With the holidays approaching, many of us are getting ready to travel, whether it's back home to see family or to a resort destination where you can unplug — or at least pause notifications. And with traveling comes a surfeit of screen time.

The thing is, I can never count on an airline’s in-flight entertainment, if it’s even working at all. Since I watch a lot of shows and movies to begin with, there’s a good chance I’ve already seen many of the airline’s limited options. So I always have a backup plan ready, often pulled together on my phone at the last minute as I zig-zag my way through the TSA security line. (If there are two kinds of people in the world, those who show up hours early to the airport and those who rush at the last minute, I’m in the latter camp.)

That’s what this week’s recommendations all have in common: They showed up on my radar while I was traveling, whether I downloaded them as a flight attendant told us to switch to airplane mode or simply stumbled on them while channel-surfing in a hotel.

These shows shouldn’t just be Plan Bs, though. They deserve a spot in your streaming queues, regardless of if you have a trip on the books — and here’s why.

Something New: Selling Sunset

Now in its seventh season, Selling Sunset continues to deliver the larger-than-life mansions, excessive designer-label fashion, and petty drama that have earned it a standing place in Netflix’s top 10 list.

Previous reality shows about the world of luxury real estate, like Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, skirted soap opera territory to stay focused on business transactions. With Selling Sunset, creator Adam Divello — the man behind The Hills, The City, and Laguna Beach — went full docu-soap. He even cast former Days of Our Lives actor, Chrishell Stause, as Oppenheim’s new (and very green) agent to stir up drama in Season 1.

Much has changed since Chrishell’s first rocky attempt at a house showing. For one, she’s learned the ropes, but her personal life also looks very different than it did back in 2019, when she was married to This Is Us star Justin Hartley. (She’s since said “I do” to nonbinary musician G Flip.) It’s not just the Chrishell Show, though: The rest of the cast has proven themselves adept at stirring the pot until it boils over — likely at a dinner party or an open house.

How to watch: All seven seasons of Selling Sunset are streaming on Netflix.

Something Old: Lovesick

Lovesick first caught viewers’ attention in 2015, when the British sitcom landed on Netflix under the unfortunate name Scrotal Recall. The initial title did fit the show’s premise: Twenty-something Dylan (played by an adorably shaggy Johnny Flynn) goes on a crusade to inform every sexual partner he’s had of his chlamydia diagnosis. As the show has evolved, though, it’s continuously improved, and ditched its original title.

Along with Dylan’s journey into his sexual past, the comedy follows his college friends and roommates, Luke (Daniel Ings) and Evie (Antonia Thomas), in their attempts to find love. Ings, a British actor who deserves more credit for comedic appearances in shows like Sex Education, stands out — especially in the show’s third season.

But it’s Dylan and Evie’s will-they-or-won’t-they romance that will have you hooked through the show’s breezy 22 episodes. It’s a moving comedy that really captures what it means to have an unrequited crush on someone you know a little too well.

The fun thing about Lovesick is that it’s unafraid to get awkward about sex — but, fair warning: Some NSFW scenes might be a little awkward to watch while sitting in the middle seat in Basic Economy.

How to watch: Lovesick is streaming on Netflix.

Something Out Of The Blue: Bar Rescue

I don’t typically gravitate toward food and restaurant industry shows, but while getting ready in a hotel room with a TV with very few channels, I landed on an older episode of Bar Rescue. And let’s say I delayed my sight-seeing plans because I had to know if host Jon Taffer could turn one of the most disgusting bars I’ve ever seen into a viable business. (He did.) Now, I’m catching up on eight seasons of the Paramount Network show.

Bar Rescue, which first debuted in 2011, follows Taffer as he helps to rehabilitate struggling bars, pubs, and clubs all over the U.S. Whether they have stomach-turning food quality issues, a lack of good management, or insurmountable debt and budget problems — or all three — Taffer works with the owner and staff to turn every aspect of their business around. It’s kind of like an HGTV-style house renovation show, but with a lot more yelling. Taffer, to his credit, suffers no fools.

Some very stubborn bar owners will have you questioning if their business is even worth saving. But that’s what makes Bar Rescue surprising and different — it’s not just helping the kindest and most charitable among us, as many rehab shows do. Everyday people, many of whom aren’t saints, also need a little help tapping into their potential.

How to watch: Bar Rescue’s eight seasons are now streaming on Paramount+. The first two seasons are available for free on Pluto TV.

2023-11-17T16:37:04Z dg43tfdfdgfd