As I’m sure all of you have been at some point or other during this rather extended summer, I have been excruciatingly bored – so I started watching a lot of TV. Now, with the advent of returning to St Andrews and with many of our international students having to quarantine in their rooms for two weeks, I thought it might be nice to provide you with some recommendations for what to watch before you get something of a social life back and explore our beautiful town!
Some of these recommendations are ones you’ll have heard of and/or watched already, but I hope to slip some more niche delights in here for anyone to enjoy!
Killing Eve (BBC iPlayer)
MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) meets top-level assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Cue a strangely sexual, cross-country chase.
Now, you’ve probably heard of this one – as had I. Convinced that it probably wasn’t going to be as good as everyone seemed to think it was, I put off watching this for a very long time. Boy, was I wrong. Not only have I found myself a new favourite villain (bye bye, Andrew Scott’s Moriarty) but it happens to be just as hilarious as it is absolutely bone-chilling.
I definitely have not been looking into ‘Sorry baby x’ embroidery on Depop.
Flowers (Netflix, All 4)
Meet the Flowers family: Maurice (Julian Barratt), a children’s author wrestling with severe depression; Amy (Sophia Di Martino), an aspiring musician with undiagnosed bipolar disorder; Donald (Daniel Rigby), Amy’s rather badly adjusted twin brother; and Deborah (Olivia Coleman), who is desperately trying to hold her family together.
A very nuanced exploration of mental health through a family of four, this show is extremely underrated! If you enjoy being entirely emotionally devastated with a side of humour – which, if you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll know is generally my jam – this is certainly the show for you. A beautiful soundtrack, absolutely astounding acting, and gorgeous storytelling – a must-see.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) was trapped in a Doomsday bunker for fifteen years. Now, she’s out and in New York, and she’s determined to make a life for herself – and try as many things as she can in the process!
Ideal for anyone who needs a bit more positivity in their day, this show – with a cast of lovely characters, plenty of humour, and a sometimes excessively bright colour-scheme – is a real gem. Kimmy will put a smile on your face, guaranteed. So will her best friend, the famed Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), and her landlady, Lillian (Carol Kane) – and, in all honesty, every other character too. A true mood-lifter.
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)
Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) goes to prison and meets various other prisoners in a well-loved series that exposes the prejudices and abuses in the American justice system, the prison industrial complex, and various other levels of society.
Now, I know that this series is ‘old’ by television standards, and many people will already have watched it, as I have – but I think it’s now more important than ever to rewatch a TV show like this. Along with documentaries like 13th, this show holds a harsh light to aspects of society that are now being interrogated on an international level. Along with prison systems and racism on a systemic level, we see explorations of various mental health issues, the effects of drug addiction, and the dangers of mob mentality. With tons of characters, you will definitely find your favourites – even if, like me, you find the main character Piper somewhat unsavoury.
Good Omens (Amazon Prime Video)
Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Crowley (David Tennant) – an angel-demon duo tirelessly working together to prevent the end of the world after the birth of the Anti-Christ. Your typical line-up to the apocalypse.
Based on a book written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, again this series is extremely well-known and certainly well-watched – but again it’s always worth a rewatch. After all, how long can you really go without a good bit of fictional bickering between the ineffable husbands?
Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is Vice President of the United States. Watch her traverse bureaucracy, leadership campaigns, initiatives and ambitious staff with her trademark wit and keen eye for insults.
There’s an American election coming up – I know, I had no idea either – and this show is most definitely a top tier thing to watch coming up to that. Political satire written by Armando Iannuci, the creator of The Thick of It and The Death of Stalin, this series is absolutely spot-on when it comes to zingy one-liners and fantastic characterisation. Dan Egan (Reid Scott) is the archetypal ambitious DC lobbyist, and I think every one of us can relate to Amy Brookheimer’s (Anna Chlumsky) high-level stress in times of crisis (tense shoulders? check!). However, it isn’t just jokey – we also see the consequences weaved throughout of giving up your morals, your friendships, and your family for power, and the consequences are quite rightly horrifying.
So, there we have it – my recommendations for your quarantine / boredom / procrastinating your first bit of coursework. I sincerely hope you enjoy them – but if you’re looking for something to use as background noise? Probably best to stick with Friends.