Tag: fresh off the boat

The Greatest American Hero (ABC) pilot preview: Who run the world? Girls!

Written and executive produced by Rachna Fruchbom (Fresh Off The Boat, Parks And Recreation). Also produced by Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off The Boat, Don’t Trust the B****, American Dad!), Tawnia McKiernan (Supergirl, Criminal Minds) & Mandy Summers. Directed by Christine Gernon (Speechless, Gavin & Stacey, The Kennedys). Based on the Stephen J. Cannell show from the 80s. For ABC20th Century FOX TelevisionABC Studios & Fierce Baby. 37 pages. Revised Network Draft 01/22/18.

Desciption: around Meera, a 30-year-old woman from Cleveland who loves tequila and karaoke and has spent her life searching and failing to find meaning, much to the chagrin of her traditional Indian-American family. An inexplicable event occurs that will change the course of Meera’s life forever: she is entrusted with a super suit to protect the planet. Meera may have finally found purpose, but the world has never been in more unreliable hands…

With Hannah Simone (New Girl), Humphrey Ker, George Wendt (Cheers), Gia Sandhu (The Indian Detective), Zenobia Shroff (The Affair, The Big Sick), Shoniqua Shandai (Nobodies), Ellie Reed (Girlboss)

  

I’m not very familiar with the original series The Greatest American Hero from the 80s, but I know it only lasted 3 seasons and 45 episodes on ABC from 1981 to 1983, that it was a 45-minute dramedy, that the theme song “Believe it or not” was very popular -and they intend to keep it in the new version- and that it was about Ralph Hinkley (played by William Katt), a Los Angeles public school substitute teacher suddenly granted superhuman abilities in order to save the world. Before ABC ordered a pilot for this female-centric reboot turned into a 22-minute single-cam comedy, FOX developed a more straight-forward and faithful version last year with Phil Lord and Chris Miller, both of whom wrote and directed The Lego Movie, that didn’t make it. And now that I’ve read this script from the Fresh Off The Boat team, I can’t help thinking it was more on brand with FOX than it is with ABC. But FOX already has a similar-themed okay performer in Ghosted. Maybe that’s why they didn’t keep it for themselves.

The Greatest American Hero has all the best intentions, it’s modern and exactly what we need right now in a world where women are getting their power back, and that’s partly why I liked it despite an overall lack of laughing-out-loud moments (contrary to other hilarious scripts they have in store –Steps & Single Parents to name a few- and that I’ll talk to you about later). It’s definitely feminist, not only because the superhero is a woman, though there are not so many out there right now (Supergirl, Jessica Jones and that’s pretty much it), also because Meera’s close family only consists of her mother Leena and her rival and younger sister Mona since the father died quite a long time ago; there’s a particular bond here, quite emotional. And just in case you didn’t realize it: the show is powered by an all-female team of writer, director and producers. It’s rare, even maybe unprecedented! Also very important: it’s about an indian-american family, which is trendy this year -CBS also has sitcom Pandas In New York for example- a community we don’t get to explore a lot on television compared to african-americans or latinos. Still, they exist and they should be represented too. It’s a cool thing this show didn’t stop at having a female superhero and went for more diversity. ABC has always been good at it and proves it again with this promising project.

There’s a “but” though. The mix between comedy and fantasy is always hard to achieve. I’m not a big fan of Ghosted but we can say they succeeded. On the page, I was not convinced. It depends a lot on the directing and on the quality of the special effects. Reading this script, there were moments when I thought “this won’t translate on screen, it will look ugly and ridiculous” and other moments when I thought “this might look fun and credible”. To be more precise, when in the first scene Meera is confronted to an UFO with only voices of aliens talking to her, it’s hard not to find that cheap and outdated. Whether they can pull that off anyway is a question mark for now. But when Meera talks to Ralph -yes, they’d like William Katt to voice this character- which is an artificial intelligence that helps her in her missions -think Janet in The Good Place– it works on the page and it adds a little something that makes it cooler. But maybe it won’t translate. Who knows at this point? So it’s always risky but it’s not a reason not to give it a chance. They are brave enough to try.

So what about Meera? She’s the black sheep of the family, she’s a hot mess, still single at 30 -which is a huge problem in an indian-american family- she drinks too much, and she’s done nothing especially significant in her career while her younger sister is already a successful doctor. In a few words: she’s a loser. Or so she thinks. Of course, that’s the type of character you can only side with, even when she keeps on taking the wrong decisions. Her trajectory is already quite predictable as the whole pilot is to be honest, but there’s a comfort in it that works most of the time. It’s a superhero show at the core and it always works the same way, man or woman, WASP or indian. That’s the ugly truth.

Other characters in the show kinda work, whether it’s her mother and sister who are funny on occasions, or her colleagues at work, especially her boss Bob Rice (there’s a bit of workplace comedy in there). But what works the most is the association between Meera and Max, a newly hired manager at Meera’s marketing company who helps her make the transition into her superhero life, undercover of course. He’s also in his thirties and he’s gay (so no love story between them, which is a relief). The way he comes out to her is quite funny. Meera’s first mission is not particularly interesting and it does not give a real idea of what subsequent episodes will look like and most importantly, we don’t know why the aliens chose her to save the world and what does it mean exactly. We’ll have to wait to get answers, which is fair game. Part of the fun will be about discovering her new abilities and powers, which should go from super strength to super speed and eveything in between like X-ray vision and telekinesis. Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you but she lost the manual!

The Greatest American Hero is probably ABC’s riskier comedy pilot script this season, also the most ambitious and unusual. It’s off-brand, though they tried to make it more about family than the original show was so it fits better. Part-superhero show, part-workplace comedy, part-family comedy, it wants to be everything and it fails at being convincing on every aspect. But it’s promising nonetheless and may be worth a shot.

ABC’s Fall Schedule revealed / Trailers

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ONCE UPON A TIME – SUNDAY – 8pm

OIL – SUNDAY – 8pm

KINGS AND PROPHETS – SUNDAY – 10pm



DANCING WITH THE STARS – MONDAY – 8pm

CASTLE – MONDAY – 10pm

 

THE MUPPETS / FRESH OFF THE BOAT – TUESDAY – 8pm

AGENTS OF SHIELD – TUESDAY – 9pm

QUANTICO – TUESDAY – 10pm

 

THE MIDDLE / THE GOLDBERGS- WEDNESDAY – 8pm

MODERN FAMILY / BLACKISH –  WEDNESDAY – 9pm

NASHVILLE – WEDNESDAY – 10pm

 

GREY’S ANATOMY – THURSDAY – 8pm

SCANDAL – THURSDAY – 9pm

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER – 10pm

 

LAST MAN STANDING / DR KEN – FRIDAY – 8pm

THE SHARK TANK – FRIDAY – 9pm

20/20 – FRIDAY – 10pm

 

MID-SEASON

THE FAMILY – SUNDAY – 10pm (when KINGS AND PROPHETS ends)

 

GALAVANT – SUNDAY – 8pm d(during OUAT hiatus)

AMERICAN CRIME – SUNDAY – 9pm (during OIL hiatus)

THE REAL O’NEALS – TUESDAY – 8.30pm (when THE MUPPETS ends)

 

AGENT CARTER – TUESDAY – 9pm (During AGENTS OF SHIELD hiatus)

WICKED CITY – TUESDAY – 10pm (During QUANTICO hiatus)

 

SECRETS AND LIES – WEDNESDAY – 10pm (During NASHVILLE hiatus)

THE CATCH – THURSDAY – 10pm (after HTGAWM ends)

 

UNCLE BUCK – FRIDAY – 8.30pm

ABC | 2015/2016 – Fantasy Schedule

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Those are predictions based on feelings and ABC final schedule may end up very differently! It will be announced on Tuesday. Stay tuned and until then, enjoy the read!

Dramas renewed: GREY’S ANATOMY – CASTLE – ONCE UPON A TIME – SCANDAL – NASHVILLE – AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER – SECRETS & LIES – AMERICAN CRIME – AGENT CARTER

New dramas ordered: QUANTICO – THE CATCH – THE FAMILY – KINGS AND PROPHETS – WICKED CITY – BOOM

Comedies renewed: MODERN FAMILY – THE MIDDLE – LAST MAN STANDING (soon) – THE GOLDBERGS – BLACKISH – FRESH OFF THE BOAT – GALAVANT

New comedies ordered: THE MUPPETS – THE REAL O’NEALS – DR KEN – UNCLE BUCK

MONDAYS

8pm- DANCING WITH THE STARS

9pm- DANCING WITH THE STARS

10pm- CASTLE

For years, ABC played the safe card and never moved Castle from the post-Dancing With The Stars. Though season 8 could very much be its last, I don’t see them deciding to move it to another night to end its run. It’s too late and only a procedural seems to be working here. But ABC didn’t order any. Let’s leave it that way. ABC has biggest fishes to fry.

TUESDAYS

8pm- THE MIDDLE / THE REAL O’NEALS

9pm- KINGS AND PROPHETS

10pm- AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Even though The Middle is still a strong asset for ABC, it started to fade on the younger demo on Wednesdays and became the weakest link the past few months. The best way to finally start Tuesday night with a bang is to move it at 8 (as Fresh Off The Boat proved there is an appetite for family comedy on Tuesdays too) and associate it with something new. The Real O’Neals would fit perfectly with it and could even do better on the younger demo. A match made in heaven! And since we’re talking about heaven, Kings and Prophets, religious-themed drama with a Game Of Thrones feel, could take the 9pm slot, moving Agents Of SHIELD to 10 where its underwhelming performances would be no longer an issue, at least for the next two years, until it gets a syndication deal. It’s a male oriented night from 9 to 11. Of course, it’s a real bet on Kings and prophets but ABC seems to be very high on it so… It’s a go big or go home situation!

WEDNESDAYS

8pm- THE GOLDBERGS / FRESH OFF THE BOAT

9pm- MODERN FAMILY / BLACKISH

10pm- QUANTICO

The Goldbergs blossomed beautifully on Wesnesdays and constantly did better on the younger demo than The Middle. It’s strong enough now to anchor the night, paired with Fresh Off The Boat that is too promising to stay on Tuesday. Hopefully, Fresh Off will become the new The Goldbergs! At 9, slowly fading Modern Family won’t move, of course. And Blackish is probably too young and too fragile for now to be tried elsewhere on the schedule (whatever happens with Empire on FOX). Plus it’s in-house produced, so ABC would better not mess with it. At 10, Quantico is one of the rare new dramas ordered that could deliver 22 episodes per season. It’s probably not the best option to make it a hit (in the #TGIT, it would have been one instantly) but with a black lead and a very diversified cast, it makes sense to put it right after Blackish. If CBS and NBC doesn’t put big guns there -and there’s a fair chance they won’t- the show can really explode!

THURSDAYS

8pm- GREY’S ANATOMY

9pm- SCANDAL

10pm- HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

What can I say except: why fixing something that doesn’t need to be fixed? ABC would be crazy to mess with its successful TGIT night. Plus now, with a new Shondaland drama –The Catch– they can air a “real” TGIT from September to May. That being said, ABC could be tempted to launch The Catch during fall. But it would be a mistake in my opinion…

FRIDAYS

8pm- LAST MAN STANDING / DR KEN

9pm- THE SHARK TANK

10pm- 20/20

Maybe Dr Ken will be able to break the curse? More family-oriented than Cristela was, it’s the perfect companion for Last Man Standing. And it’s co-owned by ABC so they’ll make a little more money with it.

SUNDAYS

8pm- ONCE UPON A TIME

9pm- THE FAMILY

10pm- NASHVILLE

Once Upon A Time has no reason to move and Nashville has to take the Revenge spot to get its 88 episodes and die there. The Family seems to be the best option for 9pm. First because it fits with the female and soapy oriented shows all around, and because similar dark stories Resurrection and Secrets & Lies proved there is an audience there. Since The Family is way better than those two, a miracle could happen!

MID-SEASON

THE MUPPETS / GALAVANT / UNCLE BUCK / AGENT CARTER / SECRETS & LIES / AMERICAN CRIME / WICKED CITY / BOOM / THE CATCH

The Muppets & Galavant would make a great quirky pair when Once Upon a Time is away on January. Secrets & Lies could fit once again towards the end of the season in the same slot, sunday at 9 (I suspect The Family won’t have more than 15 episodes). Agent Carter will take Agents of SHIELD‘s slot during the midseason break. The Catch will replace How To Get Away in the TGIT. Uncle Buck is a back-up if another comedy fails. BoomWicked City & American Crime are wild cards, back-ups, break fillers or bound to a summer run.

What do YOU think?

 

ALSO READ: ABC | 2015/2016 Pilot Season: The Best & Worst