Coming Soon: The 2012-2013 Television Season – ABCPosted: September 19, 2012
It usually seems like each one of the four main networks has its own flavor. FOX is kind of edgy. CBS programs almost exclusively for 60-years olds, etc. That doesn’t really seem to apply to ABC. They’ve had lots of success with a whole range of shows. Whether it’s Lost, or Desperate Housewives, or Once Upon A Time, it seems like this is the network that’s got a little something for everyone. And this year’s Fall lineup is much the same, with a wide enough selection that you’ll probably find something here you’ll like. Unless last year’s Charlie’s Angels remake left such a bad taste in your mouth that you’ve given up on the network for good. Which is totally possible.
Zero Hour is one part Indiana Jones, two parts DaVinci Code, a pinch of The Exorcist, and Doctor Greene from ER. We saw a ton of shows like this right after Lost became such a huge hit. And when I say a ton, I mean like a metric shitload. Networks could not wait for Fall to roll around so they could strap us into our Lay-Z-Boys, pour that gruel in our mouths and massage it down our throats. But the numbers have tapered off these past couple of years. How Zero Hour will do is anyone’s guess, although I have to say that I think the cards are stacked against it, regardless of how good it is (or isn’t). I think shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica have made us incredibly impatient when it comes to TV. There are very few shows whose mysteries we’re willing to wait months (or in some cases, years) to discover the answers to. With a show like Zero Hour, we probably wouldn’t be waiting a year or more between seasons, but if the show doesn’t grab us right at the start, we’re not going to stick with it. Plus, it’s also possible the show’s just bitten off more than it can reasonably chew. I mean, there’s an argument to be made that Lost did the same thing. But that show’s mysteries were built up and added to over years. Look at everything we’re being asked to keep track of in Zero Hour. And that’s just the first episode.
Red Widow is based on a crime drama out of Holland, which isn’t exactly Scandinavia, but is still another notch on the belt of European television’s conquest of America. So, what’s it about? Well, Radha Mitchell plays a woman whose husband is killed by the mob. To protect her family, she has to go to work for the people who murdered her husband. Doing what, exactly? Well, we don’t know. The trailer is kind of ambiguous. In any case, I find it’s always a smart move to be weary of shows on network television that involve the mafia or organized crime. Can you guys imagine how bad The Sopranos would have been if FOX had ever taken it to series? That’s not a world I would have wanted to live in. We’ll have to wait until next year to see how this one pans out.
Although I doubt Nashville is a show I’m going to be tuning in to week after week, I think it could turn out pretty good. Just like Lost and all the serialized dramas that came after it, there’s a big rush to capitalize off of Glee’s success, so I’m glad the people who are making these shows are finding other ways to do the music rather than just have their characters spontaneously burst into song. As for the people in it, I hate Hayden Panettiere, and I don’t know if my pure and undying love and devotion to Connie Britton is enough to overcome that. I guess I have a lot of pondering to do. Anyway, the music stuff looks interesting, but it’s going to be a delicate balancing act with Powers Boothe (the world’s most gravelly voice!) and the whole political angle. It even seemed like it was tacked on to the trailer, so I have no idea how the show’s going to handle it.
What is this, 1994? I expected to see ads for Malibu Country in between episodes of Home Improvement and Boy Meets World. Listen, I’ll be the first one to say that television is a wide, open space, and that there’s room for all sorts of shows out there. BUT… I firmly believe that there are some shows that we as a culture have just moved beyond. There’s a reason you don’t see many shows like Family Matters anymore. And while the multi-cam sitcom may be fighting on (look at CBS as Custer’s Last Stand), the tone, that “hey mom and dad, let’s sit down at the end of 30 minutes and discuss what we learned this week” schmaltz that was a mainstay of 90s television is all but dead.
But let’s not pretend that Malibu Country is a good show that’s just falling victim to a pessimistic audience. The show is truly horrible. The acting is bad. The writing is worse. Lily Tomlin (really, how did that happen?) looks like every scene is a struggle between getting through her lines or burning the place down. All I can say is keep calm and carry on. We’ll have to endure a few weeks of this before it’s canceled.
I’m an optimist as heart. I want network television to swing for the fences and tell big stories. It’s just that I’ve been burned so many times before that my natural inclination is to approach shows like Last Resort with the same caution a divorced 40-year old might approach that guy in the bar who seems really nice and wears an expensive watch, but I don’t know, probably reads fanfiction. I’m optimistic, but I’m cautious. I have to be. Last Resort is about the crew of a submarine that refuses to fire nuclear missiles on Pakistan, and after refusing is fired on by the US government. After barely escaping, the crew sets up shop on the fictional island of Sainte Marina — which kind of begs the question why they weren’t ordered to fire on a fictional Middle Eastern country — and declares itself a sovereign nation. So, pretty heavy stuff. My concern is that the network doesn’t really have the brass to make this as dark as it should be. But, it does star Andre Braugher, and that guy doesn’t just look at you, he looks in you, so the show just might be able to pull things off. This is probably the show I’m most excited about this Fall.
666 Park Avenue
Interesting bit of trivia about this show: In it, Terry O’Quinn is actually playing John Locke. He always plays John Locke. Bet you didn’t know that. Anyway, I guess it just wouldn’t be ABC if they didn’t throw into something with some supernatural/otherworldly angle into their Fall lineup. My biggest gripe about show’s like this is how long can it go on before people get sick of it? Do Robert Buckley and Mercedes Masohn just keep discovering freaky s**t about the building every week? Are they going to discover the building’s dark secret and we watch season after season as they try to escape? There’s a good story in here somewhere, just not sure it’s one that lasts six or seven seasons.
Stay tuned. Next up is FOX.