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What to watch – or listen to…

Even as we begin to venture out more, we’ll still need to play it safe and entertain ourselves at home. Here are some binge-worthy TV, Netflix, movie and podcast recommendations from EL editors and readers.

The Last Czars

“This Netflix series/ docudrama is short and succinct with just six terrific episodes. Part reenactment and part documentary, the show takes you to the world of Russian palaces, aristocracy, crown jewels, Rasputin’s influence and the looming revolution. The question of whether Anastasia survived the brutal execution of the Romanov family is finally answered. How? Through DNA findings from 2007. The series is well worth it (if you can get through the odd scene of Rasputin’s orgies in the early episodes!).”
– Lara Sage

The Last Czars

The English Game

“I had avoided this Netflix miniseries for a while because it’s on football. But, it’s actually very interesting and a good piece of storytelling with both personal and inter-class messages portrayed. It’s based on a true story from the end of 19th-century England, a time when soccer was changing from a ‘gentleman’s game’ to a professional one – and one that would later reach the whole world. The characters are appealing and I very much enjoyed looking at Edward Holcroft! Craig Parkinson from BBC’s Line of Duty was also good. The show covers all aspects of life and love in those days, and is definitely worth watching even if you’re not into sport. Good viewing for couples or families.”
– Rebecca Bisset

The English Game

Love is Blind

“I’ve always been a fan of reality dating shows, and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s essentially a social experiment that sets up 30 men and women to speed date through pods without ever seeing each other until they pair up and become engaged to one another. You get to see them live out their lives as an engaged couple with the other participants, and decide after a few weeks whether to stay together and get married at the altar. Definitely some plot twists and it kept me entertained until the end – can’t wait for Season Two!”
– Georgia Bisset

The Big Bang Theory

“If you haven’t already watched The Big Bang Theory, time to put it on your list! With a whopping twelve seasons, what better time to binge than now? The popular sitcom focuses on the lives of a couple of oddball scientists and their friends. It’s perfect if you need a good laugh – I just love the social awkwardness, nerdiness and quirks. I’m currently at Season 7 and I’m totally hooked. You can find all episodes on Netflix.”
– Lindsay Yap

Jane the Virgin

“I’m usually one for complicated, twisted, dark shows, but my cousin kept telling me I needed to watch Jane the Virgin and she was right. This is perfect chick fare for those looking for something a little lighter during these depressing times. The story is about a girl named Jane who has been saving herself for marriage, but her gynaecologist accidentally artificially inseminates her. You guessed it, the virgin gets pregnant and a romance with the baby’s daddy blossoms. The plot has lots of twists and turns, including a murder. This tongue-in-cheek telenovela will leave you binge-watching all five seasons.”
– Melinda Murphy

O

“My husband and I have always loved watching Cirque du Soleil shows and we wanted to start taking our boys to experience the fun. I was so excited when I heard O was being released online and chose this for our weekend movie. The kids had no idea what the show was about and I wanted to keep it a surprise. They were amazed by the acrobatics, high dives and – of course – the stage being a pool. My younger son kept asking, ‘How did they do that?’ It was such a different experience watching this on TV. We were able to watch close up and see the details that we missed watching the show live. I loved sharing this experience with them at home. It gave us a chance to talk about the show and rewind parts they wanted to see again. I highly recommend catching this show while its online!”
– Nilam Shah Mehta

Andrew Lloyd Webber

“Every Friday night during the UK lockdown, Andrew Lloyd Webber is making one of his West End or Broadway shows available for 48 hours on his YouTube channel, The Shows Must Go On. So far, they’ve included the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, which was outstanding!”
– Lara Sage

Mrs America

“My 15-year-old daughter and I started to watch the Hulu mini-series Mrs America together recently. Uniquely structured over nine episodes with an amazing soundtrack, it showed us how the ratification of America’s Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was eventually defeated by one woman, Phyllis Schlafly, played by the brilliant Cate Blanchett. At first, Schlafly was dismissed by the big names of the women’s rights movement as a lightweight housewife and mother. Yet she was no ordinary housewife, but rather an ambitious and politically savvy working woman who built a national network that argued the best place for women was in the home. That she was a hypocrite was not lost on viewers as she was seen spending more time on the ‘STOP ERA’ campaign than in the home looking after her husband and six children. The creator and producers of the show were able to show a direct line of resentment politics that she was able to tap into in the 1970s and drew that line directly to contemporary American politics. Four episodes to go and, even though we know how it ended for the ERA, we can’t stop watching!”
– Anne H Perng

Ms America

The Mission Across Wales

If you enjoy a bit of Bear Grylls-style adventure (and a funny attempt at a Bear Grylls accent), this five-part YouTube series could be just your thing. The premise is simple: a Brit called Tom Davies (username ‘Geowizard’) sets out to walk across an entire country – Wales, in this case. The catch? He has to walk in a perfectly straight line – so, not deviating even a metre or more from the route, if possible. He uses a GPS device to stick to his task, forging ahead whether he’s being confronted by an angry farmer on private property, a dense forest of brambles or a treacherous mountain pass. It’s a low-budget affair, and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I was hooked from the first few seconds.
– Shamus Sillar

The Man in the High Castle (Seasons 1-4)

“Imagine a world in which the Nazis won World War II. The Man in the High Castle addresses this messedup and predictably evil world, where the Reich tyrannises the eastern side of the United States, and the Japanese occupy the west, with a suitably desolate Neutral Zone separating them. The series has its heroine (who I wanted to poke in the eye on numerous occasions), a drop-dead gorgeous hero (who may also be a villain but you need to work that out yourself) and the American Reich’s ruthless leader (who you can’t help but like and desperately want him to be good). The Resistance are searching for films for the man in the high castle, but the Nazis and the Japanese mob also want them. What do they contain? Why does Hitler want to possess all of them? And who is the man in the high castle? The husband and I have been glued to this series. The twists, turns and ‘gasp’ moments will make you keep saying, ‘Shall we watch one more?'”
– Kel Flanders

Jojo Rabbit

“This movie is brilliant. It’s about Jojo, a ten-year-old boy, who discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Jojo then begins his adventure with  his imaginary friend: Adolf Hitler. The movie is directed by Taika Waititi and if you’ve watched any of his other films, you’ll know this will be quirky and funny while addressing the serious issues surrounding World War II.”
– Michaela Bisset

Podcasts

The Left Right Game

“So, I am a self-confessed audio book addict. Podcasts normally frustrate me! Recently, a friend told me you could also get stories in the Podcast app. Who would have known? And that’s how I found The Left Right Game. And now I’m addicted and wait with bated breath for Mondays when the next one is released! The story is told in two different time frames (the past and the present). In the present, we listen to a young man, Tom, who is recovering from a severe accident, but at the same time trying to find an old friend who has apparently disappeared. The past is based on audio diaries that have mysteriously appeared in his inbox of journalist, Alice Sharman, his friend who has vanished. The game that Alice is tracking is possibly paranormal, possibly staged, but possibly horrifyingly real. Cast members include W Earl Brown and Tessa Thompson, and the production (sponsored by Sonos) is as polished as a Hollywood blockbuster. I can’t get enough!”
– Kel Flanders

Sidenote

“Have you ever wondered about the science behind Tiger King, vaccines, or even which phone to buy? The Sidenote podcast, from the minds behind the ASAPScience YouTube channel, tackles all this and more. Complicated scientific concepts are broken down into digestible studies and anecdotes to keep you engaged the whole time.”
– Natasha Lee

See more in our Things To Do section:

Family-friendly hikes in Hong Kong
Best public swimming pool in Hong Kong for families
Top things to do in Hong Kong

This article first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.