Netflix — and coronavirus — keeps people at home but glued to their screens

Practicing social distancing by staying at home, at least until the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed? There's plenty of movies and TV shows to watch, especially as a Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime subscriber.

Minnesotans ordered to stay at home because of the coronavirus may find themselves with a lot more time to watch subscription-based media providers such as Netflix. Photo by freestocks on

Couch potatoes, rejoice!

April 1 marked a new month offering a new slate of movies and TV series to stream, and there’s never been a better time to binge watch old favorites or new ones on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime because of Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order.

The stay-at-home order Walz issued for Minnesotans ends April 10, and President Donald Trump extended federal social distancing guidelines to April 30, making it a perfect time to catch up on buzzworthy and critically acclaimed offerings.

Lester Holt of NBC News said the novel coronavirus is “the biggest story we have ever seen,” but it’s a sure bet many Americans who are unemployed due to closed businesses and restaurants — and are at home — are looking for a break from reality for a little while.

And with the stock market on a Valley Fair-like roller coaster ride these past few weeks, who could blame one for wanting a little escapism?


While suggesting “Zombieland” on Hulu would perhaps be in poor taste at this juncture, horror fare is often a welcome diversion in these troubled times, so the recently released re-imagining of “The Invisible Man” is finding its way to streaming devices like Roku after theaters shuttered.

And there is plenty to watch free on various video-streaming platforms such as Crackle, Tubi and Pluto TV — so long as there is the willingness to put up with a few commercials — but many have also already paid for a subscription to Netflix, Hulu and/or Amazon Prime.

So without further ado, here are some subjective suggestions of upcoming movies and TV shows for the first few weeks of April. Detailed or comprehensive lists for the entire month exist elsewhere, but this should keep homebound Minnesotans tided over — at least until April 10.


  • Movies: “God’s Not Dead” (Christian drama); “Soul Plane” (comedy); “Taxi Driver” (drama); “The Hangover” (comedy); “The Social Network” (drama); and “The Matrix,” “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (science fiction, fantasy).

(Critics’ choice: “Road to Perdition,” featuring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Daniel Craig in a Prohibition period piece about revenge and redemption.)

  • TV shows: “The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show”; “Nailed It!” (Season 4); “Sunderland ‘Til I Die” (Season 2); “Kim’s Convenience” (Season 4); “The Big Show Show”; and “Hi Score Girl” (Season 2).

(Critics’ choice: “Community,” the NBC ensemble comedy about a community college study group, is available to watch, with the first six seasons.)


  • Movies: “Blazing Saddles” (comedy, Western); “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who” (animation, family); “Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2” (action); “Let Me In” (horror); “Spider-Man” (science fiction, fantasy); and “The Full Monty” (comedy, musical).

(Critics’ choice: “Parasite,” the drama that won Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, Best Director and Best Picture at last month’s Oscars.)

  • TV shows: “Chopped” (Season 36); “Cutthroat Kitchen” (Season 12); “Dr. Pimple Popper (Season 3); “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Seasons 27 through 29); “Love It or List It” (Season 14); and “Property Brothers” (Seasons 10 and 11).

(Critics’ choice: “House Hunters,” the unstoppable HGTV series that deserves its own SNL skit, and features debatable housing choices, debuts its 120th season.)

Amazon Prime

  • Movies: “Dr. T & The Women” (comedy, romance); “Gods and Monsters” (drama); “Hotel Artemis” (action and adventure); “I Am Legend” (science fiction, fantasy); “The Bodyguard” (drama, musical); and “Rambo: Last Blood” (action and adventure).

(Critics’ choice: “Goldfinger,” the iconic James Bond movie that cemented Sean Connery’s status as one of the best “007” to don the tuxedo and down a martini.)


  • TV shows: “America in Color” (Season 1); “Dirt Every Day” (Season 1); “Foyle’s War (Season 1); “Molly of Denali” (Season 1); “Our Wedding Story” (Season 1); and “The Bureau” (Seasons 1).

(Critics’ choice: “The Mind of a Chef,” narrated by the late celebrity chef and food traveler Anthony Bourdain, the series follows some of the best in the biz.)

FRANK LEE, county and features reporter, may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

Frank Lee.jpg
Frank Lee

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write mostly features stories for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. The newspaper is owned by Forum Communications Co.
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