It’s an ideal time to take a leap and dive into a series you didn’t think you’d ever find interesting. Here is Okayplayer’s official television guide to getting you through quarantine.
Before coronavirus (COVID-19) spread globally, a few critically acclaimed series were already slated to return. Social distancing has created significant amounts of time at home. Which means it’s a good opportunity to enjoy some shows.
Since society has begun shifting on a daily basis it’s an ideal time to take a leap and dive into a series you didn’t think you’d ever find interesting. To help make that easier for you, we’ve put together an editor-approved TV and streaming guide featuring the best shows worth watching, from HBO’s Insecure to Netflix #blackAF to ESPN’s The Last Dance.
Take a look below at Okayplayer’s television guide to survive quarantine. Beacuse it’s a stressful time for everyone and you deserve a breather.
Now in season four, Issa Rae’s Insecure, is a rom-com that offers a look at black professionals in Los Angeles. Rae’s character, Issa Dee stars alongside Molly (Y’vonne Orji), Lawrence (Jay Ellis), Tiffany (Amanda Seales) and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell). The series focuses on failed relationships, workplace riffs and messy friendships. The show has become appointment viewing on Sundays.
Insecure comes on every Sunday at 10 PM on HBO.
The Plot Against America
David Simon’s newly created series, The Plot Against America, is based on Philip Roth’s 2004 novel. The chilling HBO project imagines Charles Lindbergh as president of the United States. In the show, Lindbergh defeats Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. Lindbergh, who ran with the slogan “America First,” works alongside Hitler to act upon his views of anti-semitism. As Americans live through Donald Trump’s questionable presidency, this show couldn’t come at a better time.
The Plot Against America airs every Monday at 9PM.
If you’re looking for an emotional rollercoaster, The Chi, created and executive produced by Lena Waithe, might be your cup of tea. What appears to be a love letter to Chicago is also a crime story that intertwines three generations. The plot centers around Kevin (Alex R. Hibbert), a school-aged boy witnessing a fatal moment. Season three of the show is coming in July.
Little Fires Everywhere
Set in the late ‘90s, Little Fires Everywhere is based on the best-selling book by Celeste Ng. Mia (Kerry Washington) and Elena (Reese Witherspoon) are two mothers from very different worlds who are constantly at odds due to their beliefs and backgrounds. The series handles fertility, motherhood, body politics, and racism.
Created by Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka, High Fidelity is a television adaptation of Nick Hornsby’s 1995 novel. (There’s obviously also the iconic 2000 movie.) Zoë Kravitz stars as Robin, the main character who owns a Brooklyn record shop. Her friends Cherise (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), Simon (David H. Holmes), and her ex-fiance, Max (Kingsley Ben-Adir) also make the show worthwhile.
VIDA centers two Mexican-American sisters Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada) as they cope with their mother’s death. Her untimely passing exposes an alternate life she lived that they both end up facing together, mainly a wife they never met and a failing lesbian bar. Created by Tanya Saracho, the series sheds light on gentrification and activism in East Los Angeles. Season three will be the show’s last and it will premiere on Sunday, April 26th.
VIDA will air every Sunday at 9PM.
On My Block
Based in a gritty South Central Los Angeles neighborhood, On My Block explores the friendship between four high schoolers. Co-created by Lauren Iungerich (showrunner), Eddie Gonzalez (executive producer), and Jeremy Haft (executive producer) the murder mystery is equal parts humorous and serious.
Kenya Barris’ #blackAF is a funny, refreshing series based on his life with six children and wife Joya (Rashida Jones). Set in Los Angeles, the show’s premise follows his daughter Drea (Iman Benson) who is filming a documentary on her family for her application to New York University.
Kenya juggles being a father, working through issues in his marriage all while coping with being a black face in the mostly white entertainment industry. Kenya and Joya’s kids — Chloe (Geneyya Watson), Izzy (Scarlet Spenser), Pops (Justin Claiborne), and Kam (Ravi Cabot-Conyers) — provide comedic relief throughout the show.
Cherish The Day
The first season of Ava DuVernay’s anthology series, Cherish The Day pivots between flashbacks and current moments between Evan (Alano Miller) and Gently (Xosha Roquemore). Cherish The Day, which spans five years, provides a microscopic perspective of the couple as they get to know each other and fall in love.
Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar, which is entirely directed by women, pulls from a novel of the same name by Natalie Baszile. Queen Sugar is an emotional rollercoaster. It portrays the complicated and sometimes messy Bordelon siblings Charlie (Dawn Lyen-Gardner), Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), and Nova (Rutina Wesley). As fate would have it, the three are left a failing sugarcane farm in their father’s will after he passes.
Lena Waithe’s Boomerang is a modern interpretation of the 1992 movie that starred Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, and Robin Givens. (Berry and Waithe are also executive producers.) Jacqueline Boyer’s son Bryson (Tequan Richmond) and Angela Graham’s daughter Simone (Tetona Jackson) shape the narrative of the comedy series. The show presents their personal journeys as they forge their own careers outside of their parents. Boomerang also stars Bryson and Angela’s circle of friends Tia (Lala Milan), David (RJ Walker), Ari (Leland B. Martin), and Crystal (Brittany Inge).
Boomerang airs every Wednesday at 9PM.
Twenties pulls directly from Lena Waithe’s early days as a scrappy, hungry writer in Hollywood. Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs) is a fictionalized version of Waithe, grinding hard and assisting a successful television writer and producer Ida B. (Sophina Brown). (It says something that Waithe has shopped this show around for a decade.) Other characters on Twenties include Marie (Christina Elmore) and Gabrielle Graham (Nia).
Perhaps the easiest show to keep up with in our guide is Grown-ish. Yara Shahidi plays the role of Zoey, a fearless college student who also happens to be the leader of her group of friends. In this modern-day depiction of college life, everything is explored: drugs, situationships, sex, politics, and even pregnancy. Luka Sabbatt (who basically plays himself), Nomi (Emily Arlook), Ana (Francia Raisa), Vivek (Jordan Buhat), and twin sisters Jazz and Sky (Chloe & Halle) round out the rest of the main cast.
The Last Dance
The 10-part ESPN documentary The Last Dance is on everyone’s watchlist. The massive documentary highlights Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls. A recent quote from the doc by Jordan sums up exactly why we’ll be tuning in, “When people see this they are going [to] say, ‘Well he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.’ Well, that’s you. Because you never won anything. I wanted to win.” The wins that came from this dedication during his career included six championships stemming from six trips to the Finals alongside six Finals MVP awards.
The Last Dance airs every Sunday at 9PM.
The Morning Show
Based on Top of the Morning, a nonfiction book by CNN anchor Briant Stelter, The Morning Show has been nominated for three Golden Globes since its Apple TV+ debut in 2019. Alex (Jennifer Aniston) and Mitch (Steve Carrell) are veteran journalists in New York City facing the shifting media landscape. Mitch’s firing following the surfacing of distasteful accusations creates an opening for Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) to swoop in and stake her claim.
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt.