what to watch during lockdown

This month, more than any before, having a good TV show or movie to watch has been like a form of self care. Along with a daily walk outside, I now look forward to being able to watch a few episodes of something on Netflix or a good movie, to take my mind of what is really going on in the world. So here are the TV shows, documentaries and movies that I watched this month. All of which are great ideas when it comes to what to watch in self isolation;

Tiger King

When I saw the amount of buzz surrounding this new Netflix documentary series I asked myself whether it could really be that good. Minutes into the first episode and I couldn't believe what I was watching. This is easily one of the wildest (pun intended) things that I have ever seen! When someone's arm being ripped off by a tiger isn't even in the top 10% of crazy things going on. You know that what you're watching is absolutely insane!

There's a murder for hire plot, weird cults and polygamy, a presidential campaign, tiger breeding for profit and even someone possibly feeding their husband to the tigers. Carole Baskin is definitely just as shady and manipulative as anyone else in this. And that all happens in one show, over the course of seven hard to believe episodes. Basically everyone in this, maybe minus a few of the staff at the zoo, are essentially villains. And yet, you can't tear yourself away from it. I'm seriously tempted to watch it again to truly appreciate some of the craziness that went down. Seriously, if you watch one thing this month, make it Tiger King!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ · Watch it now on Netflix

Unbelievable

Also on Netflix, we have one of the best TV crime dramas that I've seen in a while. It focuses on Marie, an at-risk teen who is sexually assaulted by a masked assailant one morning. But instead of the investigation going as you might expect, this is called Unbelievable because the cops tell her that she has to be lying. And then everyone else in her life doesn't believe her either. We see the damage from this incident ripple through all aspects of her life. But that narrative is weaved with another as it shifts to the present day.

Years later when another woman is raped, in very similar circumstances, this time the lead detective is a woman (played by the brilliant Merritt Weaver). And she investigates it as Marie's case should have been. She and another female detective from a neighbouring county (Toni Collette), along with their close knit teams, then go on to track down the assailant. We also see what happens when the case is closed and the original cops who questioned Marie find out what really happened all those years ago. As I say, it is easily one of the best shows that I've seen in a long time. And I would highly recommend it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ · Watch it now on Netflix

Hustlers

I remember seeing the trailer for Hustlers, featuring J. Lo, Constance Wu and Cardi B and thinking that it looked like a whole lot of fun. So I was really excited to see that it had been added to Amazon Prime Video only a few weeks after the UK DVD release. Based on a true story and a New York Magazine article. Hustlers follows the new girl at a Manhattan strip club (played by Wu) after she is taken under the wing of top earner Ramona (played by J. Lo). But once the 2008 financial crisis hits, Ramona comes up with a scheme to hustle and swindle money from the Wall Street types they believed to be responsible for such a crisis.

I totally get why people were petitioning for J. Lo to get an Oscar nod after watching this, as she really does give a performance of a lifetime. And the group of girls also feel believable, even if the world they inhabit gets more and more larger than life.

⭐⭐⭐ · Watch it now on Amazon Prime Video

Contagion

Whoever thought it would be a good idea to put the movie Contagion on Netflix and ITV 2 during a global pandemic? But, having never seen it before, my interest was definitely piqued. Which is why I decided to give it a watch this month. And boy, did it feel like I was simply watching what was unfolding currently due to the coronavirus. It always makes me feel a bit weird when movies or even The Simpsons predicts what happens in the future. But so much of what happens in Contagion is scarily similar to what has happened now in 2020.

Is it the best movie I've ever seen? Not by a long shot. I mean, they really did Jude Law dirty in this. To say that it's hard to take his character seriously at all, is an understatement. Firstly, he's doing this weird half British/half Australian accent. Which makes you wonder why they didn't just hire someone who was either Australian or could do the accent. Add to that the over exaggerated gap in his teeth and it's all a bit too much.

⭐⭐ · Watch it now on Netflix

race across the world bbc iplayer

Race Around The World

If you haven't already seen Race Around The World, I cannot recommend this show highly enough! The second series (both are available on BBC iPlayer) is currently airing on TV. And it follows teams quite literally racing each other around the world. The concept is brilliant. Each individual is given a budget that equates to a flight from the start point to the end point. And they can't use any additional money or their mobile phones (so long Google Maps!). They then have to hit checkpoints (so they can recover a bit from racing) throughout their trip, where we get to see how many hours or days they are in front or behind their competitors.

In season two there are mother/son, brother/sister, uncle/nephew and husband/wife teams. And as much as it would be incredible to see so much of the world. There's no way that I could do several or even one 24 hour bus journey. So that puts me out of contention right away. It's also lovely to escape to somewhere far away, especially given the current climate. And to see what the world was like just a few months ago, before all of this changed the way we live and travel, is quite surreal.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ · Watch it now on BBC iPlayer

Quiz

Now I vaguely remember the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire coughing scandal when I was growing up. And if someone had said to me that however many years later I would be watching a dramatised show based on just that, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But here we are. And since we were looking for something new to watch, after quickly making our way through other shows, we decided to give it a try. It didn't hurt that it had had pretty positive reviews either.

This is definitely easy viewing. And if like me, you quite enjoy shouting out answers to Pointless and The Chase, you will probably like this. Plus it isn't just what you think, when it comes to the tactics used for them to get their hands on a million pounds, either. One thing to mention though; Michael Sheen's Chris Tarrant. Sometimes he sounds exactly like him and then other times it's much more of a stretch. But, overall, I really enjoyed this quick three episode series.

⭐⭐⭐ · Watch it now on the ITV Hub

The Innocence Files

Next up we have three true crime documentaries from Netflix, starting with The Innocence Files. This is easily one of the most frustrating and soul destroying things that I've watched, as we follow several cases where innocent men have been imprisoned for crimes that they didn't commit for as much as 30+ years.

It highlights several different issues that can lead to wrongful convictions such as false eyewitness reports, sketchy bite mark analysis and corrupt law enforcement and district attorneys. The sucker punch that you feel each and every time as the days turn to months, years and decades is hard to grasp. And it certainly puts things in perspective, particularly when it comes to simply being asked to stay at home with all of our creature comforts and things like Netflix during this time. If you are a true crime fan, I would definitely give this a watch!

⭐⭐⭐.5 · Watch it now on Netflix

The Pharmacist

Now, this might sound like your typical Netflix true crime documentary. A man's son is murdered and he will stop at nothing to uncover what really happened to him. But this doesn't play out exactly like you'd think. What it really goes onto explore is the staggering opioid epidemic in the United States. As that man, a pharmacist by trade, starts to notice a worrying amount of strong pain killers being prescribed in his community.

I'd seen Louis Theroux's Dark States episode on the opioid problem in America but this delves even deeper as the small town pharmacist begins to gather evidence of a 'pill mill' doctor dispensing ridiculously strong pain medication in the middle of the night to thousands of people. Just when you think American healthcare can't get any crazier, you see the true damage prescription medicine can do (and has done), when all many of the manufacturers and certain doctors care about is profit.

⭐⭐⭐.5 · Watch it now on Netflix

The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez

I'll start by saying, this is a tough watch and is a documentary that involves extensive child abuse. But if you can, it is is well worth watching. A young boy's murder by his parents and the months of abuse and torture that he endured, goes on to expose just how many people failed this vulnerable child. From social workers to law enforcement and even people who reported physical signs of abuse as soon as they saw them, is hard to believe.

Called The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez, three separate trials take place throughout this six part series, even if most of it is dedicated to the mother's boyfriend. But what is pretty unique about this case is that the four social workers who could have stepped in and removed this child from the environment that ultimately led to his death, are also on trial. The subject matter is handled sensitively and you certainly feel an urge to play episode after episode with this series.

⭐⭐⭐.5 · Watch it now on Netflix

For more inspiration, be sure to check out my previous What I've Been Watching blog posts.

What have you been watching during self isolation? Have you seen any of the TV shows or movies featured in today's blog post? If so, what did you think of them?

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