The Upfronts: ABC

What’s Out
It’s carnage at ABC with eight cancellations including the planned conclusion of Lost. New shows didn’t do very well The Deep End, Romantically Challenged and Happy Town didn’t make it into double digits, The Forgotten only made it to 15. Relatively speaking that makes FlashForward a massive success, finishing a full season before getting canned, but given the amount of publicity for the show, its ever declining ratings have been a bit of an embarrassment.

Scrubs attempted a complete relaunch this year following the departure of Zach Braff, but it didn’t seem to work so it’s quietly sidling off the schedule with its tail between its legs. Lost at the other extreme declared years in advance when it would be finishing and it’s going out as one of the most publicised and talked about shows of the decade. Better Off Ted meanwhile has apparently been on the air two years, I have no idea what it was about and it won’t be back so I won’t bother finding out.

What’s Back
ABC have had a massive success with their new sitcoms, Modern Family, Cougar Town and The Middle will return and form the bulk of their Wednesday night of comedy. Sunday’s and Thursdays likewise stay the same with the guilty pleasures of Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice all returning. Castle (AKA the thing with Nathan Fillion) has become a slightly surprising success and returns as well.

The biggest surprise however is that V is the only freshman drama to survive. There’s been talk that it would come down to a straight choice between V and FlashForward and I suspect that V won not necessarily because it’s better, but because it was less publicly embarrassing. I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to finish the first season and I have a suspicion that although it’s got a second season, it won’t get a third.

What’s New

  • No Ordinary Family: One superhero show gets cancelled and two come along to replace it apparently. While Heroes was all about epic destinies and whatnots and NBC’s The Cape is more on the dark and broody side, No Ordinary Family seems to be more like The Incredibles. Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis as leads are enough to get me to tune in.
  • Better Together: It’s yet another sitcom about three couples at different stages of their relationships. It has a laughter track and I had to stop the trailer half way through because it was so bloody awful.
  • The Whole Truth: The trick here is that it’s going to show both the prosecution and the defence, showing both sides of each case. I like this idea, I’m hoping it means there’s going to be real suspense about which side will win, rather than Perry Mason always winning. The trailer is a little over the top with the deep booming voice-over, “A totally new type of legal drama” is overselling a little but it has potential.
  • My Generation: ABC really need to tone down the cheese factor in their trailers. My Generation looks like a pretty interesting idea, a look at how a group of people’s lives have changed between high school ten years ago and being grown ups today, looked at through documentary style footage. It looks interesting, but “A TV series like nothing you’ve seen before. This is about their lives. OUR lives” makes me want to vomit a bit.
  • Body of Proof: Maybe the world doesn’t need another forensics show, but I really liked the trailer and really really liked Dana Delany in it. Few characters are jumping out as I watch 20odd trailers over just a couple of days, but she instantly intrigued me.
  • Detroit 1-8-7: The description says it’s a drama/comedy – but I didn’t see anything in the trailer that made it seem like a comedy to me. The documentary style looks interesting, although the motif may be a bit overused if it’s on both this and My Generation. It may be interesting, but they’re going to have to be careful with the tone, the subjects are a bit grim to have too many silly voices used as comedy.
  • Mr Sunshine: Matthew Perry and Allison Janney. If this sucks I will kill myself.
  • Happy Endings: “It’s a comedy about lovers, friends and everything they go through to stay together”. Oh goody, another one of those.
  • Off the Map: Shonda Rhimes takes Grey’s Anatomy into the jungle. I can’t really think of more to say about it, that description entirely covers the plot, characters, dialogue and even the soundtrack.

Links: TV Squad coverage, The Futon Critic, The TV Addict

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