Nobody ever expected to have to watch television in a global pandemic.
To be fair, no one ever expected to have to do most things during a global pandemic because due to all of the disasters most people plan for, pandemics are at the bottom of the list. Pandemics are for dystopian dramas and horror films. Pandemics are practically fictional until suddenly they are no longer.
There was no guide on how to cope with the past year and a half, or how TV shows and movies should work. Sure, there were guidelines recommended by the CDC on how to keep things safe off-screen, but there hasn’t been a script about how to accurately portray a pandemic on screen, no film studies on whether or not that’s a good idea at all. There was also no earthly way of knowing how much the world might change between production and broadcast, so many creative teams really threw the dice over the past year.
But now that we are cautiously approaching a world that looks a lot more normal, we have the advantage of looking back. We now know what it feels like to be in a pandemic and watch a fictional version of that pandemic on our favorite television shows. We know what it is like when at least one of our favorite characters nearly dies of COVID-19. We now know what it’s like to see dialogue through masks. And we now know that we don’t love it.