Lookout, weekend. Here we come… straight for the couch. It’s been a long week indoors for many of us, and while the weekend usually signals the start of something new as far as our everyday routines go, that’s probably not the case right now as those who can are staying home to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
That said, if you’re looking to virtually escape to another world, you’re in luck: Beginning today, April 3, HBO has launched its #StayHomeBoxOffice campaign, which provides nearly 500 hours of free programming to anyone via the HBO Now and HBO Go streaming apps. This is the first time HBO has made this volume of programming available outside of the paywall.
That’s right. You can finally catch up on must-see series like
or plan a virtual ladies night with your crew and all stream The Sopranos Crazy, Stupid, Love at the same time. The best part? Well, it’s a toss-up: the fact that a huge portion of HBO’s catalog is totally free or that you don’t need to share the popcorn. We’ll let you decide.
Just in case you can’t decide what to watch first, we’ve compiled the who, what, and wear for a handful of our personal favorites below. So whether you strongly identify with
or have never even heard of Sookie Stackhouse, we’re here to help you find a stylish streaming companion to thoroughly enjoy from the comfort of your couch. Succession‘s Shiv Roy
WHO: Amanda Crew . WHAT: Monica Hall, the youngest-ever associate partner at Raviga Capital and board member for Pied Piper. WEAR: Polished professional moments in the otherwise hoodie-and-jeans-filled valley. “Silicon Valley is a show that should technically spark none of my interests. I love the typical fare targeted to millennial females, but I swear this show has cross-category appeal, even if you care very little about the tech scene. It’s funny, well-acted, and completely binge-able.” — Kat Collings, editor in chief
WHO: Lauren Ambrose. WHAT: Claire Fisher, the youngest of the Fisher family . WEAR: Moody ’90s artist vibes and lots of black (obviously). Conventional family drama meets dark comedy in this early aughts hit about the Fisher & Sons Funeral home. You’ll probably recognize several familiar faces (Michael C. Hall and Peter Krause, plus a few fun cameos) from early in their careers. Trust us—this dark comedy is not nearly as morbid or depressing as it sounds.
WHO: Edie Falco. WHAT: Carmela Soprano, stylish New Jersey housewife. WEAR: Perfectly coiffed hair, manicured nails, and the latest piece of jewelry from Tony. Put the baked ziti in the oven because it’s time to fire up The Sopranos.
WHO: Sarah Snook. WHAT: Siobhan “Shiv” Roy, heir presumptive? WEAR: Turtlenecks, high-waisted pants, power layers in neutral tones, and delicate jewelry. “This show is smart, witty, and surprisingly full of great fashion moments. (I stan Shiv Roy.) It’s a great binge, and even better, there are only two seasons (a third is in the works), so it doesn’t feel like a daunting commitment.” — Jessica Baker, entertainment director. “Give me more and more of this messed-up family! The budget is high in this series, and it makes you want more and more of this lavish life. Super binge-worthy! In fact, I may binge again.” — Alexa Wiley, art director. “I love Succession because it’s a modern-day Game of Thrones set in Manhattan. It’s the smartest show on TV where I don’t know whether to laugh or wince at how the Roy family aims to outdo each other. And it also gave us Shiv Roy, arguably responsible for bringing turtlenecks and pearls back into fashion.” — Vanessa Muro, research director
WHO: Anna Paquin. WHAT: Sookie Stackhouse, waitress . WEAR: Southern belle sensibilities mixed with vamped-up period pieces. If you came of age during the Twilight phenomenon, consider True Blood the grown-up (and much better, in my opinion) version of your favorite vampire lore. Anna Paquin leads a star-studded cast of humans and vampires, including her now-husband Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Evan Rachel Wood, and the late Nelsan Ellis as the inimitable Lafayette Reynolds.
WHO: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. WHAT: Vice President Selina Meyer. WEAR: Smirks, power suits, and dresses in nonpartisan hues. “Veep is an absolute masterpiece. It is so smart, so biting, so f-ing funny. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the whole cast are brilliant. Real former White House staffers have also said it’s the most realistic depiction of working there, which I find fascinating, too. The episodes hold up with rewatching.” — Michelle Plantan, VP of social and innovation. “Every episode of Veep literally makes me laugh out loud. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the cast are simply perfect.” — Alyson Stehly, copy chief
WHO: Michael K. Williams. WHAT: Omar Little, notorious Baltimore stick-up man. WEAR: Signature trench coat, do-rag, and gold chains. “It’s hard to think of a more realistic TV drama than The Wire, which captures the gruesome (and true) stories of Baltimore’s drug crime scene and the institutions that police it. The show may be rough to start, but once you come to know the characters (featuring Michael B. Jordan and Idris Elba’s breakout roles), you’ll be hooked through all five seasons. This is the only TV series that’s stuck with me years after watching it.” — Aralyn Beaumont, copy editor. “According to about 500 different media outlets (and me), The Wire is officially the best TV show ever made. Firstly, I’m delighted to present to you a slick young Idris Elba and a roguish young Dominic West, who put on flawless Baltimore accents so thick I still refuse to believe either of them is actually British. (#LifeProTip: Watch with subtitles.) There are no clear good guys or bad guys. You don’t know who to root for. All you’ll know is that Omar is probably the greatest character ever to exist. It’s long and often anti-climactic and entirely brilliant. Settle in and enjoy.” — Natalie Cantell, director of branded content
WHO: Jane Fonda. WHAT: Jane Fonda as Hanoi Jane, Barbarella, and a beacon of the women’s movement. WEAR: Several iconic outfits pre-dating her Fire Drill Friday’s Ferrari-red coat. According to documentarian Susan Lacy, “This film goes to the heart of who [Jane Fonda] really is, a blend of deep vulnerability, magnetism, naïveté, and bravery, revealing a life transformed over time.”
WHO: Meryl Streep. WHAT: Francesca Johnson, a middle-aged farm wife. WEAR: Plain house dresses reflecting the setting of rural Iowa in 1965. Did you know that Clint Eastwood both starred in and directed The Bridges of Madison County? While that might be impressive enough to get you to press play, consider that The New York Times called this tear-jerker film “Meryl Streep’s [best] role in years.” And that was in 1995!
WHO: Emma Stone. WHAT: Hannah, a law student. WEAR: Stone’s character proves you can never have too many going-out tops, cute jackets, or flowy dresses, especially when you’re in a star-studded rom-com. “Crazy, Stupid, Love is just so cute and funny. It’s one of the rare movies I’d watch more than once. Emma Stone is so charming in it, per usual. Actually, the entire cast is spot on.” — Alyson Payer, senior editor . “No matter how many times I watch Crazy, Stupid, Love, it always manages to make me laugh. To me, that’s a sign of a great comedy.” — Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour, senior editor
WHO: Amanda Seyfried. WHAT: Valerie, aka Red Riding Hood. WEAR: A bright-red hooded cloak, obviously. Loosely based on the childhood folktale, Red Riding Hood was Seyfried’s biggest role following her iconic portrayal of Karen in Mean Girls (2004). Although the movie received lackluster reviews, praise for Seyfried’s role was high and likely helped earn her the role of Cosette in 2012’s Les Misérables. Press play on this movie for a twist on an old favorite and stay to witness the multifaceted Seyfried.
WHO: Jena Malone. WHAT: Rocket, rebel with a cause. WEAR: Thigh-high boots, miniskirts, and leather accessories or, as The New York Times described it, “garish boudoir fashions, cropped schoolgirl uniforms, and the latest action lingerie.” In search of some serious escapist action? Follow a bevy of badass female characters played by Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, and Vanessa Hudgens through a mental hospital, a bordello, and various battlefields in this surprisingly enjoyable original film from the mind of Zack Snyder. Fair warning: This isn’t a movie you can just have on in the background. This feminist-leaning tale of fantasy and action make this worth watching with a close eye.
WHO: Rooney Mara. WHAT: Tiger Lily (problematic, we know). WEAR: Aside from the questionable casting of Mara as an Indian princess, you’ve got to admit, her eye makeup is on point. Envisioned as an alternative origin story for Peter Pan and Captain Hook, this adaptation goes heavy on the pirates and CGI effects. On the plus side, this is one you can watch with the whole family. But in the opinion of this pop culture aficionado, you really can’t do better than the original 1960 version with Mary Martin in the titular role.
WHO: Rebel Wilson. WHAT: Natalie, Australian architect living in New York. WEAR: A colorful wardrobe befitting flights of fancy and falling in love in NYC. “I watched Isn’t It Romantic on a plane ride and thought it was so funny. It’s not my kind of movie, to be honest, but it offered some good belly laughs. I may have been sleep-deprived during my original viewing, so I’d be down to watch it again to see if it’s still as hilarious.” — Courtney Higgs, associate beauty editor
WHO: Sophia Lillis. WHAT: Nancy Drew, teenage detective. WEAR: Skater girl–meets-sleuth attire, complete with comfy shoes, soft sweatshirts, and a serious flashlight. With so many iterations of Nancy Drew out there, it’s hard to stand out and add to the cannon. But Hidden Staircase puts a decidedly 21st-century spin on the classic young-detective lit by making Lillis’s portrayal of the protagonist more acerbically comedic. This is in sharp contrast not only to the original material but also with Emma Roberts’s more pristine version, which came out over a decade ago. Another clue? Ellen DeGeneres produced this version, so you know it’s ultimately a feel-good flick, even if the plot is a bit rough around the edges.
Up next: 2020: The Year Issa Rae Makes Us Laugh, Cry and Disrupts Hollywood’s Status Quo