(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the for more ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
My world: a decade working from home
Mike Hale, a Times television critic, has spent 10 years working at home, binge-watching the newest television series. So when the pandemic hit, not that much changed for him. In fact, he discovered, other lives were becoming more like his.
This sense of sameness was buttressed by the ability of the TV industry, relatively speaking, to maintain some semblance of business as usual. Colleagues who covered arts that depended on the physical proximity of audiences — theater, dance, live music, art museums and galleries, even movies, which is to say just about all of them — suddenly found themselves scrambling to find things to write about. On TV, meanwhile, new shows kept coming out.
But the truth, of course, is that everything is changing, and change is quickly catching up to TV. The absence of live sports has been the most obvious effect of the pandemic, but the near-total shutdown of production on most non-news programming is already rejiggering schedules and playing havoc with the fall season (if that designation even means anything now).
Creators are just beginning to explore new and safe methods of making shows. (A leading-edge example, the dramatic anthology “Isolation Stories,” made it on the air this month in Britain and comes to BritBox in America in June.) The next time we do a TV preview, it will probably look a lot different.
And while TV critics have had it easier than just about anyone during this troubling and sometimes terrifying period, we haven’t been untouched. No matter how well-practiced you are at sitting on a couch and staring at a screen, you’re not doing it with the same level of comfort that you had before.
The urge to check the news is stronger. Any susceptibility you might have to feelings of general uselessness is doubled. Worst of all, everyone else in your building is now home during the day too, and instead of watching TV, they’re doing dance aerobics or practicing the cello.
That’s it for this briefing. Take care of yourselves. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on the crisis in Minneapolis.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Land of piazzas and pizzas (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times Magazine won five National Magazine Awards — known as the Ellies — for Print and Digital Media from the American Society of Magazine Editors, the most for any publication.