Top 10 binge-worthy shows for social distancing

Echo writer Vaishalini Sitaraman shares her top 10 binge-worthy TV shows while many social distance and work from home

This is week two of ASU’s transition from in-person to online classes, which leaves many of us ASU students back at home with a lot of time on our hands. Of course, the easiest way to spend that free time has been America’s favorite since the 1950s: watching television. 

Here are my top picks for shows you can binge-watch on many of your favorite streaming services this social distancing season: 

"The Good Place"

Michael Schur, showrunner of hits like “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Master of None,” delivered yet another comedy television series with “The Good Place," a funny commentary on human nature and good vs. evil. The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop — played by Kristen Bell, the literal cutest human being ever — as she enters the afterlife and finds herself accidentally placed in the Good Place instead of the Bad Place. She hides from Good Place architect Michael (played by Ted Danson, the man I wish was my grandfather) as she tries to navigate the afterlife.  


"Cheers"

During its run from 1982 to 1993, “Cheers” became one of the most critically acclaimed and widely loved television series ever. The show includes 275 half-hour episodes over 11 seasons, which is sure to last you at least a couple of months. The show follows the staff and regulars at a Boston bar, Cheers, as they spend their lives drinking, enjoying or working at the bar “where everybody knows your name.”


"Gossip Girl"

Gossip Girl” is pretty much every girl’s favorite TV show to watch when sick. While the fashion is definitely to die for, the show is a perfect time pass for everyone — from the drama between the leads to the commentary on the lavish life of spoiled rich kids, it’s pretty much a universal guilty pleasure. 


"On My Block"

This show has pretty much taken over Twitter, featuring a group of street-savvy and sassy teenagers as they navigate adolescence and the challenges they face as they live in their predominantly Hispanic and Black neighborhood in Los Angeles. You could probably get through the show within a week, but it’s sure to keep you laughing the whole time. 


"Love Is Blind"

OK, hear me out. The show is definitely super ooey-gooey, but the drama perhaps surpasses "The Bachelor," which makes it a great guilty pleasure. Social distancing means no one will see you watching the cheesy show.

For those of you who missed out on the social media craze, the show follows 30 contestants as they meet each other in the pods. Just like every other dating show, they start out as complete strangers to each other. But the catch is they never get to see each other's faces — instead, they get to know each other essentially through a wall. They even get engaged without ever seeing each other, and only then are revealed to each other. The true test is in their wedding date, which is set mere weeks ahead. Will they get hitched, or will they never make it to the altar?


"Sex Education"

This British TV comedy follows socially-awkward teenager Otis as he teams up with bad girl Maeve to begin an underground sex counseling clinic for his high school peers. His background as the son of a sex therapist makes him great at counseling, even though he hasn’t had much luck in the department himself. The show stars Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson and Ncuti Gatwa, and it features eight episodes in each season — there are two so far. 


"The Great British Baking Show"

To be honest, I just like food. "The Great British Baking Show" (or "Bake Off," depending on which country you're watching from) follows the contest for the greatest amateur baker in Britain. Each week the contestants face three different challenges which are judged by the sweet Mary Berry and cold Paul Hollywood. You could even try out each week’s extravagant signature bake on your own!


"That '70s Show"

If you haven’t watched “That '70s Show,” I am severely disappointed in you. The show is a comedy staple, starring Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Danny Masterson, Topher Grace and Wilmer Valderrama. It is set, of course, in the '70s. The show follows a group of teenage friends as they deal with growing up, hippies and in classic '70s fashion, lots and lots of weed. It mostly takes place in Eric’s kooky mother and angry father’s basement in Wisconsin. 


"Father Brown"

This comedic detective series is set in mid-1950s Britain and follows the local priest Father Brown, played by Mark Williams, in fictional Cotswold village Kembleford as he solves the local crimes with love and precision. He is accompanied by a rather strange team, featuring his parish secretary Mrs. McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack), the wealthy and fashionable Lady Felicia (Nancy Carroll) who is later replaced by her niece Bunty (Emer Kenny), and local crook turned chauffeur Sid Carter (Alex Price). 


"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" 

I’m gonna be honest: This show is really weird. The show follows Kimmy Schmidt, played by Ellie Kemper, as she is rescued after spending 15 years in a cult. She rents a room with Titus Andromedon, a gay wannabe Broadway actor. They find that they are perfect friends for each other — Andromedon reintroduces her to modern life, while Kimmy provides him the faith he needs in his talents. It’s super cute — plus, Andromedon is played by Tituss Burgess, who sings like a baby angel in many of the show’s musical episodes. 

These shows are sure to keep you laughing, even through the tough times we're facing right now. Settle in with your favorite snack and get to watching! 


Reach the reporter at vsitara3@asu.edu and follow @_vaishalini_ on Twitter.

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