If there was ever a time to be stuck at home, at least it’s during what some call “the golden age of television.” From cable to streaming sites, there's an abundance of content to explore and make the time spent at home pass a little easier.
Whether you’re at home alone or have a family to entertain, our film contributor Ryan Jay has recommendations of great shows and movies to stream for all ages:
Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Adapted from the popular novel of the same name by Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere follows the connected lives of the picture-perfect family of Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) and Mia Warren (Kerry Washington), a single mother and artist who dramatically shakes up suburbia. The series dives into the weight of secrets, art and identity, and what motherhood means and can drive people to do.
"It is revolutionary television," says Jay. "[Resse Witherspoon and Keri Washington] give master classes in acting. I feel like they're going to tie at both the Emmys and Golden Globes come awards season for best actor ... It's almost like if they took Big Little Lies and crossed it with Desperate Housewives — it's really good."
The Pale Horse (Amazon Prime)
Set in 1960s London, this two-part action/thriller mystery series is an adaptation from the Agatha Christie story. Mark Easterbrook (Rufus Sewell) is a very successful antique dealer who seems to have it all, but he's falling apart as women he’s been with keep dying. Easterbrook discovers he's also on some kind of hit-list created by a mysterious and potentially supernatural serial killer. Jay notes that the story is "very complex, but not too hard to follow."
"This adaptation is really fun," he says. "It brings in a sort of mysticism which really got me excited. I also enjoy the casting ... it's shot very beautifully, and in just two episodes it's very fun to just get through."
Frozen 2 (Disney +)
While Frozen 2 was able to make its movie theater debut, it's now available to stream much faster than anyone anticipated, according to Jay. Audiences once again follow Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven as they leave their home of Arendelle to travel to an ancient, magical forest to find the origin of Elsa's powers to save their kingdom.
"I'm sure everyone's seen it by now — it's the highest-grossing animated film ever," Jay notes. "It didn't give everyone that juggernaut of a song, 'Let It Go,' like the first Frozen had, but I'm sure families across the globe now are watching [it] on repeat."
Onward (Disney +)
While Onward was released in the theaters before movie theaters shut down, Disney also put it on its streaming platform. Set in a suburban fantasy world, the film follows two elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), who set out on a quest to find an artifact that will bring back their deceased father.
"There's a very sweet family story [in Onward] ... and it's a very beautiful film for all ages," says Jay.
Spenser Confidential (Netflix)
Spenser Confidential follows Spenser, an ex-cop and ex-con played by Mark Wahlberg, as he teams up with an aspiring fighter to uncover a sinister conspiracy tied to the deaths of two Boston police officers.
"This is Wahlberg in his element," says Jay. "To me, great action movies are the ones where in those exciting sequences you see things you hadn't seen done before. There's a uniqueness and an originality to those scenes, but I also love the camaraderie in the cast here."
The Hunt (Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango NOW, and more)
This horror/thriller/action movie is the right movie at the right time in terms of escapism, according to Jay. This past summer following the mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, Universal Studios decided to pull The Hunt from it's theatrical release and shelving it indefinitely — until this month.
The film focuses on a group of Americans who are kidnapped and dropped off in a type of natural arena to be hunted down by people who have paid for the experience of murdering them.
"It's basically The Hunger Games, but liberals versus conservatives, Democrats versus Republicans," Jay explains. "And regardless of where you might fall in any political affiliations or not, it's so extremist and it's so delightfully hilarious and in it you're not really rooting for one side or the other because the story is so great ... It's very rated R — it is outrageously gory and extremely violent and I loved every second of it."
Editor's note: Ryan Jay is a nationally syndicated radio host and resident reviewer on Channel 4’s The Morning Blend and Saturday News.
During this pandemic, WUWM's Bubbler Talk is focusing on the coronavirus and its impact on the Milwaukee area. If you have a question, submit it below.