Best TV Channel Tournament Primer: ABC

June 12, 2012 § 11 Comments

There was a time when ABC dominated my television watching and that time was called “TGIF” and I was just a stupid little kid.  Frankly, there’s no bigger insult to the quality of your programming than “Kids love it!!”

Kids are idiots. 

ABC is owned by Disney and therefore tries to remain as family-friendly as possible.  Since families spend a lot of money and consist of more than just one lonely loser watching TV on his bed while eating a Lunchables, ABC consistently remains near the top of the charts.  I’m going to present to you the shows on ABC and I am going to give a little bit of commentary but in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that I hardly watch anything on ABC anymore.

Since I grew up and the Tanner family moved on, and since we found out that LOST was all a dream that Hurley had after he died and that John Locke was God while Jack was my 5th Grade Teacher Mrs. Lomax, I have also moved on from ABC.  There are a few shows that I like and I’ll praise the hell out of them, but I am certainly not ABC’s target audience.

Last time I looked at CBS, which I consider to be “The Old People’s Network,” so again, I’m not their demo.  Today we look at ABC, which I consider “Television for Women” like a network version of Lifetime.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not the demo and every network has their targeted demo except for the bi-polar NBC.  There’s good television and then there’s just television.

ABC: Just Television.

SITCOMS:

Modern Family

The Middle

Happy Endings

Last Man Standing

Suburgatory

Don’t Trust the B—– In Apartment 23

Evaluation:

It took me a little while to get on the bandwagon for Modern Family, but I’m fully entrenched now.  The show has taken some hits from the public since it became popular, many people saying that it’s not as good as it used to be, but I don’t really see a major difference.  And even if I did, I wouldn’t care as long as Phil remained one of the funniest characters on television.

You know what the major difference is between ABC sitcoms and CBS sitcoms is though?  I can give sitcoms on ABC my respect and a real chance because they don’t insult my intelligence with laugh tracks.  ABC has borrowed from both the family-oriented sitcom world and from the “hip and new age” sitcoms like The Office and created a mashup that’s enjoyable for both kids and adults.  I’m not a kid anymore, so don’t treat me like one.  When I want to hear a laugh track, I’ll watch Full House for the one millionth time way before I’d watch a new episode of The Big Bang Theory.

I’ve seen a few episodes of The Middle and I think it’s mostly stupid and cliche but I can watch it because it doesn’t have a laugh track.  Even despite the fact that the mom from Malcolm in the Middle looks like she’s always wearing a wig, I can watch it.  Even despite the fact that she’s in another show called “Middle”! (Hey I am an idiot, confusing Jane Kaczmarek for Patricia Heaton!  Thanks ihavekids for pointing that out.  Dumb error on my part.)  because it doesn’t have a laugh track.

I can even give James Van Der Beek another chance based on the fact that the sitcoms don’t immediately insult me with canned laughter.

I don’t think that ABC has the world’s best sitcoms.  Not even close.  But I give all of these shows a solid rating between 5 and 7 and probably an 8 or 9 for Modern Family.

DRAMAS:

Grey’s Anatomy

Private Practice

Castle

Rookie Blue

Body of Proof

Once Upon a Time

Revenge

Scandal

 Evaluation:

I can make this quick.  I have seen a few episodes of Grey’s.  I have heard from my friend that doesn’t watch a lot of television that it’s a good show.  I kind of assume it’s because they do something like ER, which is soap opera the shit out of you and leave a cliffhanger at the end of every episode, but I don’t know.  I couldn’t get over the fact that they were whining about drama like relationships while people were dying.  At least in the episode that I watched.

I have never seen an episode of any of these other shows.

I thought Jimmy Smits was in Castle?

NEW AND UPCOMING SHOWS:

Trust Us With Your Life: “an upcoming American improvisational comedy television series expected to premiere on July 10, 2012, on ABC.[1] It will be hosted by Fred Willard and star comedians Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie and Jonathan Mangum. Each week they will act out scenes in the life of guest celebrities.”

Read: I can get on board with that actually.  Seems really non-threatening and welcomes back some of that Whose Line stuff we’ve been missing.

Final Witness:  The seven-part series, which combines documentary and drama elements, will focus on a different real-life murder each week, narrated by the victim. Each episode will include interviews with the victim’s family and friends, real witnesses, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers, as well as scripted scenes with actors.

Read: I’m in.  ABC, you’re two for two so far!

The Neighbors: The series, set in New Jersey, revolves around a gated townhouse community called “Hidden Hills.” This is where the Weavers, a normal average family, have decided to move to. But upon their relocation to this community they discover that this place is populated by residents who are actually from another planet, using names of sports athletes, where men can become pregnant, receive nourishment through their eyes and mind by reading books rather than eating, and cries out green goo from their ears.

Read: Well, ABC, it was a good run while it lasted.  You should be proud of yourself for adding two shows this summer that I’ll watch.  The Neighbors, which is created by the guy who wrote movies like Cars and Tangled, just sounds like… Well, I’ll be honest, it sounds like the dumbest thing you’ve done since Cavemen.

I could be wrong on this one but this sounds like a show that has gone too far with “creativity” when the best shows are much more simple than gimmicks.  The best alien show ever is obviously ALF and how long was that even on the air for?

Nashville: It’s a show about country music and I’m already out!

Last Resort: A bunch of dudes in the NAVY get shipwrecked, left for dead, and declared enemies of their own country.  They wind up on an island and try to figure out what happened and how to return home.  Sounds like A-Team but without solving mysteries and junk, so what’s the point?  The creator, Shawn Ryan, is best known for The Shield but my opinion is that if you’re going to make a drama-action show, don’t put it on a network.  Take it to cable.  Otherwise, you’re held back too much and for that reason… I’m out.

Malibu Country: There’s only one thing you need to know: the show stars Reba McEntire.  When I was a little kid and Tremors was my favorite movie, I actually really like Reba McEntire.  I thought she was this cool country lady and she could kill giant worms, so I was on board with her just like I’m on board with everyone that was in Tremors.  But that allegiance wears off when we start talking about TV shows.  Remember Reba?  Hey, remember two seconds ago when I told you that ABC had a show about a female country music star in a show called Nashville?  They’re really pushin’ it.

666 Park Avenue: An upscale Manhattan building complex is probably being controlled by the devil.  The most important thing to know about this show if you’re going to try and watch it is that Terry O’Quinn from LOST is the shows primary antagonist.  Which I assume means that John Locke is playing the devil.  That might (MIGHT!) be enough reason to watch for a little while.  Maybe.  One episode.

Midseason additions are scheduled as: How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest of Your Life), Red Widow, Zero Hour, and The Family Tools.  

Why do any networks insist on having a show with a name as long as that?  One word.  That’s all you need to identify a show.

Who Gets a Second Season Prediction: Trust Us With Your Life, Nashville, Last Resort, 666 Park Avenue.

AWARD SHOWS:

The American Music Awards, The Country Music Association Awards, The Billboard Music Awards, Miss America, The Academy Awards.

Well, they’ve got the Oscars which is the only one I consistently watch.  So that’s a plus for ABC.

GAME SHOWS: 

Coming from the network that had Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, you’d think they would have more game shows but the only real game show I see is Wipeout.  Which by the way, is one of the best non-scripted shows on television.  Such a simple format: people get F’d up by lots of foam and water.  But it works so well.  I could literally watch Wipeout every night and be fine.  Turn off the brain and watch people wipe out.

TALK SHOW:

Jimmy Kimmel Live!  and The View.

I do not watch late night shows or daytime shows but I’ve seen plenty of both of these.  I mean, it’s whatever.  Kimmel is probably a lot better than it used to be, the clips I see on YouTube seem funny and he recently beat Jay Leno for the first time.  Or maybe it was Letterman.  But he’s come a very long way to niche himself into the market where ABC wasn’t before.  Good for him.  Seriously.

I can’t stand Barbara Walters.  Probably one of the least likable people I’ve ever seen on television.

NEWS:

20/20

I don’t really even know how to tell the difference anymore between 20/20 and Dateline.  I like them both.

REALITY:

Americas Funniest Home Videos

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

Dancing With the Stars

Shark Tank

Bachelor Pad

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

Secret Millionaire

Celebrity Wife Swap

Duets

The Glass House

Evaluation:

AFV is still on TV?!?!  Man.  Back in the day, Americas Funniest Home Videos was a revelation.  I mean, this was the pre-cursor to YouTube.  Seriously.  It was a really important show.  But man, time has passed you by AFV and that guy that hosts it that is not Bob Saget.  With YouTube and Tosh.O, you’re days are clearly over.  Your videos, from what I’ve seen, are tame and terrible.  It’s over.  Please stop embarrassing yourself.

The only other show here that I watch is Shark Tank and I’ve become obsessed with Shark Tank.  Since I stopped drinking, all I do on Friday nights is watch Shark Tank and What Would You Do? and I’m perfectly content and happy with that.

“I’ll give you $5 for 100% of your company.”

Speaking of which, I don’t see What Would You Do listed on Wikipedia but it’s part of Primetime ABC News.  What Would You Do is an awesome show that I like to think of as “John Quinones Happy Fun Time Magic Hour” in which people are tricked into either doing the right thing or mocked for not doing anything to intervene.  Basically, actors interfere with people’s lives by loudly pronouncing the awful things that they are doing like a mom telling her daughter “YOU’RE GETTING LIPOSUCTION!” not very privately in a restaurant.

Look, it’s not even so much that you’re telling your 15-year-old daughter to get plastic surgery as much as it is that you’re ruining my ham and cheese sandwich.  Can’t you do this in the privacy of your own home?  Don’t bring into the 30 minutes I get away from work every day.  Just shut the heck up!

But it is entertaining television.

The Glass House is a new show that’s basically Big Brother and that’s why CBS is suing ABC in hopes of blocking the show from ever airing even if it costs 150 people their jobs and ABC loses the millions of dollars they invested into it.  Sounds like CBS is being whiny but look deeper and you’ll see that they hired away many staffers from Big Brother and even used a copied manual from the show.

Well, I like Big Brother so I might watch a ripoff of it too.

SPORTS:

NBA, College Football, The British Open, Wimbledon, IndyCar, Breeders Cup, NASCAR, WNBA, X Games.

I think that ABC used to be a leader in sports but even their partnership with ESPN under the Disney companies rule hasn’t helped them get back the NFL or better college football coverage.

OVERALL:

In the hands of the viewer, ABC may not be ahead of CBS all the time but even with shows that I will never watch like The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars, ABC at least has some programming that I would rather not do without like Shark Tank and Modern Family.

ABC is a shell of its former self after losing one of the best dramas that has ever aired on network television and they (as well as every other network) have tried and consistently failed to find the next LOST.  That won’t keep them from trying with shows like 666 Park Avenue, but that also won’t keep them from failing.  Here’s a tip: If you don’t have talent like JJ Abrams, it won’t matter.

Their sitcoms are far superior to CBS but the dramas on either channel aren’t worth watching for me.  I may not be the demo but when I heard that Desperate Housewives had it’s series finale recently, I had to wonder if I had traveled back in time five years and didn’t know it.  “That show is STILL on the air?!”

Which is probably what I’ll say about Grey’s Anatomy in five years, long after it’s been relevant in popular media.

ABC: Not Always Relevant, Not Always Bad.

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§ 11 Responses to Best TV Channel Tournament Primer: ABC

  • ihavekids says:

    I know you probably don’t care ;) but the mom on The Middle is the mom from Everybody Loves Raymond, not the mom from Malcolm in the Middle.

    Great primer on ABC. I’m looking forward to Glass House too, I’m a (not obsessed or overly crazy, more of a casual) Big Brother fan.

    • Of course I care! Thanks for pointing that out, I have always gotten them confused.

      I usually catch up on Big Brother once a week rather than obsess over every episode, so I’d say we’re in the same boat!

  • ihavekids says:

    [I don't know what happened to the comment I just wrote. Sorry if it shows up and this I redundant.]

    I assume you probably don’t care but maybe for the sake of accuracy you’d like to know – the mom on The Middle was the mom on Everybody Loves Raymond, not Malcolm in the Middle.

    Great primer on ABC! I agree. Modern Family & Shark Tank are great. I’m curious to see how Glass House turns out to be. I’m a mild (as in not completely obsessed & batshit crazy like a lot of fans) fan of Big Brother. I’m thinking 3 nights of one of those shows a week will be sufficient but maybe ABC’s version will be good.

  • sweetsound says:

    How can you not like AFV? It’s classic. Stupid people doing stupid things – sometimes cute things – hilarious.

    Seriously, Wipeout is the best. I love the commentary too.

    What Would You Do was good for the first couple of episodes. Then it’s like they ran out of good ideas and started trying to dictate to people what is “morally right.” I hate that show now.

    • sweetsound says:

      Also, Tom Bergerand’s commentary is partly what makes it funny. I couldn’t stand Bob Saget’s silly voices.

    • Cali!!

      I find old episodes of AFV to be better in reruns simply because at the time, the show was a bit shocking and new and “Hey this is a great idea!” but now with YouTube I’ve already gone way past stupid people doing stupid things. I think of it as.. Watch FAILBlog instead. If a video makes it onto AFV now, I almost feel like its because it wasn’t good enough to get 1,000,000 hits on YouTube but I could be wrong.

      I think you’re spot on with What Would You Do. It was much better in the beginning when it was a fresh idea and they’re out of ideas. We need new episodes of To Catch a Predator.

      • sweetsound says:

        You are probably right about AFV. I have never surfed YouTube looking for stupid videos (cute pugs and music videos is about it, ha ha – some of them are stupid but that’s different), and actually I’ve never seen FAILBlog… I guess I’m living in the stone age which probably explains it.

      • I’ve spent a lot of time watching Fail videos on YouTube. Too much time maybe but well worth it.

      • sweetsound says:

        And To Catch a Predator was the best.

  • [...] tournament rolling before the next fall season!  So far I’ve reviewed the lineups for ABC  (link) and CBS (link) and today we’re looking at a whole different demographic: The overgrown [...]

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