Dorothy said it best: There really is no place like home.
With large swaths of the Kansas City population stuck at home for the next few weeks, people are looking for TV shows to binge-watch on Netflix and stream via HBO, Hulu or Amazon.
Why not keep it local?
Our editors picked some favorite local shows, movies, and books based in Missouri and Kansas for while you’re stuck at home social distancing.
Think things are bad? They are—but at least they’re not Marty Byrde bad. Jason Bateman plays an accountant whose low-key money laundering operation explodes after his partner is busted skimming. Byrde and his family flee Chicago to the Lake of the Ozarks where they’re not quite free of the Mexican mob and run into a whole new cast of corrupt and dangerous characters. Byrde discovers that there’s a lot more going on with some of the local redne—sorry, hillbillies—than anyone would suspect.
Ozark is a Netflix original so you’ll need an account. You get the first thirty days of Netflix for free, and if you binge this as fast as us you might be done with the series by then.
No One Saw A Thing
Skidmore is a tiny town in the northwest corner of Missouri that’s famous for one thing: In 1981, the “town bully” was killed in a hail of gunfire and no one in the city would snitch about who was responsible.
The killing of Ken McElroy in broad daylight on a crowded downtown street and the fact that no one in town would finger the murder(s) has made for perfect lore of Missouri lawlessness and last year was explored for a Sundance Channel documentary mini-series that features interviews with a number of people who witnessed the killing—and who may have participated.
Gone Girl is a thrilling mystery novel by KC-born, KU-educated author Gillian Flynn that was published in 2012. The book is set in the tiny Missouri town of Carthage, near Joplin, and is centered around Nick Dunne and his wife Amy’s perfect marriage. However, when Amy goes missing on the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary, Nick becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. While the police continue their investigation, Nick is battling a media frenzy. If Nick didn’t do it, where is Amy? The film adaptation was released in October 2014, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
If you enjoyed Gone Girl, check into another of Flynn’s books: Sharp Objects, an unsettling novel by Flynn published in 2006. The novel follows Camille Preaker, a newspaper journalist, who must return to her hometown in Missouri to report on the brutal killing of two young girls. A miniseries based on the book premiered in July 2018, starring Amy Adams, and can be found on HBO and Hulu.
One last one from Flynn: Dark Places is a mystery novel by Gillian Flynn published in 2009. The book is set in rural Kansas and follows Libby Day, the only surviving witness of a horrific massacre that took her mother and sisters. The slaughter was believed to be the work of a Satanic cult, during “The Satan Sacrifice” and young Libby testifies in court against her older brother. Twenty-five years later, a secret society obsessed with famous crimes locates Libby. Libby investigates the possibility that her brother is innocent of the crime, and deals with confronting traumatic, childhood memories.
A film adaptation of the novel was released in August 2015, starring Charlize Theron, and can be found on Netflix.
Queer Eye Season 3 and 4
You probably remember the early 2000s makeover show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The new Queer Eye reboot features a new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski, food and wine expert; Tan France, fashion expert; Karamo Brown, culture expert; Bobby Berk, design expert; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert.
Two seasons of the show are set in and around Kansas City, with the team traveling to make over men and women who’d been nominated by friends and family. Both seasons can be found on Netflix.
Among the most memorable episodes was the one featuring the Jones sisters of Jones Bar-B-Q in KCK, which we ranked as the number three best barbecue spot in the city.
Daniel Woodrell’s “country noir” novel Winter’s Bone was published in 2006 and adapted into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence in 2010. The story is set in the Ozarks, where teenager Ree Dolly must care for her unresponsive mother and two young siblings. She is informed by the sheriff that her father put their family home up for bond and then disappeared. To protect her family from eviction, Ree sets out on a dangerous quest to find him. The film can be found on HBO or rented on Amazon Prime.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a 1983 historical novel by American writer Ron Hansen. The book explores the infamous life of Missouri’s own outlaw Jesse James and his gang. The novel was adapted and dramatized in 2007, starring Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell. The film dramatizes the last seven months in the life of famed outlaw Jesse James, nicknamed the fastest gun in the West. The film can be watched with a Cinemax subscription or rented on Amazon Prime.
The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a children’s novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, originally published as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on May 17, 1900. It is most known for the film musical adaptation released in 1939. You know the story: Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are transported to a bizarro world after a tornado rips through Kansas. Dorothy wakes in Munchkinland to find that she and Toto have been whisked away to the magical land of Oz. She follows the Yellow Brick Road, and along the way she meets a Scarecrow that needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The new gang head toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, who can help her and Toto return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
If you’re really looking to kill time, now may be the moment to finally try syncing it up with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which urban legend holds to be a perfect soundtrack. The timeless classic can be rented on Amazon.
Brightburn is a 2019 superhero horror film directed by David Yarovesky. Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) want to start a family but struggle with fertility. Their wishes seem to come true when a spaceship crashes on their farm in Kansas and mysteriously leaves a baby. The show follows that baby, Brandon, as he grows older and realizes he has superpowers. Brandon rejects his humanity and turns evil, terrorizing his parents and his hometown in Kansas. The film can be streamed with a Starz subscription.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a 2017 drama written, directed and produced by Martin McDonagh. The story takes place in the small town of Ebbing, Missouri, where a girl is raped and murdered. In an effort to track down who did this and bring justice to her daughter, the victim’s mother, Mildred Hayes, puts up three billboards outside her town of Ebbing, Missouri, accusing the local law enforcement of doing nothing to catch the killer. Rent the movie on Amazon Prime.
Mad Money is a 2008 American comedy-heist film starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes. Bridget Cardigan’s (Diane Keaton) upper-middle-class lifestyle is threatened and she accepts a job as a cleaner at the Kansas City Federal Reserve after being out of work for most of her life. While working, much to her surprise, she sees some serious flaws in the security system. Surrounded by money at her new job, she can’t help but think about what she would do if she could get her hands on the worn-out cash that is going to be shredded. She persuades Nina (Queen Latifah) and Jackie (Katie Holmes), two coworkers at the Federal Reserve, to join in on a scheme to rob their workplace. Will they pull off the perfect crime? Probably not, since the film begins when the suspects are getting caught. The movie is available on Netflix or included in an Amazon Prime membership.
You’re Next is a 2011 home-invasion horror film directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett. The Davisons, an upper-class family of estranged siblings reunite to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary at their remote weekend estate in Missouri. One night at dinner, = a gang of ax-wielding murderers wearing animal masks begin hunting down the Davison family. The movie can be streamed for free with ads with an Amazon Prime membership.
Smallville is a Superman-centered TV series developed by writer-producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar based on the DC Comics character. Smallville is a fictional town in Kansas, but still worthy of the list. The show follows Clark Kent before he becomes Superman and is available on Hulu.
Courage the Cowardly Dog
Courage the Cowardly Dog is a Cartoon Network dark-comedy horror television series (for kids, surprisingly). The show revolves around Courage, a skittish adopted pink dog, and an elderly couple, Muriel and Eustace Bagge, who get thrown into bizarre misadventures and disturbing paranormal or supernatural mishaps. The family lives in a small farmhouse in the middle of Kansas, although the nearest town to their home is a fictional town named “Nowhere.” The show can be streamed on Boomerang or bought on Amazon Prime.
Switched at Birth
Switched at Birth is a teen drama series that premiered on ABC Family—now known as Freeform—in 2011. The drama is set in the Kansas City area and revolves around two teenagers, Bay and Daphne, that were mistakenly switched at birth at the hospital. Bay was living in Mission Hills, Kansas, with an affluent family while Daphne, who lost her hearing at age three, was raised by her single mother and grandmother in a low-income neighborhood in East Riverside, Missouri. According to ABC Family, it is “the first mainstream television series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing series regulars and scenes shot entirely in American Sign Language (ASL).” The show can be found on Freeform and Hulu.