Due to the coronavirus, you may find yourself holed up at home more than usual, isolated from the outside world. It’s a great opportunity to double down on your friendship with television. Here are some series and movies, available through streaming, guaranteed to take your mind off the news.
Coming to America
Some of the key players behind “The Big Sick” and “Master of None” have found a way to champion immigrant stories without making viewers feel like they’re attending a naturalization ceremony. Each half-hour episode of the anthology series “Little America” spotlights a different character who overcame the odds in real life to triumph in everything from competitive squash to economics. You’ll end up cheering for each and everyone of them, no matter your ethnic background. Apple TV Plus
Minnesotan Carl Lumbly provides the voice of the late Miles Davis in “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,” but the groundbreaking music is all the jazz legend’s own. Director Stanley Nelson has assembled an all-star session of musicians, including Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter, to pay tribute, but it’s Lumbly’s raspy readings from Davis’ autobiography that will keep ringing in your ears. pbs.org
Dance with somebody
The TV version of “High Fidelity” may be set in contemporary times, but the series is clearly entrenched in the ’80s. When protagonist Zoe Kravitz, slipping smoothly into John Cusack’s role, isn’t moping around her record store wondering why her life isn’t like a John Hughes movie, she’s jamming to Dexys Midnight Runners and Tina Turner. You won’t be surprised when Deborah Harry pops up to soothe our heroine’s heart of glass. Hulu
Stronger than before
The second season of “Shrill” picks up where we left off, with Annie (Aidy Bryant) scampering away after vandalizing the car of her online troller (Beck Bennett). But Annie isn’t running scared in these new episodes, flexing her firmer backbone from one wacky incident to the next. “I’m not off the rails,” she says. “I am the rails.” Get on board. Hulu
Make it so
Don’t set your expectations to stun before watching “Star Trek: Picard” — unless the primary reason you’re tuning in is to watch Patrick Stewart do battle with his own conscience. The quiet moments with the Shakespearean-trained veteran are just as enthralling as any action scenes in the franchise’s last feature film. CBS All Access
From France, with whimsy
It’s impossible not to grin during the charming “Amelie.” Somehow, the French rom-com didn’t make Audrey Tautou a big star but it should have because she’s delightful as a woman who is the fairy godmother of Paris’ Montmartre neighborhood. The City of Light may be off-limits to tourists now but you can schedule a two-hour visit with this magical fable.
We need him now, more than ever
Tom Hanks’ uncanny, Oscar-nominated performance as Fred Rogers is just the most obvious pleasure of Marielle Heller’s lovely “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” in which Rogers provides emotional support for a troubled journalist (Matthew Rhys) and we are encouraged to contemplate the little ways in which we could make the world a better place. In short: WWFRD?
A little-known gem
Many moviegoers will tell you their favorite movie Scrooge, among dozens of contenders, is Alastair Sim. But the guy made other movies, too, and the comic mystery, “Green for Danger,” is the best. Although it was made almost eight decades ago, it feels strikingly modern in its ironic humor and in Sim’s performance as a detective on the trail of a small-town British murderer. Like “Columbo,” he pretends to bumble but doesn’t miss a thing.
Pros who are cons
A year before “Parasite,” theaters were graced by “Shoplifters,” another humanist gem about grifters who make a living by preying on the rich. Hirokazu Koreeda’s bittersweet Japanese fable is a much gentler film, a tender story that argues that there’s more than one way to build a family.
A child shall lead them
When the delayed release of the live-action “Mulan” happens, there’s apt to be a lot of talk about director Niki Caro, who also made the Minnesota-set “North Country.” Until then, why not catch up with the movie that established her, an inspiring story about a resourceful girl who knows exactly what it will take to save her New Zealand community, if only she can get people to listen. First-time actor Keisha Castle-Hughes’ towering performance has to be seen to be believed.