What’s Ahead For Soaps After The Coronavirus?

Soap operas post-coronavirusSoap operas post-coronavirus

All four daytime soaps have shut down production due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there’s no word when they’ll return to filming. Once things resume, however, there will be issues to address and guidelines to follow; particularly during the first few months back on the job. Here’s a look at what could be ahead.

Romance On Hold

The daytime medium, which has long centered on supercouples and love in the afternoon, may have to cut back on physicality in relationships. Namely, keeping actors’ close proximity to a minimum and curtailing kissing scenes and hot and heavy bedroom romps.

Things could take a step way back to the implied passion of classic film days, where a couple leaned in for a kiss and the camera panned away or headed into the bedroom and then simply closed the door behind them. Sure, it would be an adjustment for viewers, but it would still allow love stories to be told.

Cyberspace, Cop Shops, and the Boardroom

The soaps could see a spike in plots involving cyberspace, crime stories, and boardroom drama, all of which could easier accommodate social distancing. Think Days of Our Lives’ Gabi, who already used a phone app to manipulate Julie’s heart, wielding control over another Salem enemy via technology.

Or GH’s techno-geek Spinelli working with the Port Charles PD to bring down Cyrus Renault. Perhaps he will use his cyber skills to expose Peter’s litany of crimes and free Dr. Obrecht. CBS primetime drama All Rise is set to resume filming with a virtually-produced episode influenced by the pandemic that will be filmed extensively using FaceTime, Zoom, and other social media and online technology. Maybe GH could somehow follow suit.

Meanwhile, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless are both well poised for a heavier emphasis on boardroom tales, considering their longtime focus on the machinations at Forrester Creations, Newman Enterprises, and Jabot. Plus, the three companies center on the shows’ core characters, which means fan favorites would be on the screen.

Getting Ahead of the Game

With scientists warning of a second coronavirus wave, shows would be wise to follow Days of Our Lives’ lead and get ahead. That means filming more than the allotted five shows a week and doing it as quickly as possible. DAYS is faring well during the long COVID-19 break because it already has months of episodes in the can.

The soap didn’t have to resort to airing classic episodes on Fridays. Nor did it have to re-edit shows to insert incessant flashbacks – hello, General Hospital! – so as to not use up their backlog of original scripted episodes.

In the process, the ABC soap took things too far and ruined the flow of the show, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Filming ahead when production resumes would mean not finding themselves in the same predicament, again, in the event there’s another production stopper.

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