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Darns Recommends: Nine things to watch, read, listen to, and play (or not)

We’re all stuck in the house. I’ve gone ahead and made the good (and bad) decisions for you.

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Watching Netflix On iPad Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images

With no sports going on and a huge chunk of the population self isolating in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a lot of you might be looking for things to fill your time. I’m here to help! Each week, I’ll recommend some of the media I’m consuming, whether it’s television, streaming, music, podcasts, video games, or books.

After this week, I’ll include a portion that rates any shows or books that I was in the middle of. Please be advised that I’m a 30-something with no kids, so don’t assume any or all of these are suitable for younger viewers. For each show I’ll try and warn you if there’s swearing or death or sensitive topics!

If there’s something you want me to review, don’t hesitate to drop it in the comments!

What I’m Watching

The Expanse (Amazon Prime)

Seasons: 5
Runtime: 45 mins

Synopsis: This took a few episodes to get into, but I really enjoyed it. Set in the future, there’s an ongoing battle between Earth, Mars (where people now live!), and “The Belt”. Everyone is jockeying for power, there’s a lot of political games, and tons of good looking people in spacesuits.

The story can get a convoluted at times (Thomas Jane, wyd?), but it’s a fun sci-fi getaway. Bobbie Draper (Australian actress Frankie Adams) plays a completely badass Martian marine that quickly became one of my favorite TV characters in recent memory. Amos (Wes Chatham) is a bit of a homicidal maniac hot head, but it’s kind of endearing after a few episodes (ok, and he’s handsome).

There is some nudity, some swearing, and a lot of gore, so watcher beware.

Rating: 7/10

Fleabag (Amazon Prime)

Seasons: 2
Runtime: 25 mins

Synopsis: There are very few perfect seasons of television, but the second season of Fleabag is just that. The show follows a woman, Fleabag (she’s never given a name in the show), as she tries to navigate family, loss, and love in London. It’s extremely vulgar (definitely not one for the kids), but it’s hilarious. The first season is a little dark, but the second season is absolutely fabulous.

If you’re not into dark humor or swearing or raunchy sex talk, this isn’t one for you.

Rating: 10/10

Sherlock (Netflix)

Seasons: 4
Runtime: 45 mins

Synopsis: Buckle in, these are long episodes. Each episode is like a movie, but they’re entertaining. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes in a modern reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character. He’s paired up with war veteran Dr. John Watson (the endearing Martin Freeman) as they solve elaborate crimes.

Am I watching this because Andrew Scott (Hot Priest from Fleabag) plays Jim Moriarty? Maybe. Is it good anyway? Yes, definitely.

Rating: Incomplete (on Season 2!)

Prescription for Love: A Cinderella Story (Amazon Prime)

Runtime: 1hr, 29 mins

Synopsis: I’m sorry, I had to. This was basically a knock-off Hallmark movie, but I kind of loved it. Handsome man (Luke) and pretty woman (Claire) are trapped in an elevator, he doesn’t get a chance to get her name or number before they part ways. Turns out, he’s the new doctor in the hospital where she’s a nurse. Luke somehow doesn’t recognize her (wow, women look so different with their hair in ponytails!), but starts to fall in love with Claire as he battles with his feelings in trying to find the mystery woman.

A couple mean nurses fill the role of the stepmother and stepsister, which is kind of a fun twist.

I liked it, but I can’t in good conscience tell anyone else to watch it. If you like dumb romcom/Hallmark movies, you’ll hate-love this.

Rating: 4/10

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC)

Night: Sunday
Time: 9pm
Runtime: 1hr

Synopsis: You can catch the first six episodes of this super fun show on demand or on Hulu, but it’s a nice escape from what’s going on in the real world. The titular Zoey suffers a mishap during an MRI that gives her the gift of being able to hear people’s innermost thoughts and desires through dramatic song performances.

Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect), and Peter Gallagher (The O.C., While You Were Sleeping) are a few of the extraordinary players in her life, and Alex Newell (Glee) plays the oh-so-fabulous neighbor, Mo, that helps her through all of her song issues.

It’s sweet and funny and sad and everything I need in a show right now. Plus, the songs are, seriously, get out of my Spotify.

Rating: 9/10

What I’m Reading

The Paris Diversion

Author: Chris Pavone
Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: This story of mystery and terrorism is told through the vantage point of several characters, all interwoven as they navigate a crazy day in Paris as multiple things happen simultaneously. The heroine, American expatriate Kate Moore, is pretty badass. This was something I grabbed at an airport, and it definitely fits as a good, kind of mindless read for a lazy afternoon.

Rating: Incomplete

What I’m Listening To

Album: After Hours

Artist: The Weeknd

Synopsis: The latest from The Weeknd is a good one. You’ve likely heard After Hours or Blinding Lights if you’ve listened to any pop radio or playlist, and those two anchor the album. It’s a good listen from start to finish, and I particularly love In Your Eyes and Save Your Tears.

You can find it on Spotify or iTunes.

Rating: 8/10

Podcast: Titus and Tate

Host: FoxSports

Synopsis: If you’re not already listening to Titus and Tate from their days at the Ringer, what are we even doing here. Hosts Mark Titus and Tate Frazier discuss all things college basketball, and they’ve been Virginia fans for awhile (in addition to their Ohio State and UNC fandom, respectively). Now’s a particularly good time to jump in if you haven’t already because they had Kyle Guy on as a guest earlier this week.

Rating: 10/10

What I’m Playing

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo Switch)

Synopsis: OH MY GOD IS IT POSSIBLE TO PLAY TOO MUCH? I can’t remember my life before this game, honestly. It’s VERY family friendly. You live on a deserted island with two animal friends (to start) and the nefarious Tom Nook (what game are you playing, Nook), and his minions Timmy and Tommy Nook. You can explore, catch bugs, plant trees, chop wood, and craft things to build up your little island.

Rating: 10/10