If the COVID-19 quarantine has taught us anything, it’s this: Being alone for days on end is BORING.
To alleviate the tedium, many people are turning to that old, faithful companion of days gone by – the television.
With streaming services galore and constant new releases, there is no end to potential entertainment. Still, many people find themselves asking, “What should I watch?”
Here are our suggestions, from game shows and sitcoms to soap operas and telenovelas.
“The Andy Griffith Show”
The Andy Griffith show follows widower Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie as they bumble through life in quiet Mayberry, North Carolina. With virtually no crimes to solve, Andy spends most of his time calming down his excitable cousin, Deputy Barney Fife. The series originally ran from 1960 – 1968 and is now available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
“I Love Lucy”
I Love Lucy is an American comedy that ran from 1951 from 1957, for a total of six seasons. Audiences loved watching fiery redhead Lucy Ricardo drive her Cuban bandleader husband crazy with her whacky antics. Today, you can catch Lucy and Ricky on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and CBS.
“The Brady Bunch”
The Brady Bunch revolves around a large blended family with six children: Architect widower Greg Brady has three sons and his new wife, widow Carol, has three daughters. Together with their maid Alice, the bunch gets into lots of silly (and often heartwarming) escapades. You can watch it on Hulu and CBS.
Though it only ran from October 1955 to September 1956, The Honeymooners remains one of America’s most beloved sitcoms. Starring Jackie Gleason, the comedy show follows perpetually flustered NYC bus driver Ralph Kramden, his wife Alice, and friends Ed and Trixie, through their lives in a shared apartment building. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
Game Shows to Challenge Your Mind
Password originally ran from 1961 – 1975. During each half hour show, two teams consisting of a celebrity guest and a contestant guessed words from clues. You can’t watch the original today, but you can find the later revivals – Password Plus and Super Password – on Amazon Prime.
Family Feud, which originally aired in 1976 with star Richard Dawson, has gone through several different iterations and hosts. The show, in which a contestant tries to guess the most popular answer to a survey question, remains a family favorite to this day. You can watch current host Steve Harvey on ABC or catch older episodes on Amazon Prime.
Jeopardy, everyone’s favorite television quiz show, has been on the air for an astounding five and a half decades. During each episode, three contestants (including the previous show’s champion) are given answers and they have to supply the questions. After three rounds, the person with the most money wins. You can watch Jeopardy on ABC, Hulu, and Netflix.
“Ellen’s Game of Games”
This one is more “fun” than “brain power,” but we all need a little entertainment right now! On Ellen’s Game of Games, the mischievous host airs live versions of some of the most popular games from her daytime show. Even better? You can download the app and play on your own at home! Available on NBC, Hulu, and YouTube.
Shows for the Whole Family
“Bill Nye the Science Guy”
Bill Nye the Science Guy is a live-action science program that originally aired from 1993 to 1998. Host Bill Nye was known for his quirky sense of humor and rapid-fire pacing. Studies found that
Viewers were better able to generate explanations and extensions of scientific ideas than non-viewers. Today, you can catch Bill Nye on Amazon Prime, YouTube, or Vudu.
The Voice is an American singing competition aimed at finding unsigned talent. The twist? Judges have their backs to the contestants so they can’t see what they look like – this competition is based on singing abilities alone! You can watch judges Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, John Legend, and Kelly Clarkson scout the talent on NBC or YouTube.
Jump back into the 90s with everyone’s favorite sitcom family! Full House follows widower Danny Tanner and roommates Joey (a stand-up comic) and Jesse (a party boy) as they raise Danny’s three daughters together. You can watch Full House on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
Planet Earth, a 2006 British television series, is known for being the most expensive nature documentary ever filmed, as well as the first to be filmed in high definition. State-of-the-art imagery takes you around the world to view everything from the oceans to the polar ice caps. You can find it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Vudu.
Soap Operas and Telenovelas
“Days of Our Lives”
This long-running saga follows the lives of the prominent Horton, Brady, Kiriakis, Hernandez, and DiMera families in a fictional Midwestern town. Love stories, tragedies, and triumphs about. You can catch the drama on NBC and Hulu.
“The Young and the Restless”
The Young and the Restless (often called Y&R) is set in fictional Genoa City, Wisconsin. Each hour-long show follows upper class families the Newmans and Abbotts as they struggle for power, love, and (often) revenge. You can watch the long-running soap on CBS and YouTube.
“Yo soy Betty, la fea”
Yo soy Betty, la fea (which translates to “I am Betty, the Ugly one”) is a Colombian telenovela which ran from 1999 – 2001. The hugely popular series spawned a number of spinoffs, including American hit comedy “Ugly Betty.” Today, you can still catch the original on Netflix.
“El Señor de los Cielos”
El Señor de los Cielos (or “Lord of the skies”) is an American telenovela created for the broadcast channel Telemundo. The series, which first aired in 2013, is based on the life of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the former leader of the Juarez Cartel. You can watch El Senor de los Cielos on Netflix, Hulu, or Telemundo.
Cooking and Baking Shows
Available on Netlix, this new program follows James Beard award-winning chef David Chang as he travels the world in search of unique regional cuisine. Guest stars include the likes of Nick Kroll, Ali Wong, and Jimmy Kimmel.
Former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy host Ted Allen guides contestants as they turn a basket of mystery ingredients into a three-course meal. The twist? Ingredients are unexpected and often downright strange – including items like a leftover Jell-O mold and dried fermented scallops. See what they’re cooking up on The Food Network or Hulu.
Recently revived in 2019, Good Eats follows host Alton Brown as he explored the origins of ingredients and how they interact with each other as he whips up a tasty dish. Often called the “Mr. Wizard of cooking,” Alton has long been a Food Network favorite. You can catch the show on its home network as well as Hulu.
“The French Chef”
We can’t talk about cooking shows and not mention Julia Child! Julia gained notoriety as America’s favorite cooking show host way back in 1961. Audiences loved her iconic high-pitched voice almost as much as her love for all things French.