Five shows to get you through the last five days of lockdown

After 107 days in Delta-induced lockdown, October 11 finally looms as Sydney’s long-awaited ‘Freedom Day’ when for 24 hours we’ll get to loot shops, rob banks and dispatch our enemies with complete immunity. No wait, that’s The Purge. I’m not sure what happens on Freedom Day. Picnics, maybe?

In any case, the world beyond your living room is re-opening, which means you have five more days of uninterrupted binge-viewing before you’re obliged to attend things like your workmate’s kid’s 8th birthday party or the dentist. Make the remaining time count with these viewing suggestions.

Day one: Wednesday, October 6
Watch: Staged (ABC iView)
Why? To remember what we’re finally emerging from.

Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Staged, one of the more successful responses to lockdown.Credit:ABC

David Tennant and Michael Sheen’s COVID comedy – in which the two British stars play exaggerated versions of themselves, all actor-y petulance and egotism – remains the ultimate pandemic time capsule, a playful look at the tech-assisted isolation we’ve all endured.

Back when the show’s second season debuted in January, it seemed redundant – we were guileless in our vaccine complacency then, happily anticipating a quick return to normality. But the oily fingers of the Delta variant quickly flicked us back into our daily inter-office Zoom mishaps.

As we emerge again, let’s hope Staged remains a mere historical artifact, our first and last Zoom sitcom (at least until the Lambda variant lands in your LGA and we have to do this all over again).

Day two: Thursday, October 7
Watch: The Cook Up with Adam Liaw (SBS On Demand)
Why? Because this is surely the last time you’ll want to cook your own meals for a while.

Close out your lockdown cooking era with Adam Liaw. Credit:SBS

A casual kitchen-side hangout of sorts, Adam Liaw’s cook-and-chat show on SBS – which last November commissioned a monster 200 episodes of the series – has been an invaluable resource during lockdown, where the most common nightly exclamation was, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO FOR DINNER TONIGHT!”

Thankfully there was Liaw, with The Feed’s Marc Fennell guiding you through a simple sushi hack, or with satirist Mark Humphries making spanakopita toasties. Alongside take-away delivery drivers, we thank them for their sacrifice.

But in the name of freedom and table service, it’s time to burn those aprons. Just a few more days till you can sit at a restaurant and hear those beautiful words, “Still or sparkling?” (the correct answer is “tap”, obviously).

Day three: Friday, October 8
Watch: Succession (Foxtel, Binge)
Why? You need to mentally prepare yourself to reintegrate with all the annoying people out there.

Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) and Roman Roy (Keiran Culkin) in season two of Succession.

Has the endless home isolation left you yearning for human interaction? Get reacquainted with the darker side of the general population by bingeing Succession ahead of its season three launch later this month.

Sure, not everyone you come across will be an entitled (Kendall), power-hungry (Shiv), egomaniacal (Logan) sociopath (Roman), but there are definitely obnoxious (Connor) blowhards (Tom, always Tom) waiting for your return on public transport and in office elevators. Social distancing, we’ll miss you.

Day four: Saturday, October 9
Watch: Midnight Mass (Netflix)
Why? Its full-blown insanity will make you ever more eager to give up on TV for a while.

Hamish Linklater as Father Paul in Midnight Mass.Credit:Netflix

The new Netflix horror series from genre auteur Mike Flanagan starts with an intriguing Lynch-ian mood, following the lives of a tight-knit community in a remote fishing village. But then all hell breaks loose, literally. Even as a lapsed Catholic “vampire angels” were not a thing I thought about before this show, but now they haunt my every dream.

If the, oh, 15 or so stoner monologues attempting to explain the after-life don’t get to you, the series’ finale – easily the most chaotic thing you’ll see on the small-screen this year – should do it. It’s a useful reminder that after so many weeks of endless bingeing, it might actually be healthy to pull the TV from the power socket and enter the real world for a bit?

Day five: Sunday, October 10
Watch: Too Hot to Handle, or Too Hot to Handle: Latino if you’d also like to learn Spanish (Netflix)
Why: You’re just a day away from partying like there’s no tomorrow.

Enjoy your freedom, like the cast of Too Hot To Handle Latino.Credit:Netflix

Never thought the vapid fame-seekers of Netflix’s risque reality TV dating franchise would offer a useful example to willfully follow but, well, 107 days in lockdown is a long time. At this point if a soundtrack of “shots, shots, shots” is not running permanently through your mind, are you even still alive?

A bizarre conservative experiment that sees bikini-clad singles offered cash bonuses for resisting the urge to feel each other up (they never do), this show will get you in the right frame of mind for a summer of freedom. Finally, it’s time to – (cues up Free Bird guitar solo) – drink and be merry.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.

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