Varieties of Diversion

In any other era, we might be burning the witches who brought the plague, expelling the Jews who poisoned the wells, or clearing the miasma. This last theory – that bad air brought disease – was not dispelled until 1880 or so, replaced by the germ theory, but it was probably the most salubrious, not to mention humane, of them all.

In the 21st Century Covid-19 pandemic, however, we have mostly been left to our own devices – and thank all the powers that be, we have plenty of devices.

I, for instance, have a smart phone, 2 laptops, a PC, a tablet, a Kindle, and two TV’s, all of which bring a quiet joy and satisfaction out of the miasma and directly into my home. Let me count the ways:

Snowpiercer (TNT): Started last week. If you have the gift of suspending disbelief, you can believe in a gigantic train of 1001 cars running endlessly on a track around a frozen globe, threatened by a revolt of the “tailers” and topped off by a murder mystery. What’s not to love?

Barkskins (Natl. Geo): The link is to the novel, the TV series started last night (I record it, will watch tonight). Sounds like it might be my kind of thing. Maybe yours?

Agents of Shield (ABC): Begins its last season on May 27, 2020. I’ve been in love with Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson for years now.

If you like sleepy English college towns where someone is murdered once a week in certain seasons (no, not necessarily Midsommer Murders, but it counts), Masterpiece Mystery has another season for Grantchester and Endeavor coming up. Just sayin’.

So much for the actual TV sets. As for streaming, my Netflix channel is currently offering The Last Kingdom (squeee) and will soon have another season of The Expanse, than which no better current sci-fi exists, unless it be Star Trek: Picard.

Picard is available on CBS All-Access, which costs money, but there are ways in which you can subscribe to it long enough to binge Picard and The Good Fight (which so far seems pretty good to me – they weren’t able to finish due to Covid-19), and then unsub in order to temporarily sub to something else. Outlander is still out there, and so is Homeland, not to mention stuff on HBO. You can find almost anything and figure out a way to afford it if you’re really determined.

But if all you can afford is Netflix, well, there is a wealth of untapped material there to last reasonable people a lifetime. Can’t afford Netflix? I can, but I feel ya. Still, if you’re reading this, you have a computer. Anybody finish Candy Crush yet?