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Meet You on the Other Side: TV After the Pandemic

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58 minutes ago, Raja said:

 There seems to be two trains of thought. First 2020 sucks and entertainment should just time jump over it. Just as shows historically omitted partisan political seasons and kept real life political candidates out of the script. But then they have public health production problems, especially with extras on set. So we see some signs of PPEs that generally were not worn before this year, even in Asian societies public transportation in the background scenes.

Second if you do include COVID the demand that the entertainment double as education training films on how properly maintain social distance and don PPEs. Which then ignores that many on the real life streets do improperly wear PPEs as they had not been trained to scrub and enter a surgical theatre or a biowarfare lab. And many do wear the minimum to avoid public scorn.

The way our soaps approached it was, they are set in the here and now, and this pandemic is what is happening in the here and now, so they have to reflect that in their storytelling, they can't just timeskip over it. Because where US soaps are an escape from reality, British soaps are meant to reflect reality. It is a tricky balance to strike, since they film several weeks in advance and restrictions keep changing, too fast for them to keep up with the latest guidelines completely, but in general their characters are dealing with the impact of the pandemic on their lives same as the rest of us, with their planned storylines for the year continuing around those restrictions. So the pandemic isn't a storyline in itself, they aren't making a big deal out of it, but as they play out their scenes, characters are seen to maintain social distancing, they wear masks in indoor public spaces, they have restricted numbers at weddings, and so on.

Then, filming in covid conditions is another challenge entirely!

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Magnum PI took the time jump to an optimistic future route.  A quick line by a reoccurring character that business had not yet returned to Rick's bar was the only evidence of the pandemic that I remember. No extras running around it the background masked up  

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Just to note that here in the UK, the long-running medical drama Casualty returned to our screens this week to kick off a new series filmed in lockdown with a special episode highlighting the pandemic - a really powerful, emotional, heartbreaking hour of TV showing the pandemic through the eyes of the emergency services and how they cope day-to-day on the wards as the virus spread. Staff togged up in restrictive PPE as they looked after patients, catching the virus themselves one after another, watching patients die, losing loved ones, a deaf staff member struggling to communicate as face masks prevent her lipreading - and finally, devastatingly, losing a colleague to the virus. The character who died was a receptionist who'd been in the show for 12 years, a black man about to become a grandfather for the first time, underlining the disproportionate impact the virus has had on the BAME community as well as emphasising the fact that every single victim of this virus was a unique individual with a life and a family who will be mourned by their friends and loved ones. Really devastating and difficult to watch, the cast, and crew worked incredibly hard to tell the story of frontline workers - a story that needs to be told, reflecting the reality of what our frontline workers are facing every day through this pandemic. Very well done.

Edited by Llywela
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45 minutes ago, janie jones said:

That's kind of a rough way for the actor to lose his job.

It's Casualty.  When an actor leaves, there's pretty much a 50-50 chance that their character will be killed off.

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23 minutes ago, Ceindreadh said:

It's Casualty.  When an actor leaves, there's pretty much a 50-50 chance that their character will be killed off.

But what if he didn't want to leave?  Then he's fired for being part of the race that is disproportionately affected by COVID.  It's akin to "we want to send a message about how much people of your race are being fucked over by fucking you over."

 

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8 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

But what if he didn't want to leave?  Then he's fired for being part of the race that is disproportionately affected by COVID.  It's akin to "we want to send a message about how much people of your race are being fucked over by fucking you over."

Way to jump to the worst possible conclusion and ignore all the positives in favour of an assumed negative. The actor had decided to leave and it provided an opportunity for an important and powerful story to be told.

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12 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

But what if he didn't want to leave?  Then he's fired for being part of the race that is disproportionately affected by COVID.  It's akin to "we want to send a message about how much people of your race are being fucked over by fucking you over."

Or

3 hours ago, Llywela said:

…The actor had decided to leave and it provided an opportunity for an important and powerful story to be told.

No doubt both have happened. 
 

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This sounds like Sharif Atkins on ER. They had an Army Reservist so of course his character didn't make it back from Iraq.

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From what I understand British acting contracts are very different from the US.   There are no (or very few) long term contracts.   They are all one year deals, so you know going in that you might not be back next year.   You can plan accordingly.   

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16 minutes ago, merylinkid said:

From what I understand British acting contracts are very different from the US.   There are no (or very few) long term contracts.   They are all one year deals, so you know going in that you might not be back next year.   You can plan accordingly.   

Quite. The UK and US TV industries work very differently and you can't judge one against what you know of the other. Cast turnover is high on Casualty - the show is seen as a staging ground, a stepping stone for actors, they do their stint and then they move on to other projects. Staying as long as 12 years is unusual. The actor here was out of contract and wanted to move on, which is the most normal thing in the world where this show is concerned. Casualty wanted to tell a story about the pandemic - and that episode, as I said above, was really powerful and has received high praise. Those two details came together to create a particular exit story for the character, which also provided the opportunity to underline a particular aspect of the pandemic. That's all. I mentioned it not to start a debate about race relations as viewed through an American lens but because this thread is all about how the TV industry is responding to the pandemic, and this was an angle that hasn't been discussed here yet, a show filming a season in lockdown and choosing to confront the reality of the pandemic head on, reflecting the reality faced by so many millions around the globe.

Edited by Llywela
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Good for the EP of Law and Order: SVU.  Back when soap operas were based in NYC, many Broadway actors worked on them as day jobs.  Soaps provided the income to supplement theater work.  Law and Order The Mothership did the same; thus the basis for this James Corden Tony Award skit.

 

 

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