ABC bravely offers new show about life under lockdown

Meet Gemma: Pallavi Sharda stars in this ABC comedy who was about to head overseas when the COVID lockdown hit.
Meet Gemma: Pallavi Sharda stars in this ABC comedy who was about to head overseas when the COVID lockdown hit.

COVID-19 has led to the shutdown of pretty much every TV show you can think of.

And with good reason - it's hard to make TV shows when you have to conform to social distancing rules and limits on how many people can be in a room at the same time.

Which is why the ABC deserves real praise. They've managed to do something none of the other free-to-air networks have managed.

They've managed to create new content - which is something the budget-cutting federal government should consider.

We're not talking about shows made up of clips from the internet or something in the lame 10-1 format.

First there was Home Alone Together, a COVID-19 satire of lifestyle shows, Sure, the humour was a bit hit-and-miss, but they created something new - and gave some cast and crew jobs.

Now there's Retrograde, a narrative comedy about a group of 30-somethings drowning their sorrows in a virtual bar.

It centres around Gemma (Pallavi Sharda), who was about to head overseas when the COVID lockdown hit. So she finds herself stuck indoors with her boring boyfriend Rob and his daughter.

At least her friends have created an online bar where they can commiserate and workshop their questionable life choices.

The series was filmed during lockdown and deadlines are so tight that, as of writing this, no previews of the first episode were available. Which means there's a really tight turnaround here.

"We've reimagined the way we make drama and comedy to bring Australian audiences a show that illustrates the very real impact the pandemic has had on life as we know it," said Sally Riley, ABC'S Head of Drama, Comedy and Indigenous.

The first episode of Retrograde goes to air on Wednesday, July 8, at 9.30pm on ABC TV.

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