As the rain falls on Los Angeles and the world comes together to face the coronavirus, it’s easy to get caught up in the constant news cycle and understandable worry that comes with it. Though we’re here to keep you informed, we’re also here to help distract you from the often overwhelming nature of current affairs. So we here at Nerdist have gotten together to plan our ultimate cozy binge watch list. From thrilling auteur box sets to contemporary streaming smashes, we’ve put together some of our favorite shows and movies for you to enjoy while you’re indoors.
Whether you’ve never seen Stranger Things before or want to complete a rewatch before season four, the show is ideal for binging. The mystery, intrigue, and danger grows with every episode. By jumping right into the next episode, you’ll keep the momentum the show excels at building, creating a more intense viewing experience. Because at its best Stranger Things is like a great book you can’t put down. You can watch Stranger Things on Netflix now.
I’ve always loved Godzilla, so I was ecstatic when Criterion released this stunning box set. The set includes the first 15 movies in the monster movie franchise. The Showa era films span decades, which is something particularly perfect about this set. The collect begins with the original Godzilla, a searingly political and thoughtful film. From there, you get to enjoy the evolution of Godzilla from a war-time analogy for the nuclear threat to a monster movie icon in his own right. These classic films always make me feel cozy and entertained. They’re also complete technical feats that are a joy to rewatch. You can buy the Godzilla: The Showa Era Films set at Criterion.
For sheer bang versus buck, the Alfred Hitchcock Ultimate Collection is tough to beat. Collecting 15 of the Master of Suspense’s best films—we’re talkin’ the likes of Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, and Shadow of a Doubt—along with ten episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents he directed, this is maybe a week’s worth of great and oddly comforting thrillers from a simpler time. And it’s worth it just to listen to Bernard Herrmann’s scores alone! You can buy the Alfred Hitchcock Ultimate Collection on Amazon.
Yuri!!! on ICE made its debut in 2016 and quickly won the hearts of anime fans around the world. While those fans have been waiting patiently for a sequel ever since, now is the best time to catch up on the delightful series. With just 12 episodes, this isn’t as huge of an anime undertaking as a series like My Hero Academia would be; in fact, this show makes the perfect one-day binge. You’ll be dancing along with the opening credits after watching them just once.
Filled with romance so sweet and pure it will make you melt, along with stunning animation and an engrossing story about competitive ice skating, Yuri!!! on ICE is like comfort food on a day when you most need it. (The final episode is a heart-pounding experience, though, we have to warn you!) You can watch Yuri!!! on ICE on Crunchyroll now.
The tragically under-appreciated sword, sorcery, and sing-along sitcom Galavant makes for an excellent binging experience. The show only lasted two seasons which means it’ll occupy some time but won’t dominate it. The musical numbers lampoon everything from Les Miserables, to Grease, to Disney with a huge degree of self-parody from Alan Menken himself. The show is just so dang charming and self-aware that it’s a go-to for me to queue up whenever I just need some completely irreverent escapism. Watch it all in one sitting or possibly even pair episodes of it with some of the heavier fares you’re binging as well, for those moments when you just need to come up for air. You can watch Galavant on Netflix now.
Wholesome competition, delectable looking baked goods, wonderfully kind amateur bakers? What’s not to love? The Great British Bake Off delivers heart and fun in every season. I know that about a million people have told you to check it out, so allow me to add to the chorus. A television baking competition, Bake Off isn’t like any other cooking contest I’ve watched. The competitors tackle different categories each week with three challenges to test their skills: a signature bake, a technical challenge, and a show-stopper. While you may feel occasional stress about whether a contestant will drop the elaborate, multi-level cake they made, that’s about as high stakes as it gets. The Great British Bake Off is perfectly soothing and delightful but not boring.
The Great British Bake Off is available to watch on Netflix now.
One of my favorite TV shows to watch when I want something entertaining yet comforting is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It’s the perfect way for me to escape from stress and immerse myself back into a show that gave me so much joy as a kid. I can watch the same episodes over and over again and never get tired of Will’s antics, the Carlton dance, or Jazz’s random shenanigans. You can buy the full Fresh Prince of Bel-Air boxset on ebay.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries radiates positivity. Yes, it’s a murder crime series, but it has an infectious energy that’s perfect for when in need of a boost. Whenever I’m feeling anxious, sad, or need a pleasant distraction, I revisit my favorite episodes. Set in late 1920s Melbourne, the series follows fabulous private detective Phryne Fisher as she solves crimes, pesters the local police—including the dashing Detective Inspector Jack Robinson—and lives her best life. It has a delightful cast of characters, dazzling ’20s clothing, and one of the best protagonists on television. Don’t miss it! You can watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Acorn TV now.
My favorite binge watch in troubling times—or really, in most times—will always be Star Trek: The Next Generation. Not only because it’s a comforting show from my youth, but because in the bleakest moments in history, it’s nice to imagine a future where we get past our petty differences, conquer disease, and unite into a new version of humanity. Also, right about now the intelligent and steadfast leadership of Captain Jean-Luc Picard seems especially appealing. You can watch Star Trek: TNG on Netflix now.
This might sound a bit strange, but I often cope with things beyond my control with horror. There’s something meditative about the way horror works for me—something almost out of body. Fear is the way I feel most alive.
In hard times, I find myself returning to Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House because it’s not only horror… it’s also hopeful horror. The ten episode series charts generational trauma and deals with a lot of topics that feel hopeless: suicide, mental illness, grief, addiction. But ultimately, it’s about finding your way through the darkest moments and stumbling to the other side. Nothing is forever, happiness is always possible, and being there for the people we love is the best medicine. That’s what the show means to me, and why I find it so soothing in times like these. You can watch The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix now.
What better way to combat boredom or quarantine than with everyone’s favorite optimistic Pawnee resident? It works as an escape from life, too. Parks and Rec has always been a bright spot when I need something to put a smile on my face. I never get tired of watching it. I’ve pretty much lost count of how many times Donna has told me to “treat yo self” or how many times I’ve listened to Leslie’s impassioned town hall speeches. You can watch Parks and Rec on Netflix now.
Featured Image: Toho, Netflix, CBS, Paramount Pictures