During this time of social isolation, we’ll be offering weekly recommendations to help put you in an upbeat mood. (In case you missed it, here's last week's list.)
‘Making the Cut’
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn may have ditched “Project Runway,” but they haven’t abandoned Fashion TV. You won’t realize how much you’ve missed them until halfway through the first episode of this unabashed copycat series when Gunn gets verklempt during a Paris competition and Klum celebrates being introduced to the word “titillating.” Welcome back, old friends. Amazon Prime
Bruce Springsteen, ‘London Calling: Live from Hyde Park’
This 2009 concert — posted for free online as a goodwill gesture last week — would be a great example of the incomparable energy of a Bruce & E Street Band concert under any circumstances. Coming during the quarantine, it seems extra thrilling and even comforting, being both a sunny outdoor gig and a general-admission layout with 50,000 fans mashed tightly together having the time of their lives. “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” is the more definitive moment than “Dancing in the Dark” in this case. YouTube & AppleMusic
‘The Roosevelts: An Intimate History’
The latest docuseries that director Ken Burns has made available for free streaming could have been as tedious as a Senate filibuster. But thanks to rich language, emotional commentary and some of history’s most colorful characters, the 14-hour documentary never feels like a chore. pbs.org
‘Cable Girls’ / ‘Las Chicas del Cable’ (Spain)
It’s the decadent era of late 1920s Spain, and four young women from very different walks of life meet in Madrid while working at the Iberian peninsula’s only telephone company. The very soapy telenovela follows them as they navigate love, work and a culture that isn’t exactly feminist, all while sticking together … for the most part, anyway. The fifth and final season was released in February. Netflix.
Now that you’ve memorized every line of “The Office” and “Friends,” it’s time to fall in love with the most joyful police precinct on Earth. The whole cast is terrific, but whoever recruited former “Homicide” detective Andre Braugher and rascally “SNL” truant Andy Samberg to play the best of frenemies deserves a gold shield. NBC, TBS, Hulu
Pop science lessons in 15 minutes or less from NPR? Sign us up. Host Maddie Sofia and guests cover every subject under the sun: vaping, insect warfare, comets, climate change, whether your cat hates you. Recent episodes dive into the coronavirus outbreak, but if you’re taking a pause from pandemic content, there are plenty of other topics to explore. New episodes of this quickie podcast drop every weekday. Listen wherever you get your podcasts. npr.org/podcasts
‘Love Is Blind’
The reality dating show for our quarantined times. In this “experiment,” contestants court one another without seeing one another — chatting in octagon “pods” separated by a glowing, purple wall. Things move quickly, with the first proposal arriving in Episode 1. The show’s tone veers from thoughtful to trashy, romantic to cringe-y. But just try not to cry when Lauren and Cameron hold each other for the first time. Netflix
This may be about how the mob manipulated the McDonald’s Monopoly game in the 1990s, but the docuseries focuses so much on the fun that the good guys have while investigating the case, it might as well be a recruitment tool for the FBI. Matthew McConaughey was born to play motormouth agent Doug Mathews, the Hamburglar’s worst enemy. HBO
Ah, let us return to a different era, the 1950s, a time that was not any better for humanity but a time when one could, at least, go outside without fear of contracting a deadly illness. In Gretchen Berg’s new novel “The Operator,” Vivian Dalton works as a switchboard operator, sometimes eavesdropping on calls, sometimes hearing things she is not supposed to know — things that nurse the unhappiness and grudges she carries in her heart.
This documentary concerns a guy who made his living as a tiger wrangler and wild-animal zoo owner. Add sex and drugs and magic and murder and an insatiable desire for PR, and you have … Joe Exotic. If this sounds familiar, Joe’s story was the subject of an entertaining podcast from Wondery. The TV version draws on the vast amount of video shot before Joe’s empire went to (bleep), and brings it all to life in a way the podcast couldn’t. Weird, hilarious and mortifying. Netflix.
‘Austin City Limits’ archives
America’s longest-running TV music series was one of the quickest to respond to the quarantine: Producers at KLRU in Austin, Texas, made dozens of episodes from the last three seasons free for streaming online. That’s good news for cooped-up live music lovers, since the show’s greatest asset has always been its unadorned presentation of the guests’ live performances. Recommended episodes include Janelle Monae, John Prine, St. Vincent, Billie Eilish, Brandi Carlile, Gary Clark Jr. and, of course, the guy who broke in the old “ACL” set in 1975, Willie Nelson. pbs.org
Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Mr. and Mrs. Banjo are calling their performances “Banjo House Lockdown Livestream Series.” He is a banjo god, she (a graduate of Edina High) is a virtuoso, and together they’re not only extraordinarily musical but spontaneously hilarious, as they’ve demonstrated in performances at the Guthrie and the O’Shaughnessy. No word if their musical son, Juno, 6, will join in. 6 p.m. March 27, April 3 and 10 at Facebook Live
Phoebe Waller-Bridge committed last season’s most hilarious sins, including the seduction of Hot Priest. The fact that she cleaned up at the Emmys proves there is a God. If you’re not already on the “Fleabag” bandwagon, there’s no time like the present to climb aboard. Amazon Prime