Top 12 Escapist TV Shows You Can Watch Right Now
by Scene PH
We list down our favorite escapist TV shows to keep our minds off of all the recent bad news
My favorite time of the day is when I can finally tune everything out, lie under the sheets, and binge watch whatever I’m in the mood for — trashy reality television, smart comedies, exciting animes, or addicting Kdramas — until two in the morning.
Since the lockdown last year, I’ve bought a smart TV and have subscribed to a number of streaming services. There’s just something comforting about having a ton of shows to choose from and having multiple ways to escape the horrible things happening outside.
We all deserve to rest. We all deserve to do nothing. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have to be productive all the time. So the Scene PH team has come up with a list of escapist TV shows you can stream if you want to momentarily forget that the whole world is crumbling down.
This hit Kdrama is about a former mafia lawyer who, for selfish reasons, returns to his motherland in South Korea but ends up fighting corrupt businesses and leaders. It’s the perfect escapist Korean drama because this is exactly what many of us want to do right now — to take down The Man. The beautiful people on the show help too.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
RHOBH is my first foray into the “Real Housewives” franchise. There’s just something satisfying about rich white folks with no real problems arguing on TV. I’m sure we’re all feeling anxious right now because of the pandemic and our minds are constantly racing. If you want to turn the brain off for a bit, I suggest tuning in to this wonderfully trashy show. And yes, that meme was from season two!
“Going Seventeen” is an online variety show featuring the KPop group “Seventeen” doing various games and challenges. It also features behind-the-scenes videos of their tours and recordings. It’s the show I encourage people who are just starting to get into the group to watch because the personalities of all 13 members really get to shine. Since you can watch the show for free on their official YouTube channel and a new episode is released every week, it’s something I really look forward to (and often rewatch) so I can unwind after a long day of work.
You can watch the episodes in order per season/year, but if you want some really good laughs, I recommend watching The Tag episodes. Miss going on roadtrips with friends? Check out their “TTT” episodes, especially the 2020 ones (pro-tip: Have a bottle of beer or soju ready)! For murder mystery show enthusiasts, I suggest checking out Bad Clue. Have fun, hope we can fangirl together!
City of Ghosts
“City of Ghosts” is an animated children’s series available on Netflix that revolves around a group of kids that interview people and ghosts around Los Angeles, done documentary style. A friend of mine recommended this show to me and described it as “a hug”. At a time when I needed something comforting, I couldn’t agree more. City of Ghosts brought me so much relief (and even creative inspiration!) at a time of uncertainty and sadness, and has even unexpectedly made me cry.
Ghosts are often shown as scary and spooky on TV shows and movies, but in this series, they are viewed as beings with special and important stories to tell, and that they are integral to the history and culture of a city. Although there are only 6 episodes and are around 18 minutes long, I’m trying my best not to finish the series so quickly, saving a couple episodes for the days I badly need, well, a hug.
American Barbecue Showdown
I love cooking shows, especially in reality TV format. My list consists of the cooking competitions I enjoyed watching on Netflix. As a lover of cooking savory dishes as well, “American Barbecue Showdown” was fun and exciting to watch.
What’s more enjoyable than watching how gourmet food is made? The entertaining bickering of the contestants and Gordon Ramsay’s signature loud antics. I take entertainment from the creative challenges the show brings and how easy it takes for contestants to start yelling at each other as well. There is hilarity in the chaos of a game show.
Grace and Frankie
Proof that you’re never too old to live your life, this Netflix series revolves around senior frenemies Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin), who become reluctant allies after their husbands announce that they are a couple. It’s a light-hearted comedy-drama that hits you with all the feels, especially when it explores the many dimensions of love, respect, and family that emerge when you’re finally honest with yourself. Personally, this series is a favorite because it gives “getting older” a revitalized look — one that empowers you to make new life choices, to live boldly, and to just have fun no matter your age. And during this lockdown, it’s just so incredibly comforting to know that anything is still possible!
A sci-fi staple known for its many adventures in space, Star Trek has spanned generations, breaking cultural barriers since the ‘60s. The brainchild of Gene Roddenberry, it has spawned several different series since, but all with the same vision of what humanity should be like — equal regardless of gender, race, or background. Fact: It aired one of the first interracial kisses on US TV.
With many Star Trek series to choose from, I would recommend going with the founding shows first: Star Trek: The Original Series led by Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) and Star Trek: The Next Generation helmed by Capt. Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart). Both are canon and representative of the eras they were filmed in, but delightfully progressive, and written meaningfully (without having to rely heavily on visual effects), so that each episode can stand on its own — an invitation to journey across the stars. There’s such comfort in that escape, but this is heightened even further by the strong camaraderie shared among the crew that makes you feel like you’re part of the family!
I recently rewatched The Crown with my mom this April (we finished all four seasons in a week or so) and while it isn’t the show I would think of when you want to escape all the horrors of our world now, it does provide a good enough insight to the life of Queen Elizabeth II, the Institution and her family. If not for the story, watch for the fantastic performances of the cast who are simply phenomenal in their roles. Rewatching Claire Foy and Matt Smith was such a pleasure, and then seeing these characters transition to their older selves with Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies is a treat and definitely worth the 1-hour-long episodes. Bonus: Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher.
My ultimate comfort show and a series I can watch over and over again. A situation comedy about the cops of Brooklyn Precinct 99, Brooklyn 99 is light, funny, well-written and just has the right amount of social relevance to get you thinking every once in a while. Thanks to my sister’s recommendation, I started watching this way back when it first came out and it’s usually the show I fall back to when I don’t know what else to watch and need a good laugh. Don’t be fooled, despite the fact that this show is mostly a comedy, you may find yourself occasionally shedding a tear or two (or maybe that’s just me!).
This show was first released in 2007 and chronicles the 6 wives of Henry VIII. Although the storyline is straightforward – those of us who are even mildly interested in history may already know what happens – it was still one of the best historical TV shows I’ve ever watched. BONUS: Catch a very young, very handsome pre-Superman Henry Cavill. This show is one of my go-tos and it never fails to take my mind out of a bad mood. WARNING: You’ll sit down to watch one episode and end up watching an entire season. But it’ll be worth it!
This show was released in 2016, with the first season titled “Medici: Masters of Florence” and the second and third seasons titled “Medici: The Magnificent.” It follows the lives of two patriarchs of the Medici family – Cosimo and Lorenzo. In the same vein as The Tudors, this show is also predictable if you know the history. But sometimes, there’s comfort in knowing exactly what’s going to happen in a story. This is another comfort show because it takes me to a world that I love; it feels like travelling without having to travel. BONUS: Catch a post-Robb Stark Richard Madden as Cosimo de’ Medici!
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