Film & TV Review

Lockdown Special

It’s easy to get bored while we’re spending days on end indoors, and it can be easy to get bogged down with all the negativity surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully these days we have endless streaming services, free or otherwise, that can keep us entertained, optimistic and inspired during these unprecedented circumstances. So, here are a few recommendations from across the spectrum of streaming services.

If you don’t have a Netflix or Amazon subscription, there are thankfully plenty of free alternatives to choose from. BBC iPlayer has several award-winning box sets on it, all completely free.

Fleabag” written by and starring Phoebe WallerBridge has been one of my favourite British TV shows in ages. With a staggering 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Fleabag balances being incredibly funny and surprisingly heartfelt and always absolutely unfiltered. Provided you have a taste for inappropriate humour, this 12-episode show shouldn’t be missed.

This Country” is another hilarious BBC TV show, this time in the form of a mockumentary about bog-standard, English life. Like the UK version of “The Office in tone (not least because of Charlie Cooper’s brilliant performance in both), This Country is a funny and engaging reflection on our unique island.

Moving past the BBC, ITV’s brand new three-part drama “Quiz” takes an interesting look back at the events surrounding Charles and Diana Ingram’s incredible and highly questionable success on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2001.

The drama is a great mix of intense and gripping, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, due to the insanity of the original story, which gives “Quiz” a great tone. It’s also uniquely ambiguous and vague about the events that took place on that episode in the early 2000s, allowing you to make up your own mind.

On to the paid streaming services. “Dunkirk“, a film I rated very highly back in 2017, is now on Netflix. It is perhaps the finest war film of the decade and a great film about Britons being brave and fighting adversity under astonishing circumstances.

On a completely different note, Netflix recently added an enormous amount of films by legendary Studio Ghibli. This includes a raft of what are considered to be some of the finest animated features of all time, such as “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke“.

Netflix also has several Oscar-nominated original movies, for instance, “Marriage Story“, featuring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and a personal favourite: “Uncut Gems“, featuring a career-defining performance by Adam Sandler.

A show that has flown under the radar is Netflix’s original series “Night on Earth“, a stunning nature documentary about, well, night on Earth.

Finally, Disney+ launched about a month ago in the UK and contains a ludicrous amount of blockbuster content: All the Marvel and Star Wars movies, as well as every Pixar and Disney animation. The service also features hours of National Geographic content and every episode of “The Simpsons“.

For decades film and TV have provided escapism for people going through difficult times, and there’s never been a better time to get into a great film or a gripping show.

Article with thanks by Bill Robinson.

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