At Home Newsletter
At Home readers have recommendations.
Welcome. It’s the weekend again. Indistinguishable, for some, from the weekdays: more time at home, the same scenery and cast of characters. Many of us will take refuge in comfort activities: cooking, spending time outdoors, reading The Times (this examination of the toll the shutdown has taken on the arts in New York City is an ideal morning-coffee read), reading books. Perhaps there’s a socially distant gathering in the offing, perhaps we’re doing errands or sleeping in. And of course, many of us are watching TV.
Last week I asked what you were watching that you wished you could tell the whole world about. The theme of the responses we received was nearly unanimous: these days, we’re watching for escape, we’re watching for consolation, to lose ourselves in stories of lives unlike our own. If you’ve been lamenting the slow return of shows whose productions are on pause, your fellow At Home readers have you covered. (These responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.)
Several of you said the “seven-season feast” of “A French Village” about living in occupied France during World War II is “the perfect companion for the pandemic.”
A couple of people put in votes for the Netflix documentary “My Octopus Teacher.” Candy Smith said it’s “a fascinating story of a year in the life of this videographer and an octopus in the Atlantic off the coast of South Africa. It’s just unbelievable, touching, moving, intriguing and so well done!”
We also received a couple of recommendations for the Israeli series “Shtisel,” and Laurie Vogel has other Israeli shows she thinks you should binge: “Srugim,” “Fauda,” “When Heroes Fly,” “Our Boys,” “Hostages” and “The Baker and The Beauty.”
Navarra Good recommended the sci-fi show “The Expanse”: “One of the groundbreakers a few years ago in terms of diversity and representation. The themes are rather timely, somewhat prescient really. Extremely well written (including dialogue), complex characters, strong women. I could go on and on, but it’s simply MUST-SEE TV.”
Beverly Fox is watching the American Western “The Rifleman,” which aired from 1958 to 1963 and starred Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford and Paul Fix. “I feel this show heals me from all the bad news I hear about elsewhere,” she wrote.
L. Paxton wrote: “We’ve been watching ‘Escape to the Country’ on the BBC for months now. Part real estate, part psychology, history, geography, beautiful music and gorgeous cinematography, fun and fascinating. A perfect way to end every afternoon. Here in Seattle we can watch back-to-back episodes from 4 to 7 p.m.”
Marie Bridge wrote: “My husband and I are watching an episode of ‘Poldark,’ originally a BBC series, almost every night now airing on Amazon Prime. A historic piece based in Cornwall during the 1700s. Each episode is packed with multiple story lines. It totally takes me away from worrying over current events.”
“Oh my goodness, tell the world to watch ‘The Terror’ on Hulu/AMC,” wrote April Ordoñez Le from San Diego. “If you love history, horror mixed with a little bit of the supernatural, ‘The Terror’ is for you.”
Lauren Alexandra Kligman loves “Murder, She Wrote.” “Did I mention I’m only 29?” she wrote. “I get a thrill from watching J.B. Fletcher and the Cabot Cove community solve a murder every episode. I have all the DVDs so I watch every day. But only one, can’t indulge too much.”
Tessa wrote that she was hesitant to start “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” thinking it “might be silly fluff, but it is very fun and touching, well written.” She added that “‘Norsemen’ has to be the most underrated series out there! It’s just the right amount of gruesome, mixed with hilariously perverted.”
Emily Winslow-Cabrera and others are into “Cobra Kai” on Netflix: “The newish Karate Kid series has really helped with my mood the last couple of weeks. I love how they have the original actors and how Johnny, who was the big bully, comes to understand some of the wrongs of his past and is trying to be a better person! Definitely suggest it for ’80s kids, and I think young people today would enjoy it too!”
Diana Nicholson wrote of how “Great Performances” with Scott Yoo on PBS has “incredible musicians playing in beautiful locations — nothing modern or enhanced.”
Lynne Prairie ends her days with an episode of the British series “Father Brown.” “It might seem hokey, and I started wondering why I was so enamored with it. I now can see it is like the British Hallmark Channel. It’s a light but intriguing mystery coupled with delightful quirky characters. Just a light whodunit,” she wrote.
Some YouTube favorites: Sherry loves the dachshunds Moonpie and Starbox and Sheila Bean in Calgary is into “The Fish Whisperer”: “The nicest, calmest guy feeds fish and turtles. That’s it. No car chases. Kind of a meditation”
Other recommendations: “P-Valley,” “Borgen,” “Rake,” “Call My Agent,” “The Kominsky Method,”(“a sweetness we don’t often get to see”), “Kim’s Convenience” (“lighthearted and funny!”), “Most Expensivest” (“2 Chainz is hilarious!”), “Street Food: Latin America” and “Street Food: Asia” (both about much more than street foods), “Peaky Blinders,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” “Fargo” (Check out Season 3’s soundtrack), “Van der Valk” (“bummed there are only three episodes so far!”), “The Letdown” (“short, sweet, fantastic”), “Rita,” “Restaurants on the Edge,” “Stay Here” and “Dead Like Me” (“It was ahead of its time and ended too soon.”) And of course our critic Margaret Lyons has some shows to recommend for this weekend as well.
We got so many excellent suggestions for what to watch. Tell us what you’ve read recently that you loved. Books, articles, blog entries, essays, tweetstorms — what is moving you, making you think, providing you escape or comfort or clarity? Write to us [email protected]. Please include your full name, age and location. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more suggestions for leading a full life at home or near it appear below. See you next week.
Take a virtual walk through midtown Manhattan with our architecture critic Michael Kimmelman and Jerold S. Kayden of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Their discussion of the litigation that made possible such landmarks as Grand Central Terminal and The New York Times Building offers fascinating insight into how the law shapes the city skyline.
The writer Benjamin Lorr “slung wild salmon at a Whole Foods fish counter, lived on beef jerky and Gatorade on a grueling eight-state journey with a long haul trucker, sneaked into giant pig and chicken factory farms with animal activists, and interviewed the equivalent of modern-day slaves in the Thai fishing industry.” Now he’s reporting what he learned about the supply chain in his new book, “The Secret Life of Groceries.”
And the photographer Janie Osborne photographed the goings on at a custom fly rod shop in Bozeman, Mont. Have a look.
How to deal
Some cities and states have noticed a connection between small gatherings, like play dates or family get-togethers, and an uptick in coronavirus cases. Some of our tips for how to gather safely include to move your outside whenever possible and to make sure everyone wears masks — kids too.
As Airbnb prepares to go public, we talked with its co-founder and chief executive, Brian Chesky, about the company’s challenges and how Airbnb is both changing and adapting to the way we travel now.
And see how libraries, “the most trusted civic institutions,” are adapting to serve the public beyond the pandemic.