The doctors are about to be back in on ABC.
Insiders have confirmed to Variety that Grey’s Anatomy will resume production on Season 17 later this month, following a lengthy hiatus as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite this welcome piece of news, many questions still abound.
In regard to Grey’s Anatomy and nearly every other scripted television show that typically premieres in the fall.
For example, production on the first two episodes of season 17 may very well begin in Los Angeles as early as next week.
However, exactly when the Elllen Pompeo-anchored drama will return with new episodes remains to be seen.
Just a few days ago, ABC announced an unscripted-heavy autumb schedule, removing Grey’s Anatomy after previously claiming the series would return some time in 2020.
And, to be clear, this may still be the case, especially with other programs — The Goldbergs, A Million Little Things, The Good Doctor and Big Sky — also preparing to start shooting again.
ABC appears to have an upper hand on its broadcast network rivals in this department.
The drama had completed 21 episodes of season 16 before it halted production in March with four episodes left to film.
The season’s finale episode — which aired in April — therefore served as the unexpected finale.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Krista Vernoff said she wasn’t planning on tackling the coronavirus pandemic on the show, not at first, that is.
“[The writers] really convinced me that it would be irresponsible to not,” Vernoff said.
“To be kind of the biggest medical show and ignore the biggest medical story of the century felt irresponsible to them to the medical community.
“These doctors are traumatized.
“They are not trained or wired to hold the hands of dying people all day who are alone without their families.”
The producerr added that the her team also grappled with how to translate the medical community’s real-life trauma into the fictional world of Grey’s Anatomy.
Talk about an unexpected challenge.
“[The writers] were saying things like, kids, their first year out of medical school, are seeing more death in the first year than many doctors see in a decade, and it just felt like we had to tell this story,” she explained.
“We have to tell this story, and so the conversation became, how do we tell this very painful, brutal story that has hit our medical community so intensely — and as they keep saying, permanently changed medicine?
“How do we do that and provide some escapism? How do we do that and create romance, and comedy, and joy, and fun?”
Based on other Grey’s Anatomy spoilers, it sounds as if a time jump is in store.
The series will not just pick up where April’s concluding installment left off.
During a TV Academy panel discussion this summer, Vernoff emphasized again the focus on COVID-19, hinting that Owen will be front and center for the show’s portrayal of this virus.
She said the writing room brought in real doctors to discuss their experiences with trauma, and…
“(The doctors) are literally shaking and trying not to cry, they’re pale, and they’re talking about it as war – a war that they were not trained for,” she said.
“And that’s been one of our big conversations about Owen, is that he’s actually trained for this in a way that most of the other doctors aren’t.”
ABC is yet to announce a premiere date for Grey’s Anatomy Season 17.
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