Further confirming that earlier COVID-19 fears that the widespread pandemic and resulting quarantine might signal the end of new TV may have been misaligned, Netflix has announced the cast and release date for Social Distance, a new anthology series. The eight-part, limited-run drama debuts on October 15 and, according to a release, “showcases the power of the human spirit in the face of uncertainty and isolation.”
The show is set in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been “conceived, cast, and executed entirely remotely during quarantine.” Social Distance consists of standalone episodes “told through a virtual lens and captures the unique emotional experience of being forced apart by circumstance and having no choice but to communicate remotely and rely on technology to maintain any sense of connection.” The idea being, in other words, to explore the ways that although many of us have entered quarantine, our individual experience of that change and learning to still stay connected has been distinct, unique, and ongoing.
Social Distance is created and executive produced by showrunner Hilary Weisman Graham and executive-produced by Tara Herrmann, Blake McCormick, and Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black, Weeds). The expansive cast includes Oscar Nunez (The Office), Marsha Stephanie Blake (When They See Us) with real-life daughter Rocco Luna, and Steven Weber (Get Shorty, Drunk History) with real-life son Jack Hohnen-Weber.
Alongside HBO’s Coastal Elites, which premiered on September 12 and features a similar conceit with actors Dan Levy, Bette Midler, Sarah Paulson, and Issae Rae navigating life during the pandemic, it seems like we will indeed be able to continue to get new TV during the pandemic. But it also looks like, for better or worse, we will not be able to escape thinking about it.