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May 13, 2020

Quarantine Marathon

by Alison DeLuca


My sincerest hopes that you and your families are safe and well.

Quarantine has been interesting, to say the least. It's like being in a cocoon, and perhaps that has become the time for people to reveal themselves. Have you grown wings by learning how to cook a great curry or brushing up on those sewing-machine basics?



Have you read amazing books or written a beautiful poem? And if you are sequestered with others (which I am) have those relationships foundered or grown stronger?

I'm incredibly lucky to have an amazing quarantine partner. We've navigated grocery shopping, which is scary these days, as well as meal-plans and chore-charts. For us, being organized into a routine has made the time go faster with our sanities intact.

Despite failing Home-Ec in 8th grade, I learned how to use that sewing machine to make masks. We started an herb garden. I did a different household task each day, cleaning the oven or fridge. In the meantime, my husband replaced the electrical outlets throughout the house (don't ask - it seemed to make him happy and kept him out of my hair.)

Our kid goes to virtual school and, in the evenings, we sneak to deserted parking lots and teach her how to drive. On the weekends, we Zoom with our families for quiz nights and long reminiscent conversations, complete with old photos and silly jokes.

So it's been a very busy quarantine for us. Boredom has not been an issue, especially when the kid got sick with a mysterious illness that kept her father and me up worrying long after midnight.

(She's healthy again, thank goodness - and fully tested. And COVID negative.)

When we did have a few hours, we spent it marathoning Netflix and Prime since the weather was too cold for walks or bike rides. Here are the shows and movies we loved the most:

The Crown:

Holy cow, this series is so good. Watching The Crown gave us a completely new perspective on the British royalty. There were many times my husband and I commented, "Poor Margaret." Honestly, I had no idea.

poster for series 3 of The Crown on Netflix


The actors are incredible, especially Claire Foy and Olivia Colman (playing the young and older Queen Elizabeth II, respectively.) Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies kill it as the younger and older Prince Philip. And then there's Vanessa Kirby as young Princess Margaret - she's both rude and fragile. We didn't think anyone could be as good, but of course Helena Bonham Carter is the perfect second act. She plays an emotional woman trapped in a strange marriage and stranger societal role.

I heartily recommend this series as a fascinating telescope offering a new view of history. We learned a lot from The Crown - I'll never forget the village of Aberfan, for example - and now we need the next season.

The Pharmacist: Continuing the theme of looking at history through a new lens, this series documents the opioid crisis through the story of Dan Schneider, a Louisiana pharmacist who lost his son to drugs. When Schneider's son was murdered in the middle of a drug deal, he spent hours compiling records and interviewing witnesses.

Amazingly, he found the killer.

publicity photo from The Pharmacist showing Can Schneider


But as he continued his job, Schneider noticed that prescriptions for Oxycontin were coming in to be filled at an insane rate. Furthermore, most of the scrips came from one doctor. And when kids began to die from opioid addiction, the fire that led the pharmacist to find his son's killer led him to discover what was going on on his little town.

We couldn't stop watching this series. Our only complaint was that it shorter, just one season with a handful of episodes.

Marvel's Runaways: When my husband is busy working on those outlets or changing out the doorhandles (yes, that also happened over the past 6 weeks) I've been watching Runaways. This gritty teen series pulls zero punches in setting up a group of teens with superpowers. They deal with school, friendships - and their parents. Definitely their parents.

publicity shot of Marvel's Runaways, showing the six young characters and their superpowers


I got sucked right into this series, which set up the superhero origin along with some major scheming and deviltry that's just as fascinating as what the kids can do. And that's leaving out how diverse the group is, but not in a 'fit them to the formula' manner. Instead, each Runaway - genius Alex, damaged Nico, seemingly perfect Karolina, riot grrrl Gert, athletic Chase who's also fascinated with engineering... they're all unique characters who interact in new and amazing ways.

What are you watching during the 2020 Quarantine?

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.


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