ABC picks up five series to fill out its new season
I am about to write something that I normally don't do when it comes to the way networks program their primetime schedules. It's something that will shake your foundations, rock the world, turn Republicans into Democrats (and vice-versa) and make Amy Winehouse finally get sober. Ready? ABC is being smart with its programming schedule.
There, it's done. Now to sit back and wait for the accolades.
Seriously, after years of relying on only a handful of shows to carry the schedule throughout the year, ABC has been filling out their schedules with a number of backup shows to fill those gaps that always appear when a fall premiere tanks. Granted, some of these mid-season replacements also tank, but at least the network is letting them try. Because of that we have been lucky to enjoy shows like Samantha Who? and Eli Stone. This time around, ABC has five new series - all scripted - that will be premiering during the 2008-09 season. You'll find a brief explanation of each after the jump.
Castle: Described as a comedic crime procedural, Castle stars Firefly's Nathan Fillion as Nick Castle -- a famous mystery novelist who teams up with a New York Police Detective to solve a copycat murder straight from one of his books. According to the press release, the styles of Nick and Detective Kate Beckett 'instantly clash and sparks begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance.' Think of Bones meeting Murder, She Wrote. From the description given it isn't clear if the copycat murder will be the focus of the entire series or just one case among many.
Cupid: The title sound familiar? It should, since Cupid was part of the ABC schedule back in the late 90s. Now, thanks to ABC and executive producer Rob Thomas (who created the first version) the dramedy is returning. It will be minus Jeremy Piven, who was the original cupid. Instead, Bobby Cannavale (Will & Grace) will take over the role of Trevor, a man who may or may not be the Roman god of love. Trevor will be under the care of psychologist Dr. Claire Allen, who has dedicated herself to helping lonely people find their perfect match. Dr. Allen is played by Sarah Paulson, who we all remember as the "fan favorite" Harriett Hayes from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Even if Cupid isn't a hit from the start, viewers will turn into see if Paulson is better on this show then she was on Studio 60.
The Unusuals: Another comedic procedural (yet, they put the show under Drama in the press release. Go figure). This time the focus is on the NYPD homicide division and Detective Casey Schraeger (Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn), who is unexpectedly transferred to that division. As she adjusts to her new role, Schraeger realizes that the other detectives have a twisted sense of humor as well as their dirty little secrets. Also starring former Lost star Harold Perrineau, who will portray a detective so afraid of getting shot he wears his kevlar vest everywhere he goes. I wonder if there will be a crossover with Castle.
Better Off Ted: Go ahead and read the description about this new office comedy and tell me if it doesn't sound like a spin-off of the SciFi series Eureka. Ted is a morally conscious man who runs a R&D department at the morally questionable Veridan Technologies. No achievement is too far-fetched and unorthodox for the company. Suicidal turkeys, metal that is hard as steel but edible, cryogenically freezing scientists for testing purposes...it's all done by VT. Better Off Ted stars Desperate Housewives Jay Harrington as Ted and Portia de Rossi (Nip/Tuck and Arrested Development) as his boss Veronica
Single With Parents: The beautiful Alyssa Milano is Lou, a woman in her mid 30s who is determined to have her own life despite her family getting in the way. A combination of Everybody Loves Raymond and Samantha Who?...without the amnesia, that is. The cast for Single With Parents is pretty impressive. Along with Milano is Annie Potts (Designing Women -- who joins her former co-star, Jean Smart, on ABC), Beau Bridges (Stargate SG-1), Amanda Detmer (What About Brian) and Eric Winter (Moonlight).
Thoughts on these five new shows:
Castle sounds an awful lot like Bones, which could be an issue. Yet, Nathan Fillion has a charm about him that could carry the program. That, and the guy needs a platform that lasts more than one season.
As one of those shows that people think got canceled before its time, it will be interesting to see if this new version of Cupid can garner the same fan base.
The plot The Unusuals reads like Rescue Me in a police station. If the producers are going for that vibe how much will this show be able to get away with? How edgy can it be on ABC?
I like the premise of Better Off Ted, but if they get too gimmicky and rely on the gadgets then the acting then this show could have a quick ending.
The one I am unsure about is Single With Parents. Sure, it has a good cast, and a return to comedy by Alyssa Milano can't hurt. However, its description is one that has been written for other less successful shows featuring a 30-something woman trying to find her way in life. It could work if they pair it with Samantha Who?