Netflix shows could start drying up in late 2020, if production delays continue

(Image credit: Katalin Vermes)

If you’ve been paying attention to the best Netflix shows of recent years, you’ll be aware of both the supernatural thriller Stranger Things – expected to get its fourth season this year – and the hit medieval fantasy The Witcher TV show. Last week, though, both shows shut down, and now Netflix is figuring out ways around that for some of its shows, like remote table reads.

Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, has confirmed that the streaming service’s original shows have halted production worldwide, shutting down shoots and in-person meetings in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Sarandos, "Every one of our productions around the world are shut down,” adding that, “I believe that's unprecedented in history" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

While this shouldn’t affect imminent show releases, or series about to drop the second half of a season – given that Netflix tends to wrap up production a decent amount of time before release – it does mean that Netflix shows a little earlier in development are likely to get delayed. Netflix also says you're more likely to see the effects deeper into 2020 if production delays continue.

"We work pretty far ahead," says Sarandos. "You know, we deliver all of our shows with all episodes at once, so we're pretty far ahead. We don't see any disruption in our output over the next few months. You know, maybe later in the year, if this progresses long, you'll start feeling some of that as the physical production is not operating."

When can I watch The Witcher again?

For fans of the long-running Stranger Things, or new-for-2019 The Witcher TV show, we may well be seeing delays to the release date for each show’s next season: The Witcher season 2, and Stranger Things season 4.

The next season of The Witcher was scheduled for a 2021 release, and – depending on the length of this production delay – could end up being pushed back later in the year, if not into 2022. Having started shooting in February 2020, it’s unlikely things really got very far before the closures.

Production on Stranger Things began in March 2020, and it’s unclear when the show was meant to release. The Duffer brothers tend to pin season release dates around public holidays – Halloween, 4th of July, etc – so a delayed release could really mess with the planned schedule, even pushing the show back an entire year to keep to the same date.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.