So, by now, if you haven’t heard there’s a hurricane approaching you really need to read some other stories on this website. The ones with “hurricane” or “Harvey” in the headline. But we’re assuming you’re in the know. And if you’re like we are, sometimes it’s just easier to take your mind off the fact that this might be the biggest hurricane to hit us in many years. Sometimes, it’s just easier to spend Saturday binging on a TV show than watching our local TV weather people try to scare us into doomsday bunkers.
On that note, the Chronicle features staff has patched together a few suggestions for ways to keep your sanity by falling into the distracting bliss of popular culture. And, just in case things do get nasty, we’ve included a couple non-electric options. So when you’re buying 17 cases of water at Target you can also pick up some old school board games.
“Ozark”: Fans of “Breaking Bad” will love this series about a middle-class family that, for complicated reasons having to do with money laundering and drug dealing, suddenly leaves Chicago for the Ozarks – “the redneck Riviera.” And since it’s Netflix, the whole first season is right there for binge-watching. – Lisa Gray
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“Atypical”: Another Netflix series, this one about a teen with autism who tries to heed the advice of “getting a girlfriend.” It’s funny, poignant and different enough to not feel like a typical sitcom. – Joey Guerra
“The Defenders”: A bunch of self-conscious, new-wave Marvel heroes (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil) join forces to fight evil – which is, thrillingly, embodied by Sigourney Weaver. – L.G.
“Younger”: This TV Land series about a 40 year old woman re-entering the work force is worth binging, if for no other reason than Houston native Hilary Duff does some of her best work in a supporting role. – J.G.
“Queen Sugar”: Directed by Ava DuVernay, this series the perfect binge-worthy treat for a rainy weekend. You’ll get swept in a drama about the relationships between estranged siblings in Louisiana who struggle with their own demons while trying to save the family farming business. It’s a stirring collision of class and culture, and it’s beautifully filmed. – Joy Sewing
“A Stranger in the House,” by Shari Lapena: Karen Krupp bolts out of her house one evening, races to the wrong side of town and slams her car into a pole — but when she wakes up in the hospital, she says she can’t remember the accident or why she left the house. As the mystery grows, the police, her husband and even Karen aren’t sure what to believe. – Alyson Ward
“Home Fire,” by Kamila Shamsie: Two British Muslim sisters – brilliant and successful, educated and independent – face heartbreak and fear when their brother goes to Syria and joins the Islamic State. It’s a modern-day tragedy inspired by the ancient story of Antigone, and it’s been long-listed for this year’s Man Booker Prize. – A.W.
“Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat,” by Patricia Williams: Comedian Patricia Williams grew up in a rough Atlanta neighborhood at the height of the crack epidemic. An older guy started using her for sex when she was 12, and by the time she was 15 she was a mother of two. She became a drug dealer, got shot at, got arrested and then got her life together. This memoir, written with Jeannine Amber, tells us how on earth she did it. – A.W.
“The World of Yesterday,” by Stefan Zweig: You could find a more uplifting book for a potential natural disaster, but Austrian writer Zweig’s memoir about falling in love with art during times of nasty nationalism resonates well beyond World War II, which ultimately proved his demise. For a lighter counterpart — if your power hasn’t gone out — follow it up with Wes Anderson’s grim but beautiful “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which is far from a biopic, but was nevertheless inspired by Zweig and his book. – Andrew Dansby
Clue: I’m fairly certain I hadn’t played this Parker Brothers game since the mid-’80s, but my Harry Potter-obsessed daughter got the Harry Potter-themed Clue for a gift recently. I’d forgotten how much this game can quicken the pulse — not just as you seek the culprit, but as the game moves forward and you begin to speculate the progress of your fellow players. No electricity required. – A.D.
Rummikub: Hybrids can yield beautiful, resilient offspring in the realm of breeding, and apparently also in the world of gaming. This tile game marries aspects of rummy and mahjong for an experience that is engaging and addicting. Just beware, it might not be fun for color blind folks. Requires no electricity, but gameplay seems to improve with cocktails. – Robert Morast
The War on Drugs: This Philly group has some obvious Dylan and Springsteen tendencies wrapped in a sonic shell of melancholy. But, remember, not all melancholy is bad. And when you’re watching newscasts about a hurricane coming to cover your world the prosaic reflection of this band’s folksy rock feels kinda nice. – R.M.
Prince, “Purple Rain” Deluxe Edition: “Purple Rain” is a perfect album, so a deluxe edition is really like getting bonus icing. The music extras range from interesting to excellent, but the real gem within this recent release is visual: a DVD of a complete concert from Syracuse, N.Y., from 1985 that includes the nine “Purple Rain” songs as well as another 10 from his earlier recordings. And this was a peak era for Prince as performer/entertainer. – A.D.
D’Angelo, “Brown Sugar” Deluxe Edition: D’Angelo’s 1995 debut gets a fancy schmantzy reissue today (you can hear it on Spotify) with more than 20 bonus tracks, including a pair of the album’s songs (the title track and “Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine”) presented in mesmerizing a cappella versions. – A.D.
“Harvey”: There are countless movies that can feel appropriate for any given moment, but this 1950 film starring Jimmy Stewart follows a gentle man who believes a tall, invisible rabbit named Harvey follows him around. There are statements to made here about how apropos that is for an impending hurricane, but all you really need to know is that this is a sweet and endearing movie that doesn’t feel too dated. – R.M.