It’s kind of inevitable that at the end of all this, we’ll wind up with all sorts of pandemic-inspired art. Some of it’ll be good, some of it’ll undoubtedly be awful. But the creators of Orange Is the New Black, one of the first hit Netflix original series, are the latest artists to give quaran-tainment a try.
Netflix has greenlit Social Distance, a new anthology series from the OITNB production team, according to Variety. The scripted show will focus on the “new, bizarre, bewildering reality we are all experiencing” due to COVID-19, according to a statement, and the entire series will be produced virtually, with cast filming themselves in their homes to adhere to social distancing guidelines, naturally.
Social Distance is slated to be an anthology series, meaning each installment will center on a different storyline and set of characters. The creators said in a statement they were inspired to tell “stories about the current moment we are living through — the unique, personal, deeply human stories that illustrate how we are living apart, together.”
Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan is executive producing Social Distance, along with Tara Herrmann, Blake McCormick, Diego Velasco and Hilary Weisman Graham. Velasco will direct (he helmed an episode of OITNB previously), and Graham will serve as showrunner (she wrote for the hit series). No word on when Social Distance will hit Netflix or who will star.
Social Distance isn’t the first TV show to be produced under quarantine. In early April, CBS announced it’d utilize Zoom, FaceTime and other apps to film a new episode of All Rise (coronavirus-themed, of course) while the show’s cast and crew remains on lockdown. Nearly every late night host has pivoted to producing shows at home, too.
One unexpected result of the shutdown is that audiences are getting used to lower production values, since everyone’s filming themselves at home. There’s no saying when IRL TV and movie production will pick up again — Tom Cruise seems to think he’ll be able to resume filming the latest Mission: Impossible installment this June, but the experts say, “Not so fast, buddy.” Scientists think coronavirus cases could peak again in the fall and winter, meaning Hollywood’s 2020 output may be a complete wash.
With so much uncertainty around when or if things will ever get back to normal, making contingency plans seems like a good bet. After living through quarantine, I’m not sure how eager I’ll be to revisit isolation via Netflix. But it’s cool to see creators find inspiration in these dark times and get crafty with how they bring their ideas to life.