TELEVISION, AT ITS BEST, distracts from real life and doesn’t judge us if we slump in front of it wearing what might charitably be called “comfortable clothes.” But increasingly, as streaming outfits pour millions into ever more ambitious, Emmy-worthy productions, TV is also a great source of inspiration when it comes to our more ambitious selves. That is, the selves who want to dress, at least now and then, like Shiv Roy in “Succession” (who dominates in high-waisted power pants), eat a savory goat stew inspired by the antics of the wellness retreaters in “Nine Perfect Strangers,” or model our decor after the surprisingly tasteful Vegas home of Deborah Vance, one of the titular “Hacks” in the HBO Max comedy, which is up for an Outstanding Production Design award at the Emmys this Sunday.
In this special collection of stories, we look at the many ways that quality TV affects Americans’ style choices, our interior design, our vacation plans and cuisine routines, and even the way we process our all-too-real work dramas. Unsurprisingly, many of the shows that are nominated for Emmys this year factor into our takes—from “Mare of Easttown” (up for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series), which, like many murder mysteries, is fueling an odd tourism trend, to “The Crown” (Outstanding Drama Series) which figures in a quiz we put together about the truth behind seven series’ “location shoots.” Both “Bridgerton” (which scored its own nod for Outstanding Drama Series) and “The Queen’s Gambit” (also up for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series) earned our scrutiny, though more for their sets’ covetable wallpapers than the shows’ (impressively tight) scripting. Our wine columnist, Lettie Teague, looked at the ways fine wine plays a role in TV narratives, and, although “Emily in Paris” is up for an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy, Lettie found its cliche-ridden obsession with sipping vino less than outstanding.