How will scripted TV handle the coronavirus?

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When scripted television finally returns with new episodes, how do you think they will handle the coronavirus?

Will they faithfully depict the mask-wearing, social distancing world as it now is, or some fantasy world where it never happened?

I imagine that the more realistically inclined like the Law & Order franchise will try to be accurate. What will those episodes look like in future reruns when all this is over?

The closest parallels I can think of are the shows that referenced the LA riots and later 9/11 but those were finite events that didn't always affect the show's characters, often making them seem tokenistic. If they choose to incorporate the virus, they will have to maintain it as long as it exists in real life. Would that distract from other stories they might want to tell?
 

Emelee

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Grey's Anatomy will include the virus I read.

Soaps will not. They will trick-film.

I think most series will pretend there is no pandemic. Instead, all actors will most likely use masks off-camera and gets tested on weekly basis. Just remove the mask when it's time to film and try to keep a bit further away from each other. 2 arm lenghts or something.
 

Daniel Avery

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I think a lot of shows counting on those syndication $$$ in the future will try very hard to pretend the virus never happened---onscreen at least. They have no choice but to distance the actors and reduce the number of extras on set, but as for seeing the facemasks and hand-washing on screen? I think the bean-counters in charge might believe that dwelling on the pandemic in these episodes would "date" them and possibly de-value them. They want the episodes to have a certain time-capsule quality, but not remind the viewer of an unpleasant time. Several pre-9/11 shows set in New York actually edited out pictures of the Twin Towers (background shots) in reruns for fear that the images would "date" their reruns and hurt syndication sales.

I think the medical shows will include it simply because it would look irresponsible not to. But sitcoms, soaps, fantasy shows and a lot of the crime dramas will likely try to maintain an alternate world where the virus did not happen. Soaps especially depend on characters crossing paths at restaurants/hospitals/businesses to talk (or fight), so trying to write stories of people just sitting home and staring at the walls would not get very good ratings. In ten years people might not want to watch reruns of popular shows where everyone is stuck in quarantine, which is why I expect many shows will either ignore the situation entirely or just give it a passing reference as if it happened in the immediate past, allowing them to depict some of the current behaviors while saying people are "still spooked by what happened last year". That was often how 9/11 made its way into the scripts of the primetime shows.

I haven't peeked in on The Bold and the Beautiful to see what they're doing onscreen. They started airing new episodes as of Monday, though some of the material had been filmed prior to the big shutdown. Once they're airing fully new material (next week) we might get an indication of what things will look like, since TV producers are notorious for copying others and following the lead of others.
 

tommie

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I dunno
I haven't peeked in on The Bold and the Beautiful to see what they're doing onscreen. They started airing new episodes as of Monday, though some of the material had been filmed prior to the big shutdown. Once they're airing fully new material (next week) we might get an indication of what things will look like, since TV producers are notorious for copying others and following the lead of others.
The Bold and The Beautiful's first post-shut down episode was on Thursday FYI.
 

Willie Oleson

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The closest parallels I can think of are the shows that referenced the LA riots and later 9/11
How about President Trump? He's made quite an impact in TV Land.

I imagine that shows like THE GOOD FIGHT will "capitalize" on the situation. I mean, it's unique and could create a plethora of alternative plot twists.
 

Emelee

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The Bold and The Beautiful's first post-shut down episode was on Thursday FYI.
Wasn't it Tuesday? Either way, it's full of scenes where characters stand at least 5 feet apart, close-ups and strange editing. And with the actors bringing in their real life spouses for love scenes, viewers still get the steamy scenes but shot from strange angles as to make it harder for viewers to see that a character is making out with someone else.

Here's Flo hugging "Wyatt" - but really the actress' husband Ben:








But mostly, I assume it will look like this:





 

tommie

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Wasn't it Tuesday?
No, I believe Tuesday and Wednesday were filmed pre-lockdown - I assume they "saved" those episode because they didn't want to go into reruns midweek.

But I'm looking forward to the catfights with the blowup dolls.

 

Daniel Avery

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There will also likely be a lot of the split-screen stuff that is usually reserved for "identical twin" stories, where they have characters seemingly interacting when in fact they've been filmed separately and edited together. I also see a lot more of the 'story bubbles' structure in ensemble dramas with sub-plots galore that go nowhere, since the writers are likely being rushed to get anything on paper and are not looking to write Shakespeare.
 

Ome

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Soaps will not.
What makes you say that?

Coronation Street is back and they have changed so much with characters discussing the virus, handling and implementing the social distancing. Some characters are wearing masks, the cafe is open for takeaway only. We've seen characters wash hands and talk about the new way of life.


I liked it at first, but by the end of that episode, I was hoping they would drum it down a little.


The producer has released a statement saying that over 70s won't be working, nor will the children. Instead, they have some footage of the children that they can use if needed.

I also believe Emmerdale has filmed episodes acknowledging the virus, maybe you have reached those yet.


1ll.jpg
 

Rove

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Several pre-9/11 shows set in New York actually edited out pictures of the Twin Towers (background shots) in reruns for fear that the images would "date" their reruns and hurt syndication sales.
Off topic but I happened to catch a rerun of "Friends" the other day and they showed the twin towers in stock footage prior to cutting to the scene. I think footage like this should remain...it's history.
 

Rove

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Here's Flo hugging "Wyatt" - but really the actress' husband Ben
Imagine having no part in the entertainment industry when you're suddenly asked to attend work with your partner to film intimate scenes. The concept is bonkers but hey...as long as people are receiving work and pay I'm all for it. Are these partners receiving any recognition in the closing credits?
 

Emelee

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What makes you say that?

Coronation Street is back and they have changed so much with characters discussing the virus, handling and implementing the social distancing. Some characters are wearing masks, the cafe is open for takeaway only. We've seen characters wash hands and talk about the new way of life.


I liked it at first, but by the end of that episode, I was hoping they would drum it down a little.


The producer has released a statement saying that over 70s won't be working, nor will the children. Instead, they have some footage of the children that they can use if needed.

I also believe Emmerdale has filmed episodes acknowledging the virus, maybe you have reached those yet.


View attachment 21513
I meant American soaps. B&B is back on and COVID-19 doesn't even exist on it.

DOOL has lots of episodes already recorded, and I doubt they will write the virus in when they begin production again as they won't know if the virus has slowed down when the new episodes come on.

Somehow, I have a feeling that Y&R will do like B&B and pretend there is no virus.

That leaves GH, and with all things going on there, they might not feel like having their characters in quarantine.
 

Emelee

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Are these partners receiving any recognition in the closing credits?
I don't know. Better ask an American viewer.
 

Daniel Avery

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Are these partners receiving any recognition in the closing credits?
They're likely to get scale (minimum) wages, perhaps a bit more if they are already a member of a performer union like SAG. Since this is a new frontier, I think it would be nice if the shows put them in the closing crawl with a "featuring" or "With" credit, but that would likely be up to the individual show.
I'd die laughing if they also gave "featuring" credits to their inflatable sex dolls, complete with silly names and head shots (for lack of a better term) in the opening credits.
 

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Wasn't it Tuesday? Either way, it's full of scenes where characters stand at least 5 feet apart, close-ups and strange editing.
It was Monday here, but the first one was mostly flashbacks. I kept wondering if I would notice the social distancing if I hadn't been expecting it.
 

Emelee

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I'd die laughing if they also gave "featuring" credits to their inflatable sex dolls, complete with silly names and head shots (for lack of a better term) in the opening credits.
The reason why B&B even have such dolls is because they needed a very lifelike doll back in 2005 when the character Taylor returned from the dead, showing viewers that what we saw in her open casket 3 years before was a doll. That doll looked very much like Taylor, but it had no legs. :lol: They even had Ronn Moss as Ridge lift up the doll from the grave. Then real Taylor emerged in front of him.

The doll sadly was not credited for its excellent performance.
 

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How about President Trump? He's made quite an impact in TV Land.

I imagine that shows like THE GOOD FIGHT will "capitalize" on the situation. I mean, it's unique and could create a plethora of alternative plot twists.
Yes, I can see them embracing it with all the gruesome details and reruns be damned.
 

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I don't see how it could be only one episode, though. Once it was introduced, they couldn't just cure the patient and have it disappear the nest week.
 

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I think it's safe to say General Hospital is ignoring Covid-19 entirely. The closest I think GH will ever come to mentioning it is the recent changes to the format of the Nurses Ball, and annual event they typically throw in May but was obviously delayed to August. The Nurses Ball has historically been a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research, but this year they kept saying that it was a fundraiser "for our first responders". They did not elaborate on why these first responders needed funds raised for them, but they kept repeating "first responders" over and over.

So in a roundabout way, the Nurses Ball was a fundraiser for themselves? :confuse:
 
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