Fall’s TV roster includes a lineup of pandemic-centric programming

As if the novel coronavirus wasn’t a large enough part of our lives for the past six months, we can now watch the pandemic play out on television with several new pandemic-centric TV shows premiering this fall. Encompassing themes like social distancing, social activism, and (of course) the pandemic itself, this content could greatly appeal to Gen Zs and younger audiences. While it’s debatable whether this content could be considered “escapist” since we’re still in the midst of this public health crisis, audiences are sure to tune in for some communal catharsis.


Netflix is getting in on the corona-content this fall with a shortform anthology series called Social Distance, which will cover the start of the pandemic as it progresses throughout the world. Each episode was filmed remotely in actors’ actual homes and features family and friends that the actors were quarantined with due to hindered casting capabilities. “The experience of social distancing is currently universal, but no individual story is the same. Through a broad spectrum of tales and moments, some seismic and some mundane, we hope to capture a moment in time. And we hope that Social Distance will help people feel closer to one another," a producer on the show revealed to The Hollywood Reporter.


Recently released on Freeform and Hulu, this four-part romantic dramedy highlights human connection while social distancing. The show explores intimacy and relationships across four households throughout the pandemic, as couples experience this time of simultaneous togetherness and loneliness. In order to safely produce the show, directors relied on robotic cameras and cast the show before writing it—and the casting itself was structured around actors who were actually quarantining together. Executive Producer Joanna Johnson hopes viewers find joy and humor in the crisis, as the show is really about "the search for love and connection in a time of quarantine."


HBO’s comedic satire Coastal Elites features an array of socially-distanced stories from across the U.S. Spanning topics such as life under the pandemic, political folly, and the Black Lives Matter protests, Coastal Elites uses a unique format to cover recent events. Screenwriter Paul Rudnick says of the show, “It actually follows history as it’s breaking. It was a great way of organizing the material.” The 90-minute special premiered on September 12th and stars celebrities like Issa Rae, Bette Midler, and Dan Levy.