COVID-19: 5 top TV shows to stream if you’re stuck in the house

  • “The Mandalorian” offers good a good action scenes, fun characters and, of course, Baby Yoda. (Disney TV+/TNS)

If you are stuck inside with the home-sheltering blues, it’s a good time to get caught up with some current TV shows that maybe never got off your “to-watch” list.

With that in mind, here are five streaming options that lean toward newer material (one to two seasons) and, in most cases, lesser-known shows. Our other objective: Go with lighter, escapist fare rather than post-apocalyptic, world-in-peril bleakness. (So “The Walking Dead” and “Chernobyl” are out):

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“Succession”

As the stock market takes a pounding, it might be reassuring to know that the devilish members of the fictional media empire family depicted in this darkly delicious series have major headaches of their own. Technically, “Succession” is a drama, but it contains plenty of wildly uproarious moments and comically depraved characters. You’ll take sadistic glee in watching the ruthless power plays and bitter back-stabbing unfold as Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) once-indomitable dynasty falls into disarray. (Two seasons, 20 episodes; HBO Now and Hulu).

“The Mandalorian”

Social distancing? Let’s take that to the extreme and venture to a galaxy far, far away. This first-ever live-action “Star War” TV series follows a mysterious, armor-clad gun bounty hunter (“Game of Thrones” alum Pedro Pascal) as he encounters various villains and kooky aliens during his otherworldly travels. Better yet: You’ll get to see what all the fuss over Baby Yoda is about. (One season, eight episodes; Disney+).

“Fleabag”

This disarmingly raw and hilariously acerbic British import received an outpouring of well-deserved Emmy love last fall. Phoebe Waller-Bridge created and stars as the title character — a deeply flawed single woman navigating her way through a maze of dysfunctional family relationships, raw emotions, thorny truths and dating misadventures. It was our choice for 2019’s best series. (Two seasons, 12 episodes; Amazon Prime).

“Pen15”

Yearn to return to a simpler time when hand sanitizer and toilet paper weren’t in short supply? Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, two adult women, play versions of themselves as middle-school nerds growing up in the heyday of Blockbuster Video and the Spice Girls. (Their fellow students are portrayed by actual kids). Yes, it’s a strange premise, but the result is an amusing, heartfelt series that resonates with all the traumatic awkwardness of adolescence. (One season, 10 episodes; Hulu).

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“Dead to Me”

Two of our favorite TV actresses — Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini — headline this tragicomedy, which is perfectly tailored for a brisk and humorous binge. Applegate, in a career-best performance, plays a volatile young widow who lost her husband in a hit-and-run accident. Cardellini is an eccentric optimist who meets her in a grief support group. The two women bond and plenty of unexpected twists and stunning cliffhangers ensue. (One season, 10 episodes; Netflix)

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