WHAT TO STREAM WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING
BY: DUNE ROAD LIFESTYLE EDITORIAL STAFF
Shows on stream while social distancing at home are here to stay, at least for a little while. And knowing you (yes, you), you’ve probably already blown through your list of movies & shows that you’d been meaning to catch up on. So now what?
You’re in luck. We at DRL have been waiting for just this moment to rescue you from disappointing “For viewers who liked” recommendations with our list of must-see movies and streaming shows. We don’t do it for the thanks, but you. are. welcome. Here’s what you should stream while social distancing:
LIST 1 - HAMPTONS VIBES
Billions (Showtime) – If you haven’t heard of Billions, you probably don’t have any friends in finance (when it’s on, and even when it’s not, it’s all they ever talk about). Starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti, Billions tells the story of a hedge fund billionaire (with a massive house in the Hamptons) and the US Attorney hellbent on prosecuting him. There’s fast cars, glorious interior design, an eye-popping east end mansion (that, in real life, belongs to real-life billionaire Michael Loeb), and, of course, hedge fund / finance lingo galore. Is there anything more Hamptons? We thought not. Pro tip: Season 5 starts on Sunday, May 3rd, so this is your chance to catch up. Get to it.
Credit: James Minchin / SHOWTIME
The Affair (Showtime) – Showtime definitely brings it when it comes to generating chic, contemporary shows that relate to the Hamptons. The Affair (particularly, Season 1) is set out in Montauk, and features a lot of places we all known and love from out east (e.g., LUNCH / Lobster Roll). While there’s just a lot that the show gets wrong (e.g., referring to Montauk as “the island”) and the matter of Ruth Wilson’s positively bizarre take on a Long Island accent, Season 1 is still a nice visit to Montauk / out east vibes in general. The show has an interesting plot line, and has certainly had no shortage of controversy attached to it, but at the end of the day, it’s an easy way to visit the Hamptons right now, even with social distancing, via streaming at home.
Gossip Girl (The CW) – While a reboot is in the works, we’re talking about the original. For the older among you (and yeah, we at DRL are in that set), the series is old news. It’s what we grew up on, shaping our ideas and designs around New York, the Hamptons, and more. But a re-watch is oh-so-worth-it. There’s various nods to the Hamptons over the course of the show’s six-season run, and the overall vibe of casual luxury is so quintessentially “out east.” And for you young’uns who might have still been watching Nickelodeon when the series originally aired, trust us, if you’re into DRL, this is what you’ll want to stream while social distancing.
Summer House (Bravo) – Oh god. This show. We couldn’t not include it, but frankly, watching it may cost you some brain cells, so consider yourself warned. It’s a great take on an up-market Hamptons summer share and the antics of the young NYCers who inhabit it, but some of their choices…yeah, we can’t say we agree. It’s a great lighthearted binge-watch / cringe-watch, and our friend @sarah_otey makes a cameo in Season 4. So, if you’re in need for a guilty pleasure throwback to your wilder days out east, this show is the gold standard.
Royal Pains (USA) – Royal Pains is a tried-and-true Hamptons-set classic. The series, which aired from 2009 through 2016, did a lot to build the reputation and mystique that the Hamptons enjoys today. With gorgeous beach shots, a hefty dose of glitz and glam (some realistic, some…aspirational), and some quick one-liner comedy to boot, the show is an addicting watch and brings you all the out east feels.
LIST 2 - LIFESTYLE SELECTS
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN) – This one is for all the travel junkies out there. And for people who like food. People who like to travel to eat good / interesting food? How very Dune Road Lifestyle. We lost a legend–both in culinary and in journalism–with the passing of Bourdain in 2018. His legacy of insightful, fearless, empathetic and oft-irreverent food-travel journalism lives on, though, in shows like Parts Unknown. If you’ve never seen an episode, well, you’re in for a real treat; and if you have, now’s the time to catch up on all the ones you may have missed. Of all the TV there is to stream while social distancing, this series is one of the best out there. Period, fullstop, end of story.
Formula 1: Drive To Survive (Netflix) – With the cancellation of a large number of the early races in he 2020 Formula 1 season, fans like us have been missing the sport terribly. If you’re already a fan, you likely are too, and if you’re not yet a fan but are into the global luxury lifestyle, well, it’s high time you became one. There’s really never been as in-depth a look into the inner workings of F1 teams, team-driver relationships, the drivers themselves, and the sport as a whole, as the Netflix-produced series named here. With two seasons spanning the 2018 and 2019 competition years, the series provides a gripping, can’t-stop-watching look at the day-to-day of Formula 1. We’d recommend a stream while social distancing, which will hopefully have you all the more psyched for the eventual start of F1 in 2020.
Sex And The City (HBO) – This is taking it way back, but right now, we’ve nothing but time on our hands. “SATC,” as fans are wont to call it, is the OG of glitzy, glamorous, chic luxury-infused television. We won’t bother explaining it because, well, if you haven’t heard of it, you probably live under a rock. What we will say is that a re-watch of a few choice episodes—if not the whole series itself—is a great little pick-me-up and a reminder of just how great / interesting / cool life in New York City can be. We’re here for it, like we’ve always been, and we know you feel the same.
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes (BBC Two / Netflix) – You might not be able to get to your vacation house now, what with the CDC’s imposition of travel restrictions on New Yorkers. And if you’ve made it there, chances are, you’re feeling a bit trapped. If you’re in the mood for some virtual travel / tourism, though, this series on Netflix is your fix. The show, featuring some of the wildest architecture and home design in the world, is co-hosted by award-winning architect Piers Taylor. We can’t say it exactly qualifies as educational television, but hey, you might learn something for your next out east home renovation. Because let’s face it, when this COVID thing is all over, it’ll be time to live your most epic life ever.
LIST 3 - THE MOST BINGEWORTHY
Top Boy: Summerhouse / Top Boy (Channel 4 / Netflix) – Set in gritty housing projects (or “estates,” as they’re called across the pond) in East London, Top Boy was originally launched by BBC Channel 4 in 2011 and continued for two seasons until canceling it in 2013. Fans were shocked, as the show was hugely popular, and Drake wound up negotiating a deal with Netflix to bring the show over and launch a third season in 2019. If you search Netflix for “Top Boy,” you’ll find two titles, one including the word “Summerhouse” and the other without. The one with “Summerhouse” (a reference to the housing project from where the main characters hail) is the Channel 4 production, with two seasons set before and providing the run-up to Top Boy (without the Summerhouse title reference). The one without is the Netflix production with 1 season, effectively “season 3” of the story arc. So, save yourself the confusion and watch them in that order. We didn’t, the first time, and, well, we wound up watching it all again anyhow. But with good reason! The show fills the void left in us when The Wire ended, and while the plots aren’t nearly the same, the whole vibe, aesthetics, intricacies and view into urban realities just hit home in a way that so many other shows over the years have tried and failed. We can’t say enough good things about it, so just go watch and see what all the hype is about. Pro-tip: now’s the time to get ahead of it, too, as season 2 of Top Boy (“season 4” overall) is reportedly dropping later in 2020. Hopefully we won’t have to stream while social distancing by then.
Peaky Blinders (BBC) – Remember back a few years ago when seemingly every guy was out there sporting long hair up top with shaved down sides? The “undercut” as it’s called was apparently a popular hairstyle among gangsters in the UK during the interwar period between World Wars I and II. Why, then, did it reemerge from history around 2013? Blame this show, and the brilliant performance / star status of its lead actor, Cillian Murphy. Taking on the role of Tommy Shelby (the leader of Birmingham’s “Peaky Blinders” gang) Murphy made the hairstyle, sartorial preferences (see, e.g., tweed suits) and other habits a major thing from the mid-2010s through today. From lace-up leather boots to peaked caps, the influence of this show’s setting and costume are everywhere in the way men are dressing today, if you know the frame of reference with which to look. The show itself is addictive, with all the plot-twists and backstabbing you’d expect from a show about 20th century British gangsters. With amazing later-season performances by actors like Tom Hardy (playing the oh-so-quotable Alfie Solomons) and an ever-evolving plot, Peaky Blinders is a show that doesn’t hold back, and neither should you when deciding whether to watch.
Bodyguard (BBC One) – Even with Robb Stark’s untimely passing in Game of Thrones, we know you can’t enough of Richard Madden. In 2018, though, viewers got the chance to see him shine in the role of London Metropolitan Police Sergeant David Budd. Though only a single season with just 6 episodes (with rumors of a second season floating around), the show isn’t a huge commitment, though once you start you won’t be able to stop. The show gives off major Homeland and 24 vibes, if you were into those, but with a decidedly savvy / sharp take in the way only the British know how. If you’re up for a day of counterterrorism excitement, turn on Bodyguard and strap yourself in. It’s definitely a ride, all the way through.
Luther (BBC One) – This is Idris Elba at his best, and the character he plays often at his own worst. The “flawed-man detective” character is one we’ve been presented with in too many shows to count, over the years, but Elba just takes it to a whole new level in Luther. Ruth Wilson’s performance as Alice Morgan is also, frankly, stunning, and it makes her performance in The Affair almost forgivable. Everyone has bad days / weeks / entire shows, but in Luther, Wilson dances a deadly, thrilling dance around Elba’s eponymous gumshoe character, and the interactions always have us at the edge of our seats. Spanning 5 “seasons” but with a mere 20 episodes, the show isn’t a huge commitment to get into, though, as with the others, once you start, good luck stopping. If you’re into crime / police procedural shows, Luther is one you just can’t go without streaming while social distancing.
Sherlock (BBC One) – Forget the movies; if you want the best take on Sherlock Holmes we’ve ever seen, you need to watch the BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (as Holmes and Watson, respectively). The BBC production (totaling 13 episodes over 4 seasons) is, like a lot of the other shows on this list, not a huge time commitment to get through. The show does an incredible service to the intellectual prowess of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, which so many of the other Holmes productions simply fail to live up to. The twists are so intricate they’re nearly impossible to see coming, all while more or less staying in the bounds of realistic feasibility. It makes for a compelling thrill that’ll have you trying to out-Sherlock Sherlock, and maybe winning a few yourself. If you’re a fan of the Holmes stories or classic “whodunits” in general, this is one you most certainly can’t lose with.
Mossad 101 (Channel 2) – How much Hebrew do you speak? None? Cool, us neither. But that didn’t stop us from streaming the entirety of Mossad 101 in the span of three days while social distancing. Spanning 2 seasons with 25 total episodes, the show focuses on a grounded Mossad agent now running a selection course for the training of new agents. Even with a language barrier / subtitles, a lot of the show’s humor comes through just fine, and the spy thrills simply need no translation. There’s a lot of ambiguity in the characters’ intentions that the show leaves hanging around, so it’s not until the end of each series that you really get to the bottom of what’s going on. It’s charming, mysterious, exotic and tense; just the sort of thing to whisk you away while staying at home.
Credit: Channel 2
Fleabag (BBC Three) – If you haven’t heard of this show, you really do live under a rock. First, go visit a doctor for whatever rock-living ailments you might have, and then go watch Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is truly a one-in-a-million voice, and her writing / acting is absolute genius. With so little as a wink or a gesture, Waller-Bridge manages to convey so much about what her character might be thinking or saying, which speaks to the quality of the exposition regarding the thought process of that character, and just how relatable, if awful, she is to all of us. There’s definitely a lot of cringe, but hey, it is British television after all. The show’s two seasons (12 total episodes) have won worldwide acclaim, and with good reason: Fleabag is one of the best shows of the last decade, maybe this entire millennium so far. We’re not exaggerating; it’s just that good, and a must stream while social distancing.