COVID-19 intertwines with TV

Film and TV producers are not shying away from including the pandemic in their latest plotlines.

Lorenzo Zottoli, Staff Writer

It’s that time of year again when new seasons of our favorite TV shows return to the screen, but for some shows, there will be one noticeable difference: masks.

With the COVID-19 spread on the rise and film productions on the starting blocks, masks and plotlines involving the coronavirus are a better option than forgoing the new season. 

At a first glance, this could be considered a problem, but having COVID-19 incorporated into the newest seasons of TV shows could be beneficial. For starters, it can help educate viewers on the dangers of the virus. Having TV shows depict the hard truth of COVID-19 and having the general population watch a fictional character pass away may have more of an impact on them than just seeing a number on a screen during a news broadcast. Additionally, by having TV shows promote mask-wearing and social distancing, the general viewership, especially younger audiences, will be more likely to follow in the characters’ footsteps.

On the other hand, some viewers may be reluctant to watch new seasons of TV shows that include COVID-19. For those who treat TV as a form of escape, the dangers of COVID-19 may feel out of place in a fictionalized show.

Junior Halle Marsalis is one such viewer.

“I like the idea of informing people on [COVID-19], but I truly feel as if I hear more than enough about it every day from teachers, parents, and the news,” Marsalis said. “I watch TV to escape from reality for a little, but this just brings me right back to reality.

But producers show no signs of holding back.  As fast as the pandemic spread, the new film Songbird was produced and will be released on December 10th on all major streaming services. The plot of the feature film centers on an exaggerated COVID-19 called “COVID-2023.” The trailer, which received widespread backlash, depicts military and police forces shooting any citizens who venture outside of their homes.

The negative responses to the trailer are perfectly understandable.  By having a film exaggerate the pandemic, a portion of the public could believe it is real and can very well happen, causing mass panic to spread. 

Screen grab from the Songbird trailer.

One show that is covering COVID-19 in a more responsible matter is Grey’s Anatomy. Season 17 has recently been released and a central topic of the season is the coronavirus. At first, most viewers were skeptical, but it has been getting rave reviews, crediting the writers for shining a light on health care workers and what they have had to deal with the past eight months. 

Junior Maisy Wadlow is among the fans of the show who appreciate its latest developments.

“I have always tuned in to the new episodes but was a little nervous about the premise at first, and now I feel like I’ve actually learned more than I thought I would about COVID-19,” Wadlow said.

COVID-19 remains a serious threat throughout the world. We have learned to adapt to it in almost every single aspect of our lives, so why on our TV screens, too?