Binge-Watching TV Is the Last Thing I Want to Do Right Now

Since my city, Paris, locked up in mid-March, I have been waiting for my usual craving for frenzy. When anxiety skyrockets, what could be more reliable than numbness than a marathon of a captivating spectacle like You or The crown? Hell, a government-mandated quarantine is the best excuse I have had – apart from a snowstorm, a hangover, the flu, or a breakup – to crash on the couch and broadcast episode after episode.

On the contrary, the opposite happened, and I became strangely disinterested in the shows I normally watch. Trust me, I can watch the best of them: my husband and I spent January and February burning during the five seasons of Peaky Blinders; I devoured the last season of Acute within 48 hours and polite Love is blind in the last week before the pandemic changed life as we know it.

The shows I normally like feel like a remnant of a world we’ve already lost.

But since then, there has been a big drop in the hours that I log in front of the tube. I can barely go through a single episode of You better call Saul or The stranger after dinner without constantly checking my phone. At the end, I’m exhausted – ready to go to bed with my Kindle before 10 p.m. Get lost in books are a little easier, but sometimes feel like cold comfort compared to the balm they usually are.

It sounds like low grade depression, right? Maybe, but it goes beyond that. Like most people, I regularly consume a glut of news related to coronaviruses, so you would think that distraction in the form of unrelated entertainment would be exactly what the doctor ordered. And of course, it helps me lose myself momentarily in a great acting and scripting game. But in the end, the shows that I normally like feel like a remnant of a world we’ve already lost. They recall a time – so recent, but so distant – when family tears love It’s us or science fiction thrillers like Westworld were enough to transport me from the problems of everyday life. They are no longer.

It is difficult to get lost even in the best television when reality has become so extraordinary.

I am very fortunate to be in good health and safety, to shelter on the spot, to have access to necessities like food and drinking water and to privileges like television, films and books . Loss of interest in television can hardly be seen as a problem in everyday life, let alone during this crisis. Still, it’s a noticeable change, even if I suspect that my appetite for big shows will eventually come back. (The suburban drama of Small fires everywhere, an adaptation of a novel I enjoyed recently caught my attention for a full episode, and I look forward to new seasons of Unsafe and Ozark, two favorite shows.)

Yet as we watch the number of deaths in the world rise every day, it is clear that the pandemic has brought our new world, in all its horror and beauty, into sharp relief. It may not be surprising that I am more captivated by the faces of friends and family during video calls than by the actors on screen, that I am more fascinated by the stories of medical workers and people ordinary people who undertake countless acts of heroism on a daily basis only through intrigue. of fictional characters. It is difficult to get lost even in the best television when reality has become so extraordinary.

Hannah Hickok is a Paris based writer on culture and lifestyle. Find more of his work on


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