Fairy tales and manly fare: ABC

Intrepid MiC blogger Helena Shelton of PHD takes us through day two of the US upfront marathon: ABC.

Helena Shelton is EVP trading and accountability at PHD Canada. She has been blogging for MiC from the NYC Upfronts since 2008.

ABC began at 4 p.m. at the Lincoln Centre, another slog through the rain with Fred – this constant rain and drizzle is really not doing nice things to our hair. ABC was all business – no dancers, no singers, no party, only Jimmy Kimmel and program clips with minimal introduction. We were out within the hour.

For this writer, Kimmel’s best comment was ‘Remember those shows that we were so excited about last fall? We cancelled all of them. And yet here you are again. I think you might have a gambling problem.’

That is the reality of the upfronts; every year more than half of all new shows don’t make it to Thanksgiving. It’s a little reality check to ponder as we review ABC’s lineup of 13 new shows.

Charlie’s Angels: Yes, a remake of the original starring Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly and Rachael Taylor, this will most likely be one of those statistics of the 2011 upfronts to which Kimmel was referring. It airs on Thursdays ahead of Grey’s Anatomy.

Once Upon a Time: From the producers of Lost comes our second fairy tale offering of the season, but this one was the real thing, with a witch, princess, prince and a flip-flop between fantasy and what was supposed to be reality. It airs on Sundays at 8 p.m.

Pan Am: Another Mad Men-looking drama set in the 1960s, this one is about getting to be a Pan Am stewardess – too many girdle references for my liking. It starts Christina Ricci (The Addams Family). It also airs on Sundays at 10 p.m.

Last Man Standing: Tim Allen is back and was the only ABC star other than Kimmel to promote his new show. He plays a man who spends all day in a sporting goods store as a marketing director, but then returns home to an all-female household. This one got good applause; Allen was great as ‘Tim the Tool Man’ Taylor and the general consensus is he can pull this premise off. Last Man Standing will air on Tuesday nights.

Man Up: The full agreement from everyone was that this show felt a lot like The Hangover. There is definitely a trend at ABC this fall towards ‘stupid men’ sitcoms, but at least this one was funny. Man Up is about three friends, their lives, their women and their video games. It joins Last Man Standing on Tuesday nights.

Suburgatory: I loved the title of this show, about a single father played by Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order) who moves himself and his daughter, played by Jane Levy (Shameless), out of Manhattan and into the suburbs where things are actually more challenging than they were in the city. The clips were funny. It will air on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m.

Revenge: This drama has legs, starring Emily Van Caamp (Brothers & Sisters) as a woman who goes back to the Hamptons to exact revenge on those who destroyed her family. It airs on Wednesday at 10 p.m.

The Midseason

Apartment 23: No one was really sure what this was about. We think the storyline is about two roommates who turn on each other.

Work It: This was truly the worst show I have seen in some time. Staying true to the ‘stupid man’ theme, this was about two guys who dress up as women in order to get jobs.

GCB: Good Christian Belles (it was supposed to be called Good Christian Bitches) is a prime-time soap set in Dallas about a woman who returns to her home after her marriage falls apart. From Darren Star (Sex and the City), this one stars Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth and Annie Potts and will most likely do well.

Missing: This was still in production so we only saw a clip of Ashley Judd explain how she was a retired goverment agent whose son has gone missing and that she would use all her skills to find him and get him back. Typical action fare.

The River: ABC’s Steven Spielberg offering has the feeling of Paranormal Activity. The story is about a scientist/naturalist who goes missing in the jungle. His family then goes in search of him.

Scandal: Another drama, the premise is about a woman in Washington whose specialty it is to clean up scandals and keep them out of the press. Arnold could have used her skills this past week…

That was ABC and with that we can say for certain that we see a trend to fairytales and the good old ’60s this year. Next up, CBS.