7 Things You Won't See on TV Anytime Soon Because of Coronavirus

Safety restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic will make your favorite TV shows look very different.

There's a good chance you've been streaming a lot of television over the last few months, with many of us spending almost all our time indoors. One of the oddest quirks of watching TV amid the coronavirus pandemic is getting a glimpse at how different things were in the very recent past: no masks, no social distancing, no fear of contagion at all. Well, that's all about to change. When your favorite shows resume production, they will be subject to new safety restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means that when those series return, TV is going to look a lot different after coronavirus. And for a look at the series we're waiting to come back, here are 10 Beloved TV Shows You Won't See Again in 2020.

No more sex scenes.

kissing scene on you
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

The new production guidelines put out by Los Angeles County on June 12 discourage any type of prolonged physical contact, per Variety. Of course, that includes sex scenes. Sera Gamble, co-creator and showrunner of You, told The Hollywood Reporter that she's not sure how they'll work around the restrictions on intimacy. "We're not at the place in 2020 where we can talk about using visual effects to fake a kiss," she said. "That's a separate issue and one we have to figure it out." And for more shows that have had to make do with losses, check out these 13 TV Shows That Lost Their Stars.

No more fight scenes.

fight scene on supergirl
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Nixing prolonged physical contact also means fight scenes are verboten, at least for the time being. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Australian soap opera Neighbours is resuming filming without any physical contact between its actors: "The show's producers have said they'll cut away before a kiss or punch, relying on the audience's imagination to do the rest."

No more actors getting close to each other at all.

still from killing eve

Actors aren't only discouraged from touching—they're discouraged from getting close to each other at all. Per Variety, actors "who cannot wear face coverings during performances should keep eight feet apart." Naturally it would be impossible to film with that rule in place at all times, but any sort of physical closeness is likely to be off the table for a while, along with other forms of contact, like hugs and handshakes. And for more on how COVID-19 has changed our manners, here are 11 Rude Behaviors We All Do Now, Thanks to Coronavirus.

No more big group scenes.

cast of stranger things

If your favorite show is an ensemble series, it might take a little longer before it returns—or the scenes might suddenly be less densely populated. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "writers will also be asked to lean on fewer characters." That means keeping things limited to two or three actors instead of all the cast members interacting at once. Black-ish showrunner Courtney Lilly told the magazine, "If [our show] ends up being a one-act play for 21 minutes between two characters so that people can work and America can see characters they like onscreen doing something that isn't a repeat, we're going to find a way to do it."

No more scenes in crowded public places.

concert on empire
20th Television

Just as there are crowded public places you've been avoiding, TV shows will have to skip those locations for filming. Robert and Michelle King, the showrunners of Evil, told The Hollywood Reporter that they had ditched their plans to set the Season 2 premiere in a New York City subway station. And Marta Kauffman, showrunner of Grace and Frankie, told the magazine, "We had scenes at our assisted living facility with a crowd, and, well, we can't do that anymore." And for some acclaimed shows you can stream while waiting for current series to return, here are 23 Emmy-Winning TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now.

No more extras.

still from grey's anatomy
Disney–ABC Domestic Television

No more crowded public spaces means no more crowds either. While Variety notes that the new production guidelines simply discourage crowd scenes, an anonymous studio executive told The Hollywood Reporter that shooting "an elaborate crowd scene with dozens of extras" would not be a possibility at all. According to Gamble, CGI could help fill in the gaps, so there may still be extras—just not real-life ones. "The technology that brought you dragons and exploding people is the same technology that will be bringing you ordinary crowd scenes on shows you wouldn't expect [to use] visual effects," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

No more full-length episodes.

elisabeth moss in the handmaid's tale

Not every show you watch is going to start having shorter episodes—but cutting things down is a distinct possibility. One executive who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter said that scripts could be cut by as many as five or six pages to make up for the cost of putting new regulations in place, including coronavirus testing for the entire cast and crew. That would mean several minutes shaved off each episode. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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