Many people find themselves, at present, confined to their homes, unable to leave except for vital grocery or health runs. So we've rounded up the best TV shows to watch from the comfort of those very homes, should you have the time. Among our list, you'll find some obvious comfort picks—think The Sopranos and Fleabag—alongside deeper cuts, web series, anime classics, HBO deeper cuts, and more. These are the best TV shows to watch from home right now, according to the GQ editors.
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A few weeks ago I said, “I just wish I had the time to catch up on the new season of Babylon Berlin,” then a gust of wind blew into my living room and all the lights in my apartment flickered on and off at once. Anyway! All three seasons of the historical drama, which is set in Weimar Germany, are on Netflix—the first and second were released last year in one combined, übergroß season—and I could not recommend bingeing it more. Babylon Berlin has it all: lush visuals (as it should, since it’s the most expensive European TV drama ever filmed), heart-pounding political intrigue, plot twists that would make Christopher Nolan’s jaw drop, elaborate cabaret performances (not my thing, but maybe yours?). Auf wiedersehen!—Gabriella Paiella
RuPaul's Drag Race
When my anxiety starts to rise, I’ve found that consuming media specifically intended to calm you down only stresses me out more. So with the recent uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it felt like the perfect time to finally dive into RuPaul’s Drag Race. Drag as an art form can be an escape from reality in and of itself, but I never could have predicted that Ru and her girls would create such a joyous reprieve. I’m only midway through Season 6, but the show's general chaotic energy—from Bianca Del Rio’s scathing one-liners to Jinkx Monsoon’s unforgettable Little Edie impression—has instilled a sense of tranquility in me that I look forward to every single night.—Mick Rouse
Let it be known here and now: fellow Conde colleagues at Bon Appetit are doing god's work in the test kitchen, especially Claire Saffitz. Week after week, the chef tackles new comfort food classics—Girl Scout cookies, Twix, Mentos, Pizza Rolls, and more—in her attempt to gourmet-ify the things we've all been eating for years. It is comfort food at its most literal, and finest. I could watch one thousand hours in one sitting without turning it off. Not everyone has that! Gourmet Makes does.—Brennan Carley
So this one’s a bit of a nerve-shredder—and maybe you don’t want to watch anything grinding and painful right now. But if you do, I can’t suggest anything more grinding and painful than this Amazon/Canal+/Sky Atlantic co-production about the grainiest details, both spectacular and humdrum, of the global cocaine trade. It’s split into three sections, focusing on a wayward special-forces unit in Mexico, a family of cocaine brokers in New Orleans, and the old-world mafia in Calabria. The budget is bananas—lots of drone shots of cargo ships, a sprint across the Malian desert with an appearance from something like ISIS, a large chunk of an episode dedicated to the raising of a paramilitary narco-force—and the tone pitch-dark. (Credit that to co-creator and co-director Stefano Sollima, responsible for the Gomorrah TV series and the black-hearted Sicario: Day of the Soldado). But mostly, this is Andrea Riseborough’s show: the heir to that New Orleans shipping concern, she’s a hardass with a platinum-dyed hair helmet, hellbent on getting a couple hundred cans of jalapeño peppers to their intended buyers, fending off all sorts of misery along the way. Strap in.—Sam Schube
In looking for a quarantine TV show to binge in the apartment, we set the parameters of: must have over 100 episodes, must be able to function as background noise and/or require minimal attention to plot, and must have at least one attractive male (this one was mine, not my boyfriend’s). We decided on ER, the medical drama with over 300 episodes and a young, attractive George Clooney. It doesn’t demand too much of our minds, while still being entertaining, and the early '90s fashion and references are very fun.—Ashlee Bobb
Elite is a super addicting show about hot horny teens committing and covering up murders. But the paths it takes to reach its climaxes (each season builds towards a big crime by flashing back to the months leading up to it) are even better. Love triangles abound, forbidden love blooms, class warfare rages. There are throuples—yes, multiple throuples—with twisty social and sexual dynamics. It’s a real wild-card show that’s so comfortable being totally bonkers, your only choice is to buckle in and enjoy the ride.—Danielle Cohen
Bored to Death
They say if you can’t hang out with your friends, hang out with your favorite TV friends (someone said it, trust me, don’t look it up). And since you’re probably tired of Ross and Rachel and their endless on-and-off, will-they-or-won’t-they bullshit, consider some of my favorite TV friends: Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman), Ray Hueston (Zach Galifianakis), and George Christopher (Ted Danson). It’s hard to believe this early ‘10s HBO comedy, about a Brooklyn writer (Ames; the show was written by the actual Jonathan Ames) who procrastinates by taking Craigslist gigs as a private detective, wasn’t a massive hit, considering the degree to which it was made for the New York media world (yes, including yours truly). But it’s also hard to believe because Danson is at his most delightful (saying something), and Schwartzman and Galifianakis’s characters similarly fit them to a tee. Bring it back!—Max Cea
A barely-exaggerated satire of what corporatized space travel might look like in the near future, Avenue 5 takes place on a space cruise that’s been thrown off its orbit, abandoning a thousand-odd rich tourists and a “crew” composed mainly of actors in space. The fallout is a mess of corporate incompetence, callous prioritization of PR spin over human dignity, and spectacular failure at every level imaginable. If you can stomach watching the cruise descend into the same kind of chaos our current administration has inflicted on our country right now, Avenue 5 is a damn funny way to enjoy Our Current Moment.—D.C.
The preeminent Italian-American mob family series has long been adored by every type of TV enthusiast, and while it might not be for the faint of heart, it is a verified must-see. I myself quietly, and guiltily, admit I never tuned in to the phenomena at its peak, so in the age of coronavirus as I am under quarantine, I vowed to see what all the fuss was about. We could all use some family time right about now, anyway.—Codie Steensma
The Bold Type
Seasons 2 and 3 of The Bold Type were about as essential to the sleepless, zombie-like days of my paternity leave as Melitta Natural #2 Coffee Filters. With its blessedly uncomplicated plot lines, and a delightfully cartoonish supporting cast, it's easy to dip in and out of while making dinner, organizing your closet, or playing Spelling Bee on your phone. Watching these young magazine editors navigate the big city and drop two-to-three-years-behind-the-curve inside baseball New York media references for a full hour is decadent, but if you multi-task, it can be productive as well. Season 4 finds long-time Scarlett EIC Jacqueline reinstated after the very old and very white and very stodgy powers that be at the magazine's parent company cut her loose for radically re-imagining the print magazine as a platform for marginalized voices. But they're going... digital only! If, like me, you've been badly missing Younger,' then these hour-long episodes will more than tide you over until it returns in June.—Martin Mulkeen
Hulu’s refresh of High Fidelity smartly swaps in Zoe Kravitz as romantically doomed record store owner Rob. And, okay, buying Kravitz and her impeccable vintage wardrobe as unlucky in love is a bit of a stretch, but she deftly nails the protagonist's destructive tornado of selfishness and sabotage. Flanked by two lovingly fleshed-out sidekicks, Rob navigates a lightly romanticized version of Brooklyn: the corner bodega worker knows her code word for buying cigarettes; the local weed dealer cruises by just in time to supply provisions for a night out. Flourishes like that are just grounded enough to feel oddly comforting amidst New York’s current isolated state.—D.C.
Have you ever been so enraptured by a TV show that you’ve found it difficult to not just throw it up on a second window while you wade through a workday. If not, you definitely haven’t watched Killing Eve. The machinations of the first season, written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, are currently occupying 90 percent of my barely functioning brain cells. Rest assured, the moment I can clock out each day, it is exactly what I am going to go back to. I suggest you do the same.—Daniel Varghese
Castlevania is, I have to say upfront, a very silly show. Based off of the long running vampire killing video game series of the same name, the show illustrates the rise and fall of Vlad Dracula Tepes as he goes on a murderous rampage and tries to wipe humanity from the earth as his revenge for the church burning his wife alive for being a scientist. I know this doesn’t actually sound silly, but the show leans into it by being both very self-serious and extremely self aware at the same time. There’s a really fun dark sense of humor at the core of the show that keeps everything moving. It also helps that it has some of the most fluidly animated action scenes of any anime that I can remember.—Gabe Conte
The OA’s labyrinthine plot and out-of-left-field turns will feel, at first, way too dark and destabilizing to handle right now. But once you lean into the wildly unpredictable nature of the show, it transmutes into a strangely moving testament to the transcendent power of unity, human compassion, and communal perseverance—all while remaining completely batshit crazy. Once it’s restored your faith in humanity, set aside some time to fall down the rabbit hole of Reddit conspiracy theories about its tragic cancelation. It’s almost as sublimely consuming as staring at Kingsley Ben-Adir’s face.—D.C.
Gentefied is growing on me. A new show about Mexican-Americans trying to stay afloat in rapidly-gentrifying Boyle Heights, L.A., it can be a bit sappy and sitcommy, but as Season 1 progresses, there have been snippets of true beauty and hardship that make it a worthwhile commitment, especially now. —Jordan Reed
I'm grateful to escape our current world for Phoebe Waller-Bridge's universe, one stuffed with no-filter family issues (Olivia Colman's savage stepmother performance is beyond good) and dating woes (I've never encountered a swearing priest IRL, so it's fun to watch Andrew Scott delight in his own portrayal). It's a beautiful show with the right balance of outrageous humor and devastation. I'm late to the party here but gratefully OK with it because it's been become a nice routine to watch an episode or two every night with a glass of wine. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to watch it. For those of us in quarantine with parents, do not watch it with them. Don't say I didn't warn you.—Dana Mathews
In this era of prestige TV, let us not forget that network dramas are trying it, too. Manifest, which is only semi-ironically my wife’s favorite show, has a premise that sounds like Lost meets Avengers: Endgame, plus some late-season Heroes for, uh, “good” measure. A plane full of passengers disappears only to reappear more than five years later, and the returned passengers are hearing voices in their heads and seeing mysterious visions. The central mystery isn’t exactly urgent, which gives our heroes — stock characters like an NYC cop and a doctor — plenty of time to go on dumb little side-quests. It’s honestly refreshing, especially in times like this, to watch a show that’s trying its best but is also endearingly lame. For my money, the funniest thing on television is any time one character puts on glasses so he can go teach at his Big Job as a college professor.—James Grebey
Drag superstars Trixie Mattel and Katya join forces for weekly, 10-minute episodes on YouTube about... well, about mostly nothing, but also everything. Recent topics have included "Gurl, You Gay," "Winning & Losing," "Dental Artistry," and more. But each episode uses its topic as a mere launching pad; no amount of words, in any permutation, could possibly explain the gut-busting hilarity that ensures. Just watch it.—B.C.
Better Call Saul
As a massive fan of Breaking Bad (definitely the greatest TV drama of all time, in my opinion) I decided to dive in to its spin off focusing on Saul Goodman. It took me a couple of days to binge the first three seasons, and I've since almost finished Season 4. My elevator pitch: if you miss Breaking Bad, watch. this. show. Vince Gilligan is a genius, and every episode is action-packed with tension, excitement, intrigue, and drama. It has everything that made Breaking Bad so special, and feels comfortably familiar, but also like something entirely new at the same time. It just keeps getting better and better.—James Pettigrew
Ever want to be somewhere else? Anywhere else? San Bonifacio, Texas, the setting of this pulpy murder mystery, may not be familiar to you, but just give it a minute. That's about how long it will take for you to feel completely transported there. Everything about the show feels seamlessly lived-in; the nefarious place, the quirky characters, the steamy relationships—as if we, the audience, were all of the sudden just dropped into their world. Take a break from your self-imposed house arrest and tag along with Rosario Dawson (who gives a smashing leading performance as Alegra Dill) as she searches for her sister's killer in her corrupt hometown.—Keir Novesky
For a show called The Outsider it sure is a treat for people forced to stay indoors. The show, based on a Stephen King novel with the same title, starts as a standard cop procedural following a slam-dunk case. The suspect is caught red-handed, red-shirted, and red-.... mouthed all over town. But the show, in typical King fashion, takes a turn for the mystical. Evil spirits are introduced, things are blown up, and Jason Bateman gives the bird straight-to-camera! The show wraps everything up in ten tidy episodes—perfect for a day, night, or weekend spent on the couch.—Cam Wolf
For the most part, You is over-the-top, hilariously transparent trash TV that is so unembarrassed by its own lunacy, it’s just fun to chuckle along. Sometimes it’s a genuinely insightful indictment of a specific strain of good-guy male allyship (think: the family from Get Out, but for gender instead of race). Genius casting puts Penn Badgley—who played the original cynical-but-hopeful romantic writer underdog on Gossip Girl—in the shoes of Joe, a psychopathic stalker who hates Instagram and loves books. Ludicrous side characters like Peach Salinger (yup), Forty (who unironically calls everyone “old sport”) and Hari Nef as a condescending TA make it well worth your while.—D.C.
Mystery-thrillers like True Detective or even The Outsider often have trouble sticking the landing, because it’s really hard to make all the answers as exciting as all the questions. Season 1 of USA’s The Sinner, which starred Jessica Biel as a woman who snaps and stabs a seemingly random person to death, actually has a rare and satisfying conclusion. Season 2 followed the detective from Season 1, Bill Pullman’s Harry Ambrose, as he solved another strange mystery in New York’s Hudson Valley, this time with the great Carrie Coon. It’s fine, but not a great as the first season. Season 3, though, which is currently airing, puts an exciting spin on the formula. This time, Ambrose is wrong, and after two seasons of seeing him find the hidden good in dark crimes, it’s thrilling to see him when he’s truly in too deep.—J.G.
My girlfriend recommended we watch Sharp Objects as the first series we binged together during this period of self isolation. She described it as a "slow burn" but also said confidently that the ending was worth the wait. She's right: the show is shot and edited stunningly, and Jean-Marc Valle's incredible directing coupled with Amy Adams's flawless performance made this one of the best shows I've ever seen, even if it did get frustrating waiting for answers. If you like intense psychological thrillers, this show is for you.—J.P.
My Brilliant Friend
About four years ago, this was the book you saw in everyone’s hands on the subway. Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan novels are set in a small, poor, violent town outside of Naples, Italy. Starting when the two main characters are young girls, the series traces their chaotic dependency on one another as they navigate the throes of education, family, marriage, love, and more. Shout out to directors Alice Rohrwacher and Saverio Costanzo for developing an Italian and Neopolitan-language show, currently in its second season, that perfectly mirrors the beauty and brilliance of the novels.—C.S.
Some avant garde fiction, a meditation on race and technology, and more.
Love at first Zoom is possible.
Originally Appeared on GQ