Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Eight Netflix Originals that will distract you from coronavirus

These Netflix original series are great ways to pass the time during your quarantine.
Courtesy of Dead to Me Netflix’s Official Facebook Page

With everyone being shut indoors due to coronavirus, there’s not much else for anyone to be doing. People have found themselves solving puzzles, reading books and scrolling through Netflix in search of a series to pass the time by. So, I have taken this opportunity to spotlight some Netflix specials that will make your quarantine a lot more enjoyable. I chose Netflix because it has by far the highest count of subscribers and therefore is the most accessible, especially for college students, who can’t afford more than one subscription. It also has more original content than other streaming services which means that it can also be hard to know what to choose, even though so much of it is worth watching.


If we were in the UK right now, this would be an absurd choice for this particular list: “Bodyguard” was one of England’s most successful TV shows in years, matching only  “Downton Abbey.” However, it hasn’t made as big of an impact in the United States after being released in October 2018. It is the darkest of the series on this list, but it is also incredibly compelling that it will easily distract you from the outside world. “Bodyguard” is set in a fictionalized England, quite similar to our own in more than one way. It explores the life of bodyguard David Budd (Richard Madden) who protects Home Secretary Montague (Keeley Hawes), an incredibly powerful woman in British politics who is causing conflict between the controversial and conservative parties. The series involves plotlines of terrorism, betrayal and corruption that will take your breath away. One of the series’ greatest accomplishments is how intense the plotlines feel even when the audience is at home on the couch.

2. “Lovesick”

Another show originally released by Netflix in the UK, “Lovesick” became a Netflix original when it was renewed on the platform for two seasons. Originally dubbed “Scrotal Recall,” “Lovesick” is acted both hilariously and tenderly by the main cast Johnny Flynn, Antonia Thomas and Daniel Ings. Flynn plays the primary lead Dylan, a sweet but consistently love-struck man who has to inform all of his past partners that he has chlamydia. Through the exploration of his past and current relationships, we see love and heartbreak through the eyes of Dylan and his friends. It’s funny while being heart wrenching and warming; a dramedy about people in turning points in their lives and it manages to not be overplayed, which in itself is quite a feat. It’s honestly a beautiful thing to have distract you for a couple hours.

3.“Chewing Gum”

Yet another British show has landed on this list, but it could not be more different than the others. “Chewing Gum” follows Tracey Gordon (played by Michaela Coel, who also wrote and created the show) who lives in an suppressive and ridiculous household helmed by her mother and her sister Cynthia (Susan Wokoma). Tracey alone is an incredible person to watch and see what she does next, but the whole cast is full of wild characters like her neighbors and family. Watching Tracey upsettingly make herself look like Beyoncé, trying to get over loneliness with her male cousin and accidently almost killing her boyfriend while trying to be attractive will easily make you laugh during the thirty-minute episodes.


If you’ve heard of this show, you likely have some negative connotations associated with it. The show amassed major controversy after its trailer came out, with many even calling for the show to be cancelled before it even began. The trailer showed the main set up of the show: Patty (as played by Debbie Ryan) is an overweight teenager and feels unseen and bullied for it. After an accident that renders her unable to eat, she loses all the weight and becomes the school’s new bombshell. She becomes popular, wanted and joins the very competitive local pageant circuit. What many people seem to miss is the show’s core message, though. Patty’s life only very superficially improves: as we see through the show, she has many major internal and external conflicts that she deals with that weren’t fixed by her weight loss.

The show features other plus-sized characters who are pointedly in a much better place with themselves than post-weight loss Patty. The show does not portray plus size individuals as people deserving of mockery. Rather, it criticizes the society that values thinness and conventional beauty over anything else, including kindness, integrity and accomplishment. It also is notable for its progressive takes on issues like sexuality, race and disability. Aside from its message, though, there is so much to love about the show. It is filled with plotlines that can compete with the craziest soap operas while actually making sense and being interesting. It’s hilarious and ridiculous with exciting performances from Dallas Roberts, Alyssa Milano, Arden Myrin and Irene Choi, among many others and has a bright and campy feel to it. Like the others in this list, it is a show that is incredibly good at being a distraction.

5. “Grace and Frankie”

For a younger audience, it may be difficult to see the appeal in “Grace and Frankie” if all you know about it is its basic premise and cast. However, “Grace and Frankie” is awesome and genuinely hilarious. Lily Tomlin’s Frankie is the smoking, sage burning, faux vegan best friend and grandma that we all want. While Jane Fonda’s traditional, high-maintenance Grace only emphasizes Frankie’s kookiness and vice versa. With the two titular characters come their respective families: there are their former husbands Sol (Sam Waterston) and Robert (Martin Sheen who are now engaged to each other, along with each of their two adult kids. It’s a very meaningful show with a profound message that celebrates life in all stages.

6. “Living with Yourself”

Paul Rudd has made a name for himself as the charming, funny, ageless supporting character in TV and movies since the 1990s. But aside from “Ant-Man,” Rudd has rarely been the leading man. “Living with Yourself” provides Rudd the opportunity not just to be one lead, but both leads. Without giving more than the trailer’s content away, “Living with Yourself” revolves around Miles, a depressed man who is severely dissatisfied with his life. In trying to fix his life, he comes into conflict with himself. Literally. Miles and New, Superior Miles, have to deal with being two people having one life. It’s an incredibly intriguing show and Paul Rudd is hilarious. Audiences come for the intriguing scenario, but stay for the super odd and satisfying outcome.

7. “Dead to Me”

“Dead to Me” is like a neo-noir film crossed with a sardonic comedy. The dialogue and interactions are often comical and the leads played by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini walk the delicate line between pointing out the humor in a situation, while contrastingly giving very intense and dramatic performances. If the actresses were any less skilled, this would be a disaster. In fact, if the leads weren’t written as women, it may have been impossible. “Dead to Me” is a raw examination of grief, a crime drama and a joyous celebration of friendship all in one. It leaves the audience extremely conflicted through the very last second.

8. “Queer Eye”

Even though “Queer Eye” has been everywhere and watched by almost everyone, it is the perfect quarantine binge. If you like reality TV about hair, clothes, cooking and home renovations, this is definitely for you. More importantly, though, “Queer Eye” has a universality that is worth watching for no matter what your interests. The show centers around four queer men and one non-binary person (Jonathan Van Ness) going to the Midwest and South in order to connect with often the least likely of subjects. The show has represented topics such as mental health, sexuality, the acceptance of yourself and others and the importance of self-care consistently. From a pious Christian family to a Trump-supporting police man to a Todrick Hall-loving transgender man, “Queer Eye” has revolutionized empathy in the politically charged society we live in. It will give you faith in humanity in the realest sense and in this time where it is so needed.

Lily Farizon can be reached at [email protected]

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