The Upfronts 2017 – ABC

ABC – held together by Shondaland productions and a cheesy, but heartfelt catalog of shows to be watched with a healthy distancing from reality. It’s been a pretty brutal year for them, with very few new series getting picked up and a whole host of second years being canned as well.

What’s done
One of the few new shows I sought out and stuck with was Conviction because the cast was so good, but the writing let them down very badly. Half a season of Notorious was enough for anyone, Imaginary Mary struggled to make it to air before it was cancelled, but Time After Time (HG Wells chasing Jack the Ripper through time – obviously) gets the booby prize, airing just 5 episodes.

American Crime’s critical acclaim didn’t help it much and after three seasons it was cancelled. The Catch and Secrets & Lies were both cancelled after their second season, and I have utterly no memory of them existing, let alone getting renewed the first time. Dr Ken I do remember from a horrific trailer, but I’d forgotten that it managed two seasons before being put out of all of our miseries. The Real O’Neills was also cancelled after two seasons. And Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing apparently made it through 6 seasons before anyone realised it was the 21st century.

What’s returning
Shonda Rhimes’ stable continues, with Grey’s Anatomy returning for a fourteenth series and How to Get Away with Murder for a fourth, but Scandal is set to bow out after the coming seventh season, and no one seems overly disappointed by that. Once Upon a Time has been renewed for a seventh season but it’s set for a big reinvention with a time shift and multiple main characters not returning. I am glad that Marvel’s Agents of Shield was renewed for a fifth season, even though it’s always slightly disappointing compared to what it could be. Quantico will have a reduced season (it’s third) and also gets a new showrunner which doesn’t bode well. The only freshman drama to survive was Designated Survivor which I’ve tried to get into multiple times and never quite clicked.

New comedies were a little more successful – Speechless and American Housewife were both renewed. At the opposite end of the age spectrum The Middle and Modern Family were both renewed for a ninth season, and Modern Family got an extra year too taking it through the following year too. Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat were both renewed for fourth seasons and The Goldbergs got a double pick up for five and six.

What’s new
Roseanne – do you know what series everyone really misses? Well, ABC thinks it’s Roseanne, presumably they’ll back out of the terrible final season.

The Crossing – a bunch of people show up in a small fishing village, claiming to be fleeing a war a couple of hundred years in the future. And some of them seem to have super powers. The trailer lays it on a bit thick, but I am intrigued.

Deception – A superstar magician is ruined by a scandal and the only place he can sell his skills is the FBI. Obviously. The trailer isn’t too bad. The lead seems charismatic enough, and yes, that is Vinnie Jones loitering in the background. As a character apparently named Gunter Gustafsen. Yup, seriously.

For the People – Shonda Rhimes does lawyers. Just the usual, young and ambitious blah blah blah. Whatever.

The Good Doctor – from the maker of House, a medical drama (duh) centred on an autistic, savant doctor who moves to a big hospital. Nothing particularly remarkable in the description and the trailer is pretty much by the numbers, but the cast has three big names that make me pay attention: Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) stars, Hill Harper (CSI:NY) and Richard Schiff (West Wing)

The Gospel of Kevin – a “light drama” about a “cluelessly self-serving person on a dangerous path to despair” who lives with his widowed twin sister and is visited by a “celestial being” who gives him a mission to save the world. The trailer is as bad as the description.

Inhumans – sitting in the Marvel Universe, the Inhuman royal family flee their world in civil war and land in Hawaii. It’s just a teaser at the moment, so who knows. The trailer really is a bit much.

Ten Days in the Valley – a TV producer’s life turns into a version of her own show when her daughter disappears. Kyra Sedgwick vehicle. Doesn’t look like anything earth shattering, but it looks well done.

The Mayor – young rapper sort of accidentally becomes mayor and then gets all inspirational. Ugh.

Splitting Up Together – a couple splits up, sort of. It’s a plot that wouldn’t keep a 90 minute rom-com going, it barely made it through the trailer, so I don’t know how they think it’s gonna drag out to a whole series.

Alex, Inc.– I can’t even be bothered to explain it. Let’s just describe it as “Zach Braff deserves better”.


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