Top TV Shows: Winter (hibernation) Edition
Sometimes, there are extremely bad days in the recovery process. Days when you don't want to, or just can't, get out of bed. Days when you need to switch off from the outside world, and take a break from the thoughts inside your head. These days can often become more frequent when the days get shorter and the temperature gets colder, especially if you are affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder, it just so happens to have a very apt acronym).
Although it may be difficult, it is important to try to listen to your body when it tells you you need to slow down and rest. Take, for example, my day today… I was supposed to be in my Master’s degree seminars today, was supposed to attend a feminist research workshop and then was supposed go to a friend’s exhibition the other side of the city. I woke up around 10am, but couldn’t get out of bed until 2pm. I missed the seminar, and then spiralled into missing everything I had planned. This hurt and this was annoying for the experiences I didn’t get to have. But more than that, I felt warmth in allowing myself to rest and heal in the safety of my bed after a bad nights sleep due to some disrupting news I received yesterday morning. I am being kind to myself and holding myself in a space where I can feel and hurt in a healthy and controlled way. I am also going to treat myself to watching one of these amazing shows I’m cheerleading for down below…
For instalment two of the Top TV Shows (for bad days) I compiled a list of the best shows that allow us to bundle under piles of blankets, close the curtains and not leave the house for the whole weekend. Because when you’re sad, traumatised AND cold - who would ever want to leave the house?! (Just ask my flatmates, the answer is ‘not Catriona’…)
Killing Eve (BBC/iPlayer)
From the mind of the incredible Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve follows the inter-splicing lives of two women with two very different agendas. Jodie Comer stars as Villanelle, an impenetrable Russian assassin who travels the world killing targets and buying beautiful clothes. Sandra Oh stars as Eve, an MI6 agent appointed to hunt down Villanelle. The show is funny and horrific, and you’ll find yourself laughing one minute and gasping in horror the next. The writing, acting and production of the whole thing makes it the perfect show to escape reality for a little bit. This worried my loved ones a bit, but it also definitely made me see the appeal of being a cold-hearted assassin…
2. The Bisexual (Channel 4/4OD)
Desiree Akhavan’s creation takes us through the ups and downs of being queer and confused in modern day London. Interestingly, the show shifts the dynamic of ‘coming out’, as the protagonist, Leila (played by Akhavan) has to ‘come out’ as bisexual to her long-standing friendship group of lesbians. Whilst battling with this, Leila also has to work with her ex, hang out with her classic-straight-white-man housemate, try to convince her best friend to follow her dreams AND start exploring her sexuality with men. There are some hilarious snapshots of the differences between dating men and women, and, similar to Fleabag, although the show is absolutely hilarious, it takes a darker tone towards the end.
3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Amazon Prime)
The widely-loved classic has finally come to a UK streaming service! If you haven’t seen BTVS, it’s pretty much what you imagine it to be. She’s a teen vampire slayer who has to juggle the usual high school drama with killing the lords of the underworld - just normal stuff really. It reminds me of my childhood (not killing vampires, but the watching of the show), as I remember occasionally being allowed to stay up until 9pm to watch it with my big sister. The show prioritises female characters and female friendships and shows that teenage girls have the capacity to save/change the world.
4. The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
Hill House took horror fans (including me) on a scary and heartbreaking journey last month when it was released on Netflix. Hill house, which is 10 episodes long and is based off the book by Shirley Jackson, follows a family in the present day and in flashbacks to their traumatic childhood. In each episode, we learn more about each character, the family as a whole, and the haunted house itself. Now, it IS scary (especially if you notice the hidden ghosts in many scenes, which I didn’t on my first watching), but more than anything the show captures the nature of childhood trauma, repression and dysfunctional families in a way I haven’t seen before on a series. If you love horror, or at least if you can tolerate, I would highly recommend the haunting of hill house as a safe space to explore triggers of family dynamics. I was surprised by how much I cried, especially during Nelly’s episode, so be warned you’ll definitely want to be in a very cosy place when watching this.
5. One Day at a Time (Netflix)
This show has everything you need when you want something funny, sweet and happily left-leaning. The modern remake of ODAAT follows the Alvarez family as they work their ways through single-parenthood, bullies, coming out, citizenship and a very loving family. Each episode is around 20 minutes, which makes it a fun and easy watch, and I became very attached to each of the characters. There is also two seasons totalling to 26 episodes, so it’s perfect for a binge watch!
6. This Is Us (Amazon Prime)
Oh, god. We’re here. My friends roll their eyes and laugh at me when I bring up my sad obsession with This Is Us, but I don’t care, because it’s so GOOD. This Is Us follows the Pearson family in another split time drama, with half of the show set in the present day with the triplets at 36, and the other half in flashbacks to their parents love and their childhoods with the most amazing Dad in the world, Jack (who is played by Milo Ventimiglia i.e. Peter Petrelli from Heroes i.e. my first real crush i.e. the reason I love this show so much). The show is cheesy and calming, but equally can be very emotional and has been known to make every who watches it cry at least a little bit. All of the characters are so loveable and you kind of forget you’re watching a TV show sometimes. If you want to be cheesy and cosy and pretend you’re in a lovely nuclear family from the 70s go and watch this now!
7. Salt Fat Acid Heat (Netflix)
Chef/writer Samin Nosrat takes us on a journey of the key elements of cooking that the whole world knows and lives by. Samin is kind and calming, and you learn a lot about cooking and the history of the craft throughout each episode (there’s sadly only 4 episodes at present). Shows like this often make me feel good as I’m learning new skills and information whilst still bundled up in my blankets pretending the world doesn’t exist. Learning makes me feel a lot better when I’m feeling down, so this show, and other’s like it, are a perfect middle ground when you want to learn but also want to be in bed.
8. Steven Universe (Netflix)
Steven Universe is the sweetest show on TV. The cartoon (for both children and adults) takes us along with the Magic Gems (the guardians of the universe) and their half-human half-gem nephew Steven. Each episode is about 15 minutes long so it’s great if you don’t want to commit to anything too long. It is also very low stakes, as the troop goes across the universe on fun and colourful missions, and you know everything is always going to work out. It is also great for queer representation, as one of the first cartoons to feature queer relationships and gender non-conforming characters.
Illustration: IG @so_ewig