Deb and I weathered the pandemic rather easily. Our routines weren’t terribly altered. Like most people, we socially distanced, limited outings, wore a mask, etc. And as things are returning to normal, we are ditching the mask and dining at restaurants. Things are starting to feel like it’s 2019 all over again.
The one substantial change, it seems, is in our viewing patterns. Pre-pandemic, we consumed a fair amount of broadcast television, basic, and premium cable. Sure, we watched some series on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. But, as the pandemic shut down television production and episode runs were curtailed for the 2020-21 season, we found ourselves exploring more streaming options.
A sign of routine was the recent Upfronts, as the major networks unveiled their offerings from the next season. Very little sounded appealing. Instead, our lists of recommended offerings on streaming services continue to grow. And with theaters once again showing films, once we can attend without a mask, we’ll be back to the movies.
The change in viewing patterns has been slow but steady and now we’re down to just a handful of network shows and an increased number of older series we’re catching up on elsewhere.
The suggestions from friends and family have been welcome and we will give a show a handful of episodes before determining to stick with it or not. We’re delighted we finally caught up on The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and Lucifer (especially in time for Season 5B to drop next week). We’ve enjoyed shows from other countries, currently working through the final season of Borgen, which apparently generated enough buzz for Netflix to reunite the cast for a fourth season. Similarly, the French series Call my Agent has found new life in America and word is another season and even a film are in the offing.
We seem to allow ourselves a traditional Chinese menu of viewing with a crime drama, a drama, a mystery show, a fantasy/SF/superhero. Recently, we’d fallen in to a habit of darker themes and productions, so we’ve put off the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale. We need lighter fare so I’m thankful the final season of The Kominsky Method is also coming shortly. After that, Deb has decided she needs to watch the American version of The Office to get references at work. In this case, we will not be adding Peacock, deciding it’s just not worth the price now for the ad-free version. Instead, we’re going to be taking the series out, season by season, from the library.
Personally, the shorter 8-10 episode seasons mean the writing has to be tighter (in comparison, it’s interesting to me that I now find half the episodes of The Blacklist feel like so much padding). We plow through series after series, always ready for something new so no two weeks of viewing is the same, and I am thankful for the variety.