As our possibile activities contract to include primarily those which can be performed while sedentary, the Misc Executive Board has collected our favorite longform viewable media, listed by running time. From short binges to multi-day marathons, from drama to thriller to romance, this list contains something for everyone. The total running time is approximately 28.5 days, which will take you to finals season. Uh-oh.
“Yuri!!! On Ice” (2016)
I’m showing my true weeaboo colors here, but…“Yuri!!! On Ice” can’t be beat for a cathartic, happy show to watch in one go. The anime follows professional Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki, who works to climb to the top of the sport after a chain of failures (with the guidance of his longtime idol, Russian five-time world champion Victor Nikiforov). Even if you’re not usually into anime, the plot is engaging and uplifting and remarkably gay. I think we can all get behind a character arc wherein the protagonist must overcome mental and emotional roadblocks, as well as competitors, in order to reach their goals. If you’re a sap like me, you’ll probably cry happy tears multiple times watching this one. Get the tissues for episode 10. If you struggle with anxiety, you’ll definitely relate to Yuri K. Figure skating fans who need something to fill the void of this year’s canceled World Figure Skating Championships will find plenty to love. General sports fans might also like it? I hope so.
— Frankie Knuckles, Managing Editor
Running time: 4 hours
Stream the Japanese audio with English subtitles free (with ads) on Crunchyroll or purchase the English dub with entertainingly bad Russian accents on Amazon Prime.
“Ping Pong the Animation” (2016)
If you didn’t know avant-garde anime was a thing, consider yourself educated. If you didn’t know avant-garde sports anime was a thing, consider yourself double educated. Many sports animes impress with powerful dynamism and exciting yet linear plot and character progression that make you want to shout in excitement. I’m a complete sucker for them. But it was “Ping Pong the Animation” and its unpredictable yet realistic character development that made me pause and reflect on my athletic experiences. Paradoxically realistic, considering its wonky but captivating art style. If that’s not enough to win you over, Director Masaaki Yuasa also animated the Adventure Time episode “Food Chain.”
— Duncan Aronson, Senior Editor
Running time: 4 hours, 13 minutes.
Stream free (with ads) on Funimation. Both English dub and Japanese audio with subtitles available.
Grief, healing, bleakness, power, faith and love—these are just a few themes that come to mind when I look back on what was undeniably my favorite TV experience of 2019. The eponymous protagonist of “Fleabag” (Phoebe Waller Bridge) is a witty, sardonic woman with, um, extensive sexual habits and a dysfunctional family. Throughout the series, you are taken into her world of loss and grief, literally pulled into Fleabag’s mind as she breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to you. I would go deeper, but this is the type of art piece that, in my view, should not be broken down—there are too many subtleties in its silences. However, I will say this: If you, like me, are looking to feel things in these isolated days, you absolutely must watch “Fleabag.” You will laugh, you will cry, you will ache, and most importantly, you will come away with thoughts. Not to mention that the series won six Emmy Awards.
— Jessica Moss, Editor-in-Chief
Running time: 5 hours, 7 minutes.
Stream it with an Amazon Prime subscription.
“Pride and Prejudice” (1995)
A classic, truly. Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) is the second-oldest of five sisters, all of whom must settle advantageously to avoid being destitute on the occasion of their father’s death. An eligible bachelor moves to town with his squad, including the brooding, socially awkward, filthy-rich Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth). Come for the Austenian marriage plot, stay for the surprisingly erotic fully-clothed swimming and totally ’90s superimposed talking head inner monologue. As a bonus, follow this up with the 2005 film adaptation starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. I expect a 2,000 word comparative essay in my inbox by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 12. Twelve-point font, double-spaced. Don’t forget a creative title.
Running time: 5 hours, 27 minutes.
Stream it with a Hulu subscription.
“Next in Fashion” (2020)
Who doesn’t like a new take on the classic competition show? Hosted by Tan France of “Queer Eye” and designer Alexa Chung, this fashion design tournament has everything you need: heartwarming backstories, heartrending eliminations and heart-pounding moments (Why would you change your color palette two hours before runway? Why?!). I also must say, the contestants of the inaugural season are both entertaining and clearly sweet people. Between the cast and some seriously awe-inspiring designs, this show stands out within its genre.
Running time: 8 hours, 7 minutes.
Stream it with a Netflix subscription.
“My Brilliant Friend” (2018)
Few shows have aced—no, demolished—the Bechdel test as thoroughly as HBO’s “L’amica Geniale,” or “My Brilliant Friend.” An Italian-language show set in a poor suburb of 1950s Naples (subtitles are kind and not to be feared), “My Brilliant Friend” follows best friends Elena (Margherita Mazzucco) and Lila (Gaia Girace) through all the pitfalls of adolescence—school, first love, death, sinister neighborhood loan sharks caught up in murder plots, yearnings for a better life as you wistfully gaze out at the beautiful island village of Ischia. All the pitfalls. This show’s a bit on the gritty side, but the tenderness with which it explores the female friendship at its core keeps it from devolving into grimdark. It’s got a soundtrack perfect for a weepy Spotify afternoon, and a new season (filmed pre-quarantine) is airing now. “My Brilliant Friend” has also accomplished the singular feat of casting teenagers to play teenagers, a refreshing choice for those of us who were brought up on a diet of twentysomethings living it up in the high school glee club. When you’re done watching, take the time to read the four brilliant novels on which it was based.
— Lucy Leonard, Senior Editor
Running time: 11 hours, 55 minutes and counting.
Stream it with an HBO subscription.
Anyone else feeling deeply, deeply cynical at the moment? If so, this political dramedy is the ultimate choice, in that it 1) matches your cynicism note for note with its defeatist tone and 2) is goddamn hilarious. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her seven Emmys (one for every season) play Vice President Selina Meyer, a fundamentally bad person. As she tries to get her poll numbers up and her Washington connections solidified, her fundamentally incompetent staff bungles things each step of the way. There’s an approximate ratio of one f-bomb to one line and an absolute lack of anything heartwarming. Members of the Obama administration and former Democratic candidates Pete Buttigieg and Eric Swalwell have claimed that Veep is the most realistic depiction of political life on television. Fun trivia note: Selina’s daughter Catherine, a painfully shy and cripplingly insecure film major, canonically goes to Vassar! All press is good press, right guys?
Running time: 1 day, 8 hours, 30 minutes.
Stream it with an Amazon Prime or HBO subscription.
“H2O: Just Add Water” (2007)
This is an Australian TV show about mermaids that aired on Disney Channel and was aimed at young tweens. I am a 20-year-old writing for a newspaper aimed at other 20-year-olds. I know this. Hear me out. “H2O: Just Add Water” follows Cleo (Phoebe Tonkin), Emma (Claire Holt) and Rikki (Cariba Heine) as they struggle with a huge secret: As of the pilot episode, they transform into mermaids as soon as a drop of water touches their skin (!!!). There’s something relaxing and oddly sweet about watching three clumsily written teenagers go to school, frolic beneath the waves, and face simple, non-relatable struggles like trying to go to prom without getting wet and evading evil marine biologists who want to dissect them. There’s even one memorable episode where, to avoid going to school in a rainstorm, the girls use their magical water powers to fake an illness so severe that the Australian version of the CDC has to get involved—which may hit a little too close to home in these trying times. Each episode is only twenty minutes, perfect for a lazy Sunday binge.
Running time: 1 day, 15 hours.
Stream it with an Amazon Prime or Netflix subscription.
“Parks and Recreation” (2009)
Few shows capture saccharine sweetness, utter hilarity, absurdism and genuine human emotion as thoroughly as this mockumentary account of local government in a tiny Indiana town. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is the beacon of positivity we all need right now, honestly. Unemployed Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) embodies the quarantine mood. There’s a reason BuzzFeed almost always has a wholesome moments roundup from this show on its homepage. If you’ve yet to binge this one, now is the time.
Running time: 2 days, 15 hours.
Stream it with a Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or Amazon Prime subscription.
Before J.J. Abrams got himself involved in all those Star Treks and Star Wars, he wrote a little college drama called “Felicity.” The titular Felicity (Keri Russell), an anxious 18-year-old who’s spent her whole life preparing to go to Stanford pre-med, decides on the day of her high school graduation to throw it all away and follow her crush, Ben (Scott Speedman), to NYU (sorry, “UNY” because copyright). Unfortunately, Felicity and Ben have never spoken. Although this premise is admittedly ridiculous, everything that comes after is a subtle and thoughtful meditation on what we’ve all experienced: being thrust into independence and individuality at the tender age of 18, a phenomenon known as “going to college.” “I guess the thing is,” Felicity tells her baffled parents in the pilot, “if I made a mistake, at least it was mine.” For more soft ’90s dialogue, soft ’90s cardigans and soft ’90s love triangles (if you’re not Team Noel we can’t be friends), stream all four seasons of Felicity, one for each year of college.
Running time: 3 days, 12 hours.
Stream it free on ABC.
“Jane the Virgin” (2014)
This show is delightful and critically acclaimed for bringing the Latin American genre of telenovela roaring into the U.S. market, and it does so brilliantly. Like, I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how good this show is? Jane Villaneuva (Gina Rodriguez) is a 23-year-old virgin who ends up getting accidentally artificially inseminated with the sperm of the man who owns the hotel she works for, with whom she shared a magical date five years before and the doctor who inseminated Jane is the hotel owner’s sister and that’s all in the first thirty minutes of the pilot. You might take a few episodes to get used to the self-aware ridiculousness and the way every scene drips with dramatic irony, but hang in there. It’s worth it. You’ll rejoice, you’ll mourn, you’ll question what the hell you’ve just witnessed, you’ll be utterly shocked by at least twelve plot twists and you’ll grow to love The Narrator (Anthony Mendez), as well as the incomparable Rogelio de la Vega (Jamie Camil). Plus, you’ll live for the way this show tackles issues of wealth, class, family, religion, sexuality, national identity and politics. Oh, also throw in some dashes of crime thriller.
The threads are many, but I promise they come together wonderfully and satisfyingly in the end. I hate it when film and television critics describe media as a “romp” but…it’s a romp.
Running time: 4 days, 3 hours.
Stream it with a Netflix subscription.
“The West Wing” (2000)
You might think that a political drama is a little bit too close to home for the current moment, but I’ve found this hyperrealistic gem to be perfect escapism. Sure, some aspects of the show’s ideology have…not aged all that well, but it’s super entertaining. The pace is quick. The characters are quippy and lovely—Donnatella Moss could run me over with a truck and I’d thank her. The twists and turns are never ending (but somehow neither repetitive nor overly exhausting). If you’re a political junkie who’s a tad burnt out on reality at the moment, immerse yourself in the alternate reality of the Bartlet administration.
Running time: 6 days, 10 hours.
Stream it with a Netflix subscription.
“House, M.D.” (2004)
Do you ever wish you could be both constantly inebriated and a successful human being? Draw inspiration from Doctor Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), my favorite genius doctor asshole loosely based on a different genius detective asshole, Sherlock Holmes, as he pops pills, performs surgery on himself, and seems to cure the incurable. Look, I won’t hide it: House often leans on sexist or otherwise unwoke jokes to express his assholeness, and you’re not gonna see realistic medical practices here (I hope? The number of times they get things wrong and retroactively stick the patient with a different drug, barely dodging death, is alarming), and, to be clear, this series won’t be everyone’s cup of tea given the current state of our public health system. But importantly: It is entertaining nonetheless. More importantly: It’s free.
Running time: 7 days, 8 hours.
Stream it free on NBC or with a YouTube TV, Amazon Prime or Vudu subscription.