It’s been about nine months since quarantine started, and unfortunately we’re still here. As COVID-19 numbers continue to surge in the United States, people are once again finding themselves confined to their homes in lockdowns across the country. 

If you’re worried you’ve exhausted all your Netflix options, look no further. Fordham News asked faculty and staff members for updated suggestions on the best things to read, watch, and listen to for the upcoming winter months. (In case you missed it, check out our last list of faculty recommendations here.)


Jennifer Moorman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication & Media Studies

Vampires vs. The Bronx. Image courtesy of Netflix

Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020), directed by Osmany Rodriguez
I know Halloween is over, but it’s always horror season for me! This one was actually recommended to me by a student in my Horror Film class, and I found it moving as well as fun. A horror-comedy focused on three boys battling vampires while simultaneously fighting off gentrification in their Bronx neighborhood (an issue that should concern all of us at Fordham), this film has so much heart. It has its share of cheesy moments and clichés, but overall it entertains while reminding us that Black lives matter, our communities are worth saving, and we are stronger together.
Available on Netflix

Bacurau (2019), directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles
This Brazilian riff on The Most Dangerous Game is a thrilling, powerful, anticolonial tour de force. Warning: It gets pretty graphic. But its messages about the dangers of globalization, imperialism, and white supremacy are as urgent as ever, and will hopefully inspire you to organize in your own community to fight the power. Its meditation on the ways that advanced technologies invade our lives and can hurt as much as they help is particularly relevant in this moment of ever-increasing dependency on digital (and specifically remote-learning) tech.
Available on Amazon

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), directed by Céline Sciamma
Arguably the greatest queer love story (or any love story, for that matter) of the 21st century thus far. Exquisitely shot, each frame is a painting. The compositions are breathtaking, the characters written and portrayed with unusual depth, and the story is incredibly moving and all too relatable for anyone who has a “one that got away.”
Available on Hulu

The Lighthouse (2019), directed by Robert Eggers
This is a great companion piece to Robert Eggers’ previous feature, The Witch (which I also highly recommend). It’s darker and more challenging, but also funnier. Its exploration of the horrors of isolation feels all the more relevant now than at the time of its release, and if you look beneath the surface, you’ll find a biting critique of capitalism and toxic masculinity (and some would say, also a homoerotic love story).
Available on Amazon

Beth Knobel, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies

Broadcast News (1987), directed by James L. Brooks
This is one of my favorite films about television news. It’s also filled with classic moments that speak to the nature of friendship, success, and love. I’ve shown it numerous times to my Fordham students to illustrate the power and limitations of broadcast journalism.
Available on Amazon

Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 (1987)
Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965-1985 (1990)
Produced by Henry Hampton
Everyone who wants to understand the roots of the American civil rights movement should spend the time to watch Henry Hampton’s monumental, prize-winning documentary series Eyes on the Prize. Its 14 parts, produced as two series, explore the major moments of the movement, from school desegregation, to the fight for voting rights, to the elections of Black politicians in major cities like Chicago. It’s engrossing and important.
Available on Amazon

Brandy Monk-Payton, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies

Time (2020), directed by Garrett Bradley
This award-winning experimental documentary by Garrett Bradley is a beautiful and intimate portrait of a Black family that follows Sybil “Fox Rich” Richardson as she fights for over 20 years to free her husband from his prison sentence. Using interviews as well as Rich’s own homemade videos, the film is a brilliant love story in an era of mass incarceration.
Available on Amazon

Television Shows

Brandy Monk-Payton

The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
Based on a 1983 novel of the same name, this limited series is a coming-of-age story about Beth Harmon, an orphan who also happens to be a chess prodigy. Set during the Cold War, Beth defies the odds as a female player who gains widespread public attention winning in a male-dominated sport, while also privately battling addiction. Watch for the mesmerizing scenes of chess play.
Available on Netflix

Grand Army (2020)
This gritty young adult drama series is set in Brooklyn and follows a multicultural ensemble of teenagers as they confront issues of identity at their prestigious public high school. At times difficult to watch due to its themes, the film has vivid characters and stellar performances by the young cast.
Available on Netflix

Jacqueline Reich, Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies

My Brilliant Friend (2018-present)
There are two seasons available of this amazing adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s four novel series set in Naples beginning in 1945. Most of the actors are non-professional, and there are wonderful echoes to Italian neorealism and other film traditions. It is compelling storytelling at its best, and when we can’t travel to Italy, the series transports us there.
Available on HBO

Borgen (2010-2013)
Borgen is probably one of the most highly praised international television series in recent memory, and Netflix subscribers can now see it for the first time. It revolves around the first Danish female prime minister and her family as she adapts to her new role. You will be riveted. Also along these lines on Netflix is The Crown, with Season 4 having just been released.
Available on Netflix

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
One of the pioneering television series of the 1970s, Mary Tyler Moore plays Mary Richards, a single career woman living in Minneapolis. It was one of the first shows to feature work life and home life (modeled after The Dick Van Dyke Show, also starring Moore), and spawned several spinoffs (Rhoda, Phyllis, Lou Grant). I watched all seven seasons during the worst of the quarantine, and Mary’s sunny disposition and optimism were just what I needed. For a great companion read, I recommend the book Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted by Jennifer Kieshin Armstrong, which tells the background story behind the scenes.
Available on Hulu

Clint Ramos, Assistant Professor of Design and Head of Design and Production

A scene from Buenos Aires on Street Food: Latin America

Alone (2015-present)I love it because it shows you how we really need socialization.
Available on Netflix

Street Food (2019)
It’s set both in Asia and Latin America. I love it because it’s not about the food, it’s about the people who make the food.
Available on Netflix: Asia and Latin America

Beth Knobel

Occupied (2015-2017)
This multilingual Norwegian three-season television series revolves around a Russian invasion of Norway over energy resources. As someone who spent 14 years living in Moscow, working as a journalist, I was glued to the edge of my seat by the portrayal of the Russians and the twists and turns in this biting political thriller.
Available on Netflix


Heather Dubrow, Professor of English; John D. Boyd, S.J. Chair in the Poetic Imagination; and Director, Reading Series, Poets Out Loud

Detective fiction and crime fiction in general! Long-standing favorites include Sherlock Holmes and Ed McBain, especially the ones about the 87th precinct, which I enjoy not least because they are set in New York. 

Michael Connelly has been another favorite for some years—partly because of how the values of the detective are represented (he repeatedly evokes police work as a “mission”) and also because of how the relationship with his daughter has developed in the course of the series. But OK, I’ll let the cat out of the bag: I’m writing a critical article on Connelly, which demonstrates that I need to try harder to follow the advice I give my students about getting away completely from academic work occasionally. 

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
What an extraordinary eye and ear he has for English culture.

Seamus Heaney
Not surprisingly, I keep returning to Heaney, virtually any of his poetry books and prose too. 

Why I Am Not a Toddler by Cooper Bennett Burt
Given our troubled times I’d recommend for light reading, especially to people who enjoy some of the originals, the parodies of golden oldie poems Stephanie Burt claims were written by her infant son. One of my favorites there is in fact a riff on the Bishop poem that is itself one of my favorites, “One Art.” [Bishop’s compelling lament, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master” becomes the kid’s “The art of mouthing isn’t hard to master . . . And look! my last, or / next to last, of three big crayons…”] 

Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America by Robert Bruegmann (Editor)
I love reopening and flipping through art books, including catalogues of exhibits to which I’ve gone. Art deco means a lot to me, and right now that bedside table also includes a book on deco mailboxes, a sub-sub genre of art deco design no doubt. And I often revisit a couple of books I have on the lacquer creations and other work of Zeshin—wow.


Chuck Singleton, General Manager, WFUV

WFUV’s The Joni Project, which features artists covering songs by iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell

Our Stress-Free Soundtrack pandemic playlist

The EQFM “Album ReCue” series, on landmark albums from women, which includes Spotify playlists of every album and Alisa Ali’s conversation with WFUV DJs

George Bodarky, News Director, WFUV

Everyone should have Nina Simone’s “O-o-h Child” on their playlist, especially now.

But really tapping into ’70s R&B has been uplifting, including “Shining Star” from Earth, Wind & Fire. 

Anne Fernald, Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Every summer, my family and I make a summer playlist. The rule is that it has to be brief enough to fit on a CD (so 100 minutes or so) and that it should capture the mood of the summer. We spend our summers up on the New York side of the Canadian border, listening to a lot of CBC 2. Their smooth-voiced nighttime DJ is a musician called Odario Williams, and his “Low Light (In This Space)” is a song that captures the hopes and aspirations coming out of #BlackLivesMatter.

Phoebe Bridgers

Also on that playlist was Phoebe Bridgers’ “Kyoto,” which is both heart-breaking and inspiring and just grows and grows on me. 

And I am always charmed by the Swedish song “Snooza” by Säkert! It’s (apparently) about urging your lover to hang out and snooze a little longer. It’s a very cheerful pop song in a language I don’t speak and one of those gifts from the algorithm: a “you might like” song that I love.