The shared universe of Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 has involved more sharing than ever throughout the 2019-2020 TV season, to mixed reactions from fans. The frequent sharing of characters and overlap of stories have made for a more cinematic primetime experience on ABC Thursdays, but needing to watch both shows to get the full story and giving valuable screentime to another show's characters on a regular basis didn't always work for viewers. Well, those crossovers may soon cause major problems for everybody.
Why? Well, Grey's Anatomy has already wrapped for Season 16, having run out of episodes due to production halts before all 25 episodes could be produced. The season ended four episodes shy of the original order. Meanwhile, Station 19 managed to complete production on its full third season, which will include some Grey's characters in episodes presumably meant to correspond with Grey's episodes. With those Grey's episodes no longer happening, will everything -- or anything -- make sense?
Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 boss Krista Vernoff addressed Station 19 giving away some Grey's spoilers, saying this to TVLine:
Ironically, when fans watch Episode 15 and 16 of Station 19, they will probably have a feeling of some of what we had planned for [the original Grey’s finale].
Krista Vernoff also noted that she did go back and edit some Grey's Anatomy content out of the final episodes of Station 19 Season 3 to minimize spoilers, so steps are being taken to make sense of the situation. Given that most of the Station 19/Grey's Anatomy crossovers are on a smaller scale than the two-parter that kicked off Station 19's third season, fixing the issues might be as simple as Grey's eventually reverse engineering early Season 17 to fit Station 19's final Season 3 episodes.
The bigger problem, as I see it, is whether there were storylines from Grey's Anatomy that were intended to bleed over into Station 19 and impact the crew there. Since Grey's aired after Station 19 before its Season 16 finale, it was usually Station 19 cases bleeding into Grey's, which worked in cases like the arguably shark-jumping bear attack, although I still think it was pretty messed up that a Station 19 death wasn't explained until Grey's.
That said, rumor has it (via TVLine) that the original Grey's finale was going to involve an explosion that resulted in the death of a major character. If that was going to be the case, I could see an explosion happening at the end of the planned penultimate episode of Grey's Anatomy Season 16, bleeding into the next episode of Station 19, and then being resolved on Grey's.
If this, or any other kind of scenario involving Grey's plots impacting Station 19, was planned then major problems could be in store. While obviously nobody could have guessed that a pandemic would force the entertainment industry to a stop, I do wonder if this could change how Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 will handle their crossovers in the future.
I've been comparing Grey's Anatomy/Station 19 on ABC to One Chicago on NBC throughout the 2019-2020 season, and this is one area in which One Chicago has the advantage. Chicago Med showrunners Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov shared with CinemaBlend how the three shows go about sharing actors and handling the mini crossovers when the episodes all air on the same night, and it has definitely worked for One Chicago.
With Krista Vernoff running both Grey's Anatomy and Station 19, might she approach the schedules for the series differently? Both shows have already been renewed for another season, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that both could premiere in the fall rather than Station 19 being held until midseason again.
That said, a pandemic shutting down the entertainment industry isn't necessarily likely to happen again, so changes to how the crossovers are handled might not be necessary. I for one wouldn't mind fewer crossovers, but only time will tell what's store. For now, you can catch new episodes of Station 19 (featuring some Grey's Anatomy characters) airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.