Hit or Miss? Predictions for every new show on ABC this fall

All this week, Agony Booth will preview and predict the fate of every new show coming to a broadcast TV network near you this fall. We kicked off yesterday with CBS. Now, it’s ABC’s turn.

Our team of TV gurus consists of: Jordon DavisThomas StockelSusan Velazquez, Marion Stein, Tyler PetersonJulie Kushner, and Dr. Winston O’Boogie.

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The Good Doctor

Okay, it may look like a remake of Doogie Houser because star Freddie Highmore stopped aging at 15, but the character is totally supposed to be an adult. An adult with autism, which, of course, in this case means he has superpowers. So he’s kind of like Dr. House, if you replace dickishness with a more sincere inability to empathize and socialize.

Jordon: I’m up for a good medical drama. I watched every single episode of E.R. It turns out that Benton did it. This one looks limited, though. I didn’t see a character other than the main one. Also, introducing the character with a thoracostomy to relieve a pneumothorax using stuff found in a train station? That’s so over-the-top the credits rolled and Captain America did a cameo. CANCELLED

Thomas: Speaking as someone who liked House…up until that last atrocious season, I think as medical dramas go this might be interesting. The lead is a genius, but unlike the crop of arrogant jerks we’ve seen over the years, he actually seems endearing. That might be a sign people are tired of watching assholes. RENEWED

Susan: There are good actors here, but they’re wasted on this cheesy, melodramatic medical drama. CANCELLED

Marion: Television loves it some Aspies! There’s that guy on The Big Bang Theory – or maybe all of them. There was an aspy CIA agent on the short-lived Allegianceand that girl who couldn’t sing and had no filter on the last couple of seasons of Glee. I keep track of things like that, and I like trains. Also, I’m an excellent driver with lousy social skills, but none of that would make me a compelling character on a television medical drama. CANCELLED!

Tyler: It’s schmaltz. It’s schlock. It’s kitsch. It’s dreck. There aren’t enough words in the entire Yiddish language to put this show in its place. CANCELLED

Julie: As someone who has interacted with and befriended a number of pretty cool folks on the Asperger/autism spectrum in recent years, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that all of us—introverts and creative types in particular—inhabit the disorder to some degree. Furthermore, anyone who has ever been hospitalized or had a loved one in that situation knows that a pleasing bedside manner has never been a prerequisite to the performance of successful surgery. In fact, there’s a convincing argument that empathy and “feelings” from our medical caregivers could actually hinder the journey to wellness, in that it prevents them from making the tough decisions required to save our lives. This show is already being compared to House, a show about a socially deficient but intellectually brilliant doctor that lasted eight seasons, as well as Rain Man, a film about an autistic savant that won four Oscars and garnered even more nominations.  I think that’s a solid pedigree for success, don’t you? RENEWED

Odds of Survival: 33%

 

The Mayor

A young rapper runs for mayor of his hometown as a publicity stunt for his new album, but when the voters cast their ballots in the air like they just don’t care, he ends up winning. Agony Booth took a more in-depth look at this show last month.

Jordon: I have such mixed feelings about this. It looks like it could be funny, but the promo was suspiciously comedy-sparse. And it looks a little like it’s got hugs and lessons, which isn’t a compliment 26 years after Seinfeld debuted. Still, it’s just ABC. And for just ABC, just okay will be just fine. RENEWED

Thomas: Screw this. CANCELLED

Susan: It’s like Parks and Recreation if Jean-Ralphio ran for mayor and won. With Daveed Digg as executive producer and a tie-in with ABC’s successful sitcom black-ish, The Mayor is sure to be RENEWED.

Marion: It sounds like some old movie, or several old movies, but the characters are not so generic, and the cast is appealing. My problem, which may be personal, is Lea Michelle, but maybe her character can get tragically shelled by a circus elephant during a parade. A parade that the Mayor was supposed to attend! RENEWED

Tyler: This show’s in a bit of a catch-22; in order to fully realize its themes, it needs to explore local government beyond the level of vague platitudes, which is the only level at which 99% of people understand local politics. CANCELLED 

Julie: Remember when Kanye West got super stoned at the VMAs a few years back and accidentally announced his impending run for the presidency in 2016? No? That’s OK. Most of America has repressed that memory too. But seeing the promo for The Mayor reminded me a bit of that, with one important difference: this Courtney Rose character actually seems like a pretty nice guy. I feel like with all the backbiting, name-calling, firing, and back office manipulations, it has become really easy to forget that governments at all levels were actually initially created to protect the people and provide a voice for the disenfranchised. We could all use a bit of reminding about that now and again. This show just might do it…and do it long enough for the inevitable season finale drunken hookup cliffhanger between Courtney and Lea Michele’s character, after which they have to decide how in the heck they are going to continue their “business relationship” in the wake of all that raunchy rap video-type sex. RENEWED!

Winston: Personally, I watch comedies to get away from the notion of an unqualified, fame-hungry entertainer being elected to a position far beyond his skillset, but it seems that somehow, the more a TV show references Trump and/or riffs on Trump in some way, the better it does in the ratings. RENEWED

Odds of Survival: 71%

 

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

A down-on-his-luck slacker named Kevin, who is not particularly godly or even good, gets notified by angels that he has been appointed by Heaven to save the world.

Jordon: I love Jason Ritter. I would watch half an hour of him reading the paper. The premise is interesting enough. But I got my hopes up with The Class, and I can’t take being burned again. What’s that? It was eleven years ago, move on? Well maybe some of us can’t move on. Maybe that’s what makes us…yeah, you’re right. Eleven years is pretty damn long. RENEWED

Thomas: Remember when Spike Lee coined the term “magical negro”? Yeah, that’s the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the trailer to this. CANCELLED

Susan: God, You let Kevin Can Wait have a second season. If You want me to keep believing in You, You’ll make sure this schmaltzy crap gets CANCELLED.

Marion: You lost me at Magic Negress sent from Heaven. The trailer reads like a parody of a pilot that some producer’s kid came up with. CANCELLED – mercifully and soon, and hopefully before too many mentally ill people watch it and get ideas.

Tyler: Hasn’t Hollywood learned anything? Shows about angels work best when they meet a new person every week, like Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel. When the angel stays with one person all the time, the show bombs. People want to watch clear-cut spiritual problems that can be neatly wrapped up in an hour, not a long, frustrating slog through doubt, despair, and human frailty. Just ask Joan of Arcadia. CANCELLED

Julie: I feel like, of late, it’s become sacrilegious (pun intended) to dislike any show or movie that stars Jason Ritter. (“He’s just so darn likeable!” they say.) But this trailer just confused me, as did the multiple versions of it appearing online with different titles and different actresses with widely different personalities appearing as the “Angel Guide.” I mean, is it supposed to be a religiously based show (because angels), or a sci-fi one (because meteors from space land in cars), or a comedy (because Ritter’s character is a doofus who keeps imagining he’s talking to an angel, who may or may not actually be there), or a drama (because family angst)? If we can’t figure it out from watching the promos, there’s a good chance the producers haven’t figured it out yet either. And networks like ABC are notoriously impatient when it comes to waiting for shows to gain their sea legs, tone-wise. CANCELLED!

Winston: One of these days, we’re going to get a show where an esteemed law professor, or a member of SEAL Team Six, or a Nobel Prize-winning physicist is called upon to save the world. But for now, it seems we’re doomed to endure these relentless, boring variations on ordinary Joes being given great power and great responsibilities. CANCELLED

Odds of Survival: 17%

 

Ten Days in the Valley

In this thriller, a documentary filmmaker who famously took down a California city’s corrupt police department is now producing a fictional TV show about a corrupt police department but must turn to the real (corrupt?) police when her daughter goes missing. Star Kyra Sedgwick hopes you kept up with all that.

Jordon: This looked pretty carefully written. And Kyra Sedgwick can sell just about anything. I’m not sure I want to watch it, though. I bet it would be well received if Netflix did it as a closed story over 10 episodes available for binging just like I’m available to binge me some Jessica Jones. Yeah. I could binge all over Jessica Jones. I think that with careful positioning, this will be RENEWED.

Susan: Kyra Sedgewick, you’re better than this, and we all know it. Go home, fire your agent, and be a little more picky when the next pilot season comes around. CANCELLED

Marion: At least Kyra Sedgewick isn’t speaking in a faux-southern accent. Just what we need: a plot-heavy thriller that can’t be explained in an elevator pitch. CANCELLED

Tyler: Gritty, metafictional, morally complex, suspenseful, and with a TV legend in the title role? Even ABC will need at least two seasons to fuck up this sure thing. RENEWED

Julie: Wait, why did Kyra Sedgwick’s character have to go next door in the middle of the night just to write a script on her laptop? Does she not have internet access in her home? Or tables? A dark whodunnit with a Hollywood insider bent, I feel like this is the kind of niche piece that would perform better on a platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime, where the curse words and sex scenes don’t need to be neutered, and the fan base can binge-watch the mystery at their leisure, learning the real culprit in a single weekend, as opposed to during the mid-season finale, after months of overly drawn out/frustrating red herrings and second guesses. That said, early buzz on this show is decent. And I’m not ready to count it out just yet. Still wondering about that “magical” laptop next door thing though. RENEWED

Odds of Survival: 60%

 

Marvel’s The Inhumans

So, like, imagine if an entire race of super-powered mutants (very similar to but technically different than the ones in X-Men) had their own secret kingdom on the moon and engaged in all sorts of Game of Thrones intrigue, except PG-rated and extremely low-budget, and then the head of the royal family got chased off to modern day America for fish-out-of-water escapades. And, oh, by the way, if he says a single word out loud, the entire world explodes. Yeah, you’re probably seeing a few of the complications that naturally arise when trying to translate this Marvel comic book property into a mainstream TV series. But here we are.

Jordon: Judging from the trailer, this is a show that is terrible. It might be fun if it were played silly like Supergirl on the WB. What’s that? It’s been the CW since 2006, just let it go? Never! This one’s worth dying for!!! All of this is just my way of saying that critics hate this show and have called it worse than Iron Fist. Not only do I think it will be canned, I think it will be canned by episode 6. CANCELLED

Thomas: I don’t care about The Inhumans in the comics. I care even less about them on television. And I think there are a lot of people who are going to agree with me. This is going to be Marvel’s first big flop, but it was going to come sooner or later. CANCELLED

Susan: Sure, almost every pilot is a little lackluster, but Inhumans released the first two episodes in IMAX theaters and currently has an 7% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I doubt that score will increase when the remaining episodes are released. ABC should have just renewed Agent Carter. CANCELLED

Marion: The most successful shows and films in the Marvelverse are character-driven sagas like Jessica Jones and Iron Man. This feels like it’s all about the effects, which won’t carry it on the small screen. CANCELLED

Tyler: Hey look! Billy Sypniewski and his friends made their own comic book show in Billy’s basement! Oh, don’t be a poop, they worked hard on this! CANCELLED

Julie: So, Ramsey Bolton from Game of Thrones is actually an evil alien from another planet, hell bent on World Domination. This actually makes a lot of sense in hindsight! Early buzz on this one has been astoundingly bad. And a view of the trailer makes it pretty easy to see why. The plot seems convoluted, but in a surprisingly dull way. The costumes look like something you’d find in a Halloween store on the clearance rack under the generic title “space person” (because the makers couldn’t afford the rights to the Star Trek name). The special effects are B-science fiction movie at best, 12-year-old YouTuber editing a movie with his iPhone at worst. I really liked that big dog though. He was adorable. CANCELLED

Winston: Marvel + ABC = Hard pass from me. I have no clue how Agents of SHIELD has lasted this long despite starting out awful, getting better, then swinging back and forth between entertaining and excruciating so many times that I lost count, but I doubt Inhumans is going to be cut nearly as much slack. CANCELLED

Odds of Survival: 0%

 

Come back tomorrow for Agony Booth’s fearless predictions for NBC’s mere three new shows!

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  • FEnM

    Jason Ritter played a “Kevin” in “Joan of Arcadia”, too. Hee.

    As someone who loves Freddie Highmore I’m cautiously optimistic about “The Good Doctor”