The worst part about being stuck at home with nothing to do isn’t the boredom. Nor is it the constant snacking on your precisely researched rations. It’s not even the fact that you can’t see other people for another two weeks.
The worst part is the anxiety that comes with knowing the world continues to rotate without your participation, moving in directions you could never predict and will no doubt have to figure out once everything calms down again. It’s a scary time and when you’re stuck at home, doing your part to save the world, there’s not really much to keep you busy.
We at Stuff know what that’s like and we all know how much it sucks. While there’s only so much we can do while we’re floating in this same boat, we can at least offer a few suggestions on what to watch to at least boost those emotions.
Netflix is a great resource in these monotonous times and while there’s plenty of dramas and thrillers to keep you occupied, we thought it best to turn out attention those shows that leave you feeling just a little brighter, better than when you first sat down to watch them. We could all do with a lighter weight in our chests right now.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Undeniably the peak of the superhero genre and setting an incredibly high bar for Western animation across the board, Into The Spider-Verse not only serves as a visual feast but tells a genuine, heartwarming story of self-doubt, trust, growth, and acceptance.
While many might think they require in-depth knowledge of the long (and often convoluted) Spider-Man comics, Into The Spider-Verse focuses less on complicated backstory and more on Miles Morales as he tries to come to terms with the powers that have somehow come into his possession.
It’s a movie that reminds us that anyone can be a hero, even if everything points to it being impossible. Into The Spider-Verse is the antithesis to the “Chosen One” story, with our hero being utterly average in every way, often feeling the pressure of his own inadequacy as everyone tries to tell him he’s special. Miles isn’t remarkable at all, making it all the more satisfying to see him grow into his role as Spider-Man. No Expectations? More like Great Expectations.
Netflix couldn’t have pushed this series onto the front page at a better time. While Community has earned a cult following for its meta-focused commentary on serialised television and zany, irreverent humour, Dan Harmon’s magnum opus (it’s better than Rick and Morty, fight us) has just enough genuine moments of friendship and joy to remind you that the society (or community, as it were) is a far more welcoming and special place than you give it credit for.
With stellar comedic performances all around (Danny Pudi and Donald Glover absolutely stealing every scene they’re in), Community might stumble a bit in the later seasons but the wit, imagination and fun all work together to transform what begins as a stereotypical sitcom into an escapist exploration of the relationships we form and how they shift and transform as we evolve as people. It’s a modern classic that needs to be consumed in its entirety. Just power through that fourth season.
John Mulaney’s The Comeback Kid
It’s no surprise that this is actually John Mulaney’s second appearance on this list because there’s just something about this very good boy’s sense of humour that will make you feel all giddy and silly for an hour and a half. Look, Mulaney is probably not going to restore your belief in the world but he’ll certainly make you feel better about living in it.
Mulaney has a whole load of comedy specials on Netflix and while they’re certainly all worth watching, The Comeback Kid is his best, in our opinion. There’s just enough general and niche humour to appeal to everyone’s sensibilities. He’s also just so damn charming, did we mention that part?
(For those you wondering, he’s in Into The Spider-Verse too, but we’ll leave you to figure out who Mulaney plays because it’s WILD).
There’s something so quaint about small-town Ireland that following the exploits of four foul-mouthed Irish school girls (and their English friend who just seems to tag along) as they try to navigate high school in the nineties makes for some hilariously dissonant watching. With some absolutely stellar performances from every person involved, Derry Girls is like if someone adapted Spud and actually made a decent movie.
When you’re not laughing at the antics of ridiculously high strung and chaotic teenagers, you’ll be smiling at how their friendship is utterly unshakable in a time when Ireland was on the verge of total collapse. There’s a strange innocence to the whole thing; kids just trying to deal with issues that feel world-ending while their country is literally at war with itself.
It’s a trip down nostalgia lane, reminding you what it was like to be a teenager and how large everything felt. Derry Girls is the perfect escape in these uncertain and often scary times.
The IT Crowd
Look, The IT Crowd isn’t for everyone. It’s irreverent, silly and sometimes more than a little cynical. However, if one pushes those aside, you’ll find a sitcom that’s so sharp with its wit and writing it could slice a brick in half with a butter knife. Poking fun at modern society, internet culture and corporate nonsense, The IT Crowd goes hard on an abundance of subjects and manages to make them funny, with actual jokes rather than inane references. Looking at you, Big Bang Theory.
Special mention goes out to Richard Ayoade who delivers one of the most unique and memorable comedic performances in sitcom history. Noel Fielding also rocks up every once in a while to deliver a few cracking lines; it’s a show that’s dripping with glorious self-deprecating British humour and nearly every joke works. Maybe it won’t fill your heart with joy but it’ll certainly make you laugh until you forget about your worries.