What to stream while you're at home during the coronavirus crisis

Ethan AlterSenior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Yahoo Movies

With much of the country stuck indoors due to the coronavirus, the need for escapist entertainment has never been greater. And Hollywood is trying to accommodate the influx of at-home viewers, making a number of recent high-profile theatrical releases available on digital services well ahead of schedule. But we’re going to reach a point where there will be less new stuff to stream, thanks to a growing cascade of postponements and production delays. With that in mind, Yahoo Entertainment has assembled a streaming guide filled with viewing suggestions from vintage classics to more recent favorites. From sports lovers to franchise fans, we’ve got something for everyone. 

For people who had to cancel their concert plans

Beyoncé brings Coachella to your living room in <em>Homecoming</em>. (Photo: Netflix)
Beyoncé brings Coachella to your living room in Homecoming. (Photo: Netflix)
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Homecoming (Netflix)
Coachella 2020 has been postponed until October, but let’s be honest: The music festival peaked when Beyoncé took over the stage in 2018. Her mind-blowing 2-hour set is seen in its near-entirety in Homecoming, which also features rare behind-the-scenes footage of the intense rehearsal process.

Amazing Grace (Hulu)
In January 1972, Sydney Pollack brought a camera crew into L.A.’s New Temple Missionary Baptist Church to film Aretha Franklin recording her fourth live album. But technical issues — as well as the late singer’s own legal maneuverings — conspired to keep the footage out of public view until after her death. The finished film, which was overseen by producer Alan Elliot and editor Jeff Buchanan is a remarkable live recording of a remarkable performer.

Stop Making Sense (Amazon)
If you only know David Byrne as John Mulaney’s buddy from Saturday Night Live and The Sack Lunch Bunch, here’s your chance to see the former Talking Head frontman in all his vintage glory. The late Jonathan Demme’s seminal 1984 concert film is still a once in a lifetime viewing experience.

For sports lovers with no sports to watch 

Ken Burns and sports legend Ted Williams behind the scenes of the 1994 documentary, <em>Baseball</em>. (Photo: PBS/courtesy Everett Collection)
Ken Burns and sports legend Ted Williams behind the scenes of the 1994 documentary, Baseball. (Photo: PBS/courtesy Everett Collection)

Baseball (PBS)
At Ken Burns’s personal request, PBS is streaming the documentary filmmaker’s expansive 1994 tribute to America’s pastime, which has seen already the 2020 seasons start date delayed due to the coronavirus. All nine episodes of Baseball are available to stream for free online, and the two-part 2010 sequel, The Tenth Inning, is available to purchase on Prime Video. 

The Mighty Ducks Trilogy (Disney+)
The Bad News Bears may have dominated youth sports in the ‘70s, but the ‘90s were all about The Mighty Ducks. All three pee-wee hockey comedies are streaming on Disney+, along with the animated spinoff starring animated ducks. Plus, the team will be making a 21st century comeback: The Mouse House recently announced an all-new streaming series that brings back Emilio Estevez’s rough-edged coach. 

30 for 30 (ESPN+)
A more accurate title for ESPN’s long-running series of sports documentaries would be 107-for-30 since the number of episodes has long since surpassed the big 3-0. The entire library is housed at ESPN+, allowing viewers to revisit familiar stories — like the 1970s heyday of the New York Knicks or Tonya Harding’s downfall — or learn some new things about the wide world of sports, like how BMX was born and the life and times of one of the world’s greatest cricket players. 

For film franchise binge-watchers

Devon Sawa in the original <em>Final Destination</em>. (Photo: New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)
Devon Sawa in the original Final Destination. (Photo: New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)

Final Destination (Netflix)
Twenty years ago, moviegoers learned that the Grim Reaper had a wicked sense of humor with the theatrical premiere of the original Final Destination. Four sequels followed over the next decade, each one upping the body count with increasingly wilder death traps. The first four films — including the series best Final Destination 2 — are streaming on Netflix, and Final Destination 5 can be streamed on Prime Video with a Cinemax add-on. 

Jaws (Hulu)
Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller changed the film industry forever, and gave us one of cinema’s all-time worst (and most meme-able) politicians. The three sequels are — to put it gently — not as good, but each one still has its pleasures. Jaws 2 is a reminder of how great a movie star Roy Scheider is; Jaws 3-D is the goofy ancestor of movies like Deep Blue Sea and The Meg; and Jaws: The Return is one of the all-time hilarious bad movies. Take a shark-sized bite out of the whole franchise on Hulu with a Cinemax add-on. 

Lone Wolf and Cub (The Criterion Channel)
Just as George Lucas famously used Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress as the inspiration for Star Wars, Jon Favreau built his hit Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, on the foundation of another piece of Japanese cinematic history. The adventures of the titular bounty hunter and his Baby Yoda sidekick can’t help but recall Lone Wolf and Cub, a popular manga following a lone samurai and the young child under his protection that was adapted into a six-film series released between 1972 and 1974. Warning: Unlike The Mandalorian, these movies aren’t kid-friendly. 

For Broadway babies

Bathtubs Over Broadway (Netflix)
Not every great musical makes it to Broadway. Dava Whisenant’s 2018 documentary follows late night comedy writer Steve Young and his singular obsession with industrial musicals — song-and-dance shows written exclusively to be performed for corporations like American Standard and General Motors. Young tracks down some of the songwriters and performers who made those musicals possible, and their earnest passion for the artistic process will make you think twice about dismissing their work as kitsch. 

Broadway HD
The lights of Broadway are currently dimmed, but you can get your musical theater fix via this streaming service, which offers a variety of classic musical productions — like 1982’s Sweeney Todd starring Angela Lansbury and a pre-digital fur version of Cats — and such recent shows as the 2017 revival of Falsettos and 2019’s A Night With Janis Joplin. But Broadway HD isn’t just about show tunes: You can also watch Alfred Molina in his 2017 production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Ian McKellen speaking Shakespeare’s speech as King Lear.  

Smash (NBC)
Smash may have limped off the airwaves in 2013 amidst low ratings and critical indifference, but the show’s fanbase has only grown — and grown more devoted — over the past seven years. Launched as a prestige series, the series found its voice when it became a primetime soap opera that mixed lavish production numbers with juicy behind-the-boards drama. We’ll always let Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty be our stars. 

For serious gamers

All Star Games: The Breakfast League (DC Universe)
Actors and professional geeks Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sam Witwer host an epic five-episode tabletop gaming session, and you’re invited… to watch, not to play. But trust us: Seeing the hosts and some of their famous pals go multiple rounds with the role-playing game, DC Heroes, is going to inspire you to form your own breakfast league. 

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (Apple TV+)
From three of the people who (still) bring you It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia comes a wryly funny portrait of life inside the video game studio behind a wildly popular massively multiplayer online game. Think Silicon Valley meets The Office, with a dash of Assassin’s Creed thrown in as seasoning. If you only watch one episode, make it the standalone fifth installment, which tracks the rise and fall of a video game franchise and the two people who created it. 

The Tron Universe (Disney+)
Released at the dawn of the arcade age in 1982, Tron is still the first name in video game movies. Whatever its storytelling deficiencies, the original film remains a near-perfect visual embodiment of classic cabinet games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. Similarly, the 2010 sequel, Tron: Legacy, captures the sleekness of the PlayStation 3 era, even if the world-building crumbles on closer inspection. The franchise’s most successful fusion of story and style remains the short-lived animated series, Tron: Uprising, which boasts a great vocal cast and sophisticated scripts. 

For Schitt’s Creek fans looking for their next Canadian comedy fix 

Corner Gas (Prime Video)
From its humble beginnings in 2004, Brent Butt’s small-town sitcom has grown into a major empire, encompassing a six-season TV series, a feature film and an animated adaptation, all of which are available on Prime Video with an IMDB TV subscription. Essentially the Canadian answer to Clerks, Corner Gas is set at the local gas station in Dog River, Saskatchewan, where the employees and citizens never fail to find the humor in the mundane. 

Kim’s Convenience (Netflix)
Here’s another Canadian answer to Clerks, with a little Modern Family thrown in. Set in Toronto, this delightful comedy follows the Korean-Canadian proprietors of a mom-and-pop convenience store and their adult children. Three seasons are currently available on Netflix, and the fourth will be arriving stateside on April 1.

Slings & Arrows (Acorn TV)
Before Schitt’s Creek came along, Slings & Arrows were the funniest words in Canadian comedy. Lasting only three glorious seasons, which aired between 2003 and 2006, the series unfolded at a Shakespeare festival populated by a delightfully eccentric ensemble of actors... including a “before she was famous” Rachel McAdams. Each season used a classic play by the Immortal Bard — Season 1 was Hamlet, Season 2 was the Scottish Play and the third and final year was, naturally, King Lear — as a jumping-off point for a thoughtful and deeply hilarious portrait of the power of theater and the strength of a community of artists. 

For globetrotters who had to put travel plans on hold 

Phil Keoghan puts teams through their paces as the host of<em> The Amazing Race</em>. (Photo: CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
Phil Keoghan puts teams through their paces as the host of The Amazing Race. (Photo: CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

The Amazing Race (Hulu and Prime Video)
Season 32 of the CBS reality show stalwart doesn’t have a premiere date yet, but the first 29 races can be streamed for free on Hulu and Amazon, and the 30th and 31st editions are also available to purchase on the latter platform. Note that even as the gameplay and strategies change over time, host Phil Keoghan always stays the same age.

Pan Am (Crackle)
An underrated entry in the wave of Mad Men imitators, Pan Am is a jet-setting ‘60s period piece filled with famous faces like Christina Ricci and Goran Višnjić that had yet to become famous — most notably Margot Robbie and David Harbour. Every episode dispatched the Pan Am crew to far-flung locals like Paris or Caracas where adventure and melodrama awaited. Maybe Robbie and Harbour can be convinced to do a big-screen reunion one day?

The Trip series (IFC Films Unlimited)
With Europe currently on lockdown, allow traveling companions and comic frenemies Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon to show you some Old World sights via their ongoing series of trips to places like northern England, Italy and Spain. The latest destination in this lightly fictionalized travel series is The Trip to Greece, due on VOD in May.

For the latest news on the evolving coronavirus outbreak, follow along here. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides. 

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