Major tentpole movies are on hold. Wonder Woman 1984 has already been delayed four times (Although WB insists it will have a theatrical release and at this point waiting will get them more money).
Television is also delayed. Doctor Who will not be filming this year due to the (probably correct) belief that trying to film such a dynamic, physical show under social distancing requirements will result in poor quality.
I’ve gone from over 50 hours of unwatched television on my DVR to maybe 2.
The entertainment industry is essentially on pause. Any shows that do film will be delayed because social distancing requirements make certain things take longer. Hair and makeup can no longer work on an actor at the same time, and in television actors are already working 14–16 hour days.
There’s no getting away from it: We aren’t going to get back to normal television until at least 2022. (Even if the pandemic is defeated sooner, there’s just…it’s going to take a while to catch up).
Which has led to complaints in my online hearing about how they neeeed new television.
I thought that meant I should give out some tips on how to get through the drought of new material.
Pull Out the Classics
A few years back I found out my beloved life partner had, unbelievably, never seen any of the tentpole 1960s spy shows. He had not seen The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Avengers or The Saint.
I started a project of educating him, but then the CW decided to produce a full comic company slate of DC shows.
With no new TV, we’re back to The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which is campy but stands up amazingly well (I have feels about the movie. Not all of them are good feels).
Look, old television can be awesome. True, the special effects aren’t what we get today, the acting is more play like, and technicolor looks distinctly odd to modern eyes (let alone black and white). But people could write and act in the sixties!
If you liked Leverage, you might well like The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Adored Firefly and wished it lasted more seasons? Track down Blake’s 7. This is hard to find and will probably involve getting European DVDs and doing a bit of hacking. (I am forever salty about the U.S. rights being tied up for stupid reasons…for at least twenty years…)
If you’re a Doctor Who fan, how much of the old series have you watched? Heck, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised that there aren’t Star Trek fans that have never quite got around to watching the original. If you have, then it might be worth checking out the Star Trek underwater ripoff, SeaQuest DSV.
If you’re fond of camp, try the original Battlestar Galactica. It’s ridiculous and nothing like the remake, but there’s something about it that’s just plain fun. For more over the top fun, there’s the 1970s superhero shows, of which, in my opinion, Wonder Woman was the best, but The Incredible Hulk has its moments. I also count The Six Billion Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman in this. (Or go back a bit further and find the Adam West Batman).
Moving a bit forward. The original Beauty and the Beast is worth considering…especially given the heavy involvement of a certain very famous fantasy writer. It’s one of the few heavy romance series I’ve ever liked.
Buffy is a classic at this point (I know some of us are kind of canceling Whedon, but…)
And if you’re desperate for that Wonder Woman fix even after checking out the original TV show, then obviously you should go for some Xena.
I could go on for, oh, hours. Suffice to say there is a lot of television out there and there’s nothing wrong with stuff made before you were born.
Switch out your Streaming Service
I know that it’s ridiculous to subscribe to everything. But if you have seen everything you like on Netflix, switch to Amazon for a while. There’s undoubtedly stuff you haven’t seen.
(I’m not going to openly support certain other practices for, ya know, legal reasons. But you know what I’m talking about).
Live action is hard to produce under social distancing. Animation is another matter. Most animated shows are still being produced. The Spiderverse sequel is in production, although it probably won’t be released right away.
For TV shows that isn’t an issue, and there is some high quality animation being produced right now, and not all of it is only fun for little kids.
Bug Your Friends
And finally, you have friends, right? You must have people in your friend’s circle who can recommend you more shows you might not have found yet.
There’s some great shows nobody was watching out there, shows which have a high chance of being new to you, and that’s all that really matters.
So, I’m going to leave you with one last recommendation, what I consider to be the best show nobody was watching. It’s streaming on Amazon, and also on the BBC America app if you have that on your cable.
That show is Orphan Black, and it has what I consider to be the best ending in television history.
If you have any recommendations for classic shows or for obscure stuff not enough people saw, leave them in the responses! Please.