good-looking people? Check. Brainless fun? Check. A British man pretending to be a British Lucifer Lord of Hell who has decided to live in the City of Angels (Los Angeles) to start over in life? Check. This supernatural buddy-cop dramedy is everything we love about buddy-cop shows, with some light magic stuff thrown in. It has interesting characters with their own backstories, and each episode tracks a different crime while each season has its own story arc. It doesn't require your brain, just suspend your disbelief for a bit till you get in the groove.
The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix): This American horror series is about the five Crain siblings who spent a part of their childhood in a mansion that's believed to be haunted. Each has different memories of what happened and the series follows their stories as they try to grapple with events from the past and how it has affected their present.
Wild Wild Country (Netflix): The series tells the bizarre story of Indian godman Rajneesh (Osho) and the massive cult that he built around himself, including a community in Wasco County, Oregon. The series uses footage from real life and has interviews with ex-cult members as well as people in Oregon who were around at the time when Rajneesh's followers were setting up the community.
Chernobyl (Hotstar): This historical five part drama is centered around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 and its aftermath. The series tells the human stories behind the disaster, documenting the unbelievable extent to which people were willing to go to save other lives.
Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (Netflix): This true crime drama is about two online 'detectives' who hunt down a man who posts a video of him killing kittens. As he keeps releasing his snuff films online – animals and then a human – the two detectives try to track him down online using technology. The three part drama is a sign of our times – we're invisible on the internet but we're always leaving behind our tracks.
Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyan (Netflix): This food and travel show takes us on a delicious trail of history and flavours of regional Indian cuisine – from traditional Kashmiri dishes to vegetarian snacks in Gujarat and the royal roots of the food in the south. One season of the show is out.
Love is Blind (Netflix): The reality show attempts to answer a fundamental question – is love blind? It follows the journey of six couples, who get to know each other and fall in love based purely on conversation, and don’t see each other till they get engaged. With their wedding coming in four weeks, can their love last in the real world? And how much do factors of attraction, age, race, family, and backgrounds matter in a relationship? This highly addictive series tries to answer all these questions from these couples’ perspectives. One season out so far.
Nailed It! (Netflix): There are judges, professional bakers, and three rounds for the competitors. It’s a baking competition all right, but nothing akin to the likes of Masterchef. This entertaining series, hosted by Nicole Byer (and her very welcome sense of humour) sees true home cooks and bakers attempt to make professional confectionery. Needless to say the results are hilarious and surprising. Nailed It! has three seasons.
Queer Eye (Netflix): Join the Fab Five as they tour the US (and later Japan) as each heartwarming episode follows a makeover – both physical and emotional – of people who need a helping hand in their lives. The show features Antoni Porowski for food, Tan France for fashion, Bobby Berk for interior design, Jonathan Van Ness for hair and grooming, and Karamo Brown for culture. Four seasons are out, as well as a special season in Japan.
Ugly Delicious (Netflix): American chef and restaurateur David Chang explores how food shapes and connects the world across cities, countries and cultures. Each episode explores topics like dumplings and how they differ in style from Italy to China, balancing parenthood, food and restaurant life, and the racism that still exists around Asian-American cuisine. The show also features a number of celebrities from the culinary and entertainment world. There are two seasons out now.
Next in Fashion (Netflix): If you're a fan of Tan France from Queer Eye, or if you've liked the fashion part of Project Runway minus the b*tchy nonsense, this is the show for you. This design competition is looking for the designer who is going to be the next 'household name' – and the winner gets a cool 250,000 USD, and a chance to retail their design. Absolutely binge worthy, the show has contestants from across the world and is not America-centric – and these are not amateur designers, so we actually get to see some stunning fashion.