Streaming Recommendations From CityBeat Editors

Stuck inside? Us too. Here are a few recommendations for what to stream.

click to enlarge L to R: Vanessa and Nick Lachey in Netflix's "Love is Blind." - Netflix
Netflix
L to R: Vanessa and Nick Lachey in Netflix's "Love is Blind."

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Not unique to Cincinnati are cancelations and the postponement of events, with experts recommending the practice of social distancing in order to slow its spread. For many of us, this means working remotely (if able) and staying home for the time being. What better time than now to catch up on streaming? Here are a few recommendations for what to watch via our editors. 

Love is Blind

Practicing social distancing? Here, have some reality TV about potential couples who are…practicing social distancing? Love is Blind sets up romance-ready singles for a week of literal blind dating as they get to know each other from separate rooms opposite a dividing wall called the “pods,” which sounds like it was pulled straight from Black Mirror. Love is declared within days and the question is popped within the week, all without the contestants ever meeting face-to-face. Once blissfully engaged, couples meet for the first time, take off for a beach vacation, move in together and plan their impending wedding within a month. Hometown hero Nick Lachey and his wife Vanessa host, if you can call appearing every third episode to scare the couples with a dramatic speech before disappearing again before hosting. (If nothing else, Love is Blind is solely worth watching for Nick introducing himself as “obviously Nick Lachey.”) — MORGAN ZUMBIEL

click to enlarge "McMillions" - Courtesy of HBO
Courtesy of HBO
"McMillions"

McMillions

I have many memories of rolling up McDonald’s in my mom’s minivan per the request of my older sister, who was hellbent on collecting winning Monopoly property spaces. Unbeknownst to us, it was all tied to a massive criminal conspiracy. With six recently wrapped episodes, HBO’s McMillions takes viewers back to 1989-2001 to McDonald’s most successful promo, which just happened to be rigged by an ever-expanding network of crooks...and normal people who were manipulated into the act. Starting with the FBI agents — shout-out to Agent Doug Matthews, an absolute joy — who cracked the case, the docuseries unravels the tale slowly, taking us through individual characters and motives. — MACKENZIE MANLEY

Sex Education

British teen dramedy Sex Education released its second season on Netflix this January, and it’s just as good as the first, if not better. It follows Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), a teenage boy who, despite his mom being a sex therapist, is incredibly awkward about, well, sex. Surprisingly, he’s pretty good at doling out advice. Alongside Maeve (Emma Mackey), an angsty classmate who befriends Otis, he opens a “sex clinic” to help students navigate a number of problems. It’s cheeky, endearing, sensitive and validating. With an incredible cast playing characters (mostly) worth rooting for, Sex Education may ruin other teen dramas for you — because it’s just that damn good. — MM

I Am Not Okay With This

Teenage angst kills in I Am Not Okay With This — and it begins with 17-year-old Sydney Novak running down a road at night splattered in blood a la Carrie. But mostly it’s a charming seven-episode Netflix series. Sophia Lillis takes the role of Novak, who discovers that she has telekinetic powers. She navigates this new ability while grappling with growing up, leg acne, having a crush on her best friend (Dina, played by Sofia Bryant) and parental relationships. Down the road is the quirky Stanley Barber — essentially Sixteen Candles’ Ducky — played by Wyatt Oleff. If Oleff and Lillis seem familiar, that’s because both starred in 2017’s It. On that note, though set present-day, I Am Not Okay With This drips in 1980s nostalgia, from their retro outfit choices to Stanley’s VHS collection to the characters hanging out at diners. At 20-minutes an episode, it’s also a breeze to binge. If you dig Stranger Things or The End of the F***ing World, this is for you. Season 2 has yet to be announced. — MM

Pandemic

Want to escape talk of COVID-19 by binging Netflix’s Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak? I mean, weird, but you do you. Released in January, this six-part docuseries explores the spread of viral illness throughout history. Maybe it doesn’t ease the mind, but you’ll come away with a better understanding of how viruses spread around the globe. — MM

click to enlarge "The Magicians" - James Dittiger/SYFY
James Dittiger/SYFY
"The Magicians"

The Magicians

This sexy SyFy millennial drama — like Harry Potter with more cleavage and guys in eyeliner wearing shirtless vests — is about students at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. The magicians use their powers to fight demons; summon old gods; uncover a parallel realm similar to the Chronicles of Narnia but with more murder and talking rabbits; and also sing top Broadway hits. There are very adult themes like drug use, sexual assault, pedophilia, cancer and possession, but if you’re looking to escape by watching a group of attractive people cast spells with stupid hand gestures while suffering through their own personal trials, The Magicians is quite a bingeable option. I watched all four seasons on Netflix, in a row, while recovering from a surgery and on several pain pills, which may have influenced why I think this show is so good. (A fifth season is airing now.) — MAIJA ZUMMO

9-1-1 (and 9-1-1 Lone Star)

This Fox procedural melodrama is from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear (much of the group behind Glee, Pose, American Horror Story) and it is straight-up trashy pulp, with a surprising cast of big-name stars: Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Each episode features several 911 calls taken by operator Love Hewitt, which are then answered by a team of firefighters, led by Krause, or the police, helmed by Bassett. The calls are so bizarre and range from people getting impaled with poles, bouncy castles getting stuck on cliffs and babies being flushed down toilets to someone being strangled by a pet snake, people falling off of inverted roller coasters and a goddamn tsunami taking out the Santa Monica Pier. It is laughably bad, but very addicting, especially when you add in the personal relationships. It’s streaming on Hulu, as are the first few episodes of spin-off 9-1-1 Lone Star, which stars Rob Lowe as a former New York City firefighter who worked 9/11 and now has lung cancer. He gets called to Austin, Texas to rebuild a firehouse after all but one of its firefighters died in a fertilizer explosion. Liv Tyler stars as a paramedic and the rest of the cast play firefighters who include a Muslim woman, a transgender man and Lowe’s gay son, who is struggling with addiction. Drama! — MAIJA ZUMMO 

Scroll to read more Movies & TV articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.