Archive | 6:49 pm

Spring Previews and Predictions: ABC

5 Jan


(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (edit: spring, now) 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 (spring, again)(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

Additional note: Since more and more series on network TV are following cable models with set orders for shorter seasons, and mid-season replacements tend to have shorter seasons in particular, I’ll note any planned limited runs in my prediction section for each show)

Galavant – 1/4/15


Galavant is a musical fairly tale comedy. If those words scare you as much as they do me, you’d think we were in for a bumpy ride. To be fair, this is the second example of the genre in a couple of months behind the admittedly less comic and generally well-reviewed Into the Woods film. This looks much, much sillier, and partly because of that, possibly much harder to stomach. It feels very Disney and the songs are impressively co-written by Disney legend Alan Menken. If it’s good, it could be cute, but if it’s bad, it could be very, very bad.

Prediction: 12- Galavant is designed as an eight episode limited series. While I’m sure if the series is somehow a hit, ABC will connive a way to make more in the future, if it’s anything but, it will be merely a zany miniseries airing with little to lose in January before the year really gets going. Musical comedy as a genre often walks a dangerous line between cute and funny and just plain awful, and while this is a logical family-friendly fairy tale companion piece for Once Upon a Time, I’ll take the conservative bet that it doesn’t earn another go around.

Agent Carter – 1/6/15

Agent Carter

Comics have taken over the movies, and now they’re on their way to taking over television. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has proven so far to be a mild, if relatively disappointing by Marvel’s high standards, success for ABC, so it’s only logical that the network under the same parent company (Disney) as Marvel makes another effort in that direction, pulling another show out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This time it’s a limited eight-episode run based on Peggy Carter, an agent with the Strategic Scientific Reserve from the Captain America movies. Agent Carter takes place in the 1940s and features Carter on a super secret mission recovering weapons stolen from Howard Stark, Tony’s dad. She’ll work with Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis, the inspiration for Tony’s computer of the same name. It’s full of comic-book action-espionage, and though I couldn’t wager how good or not so good it’ll be, it probably won’t be awful and anyone who is familiar with Marvel products can probably hazard some idea of the appealing-but-safe tone the show will take.

Prediction: Renewal* – Another limited series, but since everything Marvel touches seems to turn to gold these days, I’ll take the upside. Even though I don’t necessarily think it’ll be a smash, it hardly needs to be to be a success on network TV these days. The biggest obstacle may be unwillingness by Marvel or Atwell to return for more episodes.

Fresh Off the Boat – 2/10/15

Fresh Off the Boat

First, before I say anything else, it’s worthwhile mentioning how rare and how welcome a sitcom about an Asian-American family is. Fresh Off the Boat is an ethnic family fish-out-of-water situation.  An Asian-American family is moving from multi-cultural Washington D.C., where they have friends and family to white=bread Orlando where the father just purchased an American Outback Steakhouse/Boulder Creek-type restaurant. Everyone struggles to fit in, driving each other crazy but ultimately loving one another, and hijinks ensue.

Prediction: 12- I don’t feel strongly, but the trailer didn’t particularly impress and it’s strangely slotted on Tuesday next to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with which it seems to have little in common. Wednesday is ABC’s big family comedy block, and sensibly fall newbie Black-ish is getting a coveted spot there; the Tuesday spot and general lack of promotion give me little faith in Fresh Off the Boat.

Secrets & Lies – 3/1/15

Secrets and Lies

A young boy is murdered. I had thought at the beginning of the trailer that this would be a classic season-long whodunit, but to my pleasant surprise, the show seems to skirt around the mystery and have a slightly different focus.  Ryan Phillippe plays the man who discovers the boy’s body, who is the prime suspect of the investigation. The show seems to focus on Phillippe and how he is hounded by the press, the locals, and the cops, while he denies any involvement. I’m not sure how long something like this can last, and it probably won’t be too different because it’s on broadcast TV, but it’s not a terrible idea, which is something. It’s based on an Australian show of the same name.

Predicton: 12- Midseaosn guesses are much harder than fall guesses. Between this show and American Crime which follows I simply have absolutely no idea.

American Crime – 3/5/15

American Crime

Timothy Hutton is finished applying Leverage and back into play as a grieving father in this attempt from ABC to catch on to the wonderful seasonal anthology wave (True Detective, American Horror Story) taking TV by storm. Hutton’s son’s death sets the story in motion, which prominently features both the grieving parents and the investigation into the son’s death. This does not appear to be a methodical season long whodunit in the style of The Killing or Broadchurch, but rather a faster-paced suspense oriented tale slowly unlocking a deeper mystery, while traversing the complexities of the American legal system.  Oh, and also, race is a major issue, which likely means, since it’s a network TV show, it will be poorly handled, although the show is created by the writer of 12 Years a Slave, so there’s hope. I love the seasonal anthology trend, so, why not.

Prediction: Renewal – I have absolutely zero confidence in this prediction. It’s got a couple of strong TV names, with Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman, and it looks like it might try to be important which could help it or backfire. I’m flipping imaginary coins here people.