TV: 2020 – The Year in TV News So Far

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TV Editor James Nash takes a look at some of the effects COVID-19 will have on the year’s television slate.

Unfortunately for all of us stuck at home, the Coronavirus pandemic has had — you guessed it — an unprecedented impact on the television industry. We may not be noticing it yet, but due to many countries’ lockdown and social distancing measures, numerous series have halted production and will therefore suffer significant delays. We’ll be giving you the lowdown on what to expect from your favourite TV shows and from 2020 television in general.

With many American and Canadian productions used to filming only a few episodes ahead of their airing schedule, the most significant impact will be felt from shows whose seasons will remain unfinished as of now. These include Riverdale, which will finish its fourth season with episode 19, three episodes short of its 22 episode order, New Amsterdam, which shelved an episode centred around a flu pandemic, and The Walking Dead, which will air the final episode of its tenth season as a special event later this year. One of the most significant blows will be to fans looking forward to Marvel’s slate of television adventures set to premiere on Disney+ later this year, with filming halted on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki.

Filming has also been suspended on BBC series Gentleman Jack series 2 and Line of Duty series 5, whilst pre-production on series 6 of Peaky Blinders has likewise been halted. British daytime television is continuing as normally as possible; shows like This Morning, Loose Women, and Jeremy Vine are airing without studio audiences, with presenters adhering to social distancing. Many soaps have reduced their episode count each week, to be spread across however long lockdown lasts. 

Filming has also stopped on some Netflix favourites, including the second seasons of both The Witcher and Russian Doll, whilst production has been halted on the fourth entry of Stranger Things.

The Crown

But it’s not all bad news! Series 4 of Netflix’s smash-hit The Crown is reported to have wrapped up filming a few days ahead of schedule, and is expected to remain on track for its late 2020/early 2021 release. Similarly, Disney+’s The Mandalorian season 2 is still set for an October 2020 US premiere, Baby Yoda and all, whilst UK viewers can catch up on the whole of season 1 from May 2020. And whilst Marvel’s Disney+ series have all suffered production delays, the final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will air as planned from 27 May on ABC, including a time-travel crossover with the gone-too-soon Agent Carter.

Other shows you can look forward to seeing on your telly as normal include NBC’s cop-comedy Brooklyn 99, where the seventh season is currently airing in the UK on E4, and BBC America’s Killing Eve, whose third season was actually brought forward in light of the pandemic and is currently premiering on BBC iPlayer every Monday. Netflix series you can look forward to include Ricky Gervais’ After Life series 2 (24 April), Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood (1 May), Damien Chazelle’s The Eddy (8 May), and the sixth and final season of Schitt’s Creek (14 May).

We’ll be doing our best to keep you updated on any changes, and of course, giving you our reviews of what is still coming out this year! Keep binging, and keep safe.

Words by James Nash

This article was originally published as part of The Indiependent’s May 2020 charity magazine, which is still on sale and is raising money for the British Lung Foundation. Find out more here.

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