"TV is so important to me that I became a TV critic, watching episodes day in and day out, for money and for my own mental health," says USA Today TV critic Kelly Lawler. "TV has always been my refuge from the hard parts of my life and the world, but at a time of unprecedented societal upheaval and terror amid the coronavirus pandemic, I am not so alone in keeping my eyes glued to the small screen. In the few short weeks – it has really only been weeks, if you can believe it – since social distancing became common practice, I have noticed friends, family, random strangers on social media and USA Today's readers craving television the way I have for most of my life. TV has always been there for me, and I am so happy that in a time of crisis, it is there for all of you, too. Art as escapism is nothing new, nor am I unique in seeking it. During the Great Depression, movie ticket sales soared. But for me, there is something about TV that generates more comfort than many other forms of diversion and distraction. A movie is over in two short hours. Books are engaging until exhaustion and apathy kick in. Music has no story to transport me away from my problems. But a TV show? A really good, engaging series with the right mix of wit, intrigue and emotion? That can keep your attention for hours or days."
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