While some virtual writers’ rooms debate whether to incorporate the coronavirus pandemic into their shows’ upcoming seasons, others — specifically emergency procedurals like Fox’s 9-1-1 — simply don’t have the option.
“I feel like you have to address it,” showrunner Tim Minear tells TVLine. “I haven’t broken a single episode, but my feeling — and I reserve the right to completely change my mind — is that on a first responder show like this, you can’t really ignore it.”
Though he isn’t ready to confirm any sort of major time jump, Minear says that whenever 9-1-1 returns for its fourth season, “the characters on the screen will have gone through what the audience has gone through. There may be flashbacks that will show what our people went through at the height of the [pandemic], but by the time we resume physical production, that means the world will have figured out how to start opening for business again.”
That said, Minear doesn’t want COVID-19 to subsume the world of 9-1-1. “Maybe our role is to demonstrate through our little fantasy show that life will go on,” he says. “So, yes, it will exist in our universe — and life will continue.”
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Though 9-1-1 has been renewed for a fourth season, and Minear has opened a virtual writers’ room, there’s no telling when the TV industry will be allowed to resume productions. Fox has already preemptively announced that new episodes of the procedural aren’t expected to return until at least 2021.
Do you agree with Minear’s outlook on the virus being essential to the world of the show? What else do you hope to see in Season 4? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.