Reviews

ABC TV Promo Reviews 2016-2017

Following on from NBC and Fox, ABC were next to reveal their promos at Upfronts week. ABC are known for debuting a lot of comedies at Upfronts and this year was no different, bringing a diverse selection that could appeal to a broad audience. But it’s their dramas that really impressed, making us that much more excited for pilot season.

American Housewife

What it’s about: Chronicles the life of a strong willed mother trying to raise her flawed family in a privileged community filled with ‘perfect’ housewives and their ‘perfect’ children.

What we think: This promo was definitely entertaining, it had a fun feeling throughout. Sure it may have had one too many ‘fat’ jokes in it, ironic since Katy Mixon isn’t actually fat, but overall it worked. Mixon has had a ton of success in supporting roles so it’s great to see her being given the chance to lead. Judging from the trailer she seems more than capable in the role and appears to be really relishing the part which makes the show that much more appealing.

Excitement factor: 3.5/5

Conviction

What it’s about: The rebellious daughter of a former US president is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of a team that investigate cases where people may have been wrongly convicted.

What we think: We all know Hayley Atwell is fantastic at playing the badass so this role seems perfect for her. Her character may seem a bit unlikeable at first but her intelligence and charm managed to win me over by the end of the promo. But then again I’d expect nothing less from such a good actress as Atwell. The quality of all the actors, including Eddie Cahill and Shawn Ashmore, on the show is impressive and even from the promo we can see there’s going to be some stellar performances throughout the series. As for the premise it’s very interesting and they seem to be executing it well. Hopefully the show will fair better than the unfortunately cancelled Agent Carter.

Excitement factor: 4/5

Designated Survivor

What it’s about: A low level United States Cabinet member is suddenly handed the presidency when an explosion during the State of the Union address kills everybody above him in the presidential line of succession.

What we think: I’ll admit I was pretty eager to see this promo. The concept just sounded so good and with a cast including Kiefer Sutherland and Kal Penn, I had high hopes. Thankfully the promo did not disappoint and if possible I’m even more excited about it. The opening scene was excellent and that shot of a horrified Sutherland looking out of the window at the explosion and realising what had happened was pure genius. Everything afterwards just served to up the ante and I am now counting down the days till I can watch the pilot.

Excitement factor: 5/5

Downward Dog

What it’s about: Based on a web series, it follows a down on her luck woman and her devoted dog who speaks his mind in confessional style interviews.

What we think: Definitely the best scene in the promo was involving the cat or the “emotional terrorist” as the dog labels her. But in a show about a talking dog, is it a good sign that a cat is stealing the thunder? I’ll give the show props, it’s probably the most unique and quirky concept of all the shows premiering this season. And that comes across well in the trailer. The problem is that it’s advertised as a comedy and the promo felt like more of a drama. Maybe that’s because the humour is meant to be dry and subtle but it seems like it went too far in that direction. That being said I am interested to see how the pilot plays out so perhaps the promo did its job after all.

Excitement factor: 2.5/5

Imaginary Mary

What it’s about: When bachelorette Mary falls in love with a divorced dad of three she must learn to adapt to her new role as a stepmother. Chaos ensues when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child turns up to help her with the transition.

What we think: The promo felt like your typical ABC family comedy right until the introduction of the imaginary friend. Then I was stuck wondering why the show was not being aired on the Disney Channel. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the premise is weak, it just doesn’t seem to be working for the audience it’s trying to sell to. However, it is rather a novel and unconventional idea, so maybe that creativity will work in it’s favour. Also helping matters is the fact that the show has two great comedic talents in Jenna Elfman and Rachel Dratch.

Excitement factor: 2.5/5

Notorious

What it’s about: Centres on the professional and personal relationship between a powerhouse television producer and a charming attorney as they attempt to control the legal system, the media and each other.

What we think: I’ll start off by saying that the chemistry between Piper Perabo and Daniel Sunjata was off the charts. That was some solid casting. And okay so some of the lines were a little cliché and corny but it just seems to work for the type of show this is. It’s not some hard hitting drama and it knows it. So instead of trying to play it off as one, the promo was made to be glossy and fun which I think was the right move. It was very entertaining and isn’t that what matters?

Excitement Factor: 3.5/5

Speechless

What it’s about: A family with a special needs child find new challenges when they move to a more upscale town in order to improve their lives.

What we think: ABC are really hitting it out of the park in terms of telling family comedy stories in interesting and new ways. Even though there aren’t many shows like this on television it’s the true reality for many families across the world living with a special needs person. So the fact that there’s finally some big representation of that with this show is brilliant and will no doubt resonate with a lot of people out there. Even more brilliant is that they’ve actually hired an actor who has cerebral palsy, someone who I’m sure will bring a lot of depth to the part. Minnie Driver is also clearly on top of her game and seems to be really enjoying the role. Most importantly the promo really nailed its genre and was laugh out loud funny. I’d go as far as saying this could be ABC’s best new comedy.

Excitement Factor: 4.5/5

Still Star-Crossed

What it’s about: Picking up from where Romeo and Juliet left off, it follows the complicated and dangerous lives of the Montagues and the Capulets.

What we think: When I read the description for the show I was immediately drawn in. It’s a great premise with huge potential. However, that potential wasn’t shown in the promo and as a result I was left feeling underwhelmed. Of course the production design and the costumes were beautiful, it really did give a strong sense of the world and time this is set in. And there were some glimpses of very interesting characters, Benvolio immediately standing out despite the low amount of scenes he was in. But the overall product just felt a little flat. However, I do think this is one of those shows that will really will show its flair and quality in a full pilot rather than a short trailer.

Excitement Factor: 3/5

Time After Time

What it’s about: Chronicles the adventures of a young H.G. Wells and his time machine as he tries to catch a former friend turned serial killer.

What we think: There are a few shows about time travel premiering this television season so each one is going to have to be at the top of their game to be a success. Based on the promo, this show will have no difficulty in that department. Full of intrigue, dramatic tension, and twists and turns; the promo laid a solid foundation for what looks to be a brilliant pilot. But let’s talk about the real appeal of this show and that is the relationship between Wells and The Ripper. The two have great chemistry and all the scenes they shared made for compelling viewing. Josh Bowman is clearly relishing playing the bad guy and it shows. One to watch!

Excitement Factor: 5/5

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