Monday, June 6, 2011

2010-2011 TV SEASON WRAP UP: ABC, Like Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives) Sort Of Said, "You Got Work To Do"

I didn't watch much TV, on ABC, this past season, and based on what I've seen about their new shows, it looks like it's going to stay that way, next season.  I only checked out two shows on ABC, and I wouldn't have checked out the one if Alexis K. hadn't told me how bad it was.  I'll give brief descriptions of each, below, and then we'll get to bashing the next ABC season.  In the ABC next season bashing, I'll just give a brief one liner or comedic bit about what I think of the show, based on either the presentation video or show description, when a video was not available.  I will have to put a one liner in about one of the reality shows, even though I said I wouldn't talk reality shows.

Shows I watched, in the 2010-2011 season, on ABC:

Mr. Sunshine
Body of Proof

Mr. Sunshine (canceled):

Mr. Sunshine is none other than Matthew Perry.  The title was meant to be as sarcastic as Perry's typical comedy, and Perry's typical comedy this show was.  If you like his brand of comedy, you should have seen this show.  It got off to a rough start, with it just seeming like it was making everything up as it went along.  My joke was that Perry said (since he was a Co-Creator), "I have this idea for a show.  It revolves around me...GO!"  Due to that set up of a joke, the writers and directors, in the way the show felt, did just that.  They just went for numerous jokes at his expense, many of which seemed like they were not in the script when they were told. F UUUUU Matthew is what they seemed to be saying, all in good fun, of course.

The show is about the wacky goings on at a sports arena.  Matthew Perry is the General Manager of the arena, I think, and he's a pretty self-absorbed guy.  The cast is filled with comic dynamos, and outside of Parks And Recreation, I thought it was the best ensemble cast I saw last year, on television.  There's not much else to the plot of the show, as it's just a character driven batch of funny, with an event sometimes planned for during an episode. 

The first episode was really weak, and looked pretty terrible visually.  I thought Perry was worth watching, and we decided to give it a second episode.  The second episode was slightly better, with a totally different look, and I was really on the fence about continuing.  We decided to give it one last shot, and that was when the show began to come to life.  The third episode featured a third visual look (roughly the final look of the show), and the episode was solid, if not almost charming.  By the fourth episode, they had everything figured out, and it looked like it would eventually be a great little non-traditional sitcom.  They aired a short run, and even though the ratings were pretty low, I had hope it would be picked up.  Unfortunately, it was canceled in favor of the show Happy Endings, a show which had nearly identical ratings, that I had no interest in seeing.  Mr. Sunshine is an example of a potentially excellent show not given long enough of a leash.  It might have been the next Cheers, but it unfortunately ended with Matthew Perry returning to rehab.  Thanks a lot, Happy Endings, a show title that somehow managed to make it past the censors.  You weren't fooling anyone but the brass at ABC and whoever those mythical censors were.

Mr. Sunshine ratings for series premiere and series finale (all ratings supplied by Inside TV Ratings):

Series Premiere:

-10.6 million viewers
-3.7 (18-49) rating


Series Finale:

-4.65 million viewers
-1.6 (18-49) rating

Body of Proof (renewed):

Body of Proof is a Medical Examiner police procedural.  This show could be something.  I'm not going to lie.  The first episode was basically a third rate Quincy, mostly with a 4th rate cast.  However, the show is so poorly developed that it might be at least one more full season before it actually becomes good.  I'm hoping it will be re-tooled extensively in between the seasons (FIRE JERI RYAN! sorry Jeri Ryan, nothing personal, but your casting and dress just makes zero sense for this show), but I really don't have a lot of hope for that.  It almost seems like ABC just sees a show idea, and then rushes it to air.  How else can anyone explain why nothing seems like it's even been thought out?  I'll list a few of the issues below, and then we can get to the fun part of the blog post.

1. The basic premise behind the show is that Dana Delany's character is a completely unlikable tool, who alienates everyone so much that they all hate her.  However, either they're not writing her this way, or she's not playing it right.  The way she's coming across is just the personality of a driven person, who might be a little prickly.  That's how I see it anyway.  Quincy was basically more of an a-hole than she is, and he was pretty damn likable, in his own way.

2. There is a very confusing character on the show.  Just to confuse you more, I won't even tell you the character's name.  He was portrayed, in the first episode, as kind of being like Quincy's assistant, Sam.  However, we never saw him sit at a microscope, or even do any kind of M.E. type work.  By the next episode, he was acting completely like a cop, even interrogating suspects by himself.  It is imperative that the show figures out how to clearly explain what this character is.

3. Every week, it seemed, one of the two homicide cops was not on the show.  I'm figuring ABC was testing which one would have a more positive audience reaction.  What it ended up looking like was that one cop was investigating every case, which is luuuudicrous.  I also felt they were testing the idea of the subject of number 2, above, becoming a partner to one of the homicide cops.  I think this will be resolved by the start of season 2.

4. There's this thing called Miranda Rights.  This show acts as if they don't exist.

5. The M.E. interrogates suspects, BY HERSELF.

6. The M.E. goes to suspect/witness interviews, and then will accuse the person of committing the crime, in addition to stomping all over the cops' questions.

7. No suspect ever asks for a lawyer, or is even offered a lawyer. 

8. The formula has typically been that three suspects are accused of the crime, before the fourth accusation is the actual person.

9. The idea of a Medical Examiner's office being located on higher floors, with windows everywhere, including the autopsy rooms, is horrifying to me.  To think that this is not thought of as weird, is very very weird to me.  High production value does not trump the fact that all of this super gross stuff is going on basically out in the open.

10. The casting is very uneven in the show.  Delany has become better, as the show has progressed, but I think the casting needs to be re-organized significantly, in between the seasons.  Here are my suggestions.

a. FIRE JERI RYAN!
b. Make the Curtis character the Chief M.E. (he is currently the Deputy Chief, I think).
c. Make the confusing character the partner of the Sonja Sohn homicide detective character.
d. Turn the Geoffrey Arend character into the Sam of the show.
e. Get rid of as much of the family b.s. back story, as possible. 

This is one of the few times that I recommend shrinking a cast, but it needs to be done, in my opinion.

Body of Proof Ratings Example:

-11.85 million viewers
-2.2 (18-49) rating

Now let's talk about the next season of new shows.  As I said above, I'm going write the name of the show, and a hopefully comedic one liner or comedic bit about it.

The ABC 2011-2012 New Shows:

Apartment 23-So funny, I forgot to laugh.

Charlie's Angels-"They stopped giving me money for sequels, so I decided to make a TV show, of a TV show that was movies, and stuff."-Drew Barrymore

Combat Hospital-We re-lived the 70s with Charlie's Angels, why not re-live the 80s with Combat Hospital.

Good Christian Belles-I'm sure if we got a halfway decent dialect coach, our show would be hu-lair-eee-yuss.

Last Man Standing-"You finally gave up on your movie career, Tim?  Welcome back! Do you have Pam's number?"-Anonymous ABC Executive

Man Up-"Hey, remember when we did that show about the Geico cavemen?  I think we can really do better than that, by doing a show like those funny beer commercials."-Fired ABC Executive

Missing-A TV version of Liam Neeson's Taken, except it's the mom that's really driven!

Once Upon A Time-"Hey, you guys remember when that show Grimm came to pitch us?  That show looks good, maybe we made a mistake."-Fired ABC Executive

Pan Am-"Hey, you guys remember when that show The Playboy Club came to pitch us?  That show looks good, maybe we made a mistake."-Fired ABC Executive

Revenge-"I am so glad we didn't pass on Revenge, after passing on those other two.  This has got to be our new Dynasty."-ABC Executive on suspension

The River-We are gonna find the next Lost, even if it kills us!

Scandal-"Every once in awhile, you gotta take a chance with a show that has no chance of making it, just in case it does."-Future fired ABC Executive

Suburgatory-"Whose idea was it to cast Jeremy Sisto as a lead in a situational comedy?  That person deserves a promotion!  This will surely be this year's Parker Lewis Can't Lose, I just know it."-ABC Executive
  
Work It-Bosom Buddies if it wasn't funny.  Bosom Buddies wasn't that funny.

Expedition Impossible-Let's take the two most popular reality shows on CBS, and put them together!

Thanks for reading.

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