As long as the city is on PAUSE, we're going to publish a guide every week offering different viewing recommendations—at least partially based on what's playing in the background of my apartment. The first week, we recommended a few baseball-themed shows including Brockmire, along with some brand new series. Last week, we looked at some classic TV comedies that will have you singing odes to your night cheese (or just humming the Cheers theme song). This week, we focus on some classic television dramas that are worth immersing yourself in.

The Wire

If like me, you recently bingewatched the ethically dubious but incredibly addictive Tiger King docu-series on Netflix and started thinking to yourself, "yeah, I need a shower, and also, I'm ready for some serious TV viewing," then perhaps it's time you finally watched the show your most annoying friend has been bugging you to watch for years now: The Wire. HBO's masterpiece about the futility of the drug war and the way institutions grind people up and spit them out in a post-9/11 world is a Greek tragedy filled with unforgettable, beloved characters and some of the greatest writing ever seen on TV. It's also 60 episodes long, so if you watch one a day, you can probably ride out this entire quarantine. The show stars Idris Elba, who was one of the first celebrities to be infected with COVID-19.

Other great HBO shows that you should watch immediately if you haven't: what more can be said about The Sopranos? I firmly believe it is the single greatest American television drama of all time—and on top of that, it is also consistently one of the funniest shows of all time as well. And then there's The Leftovers, which is probably too depressing for some people for right now, but it's just so damn good (especially seasons two and three). It's the only show on television that could be mistaken for a very elaborate grief counseling instructional video. It's a deeply moving exploration of grief in all its forms, a proudly (and profoundly) weird show that demands your attention and time.

Battlestar Galactica

Are you not in the mood to watch a show that is so hopelessly devoted to realism, you might have nightmares about police paperwork? (Fun fact: this happened to me over the weekend.) SyFy has made every episode, all four seasons, even every straight-to-DVD movie from the epic Battlestar Galactica reboot free to view on their website. It's a glorious sci-fi series about humanity's fight for survival that's rife with dense and fun mythology—a little like Lost in space. It can be a bit bleak at times, and the finale is probably the worst episode of the entire show, but as Vox put it, it is "perhaps the best TV show ever made about the tenuous nature of our democracy."

The Americans

If you've somehow not yet watched The Americans, FX's brilliant show about Russian spies posing as an all-American family in D.C. in the 1980s, you've got 75 episodes over six seasons just waiting for you to click play. The show always used its Cold War backdrop and suspenseful action sequences as a jumping-off point to deeply explore the struggles and complications of love, identity, marriage, patriotism, and parenting. It is one of the best shows about morally compromised characters that doesn't conform to the "difficult man" TV trope—and it's currently streaming on Amazon Prime (and presumably will move to Hulu, along with all the other FX shows, at some point). You can read out past coverage of the show, including interviews with its creators, here.