These are 6 TV shows and movies Bill Gates is watching for pandemic escapism

Microsoft founder Bill Gates. REUTERS/Jason Lee
  • Tech billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates wrote a blog post of recommendations for what to read and watch during summer 2020.
  • Gates said he is often asked what to read and watch at the moment, “either because people want to learn more about pandemics, or because they are looking for a distraction.”
  • His TV and film picks include a Netflix documentary series about fighting pandemics, acclaimed drama series “This is Us” and “Ozark,” and a 2001 spy thriller.
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Microsoft founder and world’s second-richest person Bill Gates has been turning to TV and film to get away from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Most of my conversations and meetings these days are about COVID-19 and how we can stem the tide. But I’m also often asked about what I am reading and watching – either because people want to learn more about pandemics, or because they are looking for a distraction,” Gates wrote in a blog post.

In his blog post Gates outlined his summer 2020 book recommendations and threw in six TV shows and a film for good measure.

Here are the TV shows and films Gates is watching during lockdown:

Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak


Gates’ first recommendation is not brilliant for getting away from the constant deluge of coronavirus news, but he recommends the Netflix series nonetheless.

“This documentary series on Netflix introduces you to four people who are working super-hard in different parts of the world to prevent epidemics,” Gates writes.

“Since the series was filmed some time ago, the episodes are focused not on the coronavirus but on influenza-which was widely regarded as the most likely culprit for a big outbreak. But Pandemic still gives you a sense of the inspiring work that heroic doctors, researchers, and aid workers are doing to prevent the very thing we’re all going through right now.”

A Million Little Things


“A Million Little Things” is an ABC drama centering around a group of friends in Boston who have to come to terms with the sudden bereavement of a friend who dies by suicide.

The show has had two series since it started in 2018, and has been picked up for a third.

This is Us


NBC drama “This is Us” follows the story of a family with three children, and is told partly in the present day and partly through flashback.

The show has had four seasons since it first aired in 2016, and has picked up numerous awards along the way.



“Ozark” is a Netflix crime drama series starring Jason Bateman as a father who gets caught up in money laundering for a gang, and relocates his family from Chicago to the Ozark mountains in Missouri.

It first came to Netflix in 2018, and now has three seasons the most recent of which came out in March of this year.

I, Claudius


“I, Claudius” is a 1970s BBC adaptation of the Robert Graves book about imperial backstabbing in the Roman empire, starting with Emperor Augustus and finishing with Claudius. Derek Jacobi plays the titular Claudius, but it also features a young John Hurt and Patrick Stewart.

Gates has not yet watched “I, Claudius” but says it’s on his list after reading a glowing review in The Economist.

“I’ve read a lot about the Roman times, but this series sounds like an interesting look at the era,” Gates writes.

Spy Game


Gates says “Spy Game,” a 2001 thriller starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, is an old favourite of his.

Pitt plays Redford’s CIA protégé who is arrested in China and faces execution, something the CIA is considering to let go ahead rather than claim him as one of their operatives.

“Not a lot of people have heard of ‘Spy Game,’ but I’ve probably seen it 12 times,” Gates writes, although he decided not to get into the details of the plot.

“It has lots of good surprises, so I don’t want to spoil the plot for you,” he writes.