Quarantine and Chill? Here's My Top 11
Hey, ya'll. It's your friendly queer AF non-binary comrade Derick and I am, you guessed it, self-quarantining. These last two weeks have been weird as hell, but also not too different from my day-to-day as I already worked from home. #blessed I know that's not the same for a lot of folks, and with school being closed indefinitely, I can imagine the cabin fever is beginning to set in (for parents and kids). But do not fret! I have put together a pretty fantastic list of TV series and movies to binge-watch while you wait for things to go back to normal...or whatever things were before this pandemic hit. Here are 11 of my top picks to watch while experiencing an apocalypse:
1. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (TV SERIES)
This is a no brainer and a queer favorite. I mean, you heard it here first guys — "If the apocalypse comes, beep me." Seriously though, I'm grabbing for my pager because shit right now is a total emergency. I was already pretty sure the Hellmouth was here, but now I'm almost positive. There are seven seasons to watch and while it's not super important to watch the original movie, it's a great complimentary piece starring Kristy Swanson.
2. HARRY POTTER (FILM SERIES)
Seven books, eight movies. Plus two (out of five?) additional films. THIS SERIES KEEPS ON GIVING. Fuck JK Rowling, but hail Harry Potter. The original first book came out the exact same year I was also 10 years old (when it all begins for wee little Harry), and it was really cool to grow up with the series — literally. With each film weighing in at a hefty 2.5 hours, you've got just under 20 hours to watch (and that's only the legit Harry Potter movies). Add the Fantastic series and you've got a 24-hour marathon to champion through. Now, this is the kind of thing I could have excelled at in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. There's nowhere to stream for free, but you can rent them on most platforms.
3. SEX AND THE CITY (TV SERIES)
If I'm being totally honest, I didn't grow up watching this series. The finale came out some time while I was in high school, and while I was definitely watching HBO, I never watched this. That is, until college. By that time TBS was already running re-runs and I was hooked. It's the original Girls, for anyone who hasn't seen it. And my partner pointed that out while we were watching. I *somehow* convinced them to watch the movies first (2 and then 1, because why go in order?). We are finishing the finale season now, and let me just tell you — the writing in this is hilarious. Transphobic or two at times, because duh, these white women have no idea about shit. But there is a certain inclusivity to be noted, and that's a beautiful thing. There are hardly any PoC characters for being set in NYC, but it's better than Friends — hands down. You can stream via the OG platform HBO or Hulu.
4. NAILED IT (REALITY TV SERIES)
I'm pretty sure this showed up recommended for us on Netflix, and if the algorithm knows, it knows. AND IT KNEW. Nailed It does not disappoint. I'm not a HUGE fan of reality television, like, at all, but there's something different about series that make people actually do something. Like BAKE. And not just bake, but BAKE THINGS THEY NEVER SHOULD ATTEMPT. That's what makes this so funny, and the host, comedian/writer Nicole Byer TAKES THE FUCKING CAKE. There are three seasons of this, plus a few holiday specials and some spin-offs and European versions and really...there's a lot of this to see.
5. PROJECT RUNWAY (REALITY TV SERIES)
I have probably watched every season of Project Runway at least four times. Some more than that. It's one of my favorite TV shows to just throw on while cleaning or cooking, and then dash in for the runway show amidst all the workroom drama. If it wasn't for Tim Gunn making it work for 16 seasons, IDK what I would have done. BECAUSE THIS IS MY SHOW. Project Runway, yes, is a reality show but it makes my heart sing when I see their designs walk the runway. I even had a friend on the show! You can stream seasons 8-16 on Hulu. The other seasons are... out there. But nowhere official. And that doesn't even include the seasons without Tim and Heidi, or the All-Stars seasons, or the kids seasons or all the international ones, too. You'll be good for a while!
6. THE PURGE (FILM SERIES)
Did you think I would skip out and not include something a little scary? Especially since we're going through dark times right now, let's just think about how bad it actually could be. The Purge was one of the first movies I saw with my partner and it's become a classic go-to favorite. Who doesn't like a plot where you have free reign to kill one night of the year? OK, maybe it's a little gruesome, but it's what you sign up for when death's knocking at your door. There are only three films in the series, and you can do it all it one sitting. You can stream on Hulu.
7. AMERICAN HORROR STORY (TV SERIES)
The beautiful thing about American Horror Story is that each season is designed to stand alone. They all interweave, but each seasons cast plays a completely separate set of characters (well, mostly, some do cross over). It is the quintessential afterschool horror drama with a slight "monster of the week" feel, but all with complex plots and themes. Oddly enough, it was created by Glee's Ryan Murphy. Watching that, then watching this, you can definitely see the sharp and witty humor injected that mirrors that of Glee. My favorite seasons are Coven (witches) and Hotel (Lady Gaga, duh), and the most recent season did not disappoint — though we have not finished it. It's on the list! AHS has nine seasons and you can watch them all on Netflix.
8. DRAGULA (REALITY TV SERIES)
My partner and I discovered this last year and were immediately hooked. If you've ever seen RuPaul's Drag Race, it's like that, but dark. And inclusive. AND GOOD. OK, so the first season's production value is next to nothing, but that's what makes it so amazing. That and the incredible costumes and numbers these entertainers put together. If you're up for a competition-style reality show where fashion (and a bunch of gross shit) takes center stage, then saddle up, Dragula is for YOU. Available to stream on Netflix.
9. SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (TV SERIES)
Sabrina: The Teenage Witch has had so many iterations since her inception in 1962. Sabrina Spellman, a quirky teenager who comes into her own as a witch under the guidance of her two aunts and talking cat, Salem. As an avid lover of Clarissa Explains it All, this was a natural progression for me. There are seven seasons total and a movie that came out prior. Of course, there are the comics, too, that can keep you occupied. You can watch the TGIF series on Hulu along with the new series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
10. STAR WARS (FILM SERIES)
I fell in love with Stars Wars with Jar Jar Binks. I hate to say it, but I really could have cared less pre-1999 about the franchise. Sure, I watched the Ewok movies (religiously), and I had SEEN all three of the original movies, but I never really got into it. Then Phantom Menace came out and I was so all about it. AMIDALA was everything. I loved Jar Jar. Excuse me, but Ewan McGregor? Hot. I lost interest after that, but then sometime in the last year, I thought to revisit the films. I rewatched all of them with my partner (they, too, were only about that Queen Amidala life) and we watched the newest movies. A lot of folks said they didn't like them, but I really did. You catch watch all of them and then some on Disney+.
11. TALES OF THE CITY (TV MINI-SERIES)
Quite possibly one of the most amazing pieces of queer television history, Tales of the City is based on the book series by Armistead Maupin and originally aired in 1977 as a mini-series. It follows the story of Mary Ann Singleton as she uproots of midwest sense of self for the liberated queerness of San Francisco. Along the way, she meets a number of friends. But I never saw this series, and in fact, I discovered it as I discovered the reboot...or so I thought. NO. IT'S A CONTINUATION OF THE SAGA. And a saga it was! I learned there are 12 books and four total seasons. It stars Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, in the original and the newest season. You can find both of them on Netflix and the other two on YouTube.
Derick Stevens-Jones is the co-creator of Queerport and an active member of Shreveport's LGBTQIA+ community. Between running a vintage clothing shop and handling social media for clients, you can find them relaxing at home with their partner indefinitely until this pandemic is over.