The longest-running medical drama in America, “Grey’s Anatomy,” was, like all the pieces else in Hollywood, shut down as a result of the pandemic this spring earlier than finishing Season 16. With ABC’s fictionalized portraying America’s real-life medical emergency, a deliberate 24-episode season was abruptly minimizing off at 21 episodes. However, given the Show’s tendency to dramatize “ripped from the headlines” medical plots, Covid-19 was all the time going to issue into the Show’s return. And “Grey’s Anatomy” has by no means been recognized to do issues midway.
True to kind, Season 17 options probably the most coronavirus-centric TV plots we have seen since studios began filming once more.
So true to kind, Season 17, which premiered on Thursday night time, options probably the most coronavirus-centric TV plots we have seen since studios began filming once more. The outcome is, without doubt, one of the most shifting season premieres within the Show’s historical past, which after almost twenty years, is saying quite a bit.
Although such a selection would possibly really feel like a no brainer for a medical Show, different collection look like scuffling with tips on how to handle the present state of the world. Although the “socially distanced, Zoom primarily based” pandemic reveals you get headlines — like “Coastal Elites” and “Love In The Time Of Corona” — most have determined that escapism is preferable to realism. “The Masked Singer,” for instance, went as far as to edit in footage of audiences watching performances unmasked to offer the impression of normalcy. Others, just like the simply returned “This Is Us,” take an extra pragmatic strategy, including particulars from “the brand new regular” (masks, social distancing, grocery deliveries); however, in any other case sticking to the unique storyline.
“Grey’s” may have adopted go well with, constructing a world that was semi-separate and hopefully much less bleak than ours. Star Ellen Pompeo, who performs the titular Meredith Gray, has broadly hinted Season 17 would be the Show’s final, as her contract (and the collection with it) is expiring. Up to now, ABC has not introduced an extension.
It might have probably been simpler to spend this potential last season tying up unfastened ends, not least of which embody the sorts of romantic entanglements that might be made much more sophisticated by pandemic protocols. Although it’s a medical drama, “Grey’s Anatomy” has leaned heavily on romance since its inception. The loves and lives of those characters have all the time balanced out the more and more heavy hospital eventualities.
However, as showrunner Krista Vernoff, who took over the collection in Season 14, put it, the manufacturing felt it had an obligation to dramatize the fact many People aren’t witnessing of their every day lives. “We’ve got a chance to assist drive residence the prices to the medical group,” Vernoff stated lately. And if something, “Grey’s” is changing into extra of an activist in its superior age, which in this case means proving a counterbalance to the false messaging that this virus is in some way fading away.
To that finish, the collection jumps ahead in time from the place it left off final season, proper into the guts of Seattle’s first wave. As a narrative selection, that is simpler than you would possibly suppose. Seattle, the place the Show is about, was hit earlier than most different cities — together with New York — went into disaster mode. This was a metropolis, the place the lockdowns had been actual, and actually terrifying, courting again to Feb. 29 when King’s County confirmed its first dying.
The premiere begins with a tour of the world as it’s, explaining intimately precisely what the hospital employees go by. And although it punctuates this actuality with cheerful and even humorous sequences, the viewers aren’t allowed to neglect how many individuals are dying and the way helpless these medical doctors really feel. In one other Show, scenes of the mass thanking important employees would possibly really feel tacky, or worse, overly sentimental. However, given “Grey’s” almost twenty years of dramatic cred — to not point out the horrors and frustrations that befall its characters — the applause feels earned.
The viewers aren’t allowed to neglect how many individuals are dying and the way helpless these medical doctors really feel.
The Show’s determination to go all-in on Covid-19 additionally impacts its sister Show, “Station 19.” The firefighter drama is about just some blocks down the road from Gray-Sloan Memorial Hospital. This permits for all kinds of crossovers, and in this case, a mixed three-hour premiere — one hour of “Station 19,” adopted by two hours of “Grey’s.” ABC switched the reveals’ positions on the calendar for the premiere, with “Station 19” functioning as a lead-in at eight p.m., “Grey’s” long-held Thursday slot, earlier than the flagship Show got here on at 9 p.m. (The transfer felt designed to assist prop up the youthful, and admittedly weaker, Show by tapping into “Grey’s” followers’ longstanding behavior of turning on the TV at eight.)
These two collections are all that is left of ABC’s as soon as mighty Shondaland Thursdays, which prior to now two years has seen the top of “Scandal” and “How To Get Away With Homicide.” With Shonda Rhimes herself now evacuated for Netflix (her first collection “Scorching Chocolate Nutcracker,” premieres later this month), there’s little likelihood extra will likely be forthcoming.
And so, if that is certainly “Grey’s Anatomy’s” last season, at the very least, it appears keen to exit standing up for the medical group which it efficiently mined for many years of extraordinary plotlines. Contemplating how a lot of these tales must be informed properly now — the variety of individuals unconcerned by the virus is really horrifying — Pompeo and firm will be capable to stroll away with their heads held excessively.
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