Not long after quarantine began, The A.V. Club shared the music, films, and TV shows that were getting us through the pandemic-prompted lockdowns in the hopes of helping our readers weather the new socially distanced normal. Eight months, a new president-elect, and a couple new streaming services later, we’re all especially adept at group-watches with family and friends. That’s why, for this edition of the Thanksgiving streaming guide, The A.V. Club is serving up the shows that are best when shared with others. You’ll find familiar titles, self-propagating franchises, and something to take the edge off your recent Crown binge.
2 / 10
90 Day Fiancé
90 Day Fiancé
The TV recommendations usually flow in one direction, from myself to my siblings. But quarantine has seen us all look for new ways to stay in touch virtually, including finding a show that we can obsess over together, and there’s been no more reliable group-watch than TLC’s sprawling 90 Day Fiancé franchise. Because I’m behind, I had to jump into the deep end with the spin-off, The Other Way, which sees people like Jenny, a U.S. citizen, travel to international destinations for love (in Jenny’s case, for her fiancé, Sumit). While I’ve been catching up via 90 Day Fiancé: Pillow Talk and The Family Chantel, there are jokes made in the family group text that still fly over my head (Danielle and Mohammed, I hardly knew ye). The 90 Day Fiancé series are especially relevant viewing as we head into the holiday season—all the drama and tension will make you glad you opted out of your own family gathering. [Danette Chavez]
You can stream seasons one through seven of 90 Day Fiancé on Hulu, Sling TV, and FuboTV.
3 / 10
The Haunting Of Bly Manor
The Haunting Of Bly Manor
What’s a more satisfying communal experience than getting scared together? The Haunting Of Bly Manor is the second season of Netflix’s now-anthology series (following 2018’s hit The Haunting Of Hill House), and the brand-new story has created even more opportunities for anxious viewers to watch the screen through the cracks in their fingers. Taking place in 1987 just outside London, The Haunting Of Bly Manor follows a young au pair named Dani (You’s Victoria Pedretti) as she takes a post at the titular location, watching over two young children who have recently suffered the loss of both their parents and the previous nanny (Tahirah Sharif). Very soon, things start to go bump in the night—none more so than the mysterious man (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who Dani catches glimpses of just outside the manor. The series is loosely based on the works of Henry James (especially his classic novel The Turn Of The Screw), and there’s much here that goes beyond a typical jump-scare delivery system, with old-school plotting that examines loss, trauma, and repressed desire—all the classic hallmarks of a good, psychologically based ghost story. [Alex McLevy]
You can stream The Haunting Of Bly Manor on Netflix.
4 / 10
When you have kids, there’s this long stretch of time where you’re looking for shows that they like that you can actually stand to watch with them (thank you, Phineas And Ferb). Then, when they get older, you might finally reach a common ground with shows you like that are (kind of?) okay for them to watch. I was the parent who painstakingly combed through those Common Sense rankings, despairing over PG versus PG-13 ratings and having trepidation about anything marked TV-14. Now that my kids are actually 14, all that is thrown out the window: I’ll basically watch anything that will get them in the same room with me for an hour at a time. This leads us to the gory superhero antics of The Boys, which is my current binge with my son right now. It’s definitely rated MA, and should possibly even establish an MA+ designation for all the exploding people and lasered skulls that seem to show up every episode. But we’re both enjoying The Boys’ antihero efforts to take down corrupt superhero team The Seven, forging an unconventional team family in the process. Yes, I should probably be using this opportunity to talk to my son about concepts like good versus evil, loyalty, what makes a hero, etc. But let’s face it, I’m pretty sure he’s in it just for the exploding people. [Gwen Ihnat]
You can stream seasons one and two of The Boys on Amazon Prime Video.
5 / 10
College is the first extended period of time many people spend away from their families, which partially explains the draw of the surrogate brothers and sisters of Greek’s Panhellenic universe. Another draw: the drinking and the debauchery, which, in a turn of events that still requires explanation nine years after Greek went off the air, is only a minor facet of an hour-long series that plays like the campus-set equivalent of a small-town WB drama circa 2002. (Creator Patrick Sean Smith did work on Everwood, after all.) The stakes rarely get higher than the love triangle involving sweetheart of sorority row Casey Cartwright (Spencer Grammer), perpetual undergrad Cappie (Scott Michael Foster), and trust-funder Evan Chambers (Jake McDorman); Amber Stevens and Clark Duke give unendingly delightful supporting turns; and the scripts have a snap that just might turn a Gilmore’s head. Most importantly, Greek realizes its characters are still figuring out who they are as people, rarely forcing any of them into a box for too long—Rebecca Logan (Dilshad Vadsaria) deserves a mention in any conversation about TV’s best sympathetic heels. There are enough personalities living at Zeta Beta Zeta, Kappa Tau Gamma, and Omega Chi Delta to keep you company during the long weekend and beyond. [Erik Adams]
You can stream seasons one through four of Greek on Hulu, Sling TV, and FuboTV.
6 / 10
The Spanish Princess
The Spanish Princess
If you’ve finished the fourth season of The Crown and are already missing the royal squabbles and intrigue, Starz has its own lavishly made period drama about English monarchs—three of them, actually. The White Queen, starring Rebecca Ferguson, kicked off this loosely anthological collection of series in 2013; Jodie Comer followed suit as The White Princess in 2017. The latest in that line is The Spanish Princess, which is also the only series to expand into a second season. The show centers on Catherine of Aragon (Charlotte Hope) in the early years of her marriage to Henry VIII, and the increasingly dark times that followed. Even though we know what’s coming, Hope’s performance as Catherine, regal but fiery, creates suspense in the most intimate moments. All three series are based on Philippa Gregory’s novels, which makes them perfect for poring over via Discord with history buffs and romance writers alike. (The Spanish Princess conflates and plays with historical events, like The Great and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, but Catherine’s pregnancy armor from the promotional art is accurate.) [Danette Chavez]
You can stream seasons one and two of The Spanish Princess on the Starz app; they’re also available via Hulu’s Starz add-on and an Amazon Prime Starz subscription.
7 / 10
The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race
For a decade now, my chosen family has gathered in my living room every Wednesday night for an evening of wine in front of the television, a gathering we dubbed Winesday. The lineup has changed dramatically over the years, but there’s always been one mainstay: Survivor. Winesday became like a book club; we’d discuss strategy and predict futures moves. For 18 seasons, we hadn’t missed a finale together. Then the pandemic hit, and we were relegated to Zoom chats. Now, for the first time in 20 years, there’s no new Survivor this fall. Luckily, another favorite of mine, The Amazing Race, is here to fill the void (and my desire to travel). There was once not much strategy to the travel competition show—success was found through navigation and problem-solving skills. But in recent seasons, alliances have become a major factor in the game, and this season is providing plenty to discuss with the group via text after each episode. I long for the days when we can crack open a bottle together again—but having one just to myself isn’t so bad either. [Patrick Gomez]
You can stream seasons one through 29 of The Amazing Race on Hulu.
8 / 10
My holidays home with family inevitably include an afternoon where we’ll bring out old photos and yearbooks and revisit the funny memories and embarrassing fashion choices of my late-’90s/early 2000s childhood. Although we’ll be spending this year apart, one way I’ve been reminding my mom exactly what it was like to raise a millennial child is to stream Pen15 on Hulu together. In just two seasons, the comedy has become the definitive coming-of-age story of my generation, offering a zits-and-all look at the friendship of Maya Ishii-Peters (Maya Erskine) and Anna Kone (Anna Konkle), from their gel pens to their formative crushes to their first AIM away messages. Although my mom was shocked to discover Erskine and Konkle are actually in their thirties, it’s been a blast seeing her fall for Pen15 the way I did, especially once it hits its stride in the middle of the first season, perfectly balancing squirm-inducing humor with a big heart (episode four, “Solo,” always seems to be the one to convert viewers into fans). Even though Anna’s family dynamic hits close to home—my parents also divorced when I was in seventh grade—there’s a catharsis in the way Pen15 lets us laugh through the pain together, with the year 2000 far behind us. [Cameron Scheetz]
You can stream seasons one and 2A of Pen15 on Hulu.
9 / 10
Want new friends? Watch The Sopranos. There is nothing people who love The Sopranos want more than to live vicariously through someone who’s never seen The Sopranos. This became instantly apparent once I decided to address this gaping blind spot, with pals and acquaintances routinely checking in: Has Richie Aprile showed up yet? What’s Paulie up to? Did Ralphie set the fire or no? Before long, friends demanded we stream pivotal episodes—“Pine Barrens,” “Whitecaps,” “Long Term Parking”—over Discord, not to chat but to remember what it was like when they first laid eyes upon those episodes. The Sopranos’ seismic influence on TV that followed might dull some of its thrills for the modern viewer, but the way it portrays old models of crime, business, and masculinity clashing with modern America remains resonant and, at its core, deeply sad. Of course, there are as many laughs as there are ideas in every episode of The Sopranos, and, if we’re being honest, the communal joy of sharing Furio memes is nearly as satisfying as the show itself. [Randall Colburn]
You can stream The Sopranos in its entirety on HBO Max.
10 / 10