13 TV Writers on What to Watch in Quarantine

13 TV Writers on What to Watch in Quarantine

You've finished Tiger King, rewatched Sex and the City and are seconds away from baking a loaf of sourdough. Don't. Put down the bag of bread flour. There is an abundance of great content out there — forgotten, under-promoted, hastily canceled, or non-English language — waiting for you out on the internet, buried under Netflix's latest cursed reality TV experiment. To help you use your quarantine downtime, we hit up a dozen of the sharpest people behind our favorite shows, to ask them what they're binging and what we should be binging.

Cord Jefferson, 'Watchmen,' 'The Good Place,' 'Master of None'

I'm rewatching all of Mad Men (Netflix) for the third time, watching The Americans (Amazon) and HaltandCatch Fire (Netflix) for the first time, and finally watching a lot of old movies I swore I'd get to one day: A Face in the Crowd has been my favorite so far. Also, I watch The Talented Mr. Ripley a lot. It's perfect and Philip Seymour Hoffman is perfect in it.

Follow him at @cordjefferson.

Naomi Ekperigin, 'Broad City,' 'NBC's Great News'

I'm going back and forth between comfort-viewing — older stuff that reminds me of the beforetimes — and watching new series that are particularly engaging. For comfort viewing, it's Please Like Me (Hulu), 30 Rock (Hulu), and Billy on the Street (Netflix). For new series, I'm loving Hulu's This Way Up (Aisling Bea's show, a great quick binge), catching up on Black Lightning (Netflix) and of course, Tiger King will make you forget about the world around you. If you're into procedurals or true crime, might I recommend Homicide Hunter (Hulu) and all 9,000 seasons of Law & Order: SVU (Hulu).

Follow her at @blacktress. Ekperigin currently hosts Couples Therapy Podcast.

Carly Wray, 'Mad Men,' 'The Leftovers,' 'Westworld'

My answer for what I'm binging and what everyone should be binging right now is one and the same: High Maintenance! It's long been one of my favorites for its brilliant writing and direction. There's something extra comforting about rewatching it all right now. It's poetic, funny and just so compassionate; every episode leaves me with a deep sense of human connection. Start with the web series and proceed to the HBO episodes and I guarantee, no matter who you are, you'll feel less alone.

Wray currently co-executive produces Watchmen.

Lucy Prebble, 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl,' 'I Hate Suzie'

I really recommend Upright (Showcase), the Australian misfit road trip dramedy starring Tom Minchin and created by Chris Taylor. It's gorgeously written and a joy to see such a different vista on screen. Instead of the big, trashy true crime hits, go for the BBC's The Yorkshire Ripper Files, fascinating and dark but appropriately victim-focused. As for comedy, anyone who liked Tim Robinson's hilarious I Think You Should (Netflix) Leave might enjoy the bleak, brilliant Limmy's Show (Netflix).

Follow her at @lucyprebblish.

Sarah Violet-Bliss, 'Search Party'

I binged Servant on Apple TV which I can't say too much about because the premise itself is a spoiler, but it was disturbing and campy which is a tricky combo to nail. I'm still upset about it, in a good way. Definitely watch if you like to feel gutted. I'm also re-watching great movies from 20 years ago like Erin Brockovich, wondering why it didn't win the Oscar for best screenwriting that year, looking up what movie did win, realizing that it was Almost Famous which is fair enough, then watching Almost Famous and thinking about how I miss when there were so many great movies in one year it was hard to decide which one was your favorite. And I watched Showgirls for the first time and really appreciated Elizabeth Berkley's commitment to assaulting her basket of fries. So, it's a mixed bag. Am I answering the question correctly?

Follow her at @SVBliss.

Lisa Hanawalt, 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Tuca & Bertie'

I'm terrified to answer this question honestly, as I'm in the middle of bingeing the eight-part BBC Dickens miniseries Little Dorrit, solely because Matthew Macfadyen is in it. He's so unbelievably good as Tom from Succession (please binge both seasons of this if you haven't already), I got all worked up about what a funny, versatile actor he is, and now I'm just being a dork and watching his other stuff. These are scary times and we all need to follow our bliss. Also, I might rewatch The Sopranos (HBO).

Follow her at @lisadraws.

Bess Kalb, 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

I am a comedy writer who turns to legal dramas with strong female leads in times of crisis. Right now I'm mainlining The Good Wife (Hulu). Every night after I put my seven-month-old baby to bed, I pour myself a glass of wine the size of my head and watch Julianna Margulies huff around in impeccably tailored suits while shouting things like "Objection, your honor! Relevance!?" Occasionally she'll arch an eyebrow and say something withering like "You have no idea what I'm capable of." At that point it's like, "What global death pandemic?"

Follow her at @bessbell. Kalb is the author of Nobody Will Tell You This But Me.

Max Silvestri, 'Big Mouth,' 'Medical Police,' 'Billy on the Street'

Bosch. I know it looks like catnip for tired dads, but it's low-key the most comforting detective show on television. (It's like The Wire if "K-cups taste gross" was the extent of its social commentary.) It's also perfect to watch in a pandemic because every other scene is set at a real LA restaurant and it feels like a soothing 4K travelogue of places I can't wait to drink at again.

Follow him at @maxsilvestri.

Halley Gross, 'Westworld'

During these uneasy times, I've got my comfort TV shows playing on loop: old episodes of Cowboy Bebop (Hulu), the original Twilight Zone (Netflix), and Agatha Christie's Poirot (Amazon). If you're looking for some modern goodness, I would recommend The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix), Making the Cut (Amazon), The End of the F***king World (Netflix), and John Oliver's WFH episodes of Last Week Tonight (Hulu, HBO). McMillions (HBO) is also great if you need to scratch that Tiger King itch.

Follow her at @grosstastic. Gross is currently working on the video game The Last of Us: Part II.

Yassir Lester, 'Girls,' 'The Carmichael Show,' 'Black Monday'

Let me start by saying that clearly you should be binging Black Monday on Showtime which is in its second season, Duncanville on Fox which is midway through its first, and BLACK AF on Netflix which is dropping April 17. Yes those are all shows that I write and act on, but still do it. Here are answers outside of myself.

DEVS (FX on Hulu): As Annihilation was maybe my favorite sci-fi films of the last five years, I headed into DEVS with excitement as Alex Garland has a mind that I envy. The show does not disappoint, and is truly one of the coolest ways I've ever seen its subject matter visualized and told narratively. The cast is perfect. Every single one of them. I hope they see this. It's a masterpiece. Catch up before it's over.

Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23 (Hulu): Nahnatchka Khan has always been perfect, and this show only reinforces it. There are few shows that make me pause because I'm laughing too hard. There's not a weak link in the cast and there's not a wasted line of dialogue. I can't say enough about it.

Bigger (BET, Apple TV+): I love this show for many reasons, but two giant ones. First, it's actually brave. It treads very familiar territory in the "30 somethings getting their life together" genre, but every time you think you know what's coming, it takes a wild but believable detour. The cast does an excellent job of grounding what could be big wild characters and the writers do a phenomenal job of taking smaller life moments and dramatizing them. It's a great study of the complications of friendships that carry through decades. I love it.

Follow him at @Yasir_Lester. Lester plays Yangzi on Duncanville.

Georgia Pritchett, 'Veep,' 'Succession'

I somehow managed to miss The Wire (HBO) the first time round so I have been watching that from the very beginning which has been very inspiring in terms of writing. Apart from that I have been watching lots of funny and brilliant women in Feel Good (Netflix), I Am Not Okay with This (Netflix) and This Way Up (Hulu).

Follow her at @georgiapudding.

Anna Winger, 'Unorthodox,' 'Deutschland 86'

We are home with a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old, so it isn't always easy to find things to watch together. So far, as a family, we've binged the new AppleTV series Home Before Dark, which was great, plus all the Monty Python we could find on Netflix, followed by all the Christopher Guest mockumentaries like Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman. Big hits with everyone. On our own, my husband and I binged The Outsider and are currently "binging" French art house movies on Hulu, like Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Non-Fiction.

Follow her at @annawinger.

Janine Brito, 'One Day At A Time,' 'Bless The Harts'

I'm currently working on Bless The Harts (Fox and Hulu) but, since new episodes aren't out yet, I'm binging One Day At A Time (now on PopTV) and Derry Girls (Netflix). Watching both because I'm a sucker for shows that have a tender heart AND insanely funny jokes. As for binging recommendations, take this time to brush up on some of the Classics of Queerdom/Fabulosity. I'm talking: Whatever Happened To Baby Jane, All About Eve, Hairspray, Cry Baby, Bound, Showgirls, Paris Is Burning, D.E.B.S., But I'm A Cheerleader, Set It Off, Waiting To Exhale, Golden Girls, Designing Women, Living Single, and the Logo seasons of Drag Race. BRUSH UP ON THOSE FUNDAMENTALS, CHILDREN!

Follow her at @janinebrito.

Photos via Instagram