I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
Published March 26th 2020
Settle in to watch some old favourites
Streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime are undoubtedly getting a serious workout whilst the world goes into lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus. Whilst it's definitely fun checking out all the new content each of these providers are launching, sometimes it's just comforting to hunker down with a cup of tea and a familiar iconic show.
I've compiled a list of my favourite 10 nostalgic shows currently streaming for your lockdown viewing pleasure.
For lovers of the supernatural Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Stan) 1997 - 2003
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as the spunky superhero, Buffy Summers, a high school girl in California who just happens to be the one girl in all the world chosen to fight Vampires and protect the world from evil. Joss Whedon's script is as punchy and witty as ever and whilst the special effects are schlocky and cheap (particularly in the earlier seasons), this show has a lot that stands up against the test of time. The 'monster of the week' format makes the seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer easy to binge and the show serves up a healthy dose of girl power.
For local nostalgia Kath and Kim (Netflix) 2002 - 2007
Jane Turner and Gina Riley's hilarious mother-daughter combination, Kath and Kim, remains one of the funniest Australian TV shows going around. The good news? Every episode is now streaming on Netflix. After re-watching, I can safely say that it is still totally relatable and totally hilarious. Fall in love all over again with Magda Szubanski's hapless sports fanatic, Sharon Strezlecki and get the giggles at Glen Robbins' Kel Knight as he traipses through Fountain Lakes with his vast collection of man bags. Pure, feel-good TV. Note: don't bother with the film Kath & Kimderella, though – it's awful.
For the laughs The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Netflix) 1990 - 1996
If all you want to do is just forget that you're in lockdown and enjoy some true sitcom-style giggles, then look no further than Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. This iconic series has 6 seasons of light-hearted laughs for you to binge-watch. The show features Smith as a streetwise Philadelphia kid who is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Bel Air, Los Angeles. This is total comfort watching – there's nothing heavy or depressing here, just chuckles, amazing fashion sense and Will Smith at his sassy best.
For US mafia drama The Sopranos (Foxtel Now) 1999 - 2007
Often touted as one of the greatest series of all time, The Sopranos, featuring James Gandolfini is a 6-season rollercoaster ride as we follow mobster Tony Soprano struggling to balance family life and life as a mafia mob boss after experiencing a panic attack. Despite having one of the most frustrating endings of any TV series, The Sopranos is a brilliant trip into the mind of one of the most complex characters ever created. For TV excellence Breaking Bad (Stan) 2008 – 2013
Another giant amongst TV shows is the incredible Breaking Bad, featuring Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a drug lord after finding out he has terminal cancer. Breaking Bad truly has one of the most intriguing cast of characters and storylines of any TV show I've ever watched. It features some remarkable performances from its leads with Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn and Giancarlo Esposito all collecting 18 acting awards between them. There are seven seasons to keep you going throughout lockdown, though the series is definitely not for the faint-hearted at times!
Dexter is one of the most interesting crime shows out there, because the main protagonist, Dexter Morgan is a killer. He's a meticulous serial killer who targets other killers as his victims. Oh, and he happens to also be a forensic technician in the Miami Police Department. The series follows Dexter as he tracks other killers all the while trying to avoid being caught himself. Michael C Hall stars as Dexter and in season 4, John Lithgow joins the cast as one of the greatest villains of all-time – the "Trinity Killer".
For teen angst Gossip Girl (Netflix) 2007 – 2012
XOXO Gossip Girl
One of my favourite shows to binge when I feel the need to ogle the lifestyles of the rich and famous is the extremely opulent Gossip Girl, set in the Upper East Side of New York City. Centred on the incredibly privileged and drama-filled lives of teenagers living in heart of the city, enjoy revisiting the fashion, catfights and ludicrous plotlines of this six-season teen drama. I have to say, I enjoy seeing Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck and Nate on the small screen again more than I expected when I sat down to re-watch. And whilst I can't leave my house, the show's shots of some of my favourite New York haunts are totally feeding my travel-addicted soul.
For Documentary lovers Louis Theroux's weird weekends (Stan) 1998 – 2000
For those keen to throw themselves into documentaries, re-watching beloved BBC presenter - a young Louis Theroux – exploring the weird and wonderful worlds of Survivalists, Porn Stars, Wrestling, Born-Again Christians and Indian Gurus amongst others. Theroux has a lovely, innocent and slightly awkward camera presence which for some reason seems to entice people to open up to him in a completely trusting way. It is fascinating viewing.
For reality RuPaul's Drag Race (Stan) 2009 - present
Season 12 of RuPaul's Drag Race is currently screening, but if you're new to Drag Race, you'll want to go all the way back to the beginning and watch from Season 1. This high energy reality show pits the best drag queens in the USA against each other in a competition to test their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent in a variety of different challenges. Each episode culminates in a themed runway performance which leaves the bottom two queens to lip-synch for their lives. There are so many incredible characters throughout the 12 years of Drag Race and you'll love watching their talents on display. For an added bonus, you can also watch the companion show Untucked, which is a behind the scenes look at the competition each week – it is also where a lot of the drama happens.
For a cult classic Twin Peaks (Stan) 1990 – 1991
The iconic title shot
David Lynch's Twin Peaks is one of the most bamboozling and polarising shows ever to hit TV screens. It's a bizarre supernatural crime story that also has a campy, off-kilter sense of humour. It also kind of feels like a soap opera. It's this strange mix of genres that makes the show so entertaining. David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, credits Twin Peaks as an influence as do many other directors who felt that Lynch's unique show opened doors to their own creativity. There's also plenty of Twin Peaks material from die-hard fans to research and read on the internet as well as a movie (Fire Walk With Me) and a limited episode TV reboot that occurred in 2017 to keep you busy.