Posts tagged ABC

Post 78- America Was Watching ABC!

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First, watch this:

Amazing, right? Did you feel the waves of nostalgia wash over you? I sure did. I’m going to be discussing each clip in order so prepare to go back and re-watch it again and again! Let’s get cracking!

1. The cast of The Wonder Years. I think it’s clear throughout this promo that Fred Savage is the happiest kid who ever lived. He is so filled with glee I almost forgot that there was hardly an episode of The Wonder Years where he got to smile. Sure, occasionally he kissed Winnie Cooper, but those instances typically followed with her saying, “I can’t. I’m dating the taller football player.” Or, “My brother just died in Vietnam.” The Wonder Years was a great show and very real, but depressingly so. The Arnold Family took the fun out of dysfunction. Kevin Arnold’s (Fred Savage) brother Wayne was a violent asshole, constantly beating Fred up, his sister was a drugged up hippie who rarely acknowledged his existence, his dad was an emotionally detached alcoholic—an unsuccessful, fat Don Draper—and his mom was miserable, lonely and depressed, trapped in a loveless marriage. But at least Kevin had Paul, right? Right? Frankly I’m surprised this show lasted six seasons. Not because it wasn’t quality, it certainly was, but because it was so dark. If this show was on TV today, it would maybe be on FX, certainly not on glossy ABC.

2. Who the hell is that creepy guy in his pajamas pounding his fists together eight seconds in? How did he make it in this super happy promo?

3. Of course Bob Saget is that happy! He may have been “held back” comedically in the 90s, but he had two hit shows and was becoming a multi-millionaire!

4. Why is Roseanne surrounded by six, fat Asian Roseanne children? This is becoming a bad acid trip.

5. Tony Danza—whatever it was that you did, people loved “it.”

6. Even back then Neil Patrick Harris had a great voice. But from the looks of it, a different nose…

7. You know who else enjoyed the 90s? The cast of Family Matters. You know who is not enjoying the 2000s? The cast of Family Matters. Why did they make Steve Urkel wear those giant prop glasses? What zany photographer had that idea? Side note: How come current sitcoms featuring black families can only be on BET, from the mind of Tyler Perry, or cartoons (The Cleveland Show)? Another side note: How pissed off were the show’s writers when the Steve Urkel broke out? “We wanted to write a family sitcom about an African- American working class Chicago family, and now we’re being forced to write gags for a creepy, voyeuristic, accordion-playing freak who ruins everything.”

8.  Growing Pains cast. You could do no wrong in my book.

9.  There goes happy Fred Savage again!

10. I don’t know what this show is where Tom Bosley (Happy Days’ Mr. C) plays a priest, but I want to watch it.

11. Why would they use the take where the news anchors crack up? (Just kidding. It’s to humanize them.)

12. Hey it’s the token bearded red-head! The Jesse Tyler Ferguson pre-Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Actually that’s Timothy Busfield, West Wing’s White House reporter/oft-lover of CJ Craig, Danny Concannon.

13. Where do these casts get these props? Why is Mike Seever (Kirk Cameron) holding a magnifying glass?? When has Growing Pains ever used a magnifying glass??? Who on that show would even need one? There must have been an episode where Ben becomes a junior detective to figure out who keeps taking his cookies, and then Mike Seever tells him not to worry about cookies since the rapture is coming and to pledge his love for Christ before it’s too late.

14. Cartoon Beetlejuice. Why is he the only cartoon featured? Weren’t there others?

15. Bob Saget featured again. America loved Bob Saget! His direction for this second little clip: Go like you’re going to eat the apple, but right before you take a bite, look at it like you suspect it’s been poisoned.

16. Classic Peter Falk! “I’m an actor, not a monkey. Get the fuck outta my face.”

17. It’s Alyssa Milano back when only creepers thought she was hot.

18. Now Roseanne is dancing with fat Asian Roseanne children in front of a fake Hollywood sign.

19. Apparently there was a cowboy show on ABC. No recollection of that one.

20. Why are all the clips with these two weirdos (1:21) always sped up? You can barely register who they were.

21. I imagine the Tom Bosley priest show featured him going on lots of adventures with nuns. Lots of fun to be had there.

22. The Full House dads sure had a great time on screen. It’s cause they were getting so much pussy off-screen.

23. TV SHOW ROLL CALL:

Baby Talk! The co-creator of Everyone Loves Raymond used to work on that show which was a spin-off of the Look Who’s Talking movies. But instead of being voiced by Bruce Willis, the baby was voiced by…who else, but TONY DANZA! For those of you counting at home, Tony Danza now has TWO shows on ABC in 1990. Of course the network execs would want the baby to talk like a thick New Yorker. And because John Travolta didn’t do TV anymore, to play his part they got…Scott Baio. It’s a real shame this show didn’t last more than…wait. 23 episodes? It lasted almost a full season?! Ok. Never mind. This show was given more than a fair run.

Cop Rock! I like how for in this clip they didn’t even show cops. They show a gospel choir. This show tops the unintentional comedy scale. A precursor to Glee, it had it’s own riginal music with such gems as, “Be Careful Out There.” There’s so much comedy in this song it requires its own post.

Gabriel’s Fire. James Earl Jones as a psychotic baseball player? This clip reminds me an awful lot of this one.

Going Places- Just judging by the title and one second clip I’m guessing this is a modern day Laverne and Shirley perhaps? Two women. Going places. Doing some research it has come to my attention that this Heather Locklear show was about the production staff behind a zany talk show. But with only 19 episodes, I guess no one got anywhere.

Married People- Fighting over what seems to be a jar of peanut butter and yelling at each other. “That’s Marriage!” I guess couples were too busy doing that, that they couldn’t watch this show.

America’s Funniest Part II- Was that just more clips? Clips that didn’t make it into the show? Like the Godfather Part II, was it better than the original? Only Bob Saget knows.

Enough with the fat Asian Rosennne children!

More Saget, more sped up wackos, more exctiment all building up to the finale…

AN OLSEN TWIN! The linchpin of the entire ABC lineup. “Watch ABC because we have The Olsen Twins!” Ending this promo with a shot of “Michelle” really indicates the Olsen’s value. Michelle was ABC’s crowning glory. She epitomized all that is good and fun and wholesome and lovable. They made sure not to even sneak a shot of her earlier, making this last shot that much more grand.

(Sigh.) I miss the 90s. But honestly, not that much. I’d rather watch Mad Men, Breaking Bad, or 30 Rock then any of this crap.

Until Tomorrow–

Post 66- What’s The Next “According to Jim?”

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Whether you knew it or not, we are smack dab in the middle of pilot season right now. Pilot season occurs from January-April every year and is the time when new shows for the fall are being strategically planned out by networks. What is a pilot? A pilot is a single episode that typically serves as the series premiere of a television show. It is one of the early stages in the development of a television series. Typically the development process begins when a writer or producer pitches an idea to the networks. If the idea gets a green light, the network will commission a script to be written by the series creator or a well-known writer. Out of the 300 or so pitches that are given, about 50 are given commissioned script offers and out of those around 10-20 are given money to produce an actual pilot. The pilot must set the stage for the entire series by introducing characters, a tone, the concept, and a sample story line. Think of a pilot therefore as a testing ground to see if the series has potential.

In the next couple posts I will discuss the most/least promising pilots for each network based on their creators, concepts and casting.

ABC

PROMISING:

Charlie’s AngelsThis is a reboot of the popular 70s series and Diaz/Barrymore/Liu flick, taking place in Miami. Thankfully there is no subtitle like, “Fuller Throttle.” This show is promising to me because the concept is a no-brainer—3 hot chicks go on missions/kick ass and the creative team behind it is Alfred Gough and Miles Millar who created Smallville, a great show near and dear to my heart. The angels have been cast with Minka Kelly being the only real name of the bunch, but after checking out the first released photo, it seems they all have the necessary requirements to fulfill the roles. Robert Wagner (Dr. Evil’s Number 2) is providing the voice of Charlie, with Shia LaBeouf’s annoying Mexican friend from Transformers 2 taking on the role of Bosley. This bit of casting seems to be the weakest link, but I guess you would be annoying too if you were chased by giant robots and had to listen to Shia and Megan Fox squabble for hours. Overall, if they can get some good story lines and ramp up the sexiness, there’s no reason why this show can’t find an audience.

Pan Am– A sexy soap opera taking place in the 60s jet-age about a group of pilots/stewardesses (I guess we call them flight attendants now) working at the iconic Pan Am Airways. Think that sequence in Catch Me If You Can. The premise is interesting, and it stars Christina Ricci in her first network television role, which to me gives it a plus. Also a plus is that Tommy Schlamme (Aaron Sorkin’s right hand man who worked on SportsNight, West Wing etc.) is producing/directing. Period shows are expensive for networks to produce, that’s why they mostly go to cable, but lots of networks are investing in period pieces this year (as I’ll get to later) so that gives it more of a shot of making it to series. If this series is more Mad Men than that god-awful Gwyneth Paltrow flight-comedy View From the Top, it has got a shot.

Once Upon A Time- Capitalizing on the recent obsession with updating fairy tale stories (which are public domain) by making them darker, this show is about Anna (House’s Jennifer Morrison), who is drawn into a town where the magic and mystery of fairy tales may be real and hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of her troubled past. Characters include the Evil Queen, Snow White (Big Love’s Ginnifer Goodwin), Rumpelstilskin (The World Is Not Enough’s Robert Carlyle), Jiminy Cricket, Prince Charming, etc. This show is promising because it has a good cast and an interesting concept, but if it cannot set the right tone and if the writing is weak, I probably won’t watch it. It also must find the right age bracket. If it’s too dark, it loses kids, but if it’s too precious, it loses teens and adults. At least ABC is taking a chance though. One less cop/medical/sexy neighborhood show is a plus.

Damage Control- This Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy) show revolves around Kerry Washington (Ray, The Last King of Scotland) as the legendary Washington D.C. crisis management consultant Judy Smith, or a “fixer” with a dysfunctional staff. Also starring in this show is young black actor Columbus Short, Guillermo Diaz (Half-Baked and Weeds’ Guillermo), and Tony Goldwyn (the voice of Disney’s Tarzan and the director of Zach Braff’s The Last Kiss) as the President. This is promising because it has a diverse cast, and there aren’t enough political shows on TV right now so it might be able to fill a hole. Also, Ms. Rhimes has three other shows on ABC right now so the odds are that she’ll get a fourth.

Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23- Created by Malcolm in the Middle and American Dad writer Nahnatchka Khan, this comedy revolves around “June (Dreama Walker), an earnest, optimistic girl from the heartland, who is forced to move in with Choe (Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter), a sexy, unstable New York City party girl who has the morals of a pirate”. Also starring in the series, as a heightened version of himself (think NPH in Harold in Kumar) is James Van Der Beek. This show shows promise, not only because it’s being directed by Modern Family director Jason Winer, but also because I love Krysten Ritter and the Van Der Beek has successfully poked fun at himself in the past. See: Van Der Memes.

Suburgatory- This show is promising to me because it stars Cheryl Hines, Steve the Pirate (Alan Tudyk) and Clueless’ Jeremy Sisto in a comedy. The show revolves around a New York City teen who moves with her dad into a frightening suburb. This is not a horror show like The Gates, or a soap opera like Desperate Housewives, so I feel like it will probably be more along the lines of The Stepford Wives. Mocking the suburbs (not to be confused with Rocking the Suburbs, which is something only Ben Folds can do), when done well, (see: Weeds) is a ripe source for comedy.

LESS THAN PROMISING:

Untitled Tim Allen Project- This show, created by Tim Allen and 30 Rock’s Jack Burditt revolves around Tim, “fighting for his manhood in a world increasingly dominated by women.” So basically this is kind of Home Improvement 2.0. By the way, I’m a huge fan of Home Improvement 1.0. While Burditt no doubt is a great writer, and Tim is certainly a TV star, who has spurned offers to get back to television every year since Home Improvement was cancelled, I just feel like it’s hard for lightning to strike twice. Actors who leave a hit show and then return to television later are successful when they can reinvent themselves a bit (see: Ted Danson, Ray Romano, Matt LeBlanc on Episodes), not when they play the same type of character, even if that character was beloved (see: Michael Richards, Kelsey Grammar on his last two failures). Although there are always exceptions and I think American does love Tim Allen, he is much older now and doesn’t have the attention of the young adults. (You don’t see his face in Toy Story 3). If this show is a sitcom and Tim Allen plays a father who makes sexist jokes, I don’t see it making it. But if the show is something different and the writing is really clever, it’s got a shot.

NOPE

Partners. This show lost me at the logline which reads: “Cop drama centered on two female police detectives, Mattie and Jess, who also secretly happen to be half-sisters, which explains their intense loyalty to one another.” OH! That’s the twist. They’re HALF-SISTERS! Now you have my attention! Why they have to keep it a secret I can’t fathom. It’s one thing if one was a criminal and the other was a cop and they were half-sisters, but they’re on the same team. Plus, I don’t know what kind of drama begets from the complexity that is the half-sister relationship.  The cast is filled with no-names and the team behind it isn’t too compelling. I doubt this makes it to series.

Work It- The official description reads: Two out-of-work car salesmen, Angel and Lee, realize that in order to find employment again, they’ll need to dress as women to land jobs as pharmaceutical reps – inadvertently making them better men, husbands and fathers. So basically Bosom Buddies meets Tootsie meets Mrs. Doubtfire meets every cross-dressing movie ever. There’s no one worth mentioning behind this pilot, and god knows how they can stretch this half-assed tired idea over 22 episodes. Expect lots of period jokes, sexist humor, guys hitting on “guys,” high voices, and stupid wigs.

REALLY?

Poe- A show featuring Edgar Allan Poe as the world’s first detective, using unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston. Like Sherlock Holmes, but with Edgar Allen Poe. Why didn’t I think of that? Because it’s a crazy idea that seems to make as much sense as Abraham Lincoln being a vampire hunter. What? That’s going to be a movie? Coincidentally this is the second (?!) project this season to feature Edgar Allen Poe as an action hero. John Cusak is also playing him in The Raven, a thriller directed by Ninja Assassin’s James McTeigue. The creators and the cast of the series are no names (which isn’t a knock against it, but doesn’t help it either). All in all this sounds so crazy…it just might work! (But I doubt it will.)

STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES ON THE PILOTS ON THE OTHER MAJOR NETWORKS!

Until tomorrow—

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