Binging your way through the coronavirus pandemic

These TV series will will help you get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Man Watching TV (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Man Watching TV
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
If you’ve got to be stuck at home due to a scary new coronavirus pandemic, at least there is a lot of great television out there.
The Israeli cable services are offering special programming and new channels, especially for children. YES announced a week ago that it has a new Quarantine Channel, featuring “Things Not to Watch During Quarantine” (The Walking Dead and other dystopian dramas), as well as lighter fare.
YES and HOT have partnered with a company called ELLACOMM to present the Aria VOD service for music lovers during this crisis, which features operas such as The Magic Flute performed by prestigious European companies and other classical music concerts.
The virus-inspired programming is evolving very quickly, with new channels and offers being announced every day, so check with your cable provider to see what is currently available.
 If you never saw such modern classic series as Mad Men or Breaking Bad, or want to see them again, now is the time. In terms of binging, there are two basic ways to go in a situation like this: light and dark, depending on your mood. Here are some suggestions.
          
The Lighter Side
1. Crashing and Fleabag are two great comedy series, both created by and starring the new “It” woman of television, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Crashing is on Netflix and tells the story of a group of friends who renovate and live in a decrepit hospital in London. Fleabag is on Amazon Prime (available here with Partner TV) and shows the adventures of a very funny, very crazy young woman who runs a cafe with a strange theme. Spoiler alert: It’s guinea pigs.
2. The Netflix original GLOW now has three seasons available. Don’t be put off by the premise, about a women’s wrestling television show in Los Angeles in the 1980s, and give this charming series a try, especially now.
3.  The latest season of Pamela Adlon’s Better Things started running on YES Edge on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. and is also available on YES VOD. Even if you haven’t watched the previous seasons of this irreverent series about a single mom raising three daughters and trying to make a living as an actress, you can just jump right in.
4. The HBO series Togetherness just debuted on HOT VOD and Next TV, with two seasons’ worth of episodes. Created by Jay and Mark Duplass, it has a great cast and tells the story of a long-married couple and two single people who may or may not get together. It has a terrific cast: Amanda Peet, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Duplass and Steve Zissis. In tamer times, the premise might seem a bit bland but these days it will feel comforting.
5. Toy Boy on Netflix is for when you’re really feeling brain-dead from all the news. Technically, it’s a murder mystery about a male stripper accused of killing his lover’s husband, but it’s mostly an excuse for really sexy people wearing great clothes to act scenes in gorgeous locations on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
           
The Dark Side
1. The Plot Against America on HOT, YES and Cellcom TV, which is available on their VOD services, is a bleak six-episode alt-history about what could have happened to American Jews if Charles Lindbergh had been elected president in the early 1940s, and it will give you something else to worry about. It stars John Turturro and Winona Ryder.
2. Babylon Berlin - Both seasons of this highbrow drama about Weimar Germany are available on HOT VOD.
3. Fauda - Season three of the Israeli hit show about counterterrorism just concluded on YES Action in Israel, but you can watch the previous two seasons on Netflix with subtitles and get caught up just in time for its streaming debut this spring.
4. Westworld - Season three of the intricate series about lifelike robots at a theme park just started running on YES, HOT and Cellcom TV.
5. Occupied - This Netflix series has just enough depth to keep you interested but is not truly scary or upsetting. It imagines how Norwegians would cope if they were occupied by Russia, which takes over their oil production, and it features intelligent writing and good acting.