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8 great TV shows that are weirdly relevant right now

It's like these shows were made for socially distant times.

Trying to find something to watch while self-isolating can be difficult. There are far too many shows that can be painful reminders of The Before Time, showing characters cheerfully meeting in public and eating in restaurants. On the other hand, it can be comforting to see people experience the same isolation and challenges we're facing now, whether that's through a reality show or facing off against zombies. Here are eight shows that provide fascinating insights into our weird situation.

8. Pandemic

Calling Netflix's documentary series Pandemic eerily prescient is an understatement. If you're looking for a deep dive into how outbreaks work and what we can do – and could have done – to avoid them, this is the show for you. It may not be the right choice if you're feeling overwhelmed by the news, but it chronicles the path to a vaccine in an engaging narrative style.

It's obviously relevant now, but much of it will continue to be even after the current pandemic has subsided. The flu still kills thousands every year and that's a threat that won't go away without the work of those in public health.

Available on: Netflix

7. The Circle

Netflix

This reality show puts a group of strangers in close proximity while only allowing them to communicate via social media. They live by themselves, doing art, cooking food, reading books, and whiling away the time by dictating messages to a computer. The Circle might seem like a silly artifact of the social media age, but it's also about forming human connection without touch and establishing bonds even in solitude.

Of course, there's also catfishing drama, with a handful of people trying to be someone they're not. But the heart of the show is in the people who are just being themselves and watching life happen on their video screen.

Can't get enough? You're in luck: The Circle: France and The Circle: Brazil are also available to watch.

Available on: Netflix

6. The Walking Dead

AMC

A zombie apocalypse may not be "suddenly relevant," but The Walking Dead captures the mood of a terrifying new normal better than any other show out there. AMC's quintessential zombie series is mainly about survival and hope. If you're squeamish, you may want to look elsewhere on this list, but if you're looking to escape the worries of everyday life and invest yourself into the wellbeing of interesting, dynamic characters, you can't do much better.

One of the benefits of The Walking Dead as a quarantine binge is the abundance of content. With nine seasons available to stream, it can keep you occupied until the next time you need to run out to stock up on toilet paper.

Available on: Netflix

5. The Society

Netflix

The Society is the teen drama for the quarantine era. When a group of students return from a school trip, they discover their town abandoned, and must establish a government and infrastructure to continue their lives, while still dealing with the usual gamut of adolescent issues. It's a blend of Riverdale melodrama and complex examinations of politics, abuse, and other decidedly adult problems.

It's all very on-the-nose for the experiences of high schoolers today, like the impromptu prom thrown to raise morale, or the abandonment of rivalries between cliques to bond in a shared experience. It's the perfect watch after hanging up your Algebra class Zoom call.

Available on: Netflix

4. Chef and My Fridge

Netflix

Feeding yourself is a whole new challenge in this day and age. Cooking shows can help, but usually require weird ingredients and a fair bit of skill. Popping down to the grocery store for one thing isn't advisable, so it's difficult to make something interesting just with what's on hand. Thankfully, Netflix has imported Korean cooking show Chef and My Fridge, where celebrities appear alongside their actual fridges, and chefs are assigned to create gourmet dishes using only the groceries on-hand.

With the added whimsy of the Korean editing and hosting style, this is the perfect escape to not only another style of television, but an entire different cuisine. Sure, you may not recognize the celebrities, but if there's one universal language, it's trying to scrape together a dinner after a long day.

Available on: Netflix

3. The Last Man on Earth

Fox

A show about a man who believes he's the sole survivor after a virus wipes out the rest of the human race may seem grim, but The Last Man on Earth takes that premise to its silliest, most heartfelt extreme. Will Forte is the creator and star of this Fox sitcom that ran for four seasons, slowly accumulating a cast of quirky characters in truly surreal situations.

The show is a celebration of the weird ways we bond with one another after isolation, and how human connection will always survive. Just don't think too hard about the cliffhanger finale at the end of Season 4, as the show was cancelled before that could be resolved.

Available on: Hulu

2. The Leftovers

HBO

The Leftovers is a post-post-apocalyptic drama about how the world rebuilds after a random 2 percent of its population disappears into thin air. An all-star cast including Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston and Ann Dowd paint a story of picking up the pieces after a sudden tragedy.

With Lost and Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof at the helm, expect all the cryptic twists of prestige TV combined with interpersonal conflicts and family drama in the midst of a worldwide recovery.

Available on: HBO

1. Hang-Ups

Channel 4

A traditional sitcom for an increasingly virtual society, Hang-Ups follows the misadventures of a teletherapist leading sessions over video calls while managing his dysfunctional family. A remake of the Showtime web series Web Therapy, Hang-Ups boasts a huge cast of guest stars, from David Tennant to Richard E. Grant.

A hybrid between traditional sitcom style and the video calls, every scene takes place in one house, reflecting the constricts of self-isolation while still incorporating farcical plots reminiscent of all-time classic comedies. There are only six episodes, so it's the perfect starter binge.

Available on: Hulu

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