2020 Plays Like a TV Show. So the Washington Post asked H’wood Writers How It Should End

Once upon a time a newspaper like the Washington Post would’ve asked big name science fiction novelists how they would conclude the story of this, our least favorite year.

But the world is a’changin’ and reading ain’t what it used to be, so the call has instead gone to our brothers-and-sisters-in-arms who work on TV.  How did they respond regarding the craziest least believable plot real life has ever thrown our way? Read on.


by Maura Judkis

If 2020 were a TV show, the first draft would be terrible. The premise is promising — what happens when political dysfunction meets a deadly virus? — but the execution needs work. Think about how messy it all has been: competing plotlines, too-abrupt soap opera twists, one-dimensional villains, stories introduced and then just as quickly dropped.

Like it or not, we’re barreling toward the finale, and no one knows what’s going to happen in the last episode. Will there be a satisfying ending? Or one of those unsettling, ambiguous ones that gnaws at you long after you’ve finished the show? Will it be an ending at all?

Hollywood screenwriters have been thinking about that, too.

“This experience is very much kind of a joke that we make a lot in the writers’ room,” says Bruce Miller, the showrunner of “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu. The joke being: If all the crazy stuff that’s happening in the world right now were a show, what kind of show would it be? It could be a comedy, tragedy, dystopian thriller, political and legal drama, medical procedural, apocalyptic fiction, horror, and satire, or all of those rolled into one.

But mostly, what it has is a completely bonkers plot. Remember all the stuff that has happened this year: The virus, the lockdowns, George Floyd, the massive civil rights marches, Lafayette Square, Elmhurst Hospital. The conflagration of the American West, the destruction of the American economy, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The president getting impeached, the president getting sick, the New York Times getting the president’s tax returns. Brexit and Megxit. Whistleblowers. Superspreaders. Murder hornets!

The Post asked five Hollywood writers to tell us what they’d do with this doomed script: how they’d shape it into something watchable, and how they think it should end (not necessarily how they’d want it to end, mind you)….

Read it all at washingtonpost.com