The coronavirus pandemic has upended the entertainment world in unprecedented ways, but some ambitious writers and storytellers are finding new ways to adapt to this tumultuous time. Netflix is creating a social distancing anthology series that will be filmed in quarantine. And unless the pandemic comes to an end much sooner than expected, shows like this could become the future of TV — at least for the next few months.
As announced on Wednesday, April 28, Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan is teaming up with Netflix once again for Social Distance, a new scripted series which aims to explain the world-changing moment we’re living in right now through people’s own individual experiences in self-quarantine. Each story told onscreen will be unique, with the goal to show how we’re all living alone together
As Kohan and other executive producers of Social Distance explained in a memo obtained by Entertainment Tonight, all aspects of production will adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. The show’s writers will only meet virtually, never in-person, while the cast will film themselves at home. Showrunner Hilary Weisman Graham will run production from her living room, while director Diego Velasco will guide actors remotely. No casting details have been announced as of yet.
"Our job as storytellers is to reflect reality, and in this new, bizarre, bewildering reality we are all experiencing, we feel passionate about finding connection as we all remain at a distance," the note reads. "We’ve been inspired to create an anthology series that tells stories about the current moment we are living through — the unique, personal, deeply human stories that illustrate how we are living apart, together."
While Social Distance is the first known scripted series to be inspired by and created in light of coronavirus, this is not the first TV show that has had to unexpectedly change and adapt formats due to the pandemic. American Idol and America’s Got Talent are now being produced entirely from home, with contestants performing remotely, while Saturday Night Live has done two at-home episodes to date.
The pandemic was also the inspiration for Parks and Recreation‘s scripted reunion featuring all of the original cast, who all filmed the special virtually. When most TV and film productions have been halted, it’s nice to see both new and familiar faces coming together to entertain us while in quarantine.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC or NHS 111 in the UK for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.
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