Network Upfronts by John Keegan

2014 Network Upfronts: ABC

2014 Network Upfronts: ABC

While many may scoff at the ties between ABC and Disney, one cannot deny that the network has been the beneficiary of the larger Disney Empire.  Once Upon a Time continues to be a hit, despite itself, largely due to the ability to mine all sorts of Disney properties.  And because Disney owns Marvel Studios, shows like Agents of SHIELD get room to breathe.  ABC isn’t winning the war when it comes to ratings, but it does hold a place in terms of geek cred.

 


MONDAY

 

8-10PM “Dancing with the Stars” (Returning)

 

That place is not Monday nights, however, where reality TV continues to dominate on most networks.

 

10-11PM “Castle” (Returning)

 

I’ve heard rumblings that the ranks of the faithful are less than pleased with recent developments, but this series continues to march on.

 




TUESDAY

 

8-8:30PM “Selfie” (NEW)

 

This would be completely unworthy of attention if it wasn’t for the fact that Karen Gillan is playing the lead.  That makes it worth a look, or at least a spot on my DVR!



 

8:30-9PM “Manhattan Love Story” (NEW)

 

I’ve read the description for this comedy at least five times, and I still can’t wrap my head around it.  I’m just wondering how this is supposed to be a lead-in to the rest of the night, which is distinctly genre-flavored.



 

9-10PM “Agents of SHIELD” (Returning)

 

I know that there are haters out there, but few can deny that the series hit a completely new level in the wake of The Winter Soldier.  And considering that this is still a Whedon-driven series, I anticipate some improvements between seasons to continue on that upward curve.

 

10-11PM “Forever” (NEW)

 

Anyone remember that short-lived FOX series New Amsterdam?  I know I do.  This sounds like that exact same concept in recycle, with the lead going to a former Reed Richards instead the current Jamie Lannister.  (Yes, the genre connections are all over the map with this one.)

 

 






WEDNESDAY

 

8-8:30PM “The Middle” (Returning)

 

A comedy that I know literally nothing about, but for fans, here it is, still on the schedule.

 

8:30-9PM “The Goldbergs” (Returning)

 

Ditto.

 

9-9:30PM “Modern Family” (Returning)

 

One problem with popular comedies is that they never seem to know when to bow out gracefully.  They always go too long, it seems.  That’s how I feel about Modern Family, which has gotten awfully repetitive as the seasons have strewn by.

 

9:30-10PM “Black-ish” (NEW)

 

Perhaps the most unfortunate title I’ve seen in years.  It is literally a show about a black suburban family that has assimilated into white culture a little too much because of personal and professional success.  The implications of that stagger the mind.

 


 


10-11PM “Nashville” (Returning)

 

In which the vile plague that is country music continues to waste this timeslot.  The funny thing is, even some fans of the show aren’t sure it deserved to come back!

 

 



THURSDAY

 

8-9PM “Grey’s Anatomy” (Returning)

 

I find it odd that ABC would move this show so early in the night, since it tends to be a little more risqué.  But there is a method to the madness, as the rest of the night’s schedule will soon reveal.

 

9-10PM “Scandal” (Returning)

 

Thursday goes from the likely final season of Shonda Rhimes biggest hit to the return of her current pop culture sensation.  I know Nadim S., one of our partners in reviewing among the Critical Myth crew, is a huge fan of Scandal.

 

10-11PM “How to Get Away with Murder” (NEW)

 

It only makes sense to close out the night with Rhimes’ latest attempt at network domination, this time detailing the insane antics of four law students and their professor.

 

 


 




FRIDAY

 

8-8:30PM “Last Man Standing” (Returning)

 

I actually had to look this one up, and was shocked to discover that it’s the fourth season of a Tim Allen-fronted comedy.  Talk about flying under the radar!

 

8:30-9PM “Cristela” (NEW)

 

Who else was hoping this would be a telenovela?  Well, it does have ties to Mexico, given that it’s about a Mexican-American law intern.  It’s about cultural differences, apparently.

 


 

 

9-10PM “Shark Tank” (Returning)

 

This is probably the perfect timeslot for reality TV, to be honest.  Expectations are so much lower on Friday nights.

 

10-11PM “20/20” (Returning)

 

Season 30-something.  This has been around literally as far back as I can remember.

 




SUNDAY

 

7-8PM “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (Returning)

 

I question the validity of that title at this point.

 

8-9PM “Once Upon a Time” (Returning)

 

The producers have already announced that Elsa from Frozen will be coming next season.  That’s how much influence Disney has over the course of the series.  Perhaps that’s why a lot of people feel like the show has lost its way.  Still, there are plenty of devoted that keep the series afloat.

 

9-10PM “Resurrection” (Returning)

 

The first season of this show was ridiculously slow-paced, taking eight episodes to cover about three episodes of material.  That said, it had solid ratings, so it is getting a bigger second season.  Perhaps it can learn from its mistakes and flourish?

 

10-11PM “Revenge” (Returning)

 

The bloom is off the rose for a lot of Revenge fans, but the series was really in no danger of going anywhere just yet.  That said, I wouldn’t be shocked if this will be the final season, should a suitable replacement appear in the next pilot season.

 




MID-SEASON/EXTRAS

 

American Crime” (Unscheduled Drama)

 

This is an odd one.  A brutal attack leaves a husband dead and his wife in a coma, sparking racial tensions in the community.  What’s strange is that the series is supposedly from the point of view of the victims, which unless there are zombies involved, seems unnecessarily complicated.

 

Agent Carter” (Unscheduled Drama)

 

Does this series really need an introduction?  I say this is unscheduled, but in reality, the current plan is to split Agents of SHIELD’s season and air Agent Carter in the middle in the same timeslot.  A consistent helping of Marvel goodness, as well as the promise of Hayley Atwell, is more than enough to bring me to the table.

 

Secrets and Lies” (Unscheduled Drama)

 

A remake of an Australian series of the same name.  I think I’ll let Bronzethumb comment on this one on The Critical Myth Show.

 

The Whispers” (Unscheduled Drama)

 

Aliens invade using children as their attack vector.  Think a mixture of Torchwood: Children of Earth and Falling Skies, I guess?  It’s also brought to television by Stephen Spielberg’s studio, so it’s even odds that this will succeed or fail as a genre offering.

 

Fresh off the Boat” (Unscheduled Comedy)

 

Winning second place behind Black-ish in the Awkward Show Title competition, this is culture shock as seen through the eyes of an Asian family in the 90s.  I detect a theme for ABC this season.

 

Galavant” (Unscheduled Comedy)

 

Well, it’s not about culture shock, per se; it’s a musical comedy fairytale.  Essentially Enchanted: The Series.

 



WHAT WE DON’T SEE

 

An endless array of comedies that were unceremoniously cut down, one by one.  Also some very unlucky mid-season shows like Killer Women.  The only real surprise was Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.  Lots of viewers recognized this as being terrible, yet didn’t quite catch on that the original is just as onerous most of the time!

 



THE BOTTOM LINE

 

For genre fans, Tuesday night is the only appointment viewing for ABC.  Some might maintain interest in the Sunday night lineup as well, but for me there is a lot more on cable that trumps what ABC has to offer.

 



John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Network Upfronts by - 5/14/2014 1:00 PM374 views

Comments

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/14/2014 1:44 PM

1 0

Reply
I love The Goldbergs. Not the smartest comedy ever, but a sweet show loaded with 80's nostalgia and silly humor, so I was glad it's coming back and in a better time slot.

Looks like they are going for the female demographic on Thursday nights since CBS is slated for football/male driven comedies.

It's great that ABC is trying to fight out of the ratings cellar by adding a lot of diversity to their programming but I hope it's not just a bunch of stereotypical garbage.
Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
5/14/2014 1:47 PM

1 0

Reply
Oh, and Karen Gillan displayed some amazing comedy chops on Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV last season so it's great she gets to star in her own network sitcom now.
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