Sarah B.’s Quaranstream
Quarantine is challenging. Testing, even. It requires resilience, patience and more or less distractions to stay busy. So if baking a banana cake is not for you, if you’re contemplating reading that book again, if you have no instrument at hand to learn to play; or if you have done all of the above already and are looking for something else, here is my Quarantine Watchlist, humbly presented to you.
Find below my 5 TV shows, all complete (or aborted way too soon) —as to avoid the frustration of waiting— to binge without moderation while social distancing.
Funnily, as I started thinking about what I would write in my article, it hit me that all 5 series featured below happen to be led by women and that’s pretty cool in itself.
So feel the girl power and hop on. There’s a bit of magic, a bit of punching and lots of laughters guaranteed!
Marvel's agent carter
The Marvel series focusing on Peggy Carter is the second ‘spin-off’ series (two years after Agents of SHIELD) based on a character from the Cinematic Universe.
The show picks up a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and follows Peggy, played by Hayley Atwell, as she works her way through a man’s world before the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D.
MCU actor Dominic Cooper guest stars as the one and only Howard Stark while James D’Arcy makes a brilliant addition to the cast as Jarvis (for the anecdote, he is the first actor to have crossed from the series to the MCU in Avengers: Endgame).
Why you should give it a go: Agent Carter is a clever adventure series with a strong spy feel. The costumes and setting will swallow you into the vibrant 1940s with its perks…and flaws. The series highlights the social inequality toward women of course and other minorities. It is done with perspicacity and humor and with the right balance of action and mystery.
Where to watch: Disney+
Once upon a time
The series is a re-telling of our childhood fairy tales. Discover Snow White, Peter Pan or the Evil Queen like you’ve never seen them before.
The storyline is simple: fairy tale characters have had their memories erased and were sent to our world. Their only hope is that the Savior (Jennifer Morrison), daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, breaks the curse; but Emma Swan is a cynical bail bond agent in Boston who gave up on her happily ever after long ago.
Why you should give it a go: the writing is simply excellent. All the different childhood tales have gained in maturity and are intricately woven together while the twists always keep the viewer on their toes. But beyond the above, Once Upon a Time meets the challenge of sprinkling magic without getting too mushy.
Where to watch: Netflix
I have a very soft spot for this one, and it had to be on my Quarantine Watchlist. Ugly Betty is the American adaptation of Yo Soy Betty, La Fea telenovela and follows the steps of a young woman from Queens in the ruthless world of Fashion where appearances and money prevail. Betty will slowly prove that a brain and a genuine personality can make you succeed in the most unexpected place and leave your mark.
The show was quite ahead of its time and explores many topics such as social inequality or mental health issues while throwing spotlight on characters from the LGBT+ community.
Why you should give it a go: Ugly Betty is hilarious, biting and colorful (and not just visually). America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams own the show, while it counts memorable guest stars like producer Salma Hayek, Judy Light, Octavia Spencer or Adele. And many other familiar faces…
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
jane the virgin
Ok, I see the pattern too. It seems I have a thing for zany comedies starring a Latino woman and featuring flamboyant characters. And undoubtedly, Jane the Virgin (along with Devious Maids which, yes, I have also watched) is in the vein of Ugly Betty, being another telenovela adaptation. Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez, Disney +’ Diary of A Future President) is a young woman, happily in love, who’s been saving herself for marriage…until she is accidentally inseminated and gets pregnant with her boss’ child!
Moreover, the show is a story about women across three generations and delves into the relationships within a family while facing the obstacles from society.
But the gem this show has to offer is the narrator who often quips, pauses and toys with the narration in a highly entertaining way.
Why you should give it a go: Jane the Virgin is part of this Quarantine Watchlist because it is a rollercoaster of comical scenes and crazy characters (with special mention to Jaime Camill as melomaniac but endearing Rogelio De La Vega). My heart personally belongs to Luisa (Yara Martinez) whose absence never went unnoticed — trust me, she’ll make quite an impression on you too.
Where to watch: Netflix
America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) made her television return a few years ago in the hidden gem comedy Superstore. The workplace series, which has been renewed for a sixth season, depicts the daily life of a general store workers. They’re pretty much all weird in their own way but their craziness is only matched by the tomfoolery of their customers. But don’t let yourself be fooled by the seemingly monotonous routine that comes with the job, there is no room for boredom for the Superstore staff. I don’t want to give too much away, but expect many twists and turns (emphasis on twists).
But beyond the humor, the series explores themes like social gaps, corporate supremacy and the evergrowing consumerism (that Black Friday episode is chef’s kiss) as well as their repercussions on society and individuals.
Why you should give it a go: look at it as ‘The Office’ at your local Branch. You will very quickly catch feelings and have favorite characters and episodes. I personally love Dina (Luaren Ash) and Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi) to bits and it turns out that these two have many scenes together — I’m on Cloud Nine! And, may I suggest as a bonus that you check out the official Twitter account? Whoever runs it has all my appreciation.
Where to watch: Hulu
Share your comments on the above Quarantine Watchlist with @CapeandCastle!