Tuesday, May 20, 2014

ABC 2013-14 Sitcoms: Renewals and Cancellations

Modern Family
The show that turned comedy on ABC around continues to be its foundation and most consistent series.  With constant reruns on USA and syndication it is still going strong and is one of the top choice's for viewers who want a laugh.  It is easy to overlook as it is so dependable at the Emmy's while internet darlings never get noticed, but this show is the real deal.  The chemistry among the great cast is as good as ever and the writing supports the characters and continues to find insight in the modern family.  This show isn't going anywhere.

The Middle
For a series that most comedy fans ignore, it is amazing to realize how successful this rarely discussed series is.  It should be receiving a bump from its reruns and syndication.  But this is one of the most dependable sitcoms.  It does not rely on shock value and big events, it is much more old fashioned.  There is a timeless quality to this series as it deals with timeless family issues and dynamics.  Its run might not last too many more seasons as Axel is already going to college and Sue and Brick are also getting older.  But I wouldn't mind if this stuck around longer, it is a dependable show for ABC to stick with.

Last Man Standing
Yes, Tim Allen's new sitcom will be going into a fourth season.  I completely forgot that this existed until I did a review of every sitcom premiere last season.  What I found was that this show was actually decently serviceable.  It is definitely a B-grade Home Improvement, but it is the type of show that you would watch in the early 2000's just because it was on.  ABC is keeping this on Fridays, which is a tough night to find success on.  This old fashioned multi-cam show seems to be a good anchor for a night with struggling ratings.  Better for the network to keep it familiar than take a chance on a more expensive show.

The Goldbergs
This was the only one of ABC's five new shows to be picked up for a second season.  The strong ratings really surprised me as I thought the marketing was weak and I wasn't a huge fan of the show.  But a lot of people like the nostalgia and the family dynamic works for most people.  I think that there are definitely better sitcoms out there, but this has its audience and could definitely improve with a second season.  It is definitely a good fit for ABC's family themed Wednesday nights.

This show was always a mid-season filler.  It always aired after something else failed and it is surprising that it got to three seasons.  The show was never bad, but never all that great either.  The creator has new series on ABC this fall.  Wouldn't be surprised if reruns of this wound up on ABC Family.

The Neighbors
This is a rare high concept modern sitcom that was actually kind of fun.  The gimmick of aliens trying to adapt to Earth while keeping their own customs was solid enough.  The more family friendly series seemed like a good fit for Fridays, but I am sure that production costs weren't worth the poor ratings.  Nobody seemed to really like it though so no huge loss.

Trophy Wife
Out of all of the cancelations this was the one that I was the most upset with (aside from maybe Community which had plenty of second chances).  This series featured good writing and a really progressive view of blended family.  The actors all had chemistry and the characters were paired up in interesting ways.  The cast was uniformly excellent with Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, Michaela Watkins and the intimidating Marcia Gay Harden giving some of the best comedy performances this season.  The three kids were also great, which is not always the case.  This is a show that really deserved a second season and with its similarities to Modern Family I am not sure why it did not click with viewers or critics.

After this, Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B ABC does not seem like the place for sitcoms targeted at twenties-thirties.  I did not get a chance to see the show, but I never heard much about it either.  The premise seemed very limited and it seemed to be a rare sitcom with ongoing story lines.  Was probably mid-season for a reason.

Super Fun Night
Rebel Wilson was a great star for ABC to get.  With her success in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect she really could have tapped into an important audience.  However the show just did not work.  It wasn't funny and did not serve the star you wanted to see.  I know that ABC reworked the show several times and there definitely felt like a lot of executive meddling.  It is a shame because this seemed to lose Wilson some important steam.  Surprised that there was not a better vehicle out there.

Back in the Game
Never saw this as a strong presence for an ongoing series.  Maggie Lawson was fine, but she wasn't the most sympathetic lead.  James Caan was a disappointment as he was too aggressive in the role.  The stand out was Ben Koldyke who is deserving of sitcom success.  The show relied on cheap stereotypes and just wasn't funny.  Surprised it lasted as long as it did.

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