As we enter yet another month of self-isolation, you've probably burned through not only the best TV shows available to you, but the worst, too—to say nothing of everything in between. But that's where GQ's expertise comes in: our editors have been doing deep dives on all your favorite streaming platforms to dredge up the best TV shows you're not already watching—that means no cult-favorites, no hits, no water cooler (remember those?) moments in the bunch. So for those of you ready to take the plunge, here's the best of the bunch.
Fishing With John
There are six episodes of Fishing With John, which is not much, but also fairly incredible. The series, which was filmed in 1991 and didn’t air until 1998 (on Bravo), is a treasure waiting to be discovered near the surface (on YouTube) of the Internet’s vast ocean. The John in the title is musician (Lounge Lizards, Marvin Pontiac), actor (Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law), and painter John Lurie. And the fishing happens on trips to places as near as Montauk and as far as Bangkok, alongside Lurie’s buddies, Jim Jarmusch, Tom Waits, and Willem Dafoe—and also Matt Dillon and the late Dennis Hopper. That all may sound like the recipe for a hit travel show, but Lurie, who wrote and directed, kept the pace fishing-slow and the tone dry and loopy (“I knew I should’ve brought some cheese,” Tom Waits says at one point. “I’ve caught all my big fish on cheese. How often does a fish get a chance to eat some of the finer cheeses?”). Every now and then, the guys actually catch fish, but the real focus is the fish out of water: these big city-dwelling artists. The prize catch? The narrator Robb Webb (you’ll recognize his voice), whose commentary recasts uneventful days at sea as epic adventures. Improbably, no show better reflects the unhinged, slightly seasick present mood—and more improbably, lately no show has proved to be a better hang.—Max Cea
While some of us do quietly root for Kendall in Succession, his German-Luxembourgian equivalent Luc Jacoby in Bad Banks is entirely unpalatable. And Shiv’s parallel, lead character Jana Liekam, is refreshingly deserving of acclaim. Not to say this is a story of a family throne, but it is one of high stakes business, skyscrapers, private jets, political intricacies, people that look rather fine in a pantsuit, and of course, backstabbing.—Codie Steensma
The Midnight Gospel
The Midnight Gospel is a ridiculous new series from Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time, and Duncan Trussell, of the podcast The Duncan Trussell Family Hour. The show follows Clancy, a “spacecaster” who uses a vagina-shaped computer (yes, you read that right) to visit dying worlds and interview their beings about life, death, and what it all means. While this show is not as bingeable as some other adult cartoons we know and love, it brilliantly ties together conversations from Trussel’s podcast with Ward’s mind-bending, cosmic animation. The two tracks run simultaneously, but not always congruently, adding a depth that may even inspire you to watch each episode a second or third time. All at once heartbreaking, silly, thoughtful, and surreal, through Clancy’s psychedelic quests for the meaning of life, I found some peace and solace in these strange times. The Midnight Gospel is definitely a trip, but it might just be exactly what we need right now.—Corinne Ferman
Little Fires Everywhere
I have had actual fights about this Hulu show's controversial and highly polarizing finale, which changes some key plot points from the excellent Celeste Ng novel on which it is based, but holy hell is Little Fires Everywhere still worth your investment. Reese Witherspoon and Keri Washington are an inspired pairing, with each incredible actress fighting to out-decibel the other, and the show's B and C storylines are just as compelling as its main one. It deals with race, queerness, and what goes on behind the doors of homes with white picket fences. Little Fires Everywhere is juicy, fluffy, and fleeting—just what I needed, now more than ever.—Brennan Carley
One part Japanese yakuza film, one part British detective show—and that should be enough to get you to stop reading this and go straight to your Netflix queue—Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame) follows a Tokyo detective named Kenzo who travels to London to track down his gangster younger brother, Yuto, long presumed dead. The ambitious genre crossover not only works, but provides consistently stunning visuals, an endearingly eccentric supporting cast, and a plot so propulsive you won’t want to take a break. Special mention goes to Yōsuke Kubozuka, the actor who plays Yuto, for one of the most magnetic and effortlessly cool performances this year.—Gabriella Paiella
I briefly thought I ran out of binge-worthy shows, but thankfully discovered British mystery thriller The Stranger on Netflix, which quietly arrived on the streamer in January. Based on the Harlan Coben novel of the same name, a mysterious stranger appears out of nowhere to tell family man Adam Price (a fantastic Richard Armitage) a terrible secret about his wife, who then goes missing. This stranger keeps appearing and blackmailing this seemingly idyllic English town... if you're anything like me, you won't be able to stop watching.—Dana Mathews
Vicky Jones and Phoebe Waller-Bridge have a knack for turning unconventional love interests into global heartthrobs (see: hot priest), so naturally, they would be the first to capitalize on the fact that Domhnall Gleeson is, in fact, hot. It has a pretty alluring premise: a pair of ex-lovers honor a pact to leave their lives if they text each other the word “RUN”—but all of that is secondary to the sheer horniness of it all. Gleeson and Merritt Wever seem incapable of standing more than one foot apart from each other; for the entirety of each episode, you expect them to take their clothes off in the next five seconds. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of tension going on—and I'm living for it. I’m surprised the show has flown under-the-radar since it has Fleabag’s signature charm in spades, plus it'll miraculously make you feel nostalgic for trains. More than anything, Run is extremely validating for those of us who were attracted to Gleeson in About Time. Justice!!—Iana Murray
Years and Years
This British series follows a family over the course of 15 years, intimately documenting how their lives are individually shaped by global catastrophes and political machinations far beyond their control. (Emma Thompson stars as a louche television personality who gets elected their right-wing populist leader.) What makes Years and Years so gripping is that its dystopia is not just terrifying, but entirely plausible. Also: one great Chumbawamba dance scene. —G.P.
This is not the first time I've recommended Amazon's "global cocaine drama" ZeroZeroZero to friends; it's not even the first time I've recommended Amazon's "global cocaine drama" ZeroZeroZero to you, dear readers of GQ, or the second. But this is the one piece of art that has been firmly lodged in my head since I zoomed through it in the earliest days of my quar. And because no amount of nutritious Criterion Channel streaming has been able to dislodge it, I'll try again. So: a few reasons to tune in. ZZZ reminds us that the global economy is perhaps untenably interconnected (timely!), and features astonishing overhead shots of boats (nostalgic!). There's a bit where Dane DeHaan wears a vest and a man bun (remember those?), and a whole lot where Andrea Riseborough fucks shit up while wearing a hair helmet and some cool Rachel Comey jeans (remember her?). See Harold Torres, who plays special-forces troop-turned-paramilitary warlord Manuel Contreras, become a freakin' star before your eyes. (We still make those, even in quarantine!) Borrow elderly mafia kingpin Don Minu's preferred meal plan: just a bunch of grapes, a hunk of cheese, and a bottle of wine, served directly atop the oldest, dustiest table in your home. ZeroZeroZero is a hard-bitten, realism-obsessed show about the inevitable brutality of human existence, and prominently features a character unable to leave his underground bunker. And ye it's precisely the escape I've needed. Please watch it so I can stop writing these. —Sam Schube
Did you like Catastrophe, or Fleabag, or Difficult People, or any other of the excellent '10s dark comedy series that dealt with the mundane like it were the surreal? Then FX's chewy, bleak by way of mile-a-minute laughs Breeders is for you! It's a British show about two parents who love their kids so much they sometimes hate them; who love each other so much they sometimes fantasize about life without the other; and who love the perfectly lovely grayness of their upper-middle class life so much that they'd throw it all a way in an instant if they could. Breeders trades in dichotomies like that so sharply and freshly, at every turn, that it's perhaps the most relatable (and, frankly, funniest) show on TV right now.—B.C.
Without question, this is one of the greatest book-to-screen adaptations of all time, one you probably haven't already seen. Aimless, middle-class Charles Ryder ('80s Jeremy Irons!) arrives at Oxford unsure of his course of study, let alone of his place in the world, until he finds himself in the orbit of the eccentric Lord Sebastian Flyte, an afternoon champagne drinker and apparent young man of the world. As time passes, Charles becomes caught up in the web of Sebastian's strict, secretive—and very, very Catholic—family. The great suit-and-sweater combinations, the drop-waist dresses, the fine wines, the pink wallpaper, the biting British humor, and the vast castle in the English countryside might feel escapist, but the moral roots of the story may actually have you doing a little soul-searching yourself. Or you can just watch it for its more aesthetic reasons, like I do.—Mary Marge Locker
Tales From the Loop
Most science fiction shows are flashy, promising bang-up action and dramatic set pieces. Tales From the Loop, on the other hand, is often content to just be. The Amazon series, which is based on Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings that combine mundane country life with high-tech robots—art that manages to be both ominous and comforting—has plenty of twists and turns. It’s not quite an anthology series, but each episode unpeels a little bit of the mystery of this small town and “The Loop,” a high-tech installation built underneath it. There are twists and turns, but Tales From the Loop’s main appeal is its humanism — a Twilight Zone that’s meditative instead of spooky.—James Grebey
The GQ editors have curated the only guide you need for navigating these uncertain times.
Originally Appeared on GQ