Well, another year, another ABC Upfront presentation. The annual parading out of new TV trailers and star power recently finished and I’m excited and disappointed all at once. There was some enticing stuff, there was some completely useless stuff, but I’m here to break it all down.
- First off, the schedule is crazy. They decided to move a ton of stuff all around. The only day without change is #TGIT. Blackish goes to Tuesday, American Housewive to Wednesday, Friday is Once and Inhumans, while Sunday is To Tell the Truth and Shark Tank. Banana pants.
- Blackish is the lead-in for new comedy The Mayor. The half-hour single-camera sitcom follows a local rapper who runs for mayor as a publicity stunt…but is then elected. It’s produced by Daveed Diggs, from Hamilton, and he’ll be providing original music. Lea Michelle joins the ABC family as Rachel Berry, but in a political setting. Also, Yvette Nicole Brown becomes a bigger member of the Disney family, which excites me so. The trailer looked incredibly promising and had me laughing out loud multiple times. Put this one on your watchlist.
- Freddie Highmore stars as The Good Doctor, which has him as a surgical resident with autism and savant syndrome. It was looking rather bland with the concept, but the trailer had potential and Freddie Highmore looks like he can finally break the A-List with this if ABC plays their cards right.
- Alex, Inc. was a total snoozefest (Zach Braff’s new comedy) and Splitting Up Together was cute, if not a bit boring. Both play out like ABC’s annual two comedies that get cancelled after their inaugural seasons.
- We had a lot of random announcements at the Upfront presentation that hadn’t been mentioned last week, including a special from Jimmy Kimmel that has celebrities redoing famous sitcom scenes LIVE. Channing Dungey used the example of Kevin Hart saying “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?” but I immediately thought of the women on TGIT recreating the chocolate factory scene from I Love Lucy. The idea sounds fun, and I am all for live TV, so I’m excited.
- Another random announcement was a straight-to-series spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy based around a Seattle firehouse. It is a spin-off of Grey’s as Chicago Med is a spin-off of Chicago Fire. They have nothing in common other than a shared city and an occasional cross-over episode. Still, I’ll take it, but it just seems odd to not take a shared character.
- Lots of news on the Reality TV front: Katy Perry is the first official judge on American Idol (!), this summer’s Boy Band will have judges…excuse me, architects *pukes in mouth* with Nick Carter and Emma Bunton (!!), and The Bachelor will get a Bachelor Winter Games competition spin-off in February, while we’ll also receive Dancing with the Stars Junior (?!).
- The biggest news to me, by far, was of Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid LIVE coming to ABC in October. As you all know, I love these live musicals, but at first glance, the announcement was disappointing. It would be a mix of the animated movie and live performances, so pretty much last year’s Hollywood Bowl concert on ABC. I was angry, but I’ll take any and all musicals on TV. However, they showed a quick animation during the upfront presentation of, seemingly, the set and it seems like they are going all in. Mermaids on wires in the air and the camera panes down to a gorgeous set with all of Ariel’s sisters singing. It was detailed and I am now much more excited at the event.
- Roseanne is coming back, which is exciting, however I’d love it available to stream. I don’t understand why you’d announce a famous sitcom’s return without also announcing a streaming plan in place. Same goes for NBC’s Will & Grace reboot. So dumb.
- For The People, which is Grey’s Anatomy in a courtroom, looked like my cup of tea. The Gospel of Kevin looked intriguing (An angel descends from Earth to help a man get his life together), but won’t have my favorite part (Cristela Alonzo) come premiere. All the other pilots (Ten Days in the Valley, Inhumans, The Crossing) looked fine, if not one season wonders ABC is known for. We’ll see soon enough.
Here’s to another year of ABC!