Jan Risher

Jan Risher

Much to my husband’s duress, we do not have a television in our living room.

The decision is on me.

I’m of the mind that the living room is a gathering place and should be for focusing on our own lives and listening to our own stories.

That said, I still enjoy watching television. In fact, I embrace certain programs with gusto.

Last week my family and I spent a few days in a cabin in the Arkansas Ozarks. The change of scenery was delightful and good for our perspectives. Other than spectacular outings in and along the Buffalo River, we stayed at the cabin and cooked all of our meals.

When it comes to television or movies, my husband and I struggle to find programs we both enjoy. However, at the little cabin in Arkansas, we found a new series we both loved. We practically snuggled on a sofa each night and enjoyed “Indian Matchmaking” on Netflix.

Finding the right program at the right time was delightful. In fact, I’m still thinking about the series and its characters. I highly encourage others to join the fun.

I love a series that opens new doors, is thought-provoking, has engaging characters, teaches me something new but is loads of fun to watch. “Indian Matchmaking” ticked all the boxes.

Since many are watching more television than usual and often are looking for new series to watch, with the help of my husband and older daughter, I compiled a list of recommendations. We’ve included a few staples, but maybe you’ll find something new too. The programs may be available on other sources as well.

My recommendations:

"The Durrells in Corfu" (Amazon Prime) — a beautiful Masterpiece Theater series about an unconventional widow who leaves England in the 1930s to live with her children on the island of Corfu.

"Alone" (Hulu or Amazon Prime) — I can’t do justice to all the reasons I love this series about survivalists making it on their own in the wilderness.

"The Morning Show" (Apple TV) — the fictional behind-the-scenes inner workings and relationships of a network morning show

"The Great British Baking Show" (Netflix) — When the world is topsy-turvy, this show set in a beautiful tent in the English countryside with non-professionals baking delicious things while competing yet working together brings me comfort. (I often use it as a bedtime story to calm my head and heart.)

"The Good Place" (Netflix) — thought provoking, clever, funny, philosophical and ultimately hopeful.

"AfterLife" (Netflix) — a show about an English widow trying to survive, but it’s funny.

"Virgin River" (Netflix) — super sappy and predictable, but I liked it.

"Sex Education" (Netflix) — about an English high school student whose mother is a sex therapist, very entertaining. (I like the first season more than the second.)

"Derry Girls" (Netflix) — Catholic school girls in Northern Ireland trying to make sense of the world.

From my husband, whose taste in television veers wildly from my own (in other words, if you like your television rougher and tougher than what I can handle, these might be for you — but then, he also likes artsy documentaries). His primary message is to beg you not to be afraid of subtitled movies. His recommendations are:

"Pablo Escobar El Patron del Mal" (Netflix) — He describes the series as campy, but well-done 71-episode Colombian soap opera about Pablo Escobar. If you like Narcos, he predicts you’ll like this too. This series is in Spanish with English subtitles.

"What We Do in the Shadows" (Hulu) — He watches this one with our older daughter who describes it as “the best show on television.” It’s about vampires. I’m just passing this information along.

"Normal People" (Hulu) — about a relationship between two young adults and the progression of their relationship.

"Et Tu Mama Tambien" — He loves this movie. He watches it usually with English subtitles, even though Spanish is his first language. He says he appreciates the way that it’s translated.

My daughter, who knows more about television than anyone I know, recommends:

"New Girl" (Netflix) — the quintessential millennial sitcom, like "Friends" but for the 21st century.

"Schitt’s Creek" (Netflix) — the story of a filthy rich family who lost it all and ends up living in a two-bit hotel in a town they once bought as a joke.

"Sister Wives" (Hulu) — ongoing saga of a most unconventional family.

"I’ll be Gone in the Dark" (HBO) — about finding the Golden State Killer.

"Dark Tourist" (Netflix) — about a journalist who visits macabre locales.

Happy watching and send me your recommendations!

Email Jan Risher at janrisher@gmail.com.