British Columbia

Hipster drug mules and sci-fi musicals: What to watch and listen to while hunkered down at home

Need some entertainment suggestions this weekend? Catch up on these shows and podcasts from the comfort of your couch during self-isolation.

Catch up on these shows and podcasts from the comfort of your couch during self-isolation

It's all about staying in these days and there is no shortage of eye candy and ear candy to entertain you from the comfort of your own couch while British Columbians tuck themselves in to reduce the spread of COVID-19. (Shutterstock / Drazen Zigic)

Hunkering down at home for the foreseeable future means you are likely to treat yourself to a little extra screen time. 

Or maybe playing a podcast during the pandemic is more your style.

Social distancing is critical to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. So in lieu of whatever you had planned this weekend, here are some recommendations to watch, or listen to, while you stay in.

Lisa Christiansen, traffic reporter for CBC On The Coast and producer of the show's weekly Wednesday column, TV On The Radio, offers up three suggestions to cozy up on the couch and watch. Kate Evans, producer of CBC's Podcast Playlist provides your ear candy options.

Virgin River

Christiansen says if you are a "die hard romantic" this Netflix series is for you.

Virgin River follows Melinda "Mel" Monroe, played by American actress Alexandra Breckenridge, who moves to a remote California town called, you guessed it, Virgin River.

She comes to the sleepy community to work as a midwife and nurse practitioner, hoping it will be the right place to escape painful past memories. But Monroe soon realizes small town life is not as simple as she expected.


The show has a second season about to drop and is based on novels written by author Robyn Carr.

And if you aren't into small town romance stories, there is some beautiful British Columbian scenery in this show.

Christiansen said you can spot scenes shot in Squamish, New Westminster, Agassiz, Port Coquitlam and on Bowen Island.

A classic comedy

Recreational activities and park hangs are challenging in the time of coronavirus. So maybe it's time to go back to Pawnee, Indiana, and hang out again with Lesley Knope and the Parks and Recreation gang.

The sitcom, which launched in 2009, has seven seasons and is now available on Amazon Prime.

The show stars Amy Poehler as deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department and there are no shortages of hijinks with her supporting cast of comedic characters.

It's hard not to laugh at this one.

And as Christiansen points out, co-creator Michael Schur, is also the man behind such other feel-good favourites as The Good Place and The Office.

Home cooking help

You don't even need to subscribe to a streaming service to hang out and cook with Alison Roman.

Christiansen figures a lot of people are working on their chef skills while isolated at home and Roman, a columnist for the New York Times food section, has a slew of videos available to follow along on her own self-titled website.


Roman cooks in her Brooklyn kitchen and Christiansen describes her as someone you want to be pals with.

"You can't go out, but maybe you can pretend Alison is your buddy and you can hang out with her," she said.

And maybe you'll have some new recipes to help see you through the many meals you will now be preparing at home. 

There are about 25 videos to choose from. Bon appétit.

Hipster criminals

Kate Evans' first podcast recommendation is Cool Mules, a CanadaLand series with six episodes that launched in March.

The investigative series tells the story of former VICE Media editor, Yaroslav Pastukhov, who hired freelance journalists to smuggle millions of dollars of cocaine into Australia.

"It really scratches that true crime itch without being about murder," said Evans.

Hint: Do not Google Pastukhov if you don't want spoiler alerts.

Space jams

A less crime-filled, more kid-friendly podcast Evans suggests checking out is Bandtastic.

This one is a science fiction musical adventure about the most popular band in the universe and while geared toward children, Evans says adults will get a kick out the humour in it, too.

There is one earthling in the band and in each episode he must work together with other intergalactic members to overcome a challenge facing the whole group. Hint: Their songs usually do the trick.

Evans called the show "very quirky" and one to check out if the whole family is looking for some far-out fun. 

Bandtastic is a sci-fi musical adventure about the most popular band in the universe and it suitable for the whole family to watch. (

Current Affairs

If information, not escapism, is what you are looking for right now, then Evans suggests tuning in to Front Burner.

Front Burner is a daily news podcast from CBC News and CBC Podcasts that drops daily at 9 a.m. PT. 

Hosted by investigative journalist  Jayme Poisson, the show deep dives into the big news stories impacting Canadians and the rest of the world.

No surprise what that big news story is right now.

So if you need an info fix between episodes of comedy and cooking, Evans says Front Burner is one of your best bets to keep you on top of what's happening while you are hunkered down.

With files from The Early Edition


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