Editors' Picks

What We're Watching to Take Our Minds Off the Pandemic

Looking for some non-COVID-19 entertainment on TV? Try these.

By The Editors May 22, 2020

Belgravia and Dead to Me

On TV, I’ve been enjoying Belgravia on Epix…a boon for fans of Downton Abbey, also written by Julian Fellowes but set in an earlier era, mostly the 1840s, and filled with lots of family secrets, gorgeous costumes, and plentiful cups of tea. And, in a whole different tone, loving Season 2 of Netflix’s Dead to Me, with Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini—both of their characters caught up in a complicated coverup following a death last season. I’m trying to pace myself so it doesn’t end too soon.—Kay Kipling

False Flag

“False Flag,” an eight-part Israeli spy thriller told in breakneck speed that’s now streaming on Hulu. (Just turn on the subtitle feature if your Hebrew is rusty.) It’s about four Israelis from different walks of life who get swept up in a plot to kidnap the Iranian defense minister. Just when you think you know what’s going on there’s a delicious twist.  Nothing—and nobody—is what it seems.—Ilene Denton


 My Brilliant Friend

I’m watching the HBO series My Brilliant Friend, Season 2. The series is based on the second book of Elena Ferrante’s four epic novels about the complicated relationship of two girls who grow up in a working class neighborhood in Naples, Italy, in the 1950s. So much of the time the adaptation of novels into film is a disappointment. Not this series. Ferrante has stayed involved as a writer and the casting and filming are near perfect. You'll feel the pain of class and women’s limited opportunities and the depth of female friendship. —Susan Burns

John Wick

I'm not sure how I missed this goofy action flick when it came out in 2014, but I'm finally catching up. The plot is a paint-by-numbers affair—something about Russian gangsters, a retired hitman who un-retires to seek vengeance, etc. But it has a great cast, the action sequences are well crafted and, in an era when too many movies that should be fun are instead glum and dour, it never takes itself too seriously. I may have missed out on the movie when it first came out, but there's an advantage to coming to it late: Now I've got two sequels to watch.—Cooper Levey-Baker

Paul Mescal as Connell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne in Hulu's adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People.

Paul Mescal as Connell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne in Hulu's adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People.

Image: Courtesy Hulu

Normal People

Like so many others, I loved Sally Rooney's coming-of-age Irish romance, Normal People. The book is about the on-again, off-again relationship between Connell, a popular but sensitive athlete, and Marianne, a whip-smart social pariah. So when I heard the book was being adapted by Hulu, I was excited but wary: after all, we all know the show is usually never as good as the book. Well, in this case, it is, bringing the intimacy and interiority Rooney so masterfully created on the page to life through a script that pulls at your heart strings, wonderful acting by the two leads, and gorgeous, golden cinematography by co-directors Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie McDonald. Remember your epic high school and college crushes, where the throb of your feelings was so strong it was almost painful? Normal People brings those emotions right back. —Megan McDonald

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