Need some recommendations on what to watch while you’re social distancing? E-mail Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert at email@example.com and he’ll tailor his suggestions to your viewing preferences.
Q. I’m a South Shore-born guy who enjoyed your recent coronavirus binge column — we’re about to start “Catastrophe” on your recommendation — and I’d love some titles tailored for me and my wife (who is now using the phrase “Corona-geddon”). We‘re fans of “The Crown,” “Victoria,” “The Tudors,” and pretty much anything in old English costuming. Also, we’re looking for something that will make us laugh, like “American Housewife.”
IN THE HOUSE
A. I hope you love the sweet, messy, honest “Catastrophe.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard complaints about it from those to whom I’ve recommended it. The themes are familiar – the tests of relationships and the strains of parenting – but Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan reinvent those tropes. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Another comedy must: “The Larry Sanders Show,” the HBO series that streams on Hulu. Garry Shandling’s brilliant skewering of late-night TV has only become more relevant since its run, from 1992-98, and “30 Rock” (another must-see lift-me-up) probably wouldn’t exist without it. The half-hour comedy is six seasons of cringey genius and guest stars, from Elvis Costello and Sally Field to Burt Reynolds, David Duchovny, and Carol Burnett.
Regarding costume dramas, you’ve come to the right place. Do you have HBO? There’s a great costume drama there called “Gentleman Jack” that, if you like the Brit period stuff, might appeal; it’s about an open, gender-fluid lesbian in 1830s England. Only one season has aired so far, but it will be back. Also, check out the four-part “Howards End” — adapted by Kenneth Lonergan of “Manchester by the Sea” — that came out three years ago on Starz. It holds up nicely in comparison to the Merchant-Ivory gem, with more time to tease out the themes of liberal guilt, class divides, and compromises in love. Also excellent: Three PBS “Masterpiece” adaptations — of Dickens’ “Bleak House” (2005, with Gillian Anderson), Dickens’ “Little Dorrit” (2008, with Claire Foy), and Trollope’s “The Way We Live Now” (2001, with David Suchet). They shine.