Tuesday, September 07, 2021

TV: ABC's disappointing dive

As fall TV prepares to gear up, none of the broadcast networks offers much hope but one of the saddest sights is ABC.  It's as though the network is committed to killing off broadcast TV.


One high profile project -- the only one? -- is a reboot of THE WONDER YEARS.  But this time it's an African-American family!!!!  Oh, that addresses the problem with that 80s crap, right?  Wrong.  THE WONDER YEARS was a piece of garbage show that audiences were patient with for awhile.  Then they gave up on it because it was obvious that the daughter would never, ever be a focus.  Older brother Wayne and, of course, Kevin would be the focus over and over.  The only character that really represented the decade, played by Olivia d'Abo, would be ridiculed onscreen.  It was a toxic show and no one was really surprised to learn that a woman had been harassed by both male juvenile leads.  Though both boys -- now men -- try to deny the allegations, they both settled with the woman.  It was harassment and just how toxic the environment was could be seen years later when 'actress' (hack) Alley Mills showed up decades later to defend Fred Savage and say it was "cute" that he would grab the costumer designer's body and ask her to have an affair with him.  Cute.  Monique Long wasn't employed to be grabbed and touched by horny little male teenagers.  She was a professional costume designer attempting to do her job without being harassed.  That Alley Mills thinks it was cute goes to both how f**ked up that set was and how f**ked up Alley Mills is.

The show was disgusting.  Alley Mills played a character who acted as though she were a hostage in a domestic dispute and you bought it because the father of the show came off as an abuser.  Maybe casting will fix that in the update?  Maybe, but the problem with the show won't be fixed.

THE WONDER YEARS was set in the mythical sixties as opposed to the real sixties.  It's 'reality' stemmed from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER episodes.  Boys and girls did not interact.  On the show, they didn't.  In real life, the sixties were all about breaking down walls and barriers.  This included boys and girls being friends.  But you'd never know it from THE WONDER YEARS.  A girl in the cast just meant she was Kevin's love interest.  Casting for the 'new' old garbage demonstrates that detail is being kept the same.

THE WONDER YEARS was a sexist show that didn't have much to offer other than Fred Savage's cute face.  As people grew more and more irritated with the show, they stopped watching.  If there was a reason to do a new version of the series, it was to fix what was wrong with it, not to go through that sexist garbage all over again.  

The network that gave us BLACK-ISH now not only serves up this garbage but can't find a slot for BLACK-ISH on the fall schedule.  It can't find much of anything -- including a purpose.

Garbage is what it's serving up this fall.  CELEBRITY WHEEL OF FORTUNE and SUPERMARKET SWEEPS are among the cheap programming they're offering.  Garbage no one's asked for and garbage that takes broadcast TV further into the gutter.  ABC has nothing to offer this fall that's deserving of an Emmy nomination.  They continue to serve up the hideous program THE CONNERS.  AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, with similar ratings, got cancelled.  THE CONNERS lives on because ABC stole the program and the characters from Roseanne Barr, blackmailed her (to save the jobs of the crew) into turning over the characters she created to ABC.  Shame on Candice Bergen and any other person who considers themselves an artist but participates in this show.  Art is not theft.  What ABC did to Roseanne Barr should result in any real artist refusing to participate on that show.  Bad enough that they fired her, but to steal and appropriate her life's work?  Shame on Candice Bergen, Cheryl Hines, Fred Savage, Dan Aykroyd and all the others who are condoning ripping off an artist's work.  Shame on you and may you suffer accordingly.  Because they stole from Roseanne, ABC makes a big profit from THE CONNERS and so they keep it on the air even though it's ratings get less and less each season.  


Reality program dominates other nights.  You've got game shows, dancing shows, dating shows, you've got everything but a scripted program worth watching.  THE ROOKIE is back.  For its fourth -- and final? -- season.  Season three should have been the last season but ABC suits obviously are after something other than ratings or they would have axed it and A MILLION LITTLE THINGS -- also on its fourth season.  The show was a disappointment in the ratings in season one -- and with the amount each episode costs, should have been cancelled.  In season two, it actually managed to rally.  But season three saw the show die and the viewers leave -- so much so that it couldn't even scrape up 2.5 million viewers an episode in the final episodes of season three.  

The only returning hit that ABC has -- its only hit from last year -- is BIG SKY.  They've moved it over to Thursday where it will close out the night.  Thursday is ABC's 'biggest gamble' in that they're taking the staple GREY'S ANATOMY which has opened Thursday nights for two decades and moved it to the middle of primetime.  Opening the night now?  The struggling STATION 19.  GREY'S is bringing back Addison (Kate Walsh) but whether that will be enough is anyone's guess.  Generally, when a network starts moving a long running series around on the schedule, it's a hint that they've lost interest in it and are preparing to get rid of it.  Strange since GREY'S was the sixth most watched broadcast network program of last season and one of only two programs ABC had in the top ten (the other, at number ten, was THE BACHELORETTE).  But then GREY'S really doesn't fit the anti-woman mood ABC is currently going for in the new season -- or are we also not supposed to notice that?

There's so much we're not supposed to notice about the floundering ABC-DISNEY corporation. For example?

The following CBN telecast does not reflect the views of this network.

Have you seen that?  If you were following the latest season of MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM, you probably have.  That title card appeared at the end of every episode of the witch drama, right before ABC-DISNEY's FREEFORM then began showing . . . THE 700 CLUB.   FREEFORM had many previous names but, since DISNEY purchased it in 2001, it has been known as ABC FAMILY and, since 2016, as FREEFORM.  No matter who has purchased it, they have been contractually required to air THE 700 CLUB.  

The huh?  That's a conservative, religious news magazine that has been airing since 1966.  We don't agree with the views offered on the show but we're not sure why ABC-DISNEY feels the need to offer that warning.  



You may be too young to remember that.  ABC-DISNEY created that for the fifth and final season of ELLEN.  Ellen DeGeneres' character came out at the end of the fourth season with no such warning required.  But for season five, every episode had to be prefaced with that warning.

Ellen wondered at the time where this would end?  Would it be used against African-Americans, Jews, what?

We now know.  It will be used against religious conservatives.  

THE 700 CLUB doesn't reflect our views. We have no problem saying that. But we didn't buy THE FAMILY CHANNEL and legally agree to continue airing THE 700 CLUB. Our point is that's it is tacky on ABC-DISNEY's part and leaves them open to a lawsuit. We've looked at the contract and there's no disclaimer option.

We also question the wisdom of the disclaimer. THE 700 CLUB doesn't reflects the views of ABD-DISNEY? Which views? The belief in Jesus Christ? Because if that's the view that doesn't reflect ABC-DISNEY, we think they're going to lose a lot of business. And a lot of jobs.

Jobs. We're on another beef now. We're looking over at HBO-WARNER specifically on this. TCM is TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES and not a Memorial Day or July 4th go by without TCM putting on war propaganda non-stop. When we ask, they insist that it's a holiday. Not a holiday from war, obviously. And what some WWII John Wayne film has to do with July 4th is anyone's guess ?

There's no guess work required with Martin Ritt's NORMA RAE. No the film that features an Academy Award winning performance by Sally Field is not a war movie. but we just celebrated Labor Day. Why isn't TCM committed to celebrating labor? Niki Caro's NORTH COUNTRY would be another example of a film they should be programming on Labor Day. 9 TO 5 features the great team of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton and, yes, it is a labor film. Three office assistants take over the whole floor of a corporation, that's a labor film. There are many other examples and that's before we start noting some of the great documentaries about labor. Yet year after year, TCM ignores Labor Day.

To be really clear, we'd be thrilled if they'd ignore July 4th and Memorial Day. We don't watch TCM for politics of for history unless it's film history. Bu if they're gong to force us to put up with war movies to 'celebrate' holidays, then they damn sure should be programming films about working and workers on Labor Day.

And we're back to programming. ABC-DISNEY should not have been allowed to purchase FOX. That was a huge mistake. Anti-trust legislation apparently is no longer enforced. All the purchase has done is turn FOX into a bigger embarrassment as ABC has made it into a twin. In other words, there's no adding to the network. Cheap programming passes for 'new shows.' ABC should not get a single Emmy nomination in 2022 because there is no excellence in their programming. They're offering the dregs that one would expect on basic cable. However, in fairness to basic cable, it's offering are superior to most of what ABC is programming this fall. Certainly TNT's ANIMAL KINGDOM and FREEFORM's MOTHERLAND: FORT SALEM have fascinated viewers this summer. Equally true, NBC remains a huge disappointment. We used to think ABC might force NBC to better its programming but instead ABC's decided to dumpster dive and join NBC. Both networks are but one SUPER TRAIN program away from being as hideous as NBC was in the late 70s.

Which leaves you with THE CW and CBS. The latter hasn't gotten any better. We wish that weren't the case, but it's true. Still staying the same while others around you sink does make you appear better. THE CW is making real moves to build a relationship with their viewers and that does include going seven nights a week. This fall will be the first time they program for Saturdays. While ABC and FOX join NBC in throwing in the towel, THE CW alone strikes us as building for a future.

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