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Jenji Kohan to debut a ‘Social Distance’ anthology for Netflix

We may not have to wait for the end of the COVID-19 era to get an anthology series about it.

Jenji Kohan, creator of “Orange Is the New Black” is developing a show called “Social Distance,” Deadline reported. The Netflix offering will be produced virtually for reasons of public health and will present narratives delving into the dilemmas of the coronavirus pandemic. Her OITNB collaborator Hilary Weisman Graham will serve as showrunner. A release date has yet to be announced.

“Our job as storytellers is to reflect reality, and in this new, bizarre, bewildering reality we are all experiencing, we feel passionate about finding connection as we all remain at a distance,” Kohan and her fellow producers told Deadline. “The experience of social distancing is currently universal, but no individual story is the same. Through a broad spectrum of tales and moments, some seismic and some mundane, we hope to capture a moment in time. And we hope that ‘Social Distance’ will help people feel closer to one another.”

While an admirable endeavor for a largely production-stalled entertainment industry, one wonders if this is the content we need right now.

It’s tough to say, with such scanty plot details, if the show will click with viewers. But judging by the breakout successes of the past two months, works of unique escapism — the redneck insanity of “Tiger King,” the fish-out-of-water workings of “Unorthodox” or the ode to the Chicago Bulls that is “The Last Dance” (alas, no NBA this year) — seem to be what the public craves. Given those portals to other, more expansive worlds do we really want to relive all of our Zoom meetings?

Still, should “Social Distance” hit our screens before we’re past this troubling moment, it will come in with an advantage: We’re not doing a whole lot else, so we’ll probably give it at least an episode.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at [email protected].


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