In the news the other day: The sales of chess sets are soaring due to success of the Neflix limited series “The Queen’s Gambit,” about fictional Beth Harmon, who dominates her opponents as a young woman in the 1960s after learning chess from an orphanage custodian.
A New York Times report noted that sales of chess sets are up from 125 percent to 1,000 percent. With that in mind, we’re offering you a list of TV-themed gifts to fit a year when watching television was one of the only safe activities during the pandemic (assuming you don’t do it with 10 or more friends).
Chess sets, of course, are mostly still available anywhere from Walmart to to Amazon.com, where there are dozens of basic and themed sets from which to choose.
Here are six other shows to consider, based on the stuff we’ve been enjoying or at least tried during COVID time:
— The 2019 YouTube premium show “Wayne” became available on Amazon Prime in November 2020. It rates well with viewers but has just one season so far because the network basically got out of original content. (There could be a season two in late 2021, if Netflix green-lights it.) We found the profane, violent, darkly funny and yet good-hearted show about fugitive teens from Brockton, Mass., irresistible. (I blame 2020 for that.) Gift for “Wayne” fans: a ball-peen hammer with “Wayne” on it, which our hero carries with him to remind him of his dad. A small, classic version of the tool runs about $12 in Home Depot.
— “Schitt’s Creek,” which swept the comedy Emmy Awards this year, had its final season arrive on Netflix in October, even if its farewell live tour headed for Connecticut was canceled. For fans of that show, you can buy the entire Rosebud Hotel in (real name Hockley Motel) in Mono, Ontario, for $2 million. If that’s a bit north of your gift budget, you can buy the Rose Apothecary Planter Succulent Pot on Etsy for $52.99 or the David Rose tote on Etsy ($9) with the saying “Very uninterested in that opinion.”
— The streaming series “The Mandalorian” is in its second season on Disney+ and, you may already know where we’re going with this, it seems the Baby Yoda doll/figure is a popular holiday toy, running about $24.99 at Kohl’s.
— “Emily in Paris” made me wince when it arrived on Netflix this fall, but some viewers like it, or at least its fashion. Emily’s phone case (resembling a vintage 35mm camera) is available on Etsy, Amazon or Ebay, from $12-$30.
— It took us awhile to warm up to NBC-to-Netflix series “The Good Place,” but we did, thanks to the work of Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. NBC and Amazon sell T-shirts with the show putdown “Ya Basic!” and the exclamation WT(graphic of a fork) — a reference to one of Eleanor’s lines since she is not allowed to swear in The Good Place as part of her torture. About $20.
— And then there’s “Tiger King” (subtitled “Murder, Mayhem and Madness”), the early pandemic streaming sensation (for about three weeks) for which we lasted maybe two episodes. There’s a Tiger King facemask, of course, but one of the appropriately cheesey gifts is a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with one of four drawings of Joe Exotic, depending on your age: Cuddly Joe, Gentle Joe, Hot Joe (open shirt) and Spicy Joe (shirtless).