Published Mar 27, 2020With society on lockdown and nearly everyone self-isolation, we're all looking for entertainment to distract us from the stresses of real life. That's why we're looking for shows that aren't rooted in reality.
We'll be watching a show set in the real world and suddenly think, "Oh yeah, remember when we could go to restaurants?!" or "Wow, they're hugging each other — do they have a death wish?!" And then suddenly, reality comes flooding back and we're bummed out.
That's why we're diving into shows that are totally disconnected from Earth as we used to know it. So once you've already watched through The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, these fantasy series offer an alternate reality to escape into during these troubling times.
Avenue 5 (HBO)
If you've been thinking of getting off of this crumbling planet and blasting off into space, Avenue 5 might have you rethink those ambitions. The latest show from Veep creator Armando Iannucci stars Hugh Laurie as the disgruntled captain of an interplanetary cruise ship whose return to Earth is delayed by three years. Maybe a show about people stranded on a cruise ship might hit a little close to home these days, but the show's blend of Iannucci's trademark humour with its science fiction backdrop should be able to take your mind off of things.
Occasionally I flirt with anime or manga, and I agree it's not for everyone. Once I told Exclaim Editor in Chief James Keast that I'd like to get into it, and he told me, "That's like saying you want to get into jazz." He's right, because there's just so damn much of it. But if you wanna dip your toe into the waters of manga, check out Castlevania. It's a vampire story, but it goes all the way. Dracula is the main baddie, and he's not just nibbling on necks. His power is Satan-like, and he's looking to lay waste on a fictional world. Some of it is hokey and grandiose, but the action sequences are spectacular.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)
Jim Henson's high fantasy epic The Dark Crystal has been a cult favourite for decades with its "Muppets-meets-Lord of the Rings" tale of rebellion and heroics, and now it has a Hobbit of its own with this Netflix prequel series. The 10-episode season Age of Resistance hit Netflix last year, and its complex narratives, star-studded cast (including Mark Hamill, Nathalie Emmanuel, Simon Pegg and Bill Hader), impressive puppetry and immersive world-building features more than enough details to hold your attention.
Harley Quinn (Adult Swim)
I was always a Marvel kid, but as I get older, I appreciate DC more and more. It's set in an alternate reality: there's no New York, there's Metropolis; there's no Chicago, there's Gotham. And when it comes to saving the world, forget Batman — it's all about Harley Quinn. For the first episode, you might think it's nothing more than a Saturday morning cartoon with tons of swearing. But quickly, it becomes endearing. You really start to care about the characters — notably the friendship between Harley and Poison Ivy — and the comedy is top drawer.
Primal (Adult Swim)
This 5-episode series is not what I expected, and I've seen it twice. Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal takes place in a brutal world, loaded with insane violence, and yet, it's beautiful. Seriously, it'll make you cry, in the best way. There's absolutely no dialogue, and it follows a prehistoric human, known only as Spear, as he navigates through life after losing his family. His only (reluctant) ally is a raptor-esque dinosaur in a similar conundrum. It's been a while since I've rooted for a protagonist like I do for Spear.