Author Topic: Another way COVID-19 is ruining television.  (Read 224 times)

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Offline stethacantus

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Another way COVID-19 is ruining television.
« on: May 18, 2020, 01:01:15 PM »
It's that time of the year when television series traditionally have their season finales. This year the pandemic forced many series to shut down production a month ahead of schedule, meaning the final three episodes,  including whatever season finale they were building up to, could not be filmed. Most series simply accepted that their final completed episode would be the season finale.  The Blacklist decided to complete an unfinished episode with animation,  which I wish they hadn't done. The episode didn't resolve any of the seasons story arcs, and was no season finale,  even if it did add that final animated scene with Liz standing on a roof like Batman. It replaced an unfilled scene where Liz's grandfather wakes from his coma and tells her some sort of earth shattering revelation,  which would probably be revealed as another lie in the next season.  Sadly,  it now looks like he will never wake. He was played by actor Brian Dennehy,  who died of a heart attack two weeks after production was shut down.

Other series will complete their unfinished episodes/season as part of the first few episodes of next season, whenever real television can be filmed again.  I can imagine how f#@ked all those competing streaming services are now that there will be no exclusive content for the next year at least. Star Trek  fans paying for a CBS All Access subscription when there will be no new Star Trek franchise episodes? Star Wars and Marvel fans continuing to pay for Disney+? Netflix subscribers..... well, they f#@ked themselves in advance of the pandemic by canceling everything.  I am sure all Marvel and MST3K fans have already cancelled.  But when real television comes back next March, all those incomplete seasons will be completed, keeping our fingers crossed that no other key actors pass away in the next 9 months.

But what about the series having their final seasons? Those series where the network let them know in advance there would be no further seasons, allowing them to wrap the series up? They are not going to return next year to complete the three or four missing episodes. They are lucky the networks even agreed to air a final season.

In some cases, the series wrapped prior to the virus outbreak.  Hawaii Five 0, Arrow, Fresh Off The Boat, The Good Place and Modern Family ( and possibly the Will and Grace reboot ) were all scheduled to have their final broadcasts during the winter, so were able to film the finale each planned. But not every series was so lucky.

God Friended Me was a series about a podcaster named Miles with a show about how he is an atheist, and would debate clergymen on the existence of God. Then one day he got a notification on Facebook that an account called God had just friended him. The God account gives Miles a bunch of friend suggestions,  each someone in need of some sort of help. The God account never mentions exactly what the help the friend needs, leaving Miles to try and figure out exactly what he is suppose to do. If this sounds very familiar,  then you may remember the same premise of a higher power ( usually God ) giving someone vague instructions which will help someone else out from Joan of Arcadia. And also Kevin ( Probably ) Saves The World, Save Me, My Name Is Earl, Manifest and countless other shows. Basically,  old premise with the new twist of God using Facebook.

Even though Miles spends the entire series helping the people God sends him friend requests for, he continues to be an atheist,  and is only playing along so he can figure out who is behind the God account, which was to happen in the final episode. Which was never filmed. Production shut down midway through what became the final episode when CBS told the producers they had been cancelled. But the producers had one ace up their sleeve. They had shot flash forward footage for the pilot of Miles on a snow covered  mountain when a kid dressed as Buddhist monk tells him "She is waiting for you." And gestures for Miles to follow him. The rest of the series was to be a flashback showing what lead him to the mountain,  but the flashforward was never used as the concept for the series evolved. The producers were able to take what little footage was shot for that episode, edit in footage from other episodes, get via phone a voice over of Miles telling the audience what happened to all the characters in the next couple of years, then have him say the God account asked him to go to Everest, then edit in the mountain footage, making what was meant to be the first scene in the series the final scene in the series.  The producers claimed they were happy with what became the series finale. But it is obviously a clip show with a voice over, and most likely not how they intended to end the series.

That was the fate of God Friended Me. I heard the same thing happened with Empire, having to end the series with clips of previous  episodes, deleted scenes and voice overs. I dread to think of what will happen with Homeland, Blindspot, The 100, Supernatural and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which were all filming their final seasons.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 01:02:48 PM by stethacantus »

Offline CJones

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Re: Another way COVID-19 is ruining television.
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2020, 02:51:29 PM »
As the one person who actually liked Star Trek: Discovery (well, the second season at least), I am a little bummed it hasn't restarted yet. It was supposed to have started right after ST:Picard ended. OTOH, I use a VPN to get it through Netflix, so I can't complain too much.

Offline Variety of Cells

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Re: Another way COVID-19 is ruining television.
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2020, 04:13:32 PM »
I worked on the entire first season of God Friended Me. Most of the crew was nice, save a few people. But the production was run like shit. Very long days, and their scheduling was awful. We didn’t go back for the second season.  Partly because our crew was not asked back. They wanted to go with someone they could boss around more, and would agreed to a cheaper budget by sacrificing quality, speed and skill. The cast was all really nice though, even if the actor who played Miles could never get his lines right.

I also didn’t like what they wrote for Miles’ reasons for being an atheist. It was always ‘This bad thing happened so god can’t be real’. But he’d never pull out any of the multitude of reasons atheists have to not believe in god. The religious conversations were way too one sided, and the writers did a bad job of masking their own opinions by constantly giving him easily knocked down arguments that few people actually use.

So yeah, kind of happy to hear it got canceled. I know the people that did the second season too, and it sounded like they were having a shitty time as well. But yeah, I haven’t worked in months, and I have no idea when I’ll work again. I’ll be fine though.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 04:16:21 PM by Variety of Cells »

Offline goflyblind

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Re: Another way COVID-19 is ruining television.
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2020, 11:53:04 PM »
i thought agents of shield filmed their final two seasons back-to-back?
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Offline stethacantus

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Re: Another way COVID-19 is ruining television.
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2020, 06:37:53 AM »
i thought agents of shield filmed their final two seasons back-to-back?

I hope you are right about that. But there is still the possibility the visual effects and rest of the season 2 post production wasn't completed. The season finale  of Walking Dead was filmed prior to the shut down, and hasn't aired because they could not complete the post production.