What to Watch, Listen to and Cook During Your Coronavirus Self-Quarantine

You’re staying close to home and you need a distraction. Let us help.March 16, 2020Updated 4:21 p.m. ETImageFrom left, “The Good Place,” “Bluey” and “Knives Out” are among our recommendations for what to watch.Credit…From left, Justin Lubin/NBC; ABC Kids; Claire Folger/LionsgateIt is a bad time. Many people across the globe are sick with coronavirus. Those…

You’re staying close to home and you need a distraction. Let us help.


Credit…From left, Justin Lubin/NBC; ABC Kids; Claire Folger/Lionsgate

It is a bad time. Many people across the globe are sick with coronavirus. Those who aren’t are being encouraged to stay away from public spaces.

Schools, museums, movie theaters, bars, restaurants: all closed. You’re home and you need a distraction. Let us help. Below are some suggestions for what to watch, what to listen to, what to cook, how to entertain your kids. Be safe.

Hello everyone. It’s Monday. Disney has made “Frozen II” available on Disney Plus several months ahead of schedule for the kiddies. (The song “Into the Unknown” is a banger but you will definitely grow tired of it after several weeks.) Also, “The Rise of Skywalker” is now available for digital purchase if you’re a “Star Wars” family.

Opening day has been delayed for at least two weeks, but you can watch nearly all 20 hours of “Ken Burns’s Baseball” for free on

Movies and TV

We have several lists of the best things to stream that are updated every month with the newest titles. Make these your first stop. And subscribe to our Watching newsletter, to get TV and movie recommendations straight to your inbox several times a week.

  • The one that’s like “Groundhog Day” but set in the East Village and starring the incredibly-voiced Natasha Lyonne? That would be “Russian Doll,” on Netflix. It’s a short, one-season binge.

  • The one that’s full of mostly hateable rich people insulting one another in settings that are both envy-worthy and also somehow bland? You’re thinking of HBO’s “Succession.” There are two seasons, each with 10 hourlong episodes.

  • The one that’s punchy and witty and emotional and sexy, but with British accents and an attractive priest? “Fleabag.” It’s on Amazon Prime, and there are two seasons of six half-hour episodes. (The one with the priest is Season 2.)

  • The one with the dragons is “Game of Thrones.” Everyone was talking about it, but not necessarily for good reasons.

(For more recommendations on what movies and TV shows to stream while at home, subscribe to our Watching newsletter, which will hit your inbox three times a week.)

Sorry, sorry. Let’s go broader. Here are some ideas organized by category or mood.

Something feel-good? Spend some time in the fictional world of “Schitt’s Creek.” Yes, the Rose family lost all their money, but now they’re learning how to function like regular people, and there’s something comforting about their struggles.

A laugh in dark times? The stakes are high in “The Good Place” — the fate of humanity hangs in the balance — and yet the ragtag team fighting to save us all are gloriously, painfully human (even though some of them aren’t, technically). This show strikes a great lowbrow/highbrow balance, and even manages to make the trolley problem funny.

Oh, something mindless? The latest reality dating show sweeping the internet is Netflix’s “Love Is Blind,” in which strangers form relationships from one-person pods, and see each other only after they’re engaged. Beware, though: Despite the silly set up, you may find yourself emotionally invested.

That’s a big question! Well, first, you should start with our lists of the 50 best movies to stream on Netflix and the 50 best movies to stream on Amazon Prime.

Some of last year’s Oscar-nominated movies are now available to stream, rent or purchase, including:

  • The Irishman” (what better time to watch this three-hour-plus film) and “Marriage Story,” on Netflix.

  • Parasite,” “Knives Out,” “Uncut Gems,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” are available for rent on iTunes, Amazon and other digital video platforms

  • “Little Women” and “1917” are available for purchase at iTunes and Amazon Prime.

For something very dumb, yet very entertaining, watch just the first 15 or so minutes of Michael Bay’s latest film, “6 Underground,” on Netflix.

For something not dumb, subscribe to the Criterion Channel and watch the works of Fellini, Kiarostami, Truffaut, Bergman, Tati, Denis, Varda, Renoir …


It’s understandable if you don’t want to look at a screen right now — maybe you’re working from home and your eyes are burned out from staring at your laptop; perhaps you’ve been watching cable news for too many hours and just can’t with your TV anymore.

Luckily, there’s a world of audio-only content we can recommend. For example, if you want to hear something that might make you feel better, you can listen to someone read our profile from last fall: “This Tom Hanks Story Will Make You Feel Less Bad.”

If you want deeper dives, here are some podcasts, broken down by category.


OK, so you can’t go to any concerts right now. But millions — yes, many millions — of songs are at your fingertips.

Want to start with the best new music you should have on your radar? Listen to our latest Playlist, which features new releases from Lil Yachty (featuring Drake and DaBaby), Ava Max, Margo Price (the “ferocious and grimy” country song, below) and more. We’ll have a new one for you every Friday, as always.

And if your tastes run more to jazz, here’s a playlist of the essential McCoy Tyner, in honor of the jazz pianist who died on Friday.


Even in the most stressful moments, we need to eat good food. The New York Times Cooking site has thousands of recipes to help you weather these next few weeks. (You do need a subscription to access a lot of them, though.)

For example, since we know many of you will be working from home for the foreseeable future, here are 30 recipes for lunch at home. It doesn’t have to be grilled cheese every day! (True, there is a grilled cheese recipe here, but it has some zhush.)

Also, since some of you have bought beans and beans and beans for the long hibernation, here’s Melissa Clark’s guide for how best to cook them, as well as many delicious recipes like one for tomato, white bean and kale soup.

Sign up for the Cooking newsletter, for recipes, food writing and culinary inspiration. Like all our newsletters, it’s free.


Wirecutter, a New York Times company that focuses on product recommendations, has some great suggestions for the best board games to play with people who are interested in advanced board games — we’re talking more than just Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.

Family fare

Look, let’s be honest. It’s almost inevitable that many children are going to have more screen time over the coming weeks. It’s fine, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent, as our Parenting editor, Jessica Grose, recently explained in her newsletter, which you can sign up for here.

In terms of specific shows to watch, New York Times readers recommended their favorite kids TV shows, and Mike Hale, one of our TV critics, chose four recent kids shows you might want to check out.

Do you need some help figuring out what books to get and read to your children? The New York Times’s children’s book editor, Maria Russo, has a recurring advice column called Story Times. She has already written up lists like eight great (and short) books for brand new-readers and seven great shorter stories for the elementary school years. Check out the rest at Story Times.

Mo Willems, the children’s book author and illustrator (the Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny and Elephant and Piggie series) has launched a “Lunch Doodles” series on YouTube. “Let’s find a way to be isolated and together at the same time,” he says.

  • Updated March 16, 2020

    • What is a coronavirus?

      It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to lung lesions and pneumonia.
    • How contagious is the virus?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can travel through the air, enveloped in tiny respiratory droplets that are produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.
    • Where has the virus spread?

      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 170,400 in at least 140 countries and more than 6,600 have died. The spread has slowed in China but is gaining speed in Europe and the United States. World Health Organization officials said the outbreak qualifies as a pandemic.
    • What symptoms should I look out for?

      Symptoms, which can take between two to 14 days to appear, include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, but people may be able to pass on the virus even before they develop symptoms.
    • What if I’m traveling?

      The State Department has issued a global Level 3 health advisory telling United States citizens to “reconsider travel” to all countries because of the worldwide effects of the coronavirus. This is the department’s second-highest advisory.
    • How long will it take to develop a treatment or vaccine?

      Several drugs are being tested, and some initial findings are expected soon. A vaccine to stop the spread is still at least a year away.

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