As the number of COVID-19 cases began to soar in early March, many states and countries issued stay-at-home orders to combat its spread. Stuck at home, much of the world’s population turned to online streaming platforms for their daily dose of entertainment. Netflix originals like “Tiger King” and “Too Hot to Handle” quickly became popular and garnered devoted fan bases. But there’s another show that deserves just as much if not more love: YouTube’s “Some Good News.”
“Some Good News,” also known by the acronym SGN, premiered on YouTube on March 29, 2020, and continued weekly until May 17, 2020. The eight-episode series is created and hosted by actor John Krasinski. Krasinski is a familiar face to many, most notable for portraying Jim Halpert on the NBC mockumentary “The Office.” Like much of the population at the time, Krasinski was following stay-at-home orders and thus the show is completely produced from his Brooklyn home. Krasinski films from his office adorned with a typewriter, Boston Red Sox hat and an SGN sign hand-painted by his two daughters. While the program lacks the bells and whistles of most talk shows, the homemade feel appeals to the show’s quarantined audience.
As its name suggests, “Some Good News” is a show dedicated entirely to good news. Krasinski is not the first to try to promote positive news stories; some news outlets, such as “The Today Show” and “Fox News,” have tabs completely devoted to good news. Not to mention, GoodNewsNetwork has been publishing inspiring stories since 1997. However, the dire circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and Krasinski’s charisma have marked him as the most successful.
Krasinski solicits fans to send in their good news using the hashtag #somegoodnews and spends each episode sharing some of the stories received. From highlighting the story of a 15-year-old girl who beat cancer in the midst of the pandemic, to broadcasting NASA astronauts sharing good news from the International Space Station, Krasinski truly raises his viewers’ spirits with these segments. Krasinski even invites a few individuals onto the show via Zoom, further engaging an already dedicated audience. Almost every episode features celebrity guests, as well as appearances by Krasinski’s wife, actress Emily Blunt.
Krasinski also attempts to compensate for the many events canceled due to COVID-19. In the second episode, “Zoom Surprise,” Krasinski Zoom calls a 9-year-old girl who’s upset because a long-awaited performance of “Hamilton” has been canceled. Krasinski promises to fly her out to New York, but to her pleasant surprise, the call is infiltrated by the original cast of “Hamilton.” Under the guidance of “Hamilton” creator and lead Lin-Manuel Miranda, the cast bursts into the show’s opening number, “Alexander Hamilton.”
For high school students upset about their big night’s cancellation, Krasinski hosted a live virtual prom on April 17. The event, which received over 200,000 views, featured guest performances by the Jonas Brothers and Billie Eilish, and appearances by Chance the Rapper and “Office” co-star Rainn Wilson.
For those stripped of a proper graduation, Krasinski hosted his own “SGN graduation” on May 3 to celebrate seniors’ accomplishments. As explained in the Instagram announcement of the event: “Whether you’re graduating from preschool, high school, college, middle school, or law school, this graduation is for you #Classof2020.” Krasinski even invited keynote speakers, which included philanthropist and former talk show host Oprah Winfrey, activist Malala Yousafzai and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
After two SGN fans got engaged at a gas station — just as Krasinski’s character had in “The Office” — he invited them onto the show to surprise them with a Zoom wedding. Officiating the wedding himself, he invited the couple’s families, friends, as well as various “Office” cast members to celebrate the happy occasion.
Krasinski also embarks on many philanthropic ventures throughout the series. In the third episode of the show, “Baseball is Back,” Krasinski rewards five Boston health workers with a trip to Fenway Park and lifetime tickets to the Boston Red Sox. In the same episode, Krasinski reveals that he has arranged three months of cellphone service for all nurses and doctors through AT&T.
In the fifth episode, “SGN Potluck,” Krasinski discloses that PepsiCo will be donating $3 million to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund — Guy Fieri’s charity devoted to restaurant employees who are struggling due to COVID-19. And in the finale, “The SGN Community Episode,” Krasinski announces that all fan art can be bought at the SGN market place, with all profits going to a charity of the purchaser’s choice. Krasinski also coordinated with the Starbucks Foundation to match the first $1 million spent. These charitable actions enhance an already wholesome show.
In just eight weeks, “Some Good News” made its way into the hearts of many. Throughout that time, the show gained 72 million views and 2.58 million subscribers, and received the 2020 Webby Special Achievement Award, an award “given to those whose work has improved upon the experience and capabilities of the Internet in novel and impactful ways.”
However, “Some Good News” does more than just entertain and uplift. It combats an ever-present theme in our society: biases in the media. The media has a tendency to place more of an emphasis on breaking and disheartening news. The past few months have proven this to be especially true. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, news outlets have been focusing on the grim details of the virus. There is little to no mention of the little victories and random acts of kindness that are occurring in spite of the pandemic.
It has also been especially clear this week, with the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. Many news outlets have been sensationalizing the movement, focusing on the rioting and looting. This often overpowers the coverage of peaceful protests or community initiatives to clean damaged storefronts. But “Some Good News” challenges this. By bringing good news to the forefront of his audience’s mind, Krasinski helps redirect our thoughts to focus on the good occurring around us. While Krasinski has stopped creating weekly episodes and sold the rights to Some Good News to ViacomCBS to continue the series in the fall, the spirit of the show lives on. The “Some Good News” social media continues to publicize uplifting news from around the world, reminding us that there is always some good news.