TV and the Curse of Coronavirus
Has this pesky pandemic ruined our favourite shows?
You know me, I'm a huge fan of all things television. I recently found out that in my lifetime, I have spent 4 months (Yes, 4 MONTHS) watching and re-watching my favourite series. At this point, I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed. Like me, we're all spending a bit more time enjoying streaming services and boxsets but I hope I'm not the only one that is unhappy with how these shows are being broadcast and wrapped up as they reach the end of the 19/20 season.
I've got a few examples I'd like to share. Even though Empire died a painful death after the controversy with Jussie Smollett, I was still enjoying the show in its final season. When it was announced that production was halted and the series finale would not be filmed until further notice, I was unsure of what decision producers would choose to make. Finding out that the final episode was going to be cut together with different pieces of final and leftover footage, I still had some hope of a worthy Swan Song. This was not the case though. It was disorganised, confusing and didn't provide much clarity as to the final episode of a once acclaimed series. Granted, this is by no fault of the people at FOX but I don't feel it was the right decision to rush into an ending that wasn't up the mark.
Dynasty is one my guilty pleasure faves. At this point, it's not even a guilty pleasure since I enjoy it far too much. In an interview with Zach Sang, star Elizabeth Gillies explained that production was stopped during the 20th episode and she wasn't sure what The CW would do moving forward. Cut to last Friday when I discovered that the aforementioned 20th episode would be the last in the third season. Gillies herself said she didn't think it was the best episode to feature as the season finale and I definitely agree. While the episode was fun and contained its usual level of drama, it was no way to end a season with such exciting prospects. God knows how long we will have to wait for Fallon and Liam's wedding, the only thing I'm really watching for.
How will they film the Season 12 finale of Rupaul's Drag Race? Did The Bold Type finish filming before production was stopped? Will the industry ever really get back to normal?
As a journalist, I should be answering these questions for you but I can't because nobody knows what the future will hold for the entertainment industry. While Netflix is trialling returning to filming in different areas across the world, nothing looks certain for those working within the showbiz landscape. Television provides an outlet to escape in a much shorter and simpler form than film (to some extent) and not knowing when or if we will see our favourite characters again can be a scary thought to some.
So the big question I'm posing is should companies wait until we reach a safe point to continue producing and broadcasting the shows that haven't quite finished yet or try and scramble something together from remnants of what they have left? If they finish the season, at least some aspect of closure is reached which makes it easier moving into next year. Nonetheless, there's still no guarantee that fans will be satisfied and surely that will have a knock-on effect for the future. Unlike the film industry, television doesn't have the same amount of safety or funding to delay broadcasting and programming so using the resources they have to make something that wraps everything up seems like the safest thing to do.
Would I have preferred for shows like Empire and Dynasty to wait before shouting "This is the End"? Yes and No. While I appreciate seeing the characters and their stories for the last time until God knows when is it not a better choice to wait and create something much more structured and thought out?
Despite all of this, the great thing about the world of television is that it is in constant flux. In terms of Netflix, Amazon Prime and DisneyPlus, there is plenty of new content waiting to be enjoyed and you can rewatch stuff as many times as you like. Even viewership in linear UK television has increased and British channels are broadcasting re-runs of a variety of shows. But it's waiting for that continuation or recommencement of your favourite series which is going to be the hard part.
Am I sad that I won't be seeing Jake and Amy with their brand new baby on Brooklyn Nine-Nine anytime soon? Absolutely. Do I tear up about the fact that the second season of Euphoria just started production when Covid-19 came and said "stop right there!" before they even got a camera out? Of course. But I know that it will all be worth the wait in the long haul.
I'm very much looking forward to the day when I hear that my favourite series will be returning to filming and we might reach a new level of normal for the television industry. Until then, you'll just have to scroll through the thousands of titles available on Netflix and the latter to find something to enjoy. I'm sure it will be an easy task...