Watchlist: So you’ve got a lot of time on your hands …


The Columbus Dispatch/TNS

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s “The Witcher.”

By The Pitt News Staff

Well here we are, stuck at home for a bit. You’re hopefully choosing to practice social distancing as extensively as possible, as lonely as it already feels, and there are a number of different ways to make some of the extra time at home feel a little less claustrophobic. Learn to cook something fancy, take up quilting, finally get around to reading “Moby-Dick” like you always said you would. But there’s also, of course, TV. Here are a few of the picks that our writers think you should get around to watching or rewatching.

The Witcher (Netflix) // Diana Velasquez, Senior Staff Writer

There is no genre better to lose oneself in than fantasy. And with all that’s going on in the world at the moment, I’ll take a little sword and sorcery escapism. “The Witcher,” based on the books by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, was seen by some as Netflix’s high-fantasy successor to a void left by “Game of Thrones,” but “The Witcher” makes ripples in its own way. The show follows the decades-long journey of Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), a witcher — a mutated monster hunter for hire — as he navigates politics of humans and horrors of the many creatures inhabiting the mystical continent. “The Witcher” leans full tilt into the tropes of high fantasy and handles them even better in some ways than “Game of Thrones,” unafraid of alienating its audiences from the characteristics of the genre. 

That ’70s Show (Netflix) // Mary Rose O’Donnell, Contributing Editor

Nostalgia is hot right now. From “Stranger Things” to the “IT” movies, everyone seems to be really into exploring the past and reliving life in a simpler era. “That ’70s Show” is the perfect nostalgia piece for this time of quarantine. This eight-season sitcom centers on Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and his group of friends as they navigate the ups and downs of being a young adult in the fictional town of Point Place, Wisconsin, in the late 1970s. Eric and his friends — Donna (Laura Prepon), Hyde (Danny Masterson), Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) and Jackie (Mila Kunis) — make a tight-knit group that sticks together when times get tough, but, like any other friend group, has some difficulties as well.

Though “That ’70s Show” is a teen comedy, it isn’t afraid to get serious. This show does a great job at exploring tough topics of the time — like divorce, birth control, unemployment and financial stress — while also sticking to its sitcom roots and keeping the audience laughing throughout each episode. Though the show takes place in the 1970s, you don’t have to have lived during that time to enjoy it. I have seen every episode multiple times and it never ceases to make me laugh and make my day a bit better.

The Stranger (Netflix) // Maggie Young, Contributing Editor

Based on Harlan Coben’s 2015 novel of the same name, “The Stranger” begins when a spooky, gorgeous young woman (Hannah John-Kamen) shakes up the picturesque life of suburban family man Adam Price (Richard Armitage) when she shares a secret that could ruin his marriage. Adam has no idea who this woman is, and this stranger seems to have no ulterior motive in telling Adam the secret. She flees after their meeting, and Adam later confronts his wife, Corinne, with the information. Hours later, Corinne is gone. As Adam tries to find her, the show pans to the stranger doing the same thing to other people — revealing life-altering secrets, sometimes as blackmail — and the spirals that result. Adam and Corinne’s plotline is enough to keep you interested, but the story raises many other plots that often leave a viewer muddled when watching them all side-by-side. Regardless, it’s a quick binge that will take your mind off of everything going at the moment because of its bizarre intrigue.

The Great British Bake Off (Netflix) // Brian Gentry, Contributing Editor

I just had carrots, celery and pineapple for dinner, so that’s how my social distancing meals are going. But whenever I feel unmotivated about cooking, I throw on “The Great British Bake Off,” or GBBO for short, hoping that somehow the immense baking knowledge will osmote directly into my brain. In the first episode of each season, 10 to 13 bakers gather and compete in three tasks — the “signature challenge,” where the bakers make their standard desserts they’d make on a normal night, the “technical challenge,” where the bakers must make unfamiliar baked goods following a spotty recipe, and the “showstopper challenge,” where the bakers wow the judges with their most amazing recipes imaginable. At the end of each episode, the worst baker, as judged by two celebrity chefs, is eliminated. Moderated by some of the funniest and most eccentric hosts, the show brings laughs and anxiety — plus, there are seven seasons. Hopefully you’re stocked up on flour, sugar and eggs so that you can get to work trying, and probably failing, to replicate their most extravagant baked goods.

Twin Peaks (Netflix) // Emily Wolfe, Digital Manager

“Twin Peaks” is one of the most iconic television series of the 1990s, but I didn’t start it until recently, partly because I had never previously been confined to my apartment alone for the foreseeable future. So maybe everyone else has already seen it. But if you’re like me, I can confirm — this is the show to get around to watching right now. David Lynch’s pink-tinged drama, centered on the murder of a 17-year-old girl, really does feel like it’s set in another world. The pilot episode introduces an enormous, and excellent, ensemble of characters who are keeping a list of secrets that seems way too long for a little town like Twin Peaks. Pretty much everyone on the show is having a covert affair, and some of them know terrible things about the dead girl, Laura Palmer. The show is a little gory and very spooky — but so far it’s giving me pleasant shivers, not terrifying nightmares. (That might change. I’ll check back in after a couple weeks of quarantine.)