Working about as well as a proof-of-concept for Quibi as it does a digestible fact-based show in its own right, Answered is performing a pretty essential public service.
In our current divided age of bipartisan politics, misinformation, “fake news” and unprecedented global pandemics, Answered (Quibi) seems to be intended as an antidote to all of that. Mimicking the straightforward informational style of other Vox Media shows such as Explained, Sex, Explained and The Mind, Explained, Answered has two primary selling points on top of everything that worked about those shows: One, its home on the new-episodes-daily platform Quibi, and its sole focus on the coronavirus and the most common questions people are asking about it.
These are essential things — in essence, Answered is doing something that most elected officials seem incapable of doing and speaking in plain terms about a little-understood viral enemy. The show’s host, Cleo Abram, safely socially distanced in her living room, talks directly to the camera or to prominent experts via video-call, and rudimentary animations and infographics help to explain the concepts that are being discussed. In the first and only episode available at the time of writing, that topic is how far coronavirus can really travel in the air, and some of the revelations turned up in its slight running time are enough to give you pause.
Rarely is a show so perfectly suited to its platform as Answered is to Quibi; it’ll undoubtedly become a daily fixture of mine and one assumes many others who like to consume their information without damage control or a forthcoming political campaign factoring into how — or indeed whether — that information is shared. Strung together with effective if not entirely seamless editing to give the illusion of a better-budgeted production with a longer gestation period, this hardly matters when the subject of each episode is of immediate concern and is being inadequately addressed elsewhere. Vox is bringing an essential source of information to Quibi here, and so-called New Media continues its unabated drive in changing how we make, think about, and consume the stories of our time.
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