Spring 2012 Preview and Predictions: ABC

2 Jan

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (now spring!) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Spring note:  It’s a lot harder to analyze midseason shows as there’s no collective marketing campaigns going on at one time, as many of the shows start dates are spread (or are even unannounced for some)  Still, we’ll take partially educated guesses.  Also, they’re a lot less likely to get partial pick ups, so maybe that trade off will make it easier)

ABC first up.  A network in transition, between the complete successful domination of CBS and the grueling failure of NBC, ABC is tied for the most midseason shows with NBC.  Let’s see how they look.

GCB – 3/4

Abbreviated from original titles Good Christian Bitches and Good Christian Belles, GCB promises to be a positively trashy soap about southern women decades out of high school who still act like they’re in senior year.  A woman, played by Leslie Bibb, who was the Queen Bee back in high school, comes back to her hometown, divorced, and ready to be the mocked rather than the mocking.  It’s created by Darren Star of trashy delights Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, and the less trashy but still incredibly successful Sex and the City fame.

Verdict:  Renewed – These are so much harder than their fall brethren to pick.  I have absolutely no clue.  With Desperate Housewives leaving the air, maybe there’s a place for a trashy ironic soap to fill in.  Then again, maybe not.

The River – 2/7

The River is a post-Lost supernatural serial series with a kind of interesting premise.  A popular but enigmatic nature show host/explorer goes off on a quest for something or other in the Amazon rain forest, and gets lost, disappearing.  Six months later, just as everybody is ready to accept that he’s dead (Steve Fossett-style) his emergency beacon goes off.  His wife and son, with whom he has a complicated relationship, go off to find him, meeting all manners of strangeness and danger along the way.  I’m maybe more intrigued than I should be.  A couple of years ago I read the book The Lost City of Z by David Grann all about explorers searching through this area and it was absolutely fascinating, and while that was factual and not supernatural I think the fact that The River is reminding me of that makes me interested.  On the other hand, it looks a little more horror movie-esque than I’d like, with monsters, and irritating camera angles.  I will just have to wait and find out, I suppose.

Verdict:  12- Something’s got to fail, and these supernatural shows have had a lot of trouble since Lost.

Missing – 3/15

ABC’s second show about a family searching for a missing relation, though in this case it appears to be much more of an action show than a mysterious serial.  Ashley Judd portrays retired CIA agent Rebecca Winstone whose son disappeared during a summer internship in Italy.  I was going to say it sounds like Taken meets 24, but you could really just say it sounds like Taken.  That said, if it’s anything like Taken, I’m in, but I’m not yet convinced that Ashley Judd is cut from the same cloth as Liam Neeson.

Verdict:  12-  It’s a hard world for mid-season series.  They don’t get the same push generally as their fall brethren, and while a couple make it every year, it’s a tougher road they hoe.

Apartment 23 – unscheduled

Another show with a notable name change, from the far more evocative Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23, the show stars Krysten Ritter (of Breaking Bad and Veronica Mars minor fame among others) as the old title’s bitch who moves in with a mild-mannered roommate.  They fight, at least in the beginning, and James Van Der Beek plays an exaggerated jerkier version of himself as Ritter’s best friend.

Verdict: Renewed – so, it’s kind of unfair to have to choose the fate of a show that can’t even hit the schedule, so these midseason predictions are wonkier than ever.  Having said that, why not just double down on a show that actually sounds like it could be good if it ever does air, an exception with comedies in this past year.  Most of the pick is because of James Van Der Beek playing himself.

Scandal – unscheduled

Scandal’s got the kind of ABC pedigree you want, coming from Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice fame.  It stars Kerry Washington as a former media relations consultant for the president who now is starting her own firm.  Henry Ian Cusack (best known as my beloved Desmond from Lost) co-stars, which is the most interesting part for me.

Verdict:  Renewed – I have absolutely no idea – ABC is putting on so many midseason shows and I can’t imagine more than a couple will likely be renewed, but I’ll vote they’ll at least give one more season to one of their favorite creators in Rhimes.  It seems like it will neither be terrible or great.

Work It – 1/3

I’m cringing as I even write the first sentence.  The fact that this show exists and was able to make it on air shows that there are startling flaws in the filters between the creation and airing of television shows on broadcast networks.  Work It is about two men who, after deciding the economic climate is more favorable to women, decide to attempt to dress up as women, and get jobs.  They then have to learn about being sensitive and all the problems women face.  An LGBT group made Bosom Buddies sound positively edgy and progressive in their smack down of Work It.

Prediction:  12- Are you kidding?  Cancellation picks this obvious come along maybe once a decade.  This is the Lebron James of cancellation picks.  This is the kind of show that you wouldn’t show critics ahead of time because you know the lambasting you would receive.  Who is the audience for this show?  Even stupid people aren’t stupid enough for this.  I can’t wait to watch, in a perverse way.

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