This year turned out to be the most fearful, soul-crushing year in recent history, How do you keep from going crazy in this environment? If the fear doesn’t get to you, the monotony will.
Waiting for something to happen to change your life is a prescription for unhappiness. Staying pro-active, working on projects, having structure in your life, staying busy — those are the antidotes.
It’s hard to maintain the motivation to do stuff in this world. While being busy is good for us, it’s not easy to stay disciplined. You need your breaks. And if you have hours to kill everyday. it helps to have activities that will keep your mind engaged.
My favorite way to “check out,” or decompress it by watching TV. Keep in mind, I wrote and produced TV shows for 25 years. I’m a TV nerd, a buff, an aficionado.
The kinds of shows I like to watch during our pandemic tend to be intensely dramatic. Why? So my mind won’t wander. So I’ll be on the edge of my seat. So I’ll truly binge – and not just watch now and then.
What makes a show binge-worthy? You could say any show is binge-able, if you keep watching it. However, we are talking about shows you are COMPELLED to keep watching because the stories are so addictive. Sitcoms don’t really do it. Reality shows don’t do it. Family dramas don’t do it. Sure they are entertaining. But we’re talking about shows you will watch on the edge of your seat here. You might watch ten episodes in one day.
If you’re like me, you’ve seen all the US shows like this. So where do you look for fresh shows? There are lots of foreign shows that work. My preference is British crime/mystery shows. You might have to break down and subscribe to streaming platforms like Acorn and Britbox if you want to best of these. I definitely think it’s worth it. You’ll have classics like Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christy, and Hercule Poirot.
Those are fine – but the more recent British crime shows are edgier. Better written. Better acted. These are some of my favorites. These are the cream of the cream. Not in any particular order.
Inspector Morse – The British do crime drama especially well. Inspector Morse, played by John Thaw, is an Oxford graduate who ended up working as a Detective Inspector in his old college town. The writing is great, the acting is brilliant. Some episodes are directed by Oscar winner, Danny Boyle. (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire.)
Prime Suspect – Follows Jane Tennison (played by Oscar winner, Helen Mirren), as she works her way up through the ranks of sexist police detectives to get to her leadership position.
Luther with Idris Elba as the title detective is another one of these brilliant BBC crime dramas. Luther is darker and edgier than most of the others.
Vera, with Golden Globe winner, Brenda Blethyn, is a quirkier crime drama, that takes place in the English countryside.
Some of the other great crime dramas from British TV – Wire in the Blood, Murdoch Mysteries, Broadchurch, and Sherlock.
As I say, to get those shows you might have to sign up for Acorn, or Britbox. These platforms cost between $5 and $7 per month. They both have free trial offers. I’m not getting any kickbacks here. I recommend them both because they are both AMAZING.