ABC

Channel Guide - Large

This year, no new sitcom was met with as much disdain as ABC’s The Neighbors. The half-hour comedy is about a New Jersey family that moves into a gated community entirely populated by aliens. The premise, though definitely weird, isn’t problematic. How could it be when sitcoms like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie are beloved and, more recently, we’ve seen just how funny a modern, high concept sitcom can be with FX’s dark, surreal comedy Wilfred? No, the real problem with The Neighbors is that it is all premise and never says anything important or even remotely compelling about real life, which all of the best fantasy and sci-fi shows do. To me, 3rd Rock from the Sun is the gold standard when it comes to alien sitcoms. Sure, My Favorite Martian, Mork & Mindy, and ALF are all treasures and important parts of the proud alien sitcom tradition but 3rd Rock was able to take its implausible concept—four aliens visiting Earth to study the planet’s customs while trying to blend in with the human population—and present a meaningful and timeless mediation on the human experience. What’s more, this was achieved through broad humor (there was so much screaming on that show), which is pretty amazing.

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Channel Guide - Large

“Why just watch when you can feel?” That was the question ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee put to advertisers while pitching next year’s lineup at the network’s upfront presentation. Those are awfully grandiose words for someone affiliated with The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars (both returning next year), don’t you think? The shows that apparently weren’t living up to this lofty guiding principle: GCB, Missing, The River, Cougar Town, and Pan Am. Cougar Town is moving to TBS where they don’t care about feelings, and there’s been an outpouring of support from GCB fans, with people signing petitions to save the show, so there were some feelings, but I guess it was too late. No one seems too worked up about the other cancellations, though, so Lee got it right. The emotion stirring returning shows include Last Man Standing, Happy Endings, Modern Family, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and America’s Funniest Home Videos. ABC recently released trailers for its new series and here are a few of the more interesting ones. But how well they fit with the network’s new philosophy is a little confusing.

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Channel Guide - Large

ABC’S Once Upon a Time is a fairy tale soap opera with a melodramatic storyline that revolves around murder cover-ups, frame jobs, ill-fated lovers, and a no-nonsense female sheriff who curls her hair ever-so-slightly. Everything about the series, from the writing to the music box soundtrack to the art direction, is hokey and I know this to be true with every fiber of my being. But I can’t stop watching it. I mean, I seriously watch the hell out of this show. Sometimes I watch an episode on Sunday night when it first airs and then I’ll watch that same episode the next day On Demand. Later in the week, I may even watch that episode again. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I’m watching last Sunday’s episode as I’m writing this. So what is it about this super corny series that makes it so appealing? Created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, Once Upon a Time’s premise is…convoluted (but what else would you expect from a couple of erstwhile Lost staff writers?). On the day that Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) marries her Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Snow’s stepmonster, the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) curses the lovers and everyone else in Fairy Tale Land, threatening to destroy their happiness.

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Channel Guide: A Column About TV

Ah, the television midseason. By now, the public has decided which new shows they’ll stick with (Revenge, 2 Broke Girls, New Girl), which they’re unsure about (Pan Am, Prime Suspect, Once Upon a Time) and which aren’t even worth thinking about (The Playboy Club, Free Agents). There’s little chance that if something hasn’t become appointment viewing by now, it’s worth cancelling the DVR season pass. So while we’re all finally getting over the tragedy that was Charlie’s Angels, the network bigwigs are using their highly-representative sample (comprised, one can only imagine, of elderly people, religious zealots, and the entirety of the state of West Virginia) to determine just what they’ll throw at us next. Sure, some of the best shows have been birthed out of a midseason replacement (ahem, Happy Endings, ahem), but the pickings are often more than slim – shows the networks don’t often find strong enough to debut with their fellow newbies in the fall. So what will we have to look forward to (or to run away from) in our TV Guide in the coming weeks? Sure, PBS will kick off the second season of critical and ratings darling Downton Abbey January 8th, while NBC’s 30 Rock is back January 12th. Cee-Lo Green will once again be gracing our television screens with The Voice’s post-Superbowl premiere, and Timothy Olyphant will be emanating his rugged swagger on Justified once more, as the lawman drama kicks off its third season January 17th. But what of the newly minted […]

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Day 2 of the New York Comic-Con is in full swing. The cosplayers are out and the show floor is rocking like it’s 2011. And while there is much to do and so many pictures to take, there were two things in particular that really got me interested. The first was a screening of the pilot for the new ABC series Once Upon A Time. The premise of the series focuses on Emma Swan, (Jennifer Morrison) who after being “greeted” by her ten-year-old son that she gave up for adoption the day he was born, is forced to bring the boy back to his home of Story Brook, Maine. The hook of the series is that Story Brook is, in actuality, a place frozen in time where the likes of Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Jiminy Cricket, Prince Charming and The Evil Queen live. The problem is that none of them have any memory of who they once were.

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This past March, the Mark Gordon-produced, Ben Ripley-written, Duncan Jones-directed science fiction thriller Source Code hit theaters to both critical and commercial success. So much commercial success apparently that the film is being commissioned by Gordon and CBS for a TV adaptation without Jones or Ripley involved. According to EW, the series will focus on “three former federal agents who are part of a top-secret program. Each week, they’ll use “Source Code” technology to jump into the consciousness of people involved in tragic events.” Clearly that’s a fairly big leap from the film where the main protagonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) had no clue that he was inside the Source Code. The series will mark the first time ABC Studios will produce an off-network show. But as this will clearly be more of a procedural, it will fit right in at CBS who has actually been taking stabs lately at more high concept versions of the genre (like Person of Interest).

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Like NBC & FOX, ABC cleaned house last week by canceling pretty much every under-performing show that was on their schedule. But today they have released the schedule that will be filling all the gaps. Unlike NBC & FOX there is nothing really eye popping or exciting. However, there were some oddities: – The new Tim Allen series Last Man Standing will be leading off Tuesday nights at 8pm – The Middle is being pushed to Wednesday lead off at 8pm – Charlie’s Angels will lead off Thursday nights at 8pm Basically the oddities are that ABC is over-selling their shows. Need I remind everyone about the scheduling disaster that was FlashForward? Fine show, but it was never meant to lead off the night in its first season. And the general rule is you never put a new show as your lead off (even if it is produced by Steven Spielberg, FOX). But why listen to me when you can look at ABC’s schedule and the clips for yourself:

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Continuing with our on-going coverage of all things TV for the next few days, NBC has made yet another pick up announcement for four more series orders. The four pilots that have been picked up to series are “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, starring Laura Prepon, Free Agents, starring Hank Azaria, Bent, starring Amanda Peet, and BFF (formerly Best Friends Forever)” according to TV By The Numbers. The astute reader will notice that all of these series are comedies. Could NBC be planning another day worth of prime time comedy in addition to their already stacked Thursday night comedy block? It’s looking very likely. As for the cancellations? The peacock has decided to finally pull the plug on the god awful demon spawn that is The Event. The show has been an absolute mess since day one with a forcefully, and annoyingly convoluted plot. Let this failed show be a sign to all other networks, just because one sci-fi show is successful (LOST), doesn’t mean all of them will be. Of course, that’s not all that got cut.

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Lost Cast

Like all of you, I have my own emotional and intellectual response to the Lost finale: its meaning, its significance, and whether or not it was satisfactory. But since Sunday the Interwebs have run the gamut of all possible responses to the show’s farewell night, so my response to Lost instead is a look at what its run may mean for the future of televisual storytelling.

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fake-books

Fans of ABC’s “Castle” and Showtime’s “Californication” are in for a treat as their previously fake books have suddenly become very real.

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