As the novel coronavirus rapidly spreads throughout the United States, college students may find themselves with large amounts of unstructured free time in place of a once hectic schedule filled with extracurriculars, quality time with friends and homework assignments. A great way to practice social distancing while making somewhat productive use of your free time is by watching Netflix/Hulu shows. 

Here are three shows to watch during your extended spring break. 

On My Block (2018 – )

This Netflix original series revolves around the lives of four friends living in Los Angeles: Monse Finnie (Sierra Capri), Cesar Diaz (Diego Tinoco), Ruby Martinez (Jason Genao) and Jamal Turner (Brett Gray). Monse, a teenage Afro-Latina raised by a single father, struggles to come to terms with her identity as a woman as she enters high school. Cesar, born into the gang-affiliated Santos family, deals with increased social pressure to join the gang. Jamal, the son of a football-obsessed father, constantly fakes injuries to avoid practicing for his high school team. When faced with a decision between continuing to lie to his father in order to avoid disappointment or telling the truth, Jamal struggles to choose the right path. Ruby, often made fun of for his short stature, deals with insecurity throughout the course of the series and finding a way to assert himself in social situations. Together, these four team up to overcome the challenges that arise from living in a rough, inner-city neighborhood. The first season begins with the group’s transition to high school and their struggle to maintain close ties while navigating the group’s own romances. Netflix just released the third season on March 11, so there’s plenty of episodes to watch. This show, which reveals the realities of growing up with a lack of privilege that requires the characters to find solutions to problems that they should never have to deal with alone, has appealed to a wide range of audiences with its clever humor, romance and dramatic story lines. As of March 19, “On My Block” was rated as Netflix’s most popular show in the United States. I would highly recommend this show for those that enjoy multiple TV show genres.

From left, Brett Gray, Sierra Capri and Jason Genao in “On My Block” on Netflix. / Courtesy of Andrea Miner, Netflix

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (2018 – )

This Netflix series is the manifestation of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s vision for the perfect political satire show. The show is filmed in front of a live audience in New York City. Set with engaging graphics, current events and plenty of food for thought, each episode leaves the viewer entertained and better informed about today’s political climate in under thirty minutes. Topics covered include affirmative action, fast fashion, public transportation and global obesity. I have been a fan of Minhaj since his Netflix special debut “Homecoming King” (which is a special I also highly recommend), and I must say that his new series does not disappoint. 

This show is perfect for college students that crave an accessible way to understand current events without having to sift through dozens of news articles. The sixth season of “Patriot Act” drops March 29.

The Good Doctor (2017 – )

This ABC series, available only on Hulu, is a medical drama that follows the life of Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), an autistic surgical resident from Casper, Wyoming. He travels to San Jose, California, to continue his medical training after overcoming serious challenges in his childhood related to his family’s refusal to accept him. 

The show begins on Shaun’s first day as a surgical intern at the San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. As an individual with savant syndrome, a condition characterized by significant mental disabilities paired with a unique talent (in Shaun’s case, practicing medicine), he uses his excellent memory to diagnose and treat patients in remarkable ways. Although his colleagues initially refuse to accept him, his talent shines through and allows him to leave his mark on the hospital and his patients. As someone who has watched several medical dramas, I can attest that this show sheds necessary light on disability and equality in medicine in a way that’s accessible for all to understand. I highly recommend this show for fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” or those that appreciate fast-paced drama. Hulu has all three seasons of the show up-to-date and available for streaming now. 

 

Although I could give countless other show recommendations, I feel that these three shows will be enjoyable for all, regardless of genre preferences. I hope binge-watching the newly released seasons of these shows can help students overcome boredom, or ease stress and anxiety.  I hope that everyone continues to stay safe, maintains appropriate hygienic practices and makes the most out of this sudden change to the semester.