Welp, it happened. In the inevitable race for networks and streamers to create a TV show about life during the coronavirus pandemic, Netflix has officially pulled out ahead. Social Distance, an upcoming Netflix anthology series, will tell stories of characters in isolation — and it could come out sooner than you may think, thanks to the show’s remote production plans.
Social Distance is the brainchild of Orange Is the New Black and GLOW creator Jenji Kohan, as well as Hilary Weisman Graham, Diego Velasco, Tara Herrmann and Blake McCormick, per Deadline. The series will be produced while most scripted television productions remain shutdown due to calls for social distancing. Actors will film themselves and be directed remotely, and writers will pen each episode without meeting in person, according to Deadline.
The producers said in a statement posted to social media that the new show “tells stories about the current moment we are living through — the unique, personal, deeply human stories that illustrate how we are living apart, together.”
“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.”
We’ll have to wait and see what Netflix’s Social Distance looks like, but it sounds like it could tell small slices of everyday life a la HBO’s High Maintenance or Amazon’s Modern Love — albeit with the caveat that these stories will likely take place within each character’s homes.
As we haven’t gotten through to the other side of this coronavirus pandemic, the show runs the risk of perhaps being a little too timely. Protocols for best protecting the public from COVID-19 seem to change on a day-to-day basis. Then there’s the fact that many people want to use today’s entertainment to escape from the world’s crisis — not be reminded of it with a very on-the-nose TV series.
That could be why some fans are calling for Netflix to, um, maybe not.
Still, a scripted show produced from inside actor’s homes, and put together completely remotely is quite a feat — if it works. Already, programs like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Saturday Night Live have tried this approach, and while it can’t replicate the full-scale experience, they’re at least able to say that show did go on. Some Netflix fans are feeling optimistic about Social Distance.
Thus far, no release date for Social Distance has dropped. When it does, it will either be a time capsule of a surreal time...or a reminder of our current reality.