US medical drama Grey’s Anatomy has been on air fifteen years this year. In what feels like a blink-and-we’re-already-here situation, the cast is about to embark on the seventeenth season.
If you haven’t been keeping up to date, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is still going strong and so is her ever-changing gang of surgeons.
The storylines have evolved through the years (as you’d expect) with countless deaths, marriages, babies and medical procedures and over the 317 episodes that have aired, they’ve tackled everything from mass shootings to plane crashes.
Now, Grey’s will be adding the coronavirus pandemic into the mix and according to showrunner Krista Vernoff, it’s one of the “biggest” medical stories of our lifetime.
In an interview with Variety, Vernoff said that “as the biggest medical show in the world”, the series had a “responsibility” to tell the ongoing story of COVID-19. While she herself felt like the world had “fatigue of COVID”, a staff writer, Naser Alazari, had been working frontlines at a clinic during the show’s hiatus ultimately convinced her otherwise.
“This is the biggest medical story of our lifetime, and it is changing medicine permanently. And we have to tell this story,'” Alazari told her.
Star of the series, Pompeo, was a “powerful advocate” for the cast and crew and was a driving force for the series to halt production.
“Now we know that it is an equal opportunity destroyer,” Vernoff said. “But the age of our cast and crew felt significant.”
According to Variety, the show is going to “look and feel different” when it returns next season — especially when creating a crowded emergency waiting room.
“It changes the feeling of the show; it changes the pacing of the show,” Vernoff said. “It is what it is.”