There are thousands of shows and movies out there to watch—here are the ones best suited for this moment.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated March 31, 2020
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Credit: starz.com

In this age of social distancing, keeping oneself (and one’s family) entertained at home is both necessary and nearly impossible. The fact that we have a huge variety of streaming services at our disposal to keep us distracted, entertained, and maybe even informed for hours at a time is definitely a positive, but when you consider the decision paralysis of actually picking one of the millions of TV shows and movies out there, that positive doesn’t seem so great.

There are always the best shows on Netflix or the best things on Disney+, but they aren’t always the shows or movies that suit the current mood. Also, with new series and films constantly rising to the top of pop culture conversations, keeping up with what’s new and fresh takes its own effort.

Good news: In addition to the soothing shows on Netflix to watch when you’re stuck at home, we’ve rounded up buzzy, distracting shows and movies to watch on all the streaming services. Whether you’re wondering what to watch on Hulu or you’re a die-hard HBO subscriber, these series and movies will keep you entertained—for a few hours, at least—and in-the-know on the top shows right now. On your next digital happy hour or virtual game night, you’ll be throwing out the Westworld references and Cheer jokes with the best of them.

What to watch during self-isolation

1
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Currently the most popular show on Netflix in the U.S., if you haven’t seen or heard people talking about this wild documentary, you’re probably not paying attention. The true story of a big cat owner living in a world of polygamists, gun enthusiasts, and rare animal collectors, this limited series (just seven episodes) will keep you hooked until the bitter end—though you’ll be talking about it long after you’ve finished watching.

2
Outlander

Talk about escapist: This time-bending, super-romantic historical series from Starz follows a twentieth-century nurse as she is cast back some two hundred years in time. She builds a new life—and a new relationship—in 18th century Scotland, and her escapades with her found family will keep you gripped for hours. Starz is streaming all 62 episodes, including the new fifth season; with each episode running about an hour, you’ll be distracted and entertained for days to come.

RELATED: Romantic Movies on Netflix

3
Little Fires Everywhere

With new episodes dropping every week, this brand new original series on Hulu features Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as frenemy-style moms living in a picture-perfect planned community. Based on the bestselling book, the show is tense and gripping from the start—and with four hour-long episodes already available, it’s a must-watch right now, especially if you were a fan of the book.

4
Westworld

As the current HBO must-watch, Westworld is all about escapism, with a thrilling twist that will both horrify and hook viewers. The series explores a wild west–inspired, futuristic theme park populated by human-like robots programmed to satisfy human visitors’ greatest desires. Unsurprisingly, things go wrong. With season three airing right now, it’s the perfect time for HBO subscribers (or those desperate for something new to watch) to catch up—just be warned that it’s not for the faint of heart, or for families.

5
The Marvel Cinematic Universe movies

If you missed out on the Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor movies—or any of the films following their superhero peers—it’s time to catch up (or do an epic rewatch) on Disney+. While the new streaming service doesn’t have every single Marvel movie, it has the vast majority of them conveniently located all in one place, so you can binge-watch to your heart’s content. Watching everything available is sure to take days, if not weeks, and the whole family (excluding the littlest kids) can join in.

6
The Good Place

Upbeat, heartfelt, and smart, this is what to watch on Netflix if you want something entertaining that will make you feel like you’re learning something, too. If you missed The Good Place while it was still airing, you can catch up on every episode on Netflix. (And if you’ve already seen every episode, a rewatch is always a good idea.) The show explores life after death, but in a way unlike anything you’ve seen before—and in a way that’s sure to boost your self-isolated mood.

7
The Morning Show

A star-studded original series from Apple TV+, The Morning Show parallels reality in telling the story of a morning show star suddenly fired for sexual misconduct. The race to find his replacement—and keep the show going—is dramatic, gripping, and hugely entertaining, so you can waste a few hours in a dedicated binge-watch you’ll be glad you started.

8
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

One of the top original shows on Amazon Prime, the saga of Mrs. Maisel is charming, engaging, and truly hilarious. Set in 1950s New York City, it follows an aspiring comedienne as she balances her new life as a divorcee with her budding career, tossing out sharp quips and witty observations as she goes. If you haven’t already seen this series you might be in the minority, but it’s never too late—and the show is always worth a rewatch, too.

9
Cheer

This six-episode documentary series from Netflix follows an acclaimed competitive cheerleading team from a small Texas college as they chase the team’s 15th national championship. Between the astounding stunts (and jaw-dropping injuries) and heartbreaking stories each cheerleader has, you won’t be able to stop watching this show—and you’ll never look at cheerleading the same way once you finish. If you’re seeking something motivating to watch to get you through this period of isolation, this is it.