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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

What WVXU Staff Are Watching While Self-Isolating


Last Friday, Emily Landon, chief infectious disease epidemiologist at University of Chicago Medicine garnered headlines for a comment she made about those who are self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak.

"It's really hard to feel like you're saving the world when you're watching Netflix from your couch," she said. "But if we do this right, nothing happens. A successful shelter-in-place means you're going to feel like it was all for nothing, and you'd be right: Because nothing means that nothing happened to your family. And that's what we're going for here."

Saving the world while sitting on the couch? Sign us up. In case you want to join in, we thought we'd share what WVXU staffers are watching while self-isolating.

No streaming service? No problem. There's plenty of recommendations on what to watch for free on the likes of PBS, basic cable and Hoopla, a free streaming program offered by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and many other local library systems. (If you don't have a library card, the library just launched a downloadable eCard to make it easier for the community to access its online resources while its doors remain closed.)

What We're Watching

"My wife and I have been looking for programs that offer a few laughs. On Netflix we've been watching the sometimes touching, sometimes obscenely funny, Man Down written by and starring Greg Davies. We've also been re-watching Detectorists. It's funny with some of the best cinematography you'll ever see. Mackenzie Crook (the guy whose eyeball keeps falling out in the Pirates movies) writes, directs and stars. It's available on Hoopla which, along with Kanopy, is one of the FREE streaming services offered through the Cincinnati Public Library. Kanopy offer an amazing array of television and film options, some of which aren't part of the Netflix catalog... and FREE!" –Oakley Scot, weekend host

"I just finished Ragnarok because who doesn't love Thor? I'm nearly finished with I Am Not OK With This. It's one of those shows that I didn't expect to like, but I wanted to watch something with my teenagers. We all really, really like it a lot!" –Jodi Franks, assistant traffic associate

"My 8-year-old and I are watching The Haunting of Hill House – her first time and my second. We both love scary stuff and I'm finding new things that I missed the first time. The story not only is scary but it talks about real life issues – sibling rivalry, mental illness and trauma. I love the questions that she has for me while she is taking it all in and trying to comprehend what is actually going on." –Aron Back, membership manager

andy griffith
Credit Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS
Andy Griffith.

"Thank goodness for the classic movies channel. I'm still watching and recording for a rainy day some of those great Bowery Boys, Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant and Barbara Stanwyck movies and Hitchcock, along with Joe E. Brown this month. Also, when they show boring dramas, cable has reruns of Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond and Columbo and the antenna has Johnny Carson and Hogan's Heroes reruns. And both have the best show of all time, The Andy Griffith Show." –Dave Schermer, production assistant

"Last weekend, I restarted Arrested Developmentt: It's light, it's familiar, and that's what I like right now. I only watch a few episodes at a time because I get antsy otherwise. I mix things up with some Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rifftrax, and Dr. Who, too." –Bill Rinehart, reporter and All Things Considered host

"I've found in this time of isolation I'm more drawn to folks live streaming on platforms like Twitch and Instagram than produced shows on Netflix, etc. Lots of podcasters, YouTubers, comedians, or other content creators seem to be amping up their production of live content while quarantining. Being able to see and hear other normal people coping in real time with a bizarre sudden shift in reality seems to be a comforting balance between consuming even more news or totally disassociating into fiction or fantasy." –Josh Elstro, production/recording engineer

"I wanted something light, something fun, however something I could learn from and get useful tips. What better than a murder mystery? And that meant The Five, The Stranger and Safe (with Dexter - Michael C. Hall) all by the same writer, Harlen Coben and all set in England. After watching so much British tellie I'll end up with an English accent!" –Robert Pearse, corporate sales representative, who, for those who don't know, already has an English accent

"The Sopranos because it's really, really good, and there's actually some humor in places. Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu, because it's pretty funny, especially the new season." –Ed Luft, corporate sales representative  

"An endless stream of stand-up comedy specials! Sitting there on the couch, laughing my butt off does more for my sanity than anything else ever could." –Andy Ellis, WGUC host

"My son, who is 15, and I watched The Circle before all this happened, enjoyed it in a guilty-pleasure sort of way, and it strikes me how that show is... basically our lives right now. Weird. Please don't block me, I need you people! Our favorite show since hunkering down has been Next In Fashion, and it actually inspired my son to start a sewing project—he's making a patchwork vest out of plastic scraps." –Julie Coppins, education outreach coordinator

"You should be watching See on Apple TV. I'm only two episodes in and the action/storyline makes me forget about being at home. The show is set in the future and all humans have lost the ability to see but twins are born that challenge the status quo. If that synopsis doesn't draw you in then I'm sure the fighting scene in the first episode will." –Ambriehl Crutchfield, reporter

"We are watching Picard on CBS All Access. As a lifelong Star Trek fan I find hope in a society that has moved beyond racial, gender and economic inequality for the betterment of all. It's not a perfect universe - as this new series points out. But the foundation has been established upon which to build. I enjoy escaping to that place." –Michael Grayson, weekend host

"Locke & Key. We love the stories of Joe Hill (NOS4A2, Horns, etc.) and this one has a hint of dark magic that reminds me to Neil Gaiman. Our kids are older so we can all watch together!" –Jim Nolan, interactive communications manager

"I’m currently catching up on The Walking Dead after giving up a couple seasons ago. I have to say, this was not a good idea. 10/10 would not recommend under the current circumstances." –Michael Monks, host of Cincinnati Edition

Credit The Walking Dead / Twitter
'The Walking Dead.'

"This is going to sound ridiculous, but I've been watching Baywatch on Hulu. I love how hokey, bad and downright ridiculous it is. There's something about campy '90s television. I also just reupped my HBO subscription and am ready to be confused by Westworld once more." –Ronny Salerno, social media coordinator

"I'm working my way through what's stored on my DVR and also using Hoopla, which is like Netflix but offered through libraries for free. I've been binge watching The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, a British murder mystery drama series based on the books of the same name. This fits my bill because I love a good murder mystery that isn't riddled with gore, horror, or too much suspense that will keep me awake at night." –Tana Weingartner, reporter and digital journalist

"I'm watching documentaries on PBS. Last night it was Little Jimmy Dickens and Lynyrd Skynyrd. –Ann Thompson, reporter (Editor's note: our local PBS station, CET, has a lot of great free programming available!)

"No. 1, Schitt's Creek, followed by more Schitt's Creek. Either you like it or you don't, but if you haven't made it past Season 1 you're missing out. Story is about a fragmented, formerly rich family who loses everything and tries to rebuild their lives (and relationships) in a small town (but that explanation is boring. It's funnier than that and unexpectedly sweet at times.) No. 2, The Chef Show. I love Jon Favreau, love to cook and love food. Short episodes featuring Jon, his chef buddy Roy Choi and a guest chef who cooks one of their specialties. Inevitably I end up watching Jon's movie CHEF (again), too. No. 3, Bloodline. Good series set in the (Florida) Keys so I get to see the ocean (even though everyone's always sweaty and in trouble)." –Sherri Mancini, vice president for development

"As baby boomers and empty nesters, we are reliving our young parent days by streaming some of our old favorite TV shows. Top three for now: Roku - La Femme Nikita; Crackle & Roku - News Radio; Hulu – Taxi." Juri Tults, corporate sales representative

"I'm watching re-runs of Monk on Amazon Prime because for the first time I can relate to Adrian Monk's germophobic tendencies and need to wipe everything down. It allows me some comic relief during the world's current pandemic. I'm also watching The Americans. If you're looking for a binge-worthy drama to fill your time, this is it." –Jessica Lorey, classical music director

"Self-Made, inspired by the life of Madame C.J. Walker, plus reruns of M*A*S*H." –Elaine Diehl, WGUC host

"I don't have Netflix, but one of my favorite cable shows is Ride with Norman Reedus. Being a Walking Dead fan, I was drawn to the show since he's one of my favorite characters on the show. In addition to that though, the camera work is brilliant along with the historical insights in the regions he visits with a guest while riding motorcycles. And he said on a recent show that his writers are from Anthony Bourdain's show. Explains why the writing is so good. Excellent show!" –Lee Hay, Around Cincinnati host

Credit Pixabay
'Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness' is a true crime documentary television series about the life of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, otherwise known as "Joe Exotic," who owned a farm in Oklahoma that eventually became a zoo filled with big cats.

"Just finished Tiger King and it was wild and absurd and so completely different than the wild absurdity we are going through." –Julie Niesen, food writer

A Few Other Ways We're Passing The Time

"I just scheduled a virtual happy hour with some friends back East on Google Hangout. I may even wash my hair and put on makeup." –Jennifer Merritt, digital editor

"I've discovered a way to play Pictionary with friends over FaceTime on the weekends. And we can be very creative and push the envelope; I’m contemplating a Pictionary version of Draw the French Philosopher." –Richard Eiswerth, general manager

"In the evenings I've been listening to the Jim Day Podcast - terrifically entertaining, funny interviews conducted by the Reds TV broadcaster with Reds past and present. Laugh out loud funny, which is a good thing these days." –Howard Wilkinson, senior political analyst

"Our family plays the 5 Second Rule board game for at least 15-20 minutes every night. Cracks us up!" –Maryanne Zeleznik, news director

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.