Prior to the announcement...
I have to be honest, the only things I watch on ABC are Lost and
The first because it's like crack and the second because I need to be
able to scream at the TV on a weekly basis. Actually, Alias
has been kind of fun this season, but I'm fairly certain that it's
just hanging in there because of the lead-in that Lost offers
ABC doesn't seem to be leaning on the reality crutch either, which is
kind of reassuring, although there's another Bachelor coming
up as well as the Extreme Makeovers, Wife Swaps and
Nannies. If ABC is to be believed, everyone is waiting for
someone to come into their houses and tell 'em what they're doing
wrong with their faces, families and furniture.
ABC has obviously been the biggest cock in the hen-house this TV season.
They had two of the biggest water-cooler conversation pieces in Lost
Housewives AND they had them in the same year. That's practically
unheard of. Those two shows coupled with the fact that they can extremely
makeover practically anything and still get ratings makes them, in my
opinion, the one network to really watch in terms of their direction
next season. Will they lie back on their asses and revel in their newfound
Mentos-like freshness or will they continue to break boundaries and
As for "ABC not really relying on the reality crutch," that's
debatable. They're not quite FOX
, where they have midgets fighting
bears for a chance at a makeover for their nanny but they're also not
quite innocent as (ummmm...I just spent 5 minutes right there thinking of
a network without a reality show).
The key to ABC's success is "keeping the up the front" of being young
and hip. The network's recent renaissance reminds me of FOX in its
early years. It was full of shows that really didn't fit a mold
previously established by other networks. They were fresh, likable and
the exact kind of shows you wanted to tell your BFF about on the
phone. ABC has that and they need to stick to it, especially when
rolling out their new shows.
ABC Schedule is Released
I think ABC is running with their new status, possibly in interesting
directions as far as new dramas go, which is exciting for those of us
who'd rather get hit with a brick than watch anything get swapped. A
remake of Kolchak: The Night Stalker - beloved show of Chris
Carter of The X-Files and helmed by two ex-X-Filers: Executive
Producer/Writer: Frank Spotnitz ("The X Files") and Executive
Producer/Director: Daniel Sackheim ("The X Files"). Invasion,
by Shaun Cassidy (American Gothic) and Thomas Schlamme (West
Wing), sounds intriguing - sort of like Twin Peaks does
X-Files. I guess it's all coming full circle in TV land.
The first word that comes to mind when I look at this new schedule is
WHOA. I guess ABC really did take the "go-balls out approach." They
have a bucket-load of new product coming down the pike (5 new comedies,
6 new dramas and an "alternative series," which is by far the most
interesting new synonym for a reality show ever) AND they've gone and
mix-and-matched some of the best shows that helped the network produce
the largest season-to-season growth in the highly-touted 18-49
demographic (thank you ABC press release).
I admit that, yes, The Night Stalker and Invasion jump
out as the most interesting new entries. They sound edgy and
out-of-the-box for ABC, which is exactly the direction they should
take. On the other hand, shows like Freddie and
Commander-In-Chief make me cringe just at the thought of them.
Freddie Prinze in an intentional comedy? Geena Davis as a female
president but it's a drama? My only hope is that my initial reactions
are wrong because I am man enough to admit I enjoyed She's All That
and, yes, Earth
Girls Are Easy.
Madam President, in a simpler time.
My biggest concern lies in the shuffling of one of my favorite shows,
Alias. Why did you have to do this, ABC? I don't see how J.J.
Abrams can be remotely happy about this. The Wednesday twosome of
Lost and Alias was ideal and convenient. Both series
share the same rabid core of fans. Now, ABC has decided to throw the
possibly pregnant Sydney Bristow to the wolves of 8:00 Thursday
night? My fingers are crossed but extremely stressed.
Agreed about the potential shuffle with Alias, although it
also looks like J.J. Abrams is going to be busy helming Lost,
Alias and the midseason replacement comedy What About
Brian. JJ's efforts when multi-directed tend to go even further
off the rails than the normal giddy chaos, if one looks to
Alias' third season when Abrams was busy getting the pilot of
Lost ready to go. Some of the midseason replacements look
like twists on the typical as well, but then, twists tend to be
pitches based on the "Blank with a twist" idea. In addition to
bringing back Jake in Progress midseason (and was that always
just half an hour?) ABC is offering "CSI with a Twist":
Evidence with Orlando Jones, and "Law and Order with A
Twist": In Justice, which at least will bring Kyle
MacLaughlin back to my TV.
|ABC is offering "CSI with a Twist":
Evidence with Orlando Jones, and "Law and Order
with A Twist": In Justice, which at least will bring Kyle
MacLaughlin back to my TV.
I'm less than impressed with the comedy lineup, midseason and full
season, all of which seem to be variations of "Let's put these wacky,
waspy, men, women, Freddie Prinze Jrs, crazy mothers, etc. together
and watch what happens."
And I agree, the term alternative series is the greatest ever misnomer
for reality TV, although I have to admit that Miracle Workers
sounds somewhat intriguing - a show about medical professionals
tackling strange, exciting diseases. But dude, if one of them gets
ebola or necrotizing fascitis, I am so bailing!
Yep, we might as well wave goodbye to J.J. Abrams being the showrunner
we're used to him being. He'll be having his foot-soldiers do a lot of
the work on his three series this fall because of his directorial
duties on Mission Impossible 3. Tom Cruise seems like the kind
of guy who will demand his attention.
And it's clear that nothing can be original these days. There's been
so many ideas and so many shows and so many pitches that everything's
a twist on something before it. As for Jake in Progress, after
watching the first episode of that, I think ABC should have been more
merciful and cut it down even more. John Stamos would make for a great
I have to admit that I was kinda excited when I first saw the title,
The Miracle Workers. OMG, they're putting a bunch of little blind
girls on an island without a map. Glorious! But, unfortunately, this
particular Miracle has nothing to do with the original Helen
Keller play/movie. Which is sad.
|I have to admit that I was kinda excited when
I first saw the title, The Miracle Workers. OMG, they're
putting a bunch of little blind girls on an island without a map.
Overall, I'm relatively happy with ABC's fall season and direction the
network is taking. While I would have loved to have seen that J.J.
Abrams bounty hunter show I've been hearing about for so long, at least
they're branching out into less of the old-ABC genre of shows. They
also didn't pull a CBS and immediately come out with spinoffs like
Desperate Housewives: West Virginia or Lost-er. Now if
they could just figure out some way to recreate the dominating TGIF of
yesterday (circa Full House and Family Matters), they'll
be all set.
I think ABC has a decent shot at holding on
to their king of the hill crown for another season, but I have no
sense of the longevity of either Desperate Housewives or
Lost, and we see so many shows with interesting premises come
and go that it's unsurprising that last years hits were a riff on a
reality concept and a not all that subversive soap. I hope the
renewed success of drama keeps the interesting stuff around, and the
sitcoms far from my door, but in the current era of the 90 second
attention span, I'm afraid to hope for too much. Middle America is
ready for hot housewives, but is it really ready for alien invasions?