15th May2014

Upfronts with Will – ABC Edition

by Will


ABC has Modern Family and Scandal. That’s pretty much all you need to know. They don’t have a ton of failures like NBC, but they also don’t have a ton of hits. They’re still dependent on the aging Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor, and they could really use some new hits on their schedule. Let’s see what they’ve got in store.

How To Get Away With Murder

I’m not a big Shonda Rhimes person, which means Thursday nights on ABC won’t necessarily be the place for me. That said, I really liked this trailer. I’m not sure what the show will be like, but this trailer does the job of making me want to learn more. Plus, it’s got the Shonda staple of a ball-busting black chick. It’s scheduled for Thursday night at 10, which means its going against Parenthood, which will be in its last season. I see no reason for this not to be a success, as everything Shonda touches for ABC turns to gold.


I’ve never  heard of comedienne Cristela Alonzo, but this show brings diversity to the network. It’s going to be paired with Last Man Standing on Friday nights, so it might do OK with the audience looking for that kind of thing. I completely forget that Last Man Standing exists, so I suspect the same fate will befall Cristela. Plus, this trailer did absolutely nothing for me. I thought the show was about the dude, as the woman says nothing. Turns out the woman’s Cristela. You learn something new every day…

Manhattan Love Story

More like Canceled After One Season Story. Nothing about this feels fresh or unique.


It’s certainly timely, but I’m not sure Karen Gillan’s character is likable enough to make this appointment television. Plus, the role is such a departure from what folks are used to from her that I doubt she’ll be bringing her Whovian fanbase with her. It seems too cutesy, which is the kind of show ABC picks up every season and drops (see: Don’t Trust The B and Super Fun Night). ABC loves to give these shows a shot, but they never keep them because they don’t have long-term potential. Still, having John Cho in a lead role does help to diversify their lineup a bit. Anyway, it and Manhattan Love Story will have to face off against Utopia and The Voice next season, which won’t be an easy task.


This is probably the show I’m most looking forward to on ABC’s schedule. It not only brings diversity to primetime, but it also deals with the whole notion of whether someone is “black enough”. I can really relate to the subject matter of the show, and it looks pretty funny. I like the cast, with Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne as the grandfather. Anthony Anderson is kinda sitcom Kryptonite, but I’m willing to give him a chance here. It shows that ABC has faith in the show, as it’s been given the post-Modern Family timeslot, which is valuable real estate. I really hope folks give this one a shot.


I hadn’t even heard of this show until I was going through ABC’s upfronts trailers. This show’s got it all! Adventure, music, Lassie from Psych. Typically, this wouldn’t be my cup of tea, but I can’t wait to watch this show. It’s not on ABC’s schedule yet, so it’s probably a midseason replacement. Now, excuse me while I watch this trailer 1,000 more times!

Fresh Off the Boat

I’m conflicted about this one. On the one hand, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it from the Asian community, as they lobbied hard for ABC to pick up the pilot. That said, it’s kinda racist. Like when they’re about to go into the grocery store, and the mom tells him to go with a white family, as he’ll be safe there. Or when she asks him why all of his shirts have black men on them. I’m sure this is probably a common theme in Asian households, so it might just seem funny or relatable to them, but there were certain jokes that sort of stung. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, and I’ll probably give the show a chance once it has a timeslot.

The Whispers

This looks freaky. I was ready to give it a chance until the scope widened. When it looked like it was just a small-town show about imaginary friends, I was intrigued. Then, when the president got involved and it became a worldwide phenomenon, I kinda lost interest. This is the kind of show that’ll be canceled before they answer any of the important questions.


I like Ioan Gruffudd, as I didn’t hate the Fantastic Four movies as much as others. He’ll always be Reed Richards to me. I also like Judd Hirsch. I’m curious about this show, as it’s an intriguing premise. Basically, the trick is to see how long they can keep killing him before they have to explain why he can’t die. Again, I don’t know if the show will last that long. Right now, it’s scheduled to go against Chicago Fire, so there’s not a ton of competition there. I just hope the audience is ready to go on this particular ride because it seems like the sort  of show where answers will be few and far between.

Secrets and Lies

This feels like Fox’s Gracepoint, but with the pacing of a box office thriller. If it’s a one and done series, I might check it out. I’m certainly curious. Been a long time since we’ve seen Ryan Phillippe! No timeslot as of yet, so it must be a midseason replacement.

American Crime

This looks really good, but it feels more like a movie than a TV show. If this is an exploration on race, I wonder if it’ll start discussions the same way that Crash did. There’s no timeslot yet, so this is probably slated for midseason. I’ll have to check this out when it hits.

Man, there’s a LOT of good looking TV coming from ABC this Fall. It’s been a long time since I’ve been an ABC man, but things may be about to change. What looks good to you guys?