Posts Tagged ‘ABC’
For the first post back, I’m taking a look at the first all-new series of 2015, ABC’s Galavant, which is a show that took me somewhat by surprise because the advance word didn’t seem to be overwhelmingly positive. In addition, ABC’s strategy of double-pumping it over four weeks had the odor of burn-off. Added together, I was very wary going in, but I ended up being mildly shocked by just how much I enjoyed it.
Galavant stars the relatively unknown Joshua Sasse (Rogue, The Neighbors) as the titular Galavant, a knight suffers his love Madalena (Australian model Mallory Jansen) being taken from him by the effete and evil King Richard (a never-better Timothy Omundson from Deadwood and Psych). Galavant is later enlisted by the *deep breath* Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia (Strike Back’s Karen David) as her champion in a conflict with Richard, piquing his interest with word of how much Madalena claims to miss him. As the seconds to Galavant and Richard respectively, Luke Youngblood (Magnitude from Community – POP POP!!) and Vinnie Jones (various Guy Ritchie films) round out the cast.
Surprisingly, Galavant offers higher than average laughs in its first two episodes, mostly as a result of its Alan Menken-penned Flight Of The Conchords-esque songs that the characters use to flesh out the storylines. Additionally, a medieval musical comedy is rather unique for television right now, so it has its own niche to carve out in forms the comedy counterpart of sorts to similar (albeit non-musical) on-trend dramas like Game Of Thrones, Reign, and Outlander. My sense was that the premiere had a little more steam than the second episode did, largely because of the problems I had with what seemed like a miscast John Stamos’ performance as Galavant rival Sir Jean Hamm (unfortunately, that was actually the character’s name) in the second installment. Future episodes promise guest stars like Rutger Hauer, Anthony Stewart Head, and Ricky Gervais (!!), so hopefully they fare better than the admittedly game Stamos did.
Ultimately, you could do a lot worse than spending three or so hours with Galavant over the next month, though there may be more than that to come in the future since it did a surprising aggregate of 7.34 million viewers its first time out on Sunday. Though it’s not perfect, I do think that Galavant is beginning to charm me.
Episode 1.01/1.02 Grade: B
Top Lines Presented Out of Context:
“And tonight, you will join me in my bed. And we will do it!!”
“(Singing) And so what if you have that pesky little muffin top?” “Wait… what?”
“Holy shit I’m out of shape. That was a long song.”
With the upfronts coming next week, yesterday saw a HUGE flood of renewals and cancellations, some of which were surprising (and welcomed), some of which were no-brainers, and some of which were head-scratchers. Also, one show got cancelled AND picked up in the same day. Say whaa now? Let’s take a look at each of them bullet-point style:
• Community – We did it everyone. We. Did. It. NBC renewed Community for an (as of now) truncated 13-episode season but, by my count, 13 is more than zero so this is goddamned great news. The fly in the ointment? The feud between the superfluous Chevy Chase and showrunner Dan Harmon could possibly lead to Harmon stepping down as Community’s boss – which would really, really suck – but for now, let’s just focus on the fact that Community isn’t going anywhere. And that’s a very, very good thing.
• Cougar Town – I was almost as worried about this one as I was Community and it turns out it was for good reason, because it’s not going to be airing on ABC next season. Mainly because it’s moving to TBS. You read that right. The oft-mentioned but rarely-implemented fan dream of a favorite being cancelled and then picked up by another network actually worked in this case, as TBS has purchased the rights to all 63 of Cougar Town’s existing episodes and has ordered a third season with the entire cast still intact – no small feat given the fact that it’s moving from network to cable TV. Any way you look at it, this is a win for quality television and it sounds like Cougar Town is going to finally get the network love (and possibly the new title, finally) that it deserves.
• Parenthood – We’re putting this one in the win column, too. Although Parenthood stumbled a bit down the stretch in its third season but there were times in 2012 where it was network television’s best drama. Plus, we’re always gonna support Jason Katims shows here. We’re just built that way.
• 30 Rock – NBC’s bringing back 30 Rock for a victory lap of sorts, giving it 13 episodes to wrap up its seven seasons on the air. One wonders if Alec Baldwin is itching to move onto other things [resists urge to make a voicemail joke] but we can all admit that there’s no way that the show works without him. Figures… I finally start getting caught up on 30 Rock (midway through season five right now) just in time for it to stop being a living show.
• ABC Scripted Shows – ABC picked up a whole host of scripted shows of varying quality. In order from best to… not good, Suburgatory, Revenge, Once Upon A Time, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, and The Middle all received new seasons. I’m particularly looking forward to getting caught up on Revenge this summer on Hulu as its had very good buzz (and ratings, for that matter) all season long. You’ll notice that Modern Family is in the middle of that list which is fitting, since it’s the very definition of an average TV show.
• ABC Unscripted Shows – ABC also picked up a bunch of unscripted shows as well, including Dancing With The Stars, The Bachelor, and Shark Tank. Insert big collective fart noise here.
• A Gifted Man – No one knew that this show was still on, right? Anyway… CBS cancelled it and I’d venture to say that, outside of those who actually work on A Gifted Man, no one even cares. Hell, I’m sure some of them don’t even care.
Basically, any day where Community and Cougar Town both get new seasons is a good one, so it’ll be interesting to see what other shows that are on the bubble (Parks And Recreation and Happy Endings, I’m looking at you) get picked up ahead of next week’s upfronts in the next couple of days.
EDIT: Parks And Recreation and Happy Endings were both picked up today, making this one helluva week for quality television. This isn’t what normally happens. I’m scared. Hold me.
There’s been a growing trend with all of the new media available in our technology-laden world where television networks have begun to preview their new series before they hit the air via traditional means. Whether it’s through their own websites, through Netflix, or through Hulu, the major networks are making it even easier for viewers to sample shows before they “officially” premiere hoping that good word of mouth will help a show get noticed in our ever-increasing 501 channel universe. To that end, ABC has made the first two episodes of its new sitcom Don’t Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23  available on Hulu in advance of its official premiere tonight at 9:30PM ET following Modern Family. By giving Don’t Trust The Bitch… its most primo real estate – the slot immediately following the network’s biggest scripted hit – it’s clear that ABC has high hopes for it and, after watching the premiere on Hulu last night, I have to say that I share their enthusiasm for it. Many have compared the show in some respects to Cougar Town  and Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall in particular has imagined a world where Don’t Trust The Bitch…, Cougar Town, and Happy Endings could all occupy one single night of quality comedy on ABC, and those comparisons aren’t at all out of place. Its pilot showed it to be a smart, irreverent comedy that definitely deserves an audience even though – as most television shows tend to do – it arrives less than fully formed. However, the skeleton of a very good show is evident. The good: both of the leads, Dreama Walker (Gossip Girl) as naïve June and Kristen Ritter (Breaking Bad) as the titular bitch, Chloe, share a good chemistry as mismatched roommates. June arrives in New York from Indiana after her employer, a mortgage company, foots the bill for her relocation and sets her up with a gorgeous (and ridiculously expensive) apartment. Too good to be true, yes? Yes, it is because when June shows up for work on her first day, the company is in a mortgage crisis meltdown thanks to the company’s CEO embezzling clients out of millions of dollars. This leaves June jobless and homeless, so she answers a “roommate needed” ad from Chloe and, after a seemingly smooth interview she decides to move in. In short order, however, Chloe reveals herself to be a con artist who dupes naïve women into moving in only to then become the roommate from hell, forcing them to move out out of frustration while keeping their money. You can probably surmise what happens from here  and, while that type of story is somewhat boilerplate its content isn’t. Pixilated nudity, multiple masturbation jokes, drug-running, juvenile drinking, and stalkers all figure into the half-hour’s jokes and most of them are pretty damn funny. However, without question, Don’t Trust The Bitch’s coup de grace is the inclusion of Dawson’s Creek’s James Van Der Beek playing… James Van Der Beek , Chloe’s best friend. Clearly modeled after How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris’s lampooning of a heightened version of himself in the Harold & Kumar film franchise, here Van Der Beek is a narcissistic version of himself who uses his former teen idol status to hook up with random fans. Seeing Van Der Beek – who, truth be told, has historically been more than willing to poke fun at himself and at his image  – sign up for something like this provides the show with a wealth of potential material and is perhaps the most interesting thing that Don’t Trust The Bitch… has in its arsenal. While it’s not entirely perfect – Liza Lapira’s (Dollhouse) Chloe-stalking character needs to be tweaked into something that can believably fit into the show’s world, for example – there’s enough here to suggest that Don’t Trust The Bitch… deserves ample time to find its way. In a lot of ways, it covers the same type of ground that CBS’s hit 2 Broke Girls does, only it’s not actively detestable like 2 Broke Girls is, not to mention that one episode in it’s already the better show with the potential to get better with time. Airing after Modern Family may just allow it that time.
 Technically, it’s called Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23 but we all know what that censored word is and I’m not going to insult yours or my intelligence by writing it that way. The word is “bitch,” ABC. Get over it.
 Mostly because both shows are deft comedies that are saddled with regrettable titles.
 In case you’ve never watched television before, June proves to be more of a challenge than Chloe anticipated and they come to a sort of understanding/friendship by the end of the episode.
 Referred to at one point as “The Beek From The Creek.”
 Evidence: His cameo in Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back and his Funny Or Die video.
*I’m not often a fan of the in media res device that shows are too willing to use these days, but the show managed to save the plot later on even as that was somewhat predictable itself. To get too into what it was would probably constitute a spoiler but, suffice it to say, the execution was pretty decent.
*Whoever the show’s musical director is, they’re doing a good job. I heard both Sleigh Bells and Nouvelle Vague in this episode.
*I worked at a mortgage company for a number of years that indirectly went under thanks to the mortgage crisis. I can assure you – the looting that goes on when June shows up for her first day of work didn’t actually happen. Although, it would have been fun if it had.
*The device that sees June “interacting” with family members, her fiancé, etc. through Skype-like means is a unique touch that fits the show well here. We’ll see if it continues.
*Chloe tells June that she and Van Der Beek dated at one point but found that they weren’t “genitally compatible”: “Imagine trying to fit a cucumber into a coin purse.”
*In case you were wondering, the title of the show is indeed spoken as a line of dialogue during the pilot.
*The name of a rap that June wrote at a Christian camp? “Jesus Is My N-Word.”
*During one of Van Der Beek’s hookups with a Dawson’s Creek fan, Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want To Wait” plays over his sound system. It makes another appearance later when June starts singing it when meets Van Der Beek for the first time, only to have him shut her down with a weary, “Yep. That’s the song.”
*And of course there had to be a Varsity Blues homage in the scene with said hookup.
*”I’ve heard that bread out there is $4.00 a loaf. Don’t buy bread. I’LL SEND YOU BREAD!!”
*”So you’re saying you stole from me?” “Ugh… that’s such an ugly word. But yes.”
*”So… you like to rub-a-dub-dub in the tub?”
*”Who is this prostitute?”
*”Hey, Lovely Eyes. How come you got such lovely eyes?”
*”You have made me an accomplice in drugs!”
*”Anyone wanna get weird and play Mario Kart?”
*”Hey, you know what’s fun? Alcohol.”
*”Don’t be a blonde dude in a Vietnamese jail, June. That’s the real life lesson here.”
*”It came at a price. I got a lot of frosting in my crack.”
*Episode below courtesy of Hulu.
Imagine the 2008 Liam Neeson film Taken with the gender roles reversed and you’ll basically have the exact idea for ABC’s new Ashley Judd-starring thriller Missing. Missing follows Judd as Becca Winstone, a retired CIA agent who travels to Europe after her college-aged son Michael (Nick Eversman) goes… uh… missing after accepting a position at a prestigious architecture program in Rome. Becca is initially reluctant to let Michael go as she’s held tightly to him since the shocking death ten years prior to Missing taking place of her husband Paul (Sean Bean, Game Of Thrones), a fellow CIA agent. After Paul’s death, Becca retired from the Agency to raise Michael and became the epitome of an overprotective mother but eventually relents and gives her OK for Michael to go overseas. So when Michael, who’d been in constant contact with Becca, suddenly stops being heard from and Becca receives a phone call saying that Michael had moved out of his dorm three weeks prior and hat been kicked out of the architecture program for missing lectures, she travels to Rome to investigate his disappearance, only to end up swept into a vast conspiracy  while being simultaneously being tracked by the CIA for as-yet-unknown reasons. Despite the action and jet-setting nature of its plot, Missing is actually fairly rote most of the time but that’s not to say that it isn’t without at least a modicum of intrigue. Bean is solid in almost everything he’s in and he seems to be developing a habit for being killed off unexpectedly in television shows as we see Paul blow up really nice via car bomb within the first five minutes of the episode and then he isn’t seen again for the rest of the hour. ABC insists he is still part of Missing’s cast so either we’re just going to be seeing Paul through flashbacks or (more likely) he’s part of the conspiracy somehow. One of the (only?) other factors in Missing’s favor is that Judd does still possess an obvious screen presence thanks to her two decades in film, which helps elevate Missing a bit from the predictable action/drama territory but in the end, that’s all it really is. It’s clear why ABC wanted to get this on the air  and it’s possible that there could be something interesting in here somewhere, but I don’t think I’ll be sticking around to long enough find out if it’s able to get there.
 As so many shows like this are wont to do.
 Recognizable star, easy premise to grasp, and it fits into (as some have said) ABC’s demographic of upscale females.
*Missing’s cast is rounded out by Cliff Curtis as Agent Dax Miller, the CIA agent assigned to shadow Becca in Europe; Adriano Giannini as Giancarlo Rossi, a European agent with whom Becca shares a past; and Aunjanue Ellis as Becca’s best friend Mary. None of them really register much of an impression except for perhaps Ellis, and not in a good way. As some have noted, the scenes of Becca and Mary hearken back to the most awkward parts of Alias when Sydney Bristow would have to pause the high-stakes nature of her profession on occasion in order to try to be a normal person with normal friends. It didn’t work there and it doesn’t work here, either.
*Why is the CIA so intent on not allowing Becca to cross the border into France? Could the coded “I love you” message between Becca and Michael have been any more obvious that it would end up serving as a clue at some point? These are just some of the questions raised by Missing that I don’t particularly care about.
*The cliffhanger of Becca being shot and falling into a river in the pilot’s final scene, however? A little more effective.
*Intentional comedy alert: The scene where Becca is meeting with a contact at a European club while dressed as a middle-aged mom is pretty hilarious.
*Episode below courtesy of Hulu.