The Good Doctor wrapped its third season back in March, in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns in the United States that ultimately brought the entertainment industry to a standstill. Now, with the show returning more than a month later than usual, The Good Doctor is planning on addressing COVID, but that doesn't mean the doctors at St. Bonaventure will be on pandemic duty every week during Season 4. The Good Doctor is actually moving into a post-COVID world, and showrunner David Shore explained why.
Season 4 of The Good Doctor is actually launching with a two-parter, and the trailers have been packed with characters in masks and social distancing. David Shore spoke with EW about The Good Doctor moving on from COVID following the opening two-parter, saying:
Fans are evidently in for a time jump following the first two episodes of The Good Doctor Season 4, and that jump will be enough to take the doctors and nurses to a time when it's safe to not wear masks quite as constantly. So, The Good Doctor presumably won't keep Shaun and Lea separated for the full season, or make the stories harder to tell by covering half of all the actors' faces from start to finish.
David Shore's comments about the impact of the COVID-centric two-parter continuing in Season 4 echo his statements about the show not resolving all of its Season 3 stories very early on, which may or may not include the emotional aftermath of Dr. Melendez's death. "Smaller human stories" suggests that The Good Doctor can focus more on character in the post-COVID world than while the doctors are immersed in treating the pandemic.
Still, the post-COVID world is fictitious at this point, as the world is still dealing with the pandemic, and the television industry continues to be impacted as well. David Shore went on to explain how The Good Doctor is going to approach telling post-COVID stories while the real world is still very much in the midst of COVID. He explained:
The Good Doctor won't be trying to sell a story that going without masks in real life should happen just because Shaun and Co. have more or less given them up. Besides, the show itself is taking many precautions, like other series that managed to return to production for the 2020-2021 season. For some platforms, the cost of COVID protocols has resulted in reduced episode counts and even cancellations, while one ABC series chose not to stop production despite some positive COVID tests among the crew.
See how The Good Doctor handles the COVID pandemic and then moves past it starting with the Season 4 premiere on Monday, November 2 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. New episodes will continue airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, and there are plenty of other viewing options on top of The Good Doctor that you can find on our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).