I’m not positive, but I suspect ABC may have stumbled upon one of the oldest party secrets in the book. Commonly practiced by Jackie O., Grace Kelly, and Liz Taylor. Even Madonna does it. Nor does it ever seem to fail. Here goes:
The best party rule of thumb — the trick to a robust social life — is to do one simple thing: arrive late and leave early. Thus you avoid a) scrutiny b) silence, and c) awkward discussions of what you did or didn’t bring. Plus, when you peel out of somewhere quick after being engaging, funny and not a little mysterious, everyone’s baffled and they immediately miss you something fierce. See how powerful curiosity can be? And who doesn’t like to be missed? This was the key to Brothers & Sisters, and ABC isn’t stupid. When you score big with something soapy, sudsy, and littered with generations of attractive people, the last thing anyone thinks you’ll do is, em, remove it. And with one swift exit, the network’s managed to get my attention. So now I see there may be a very smart method to their post-Brothers & Sisters madness. To fill the void, ABC’s got two newbies that look intriguing, fun, and possibly quite worth the wait. After we sludge thru summer reruns and bad reality shows, we get the brand new Charlie’s Angels. Smart on ABC’s part (as CBS was with Hawaii 5-0) they take the exact formula everyone knows: the beloved Trinity of Hot Misunderstood Gal Cops Kicking Ass in Exotic Locales and Minimal Clothing. It’s a no-brainer, and Drew Barrymore is also in charge here. So, two pluses: 1. Known & Accepted concept, and 2. Known & Admired TV-actress turned TV-maker. I saw the clips, and it looks genuinely cool. The girls are predictably adorable and each slips nicely into both great wardrobes and (what Hollywood thinks is) a diverse demographic. Plus – once these clips start circulating, the question on everyone’s lips is gonna be: who’s the voice of Charlie? It’s Robert Wagner. You’re welcome.
Once Upon A Time, also just announced, is a whole nother story. It’s from a few of the Lost guys so that should bring thrill/chill-seekers running. For those of us who got sucked in by the They Walk Among Us themes of Heroes, this may work well too. Here we get princes (Charming and not-so), princesses, and all manner of well-known tropes (does it hurt that ABC is owned by Disney so they can access all those time-honored Costumed Ones? Not one bit).
Plus – and I know comparisons are odious, but here goes – it looks like a show that’ll satisfy our desire for the fairy-tale-gone-wrong without the creepy gore of NBC’s Grimm, which is similar but looks far more gruesome. The show’s about one Emma Swan (I know, but I guess it couldn’t be helped. Or maybe it could have been. Hmm.) We find her reconnecting with her long-lost son in a town called Storybrooke (get it?). Here, seemingly normal townsfolk are curiously trapped inside a New England netherworld (and having gone to school in one I can attest they exist) only they’re actually characters in search of a Happy Ending. But they don’t know it. The previews all have that swooshy -swirly camera work featuring Galloping White Horses, Evil Queens, Marginally Evil Queens, and Ginnifer Goodwin (in that order) plus lots of ominous choruses. This may also be catnip for Potter fans (who will themselves be seeking a new fix soon). House’s Jennifer Morrison stars, and she could be just feisty/cerebral enough to pull it off. Plus in a world where kid actors are frequently forgettable and cloying, the boy who plays her son (Jared Gilmore, from Mad Men) has a certain gravitas that makes him riveting.
Judging from the previews, Charlie’s Angels and Once Upon A Time might just be parties that warrant a visit. Color me intrigued.
1) Charlie’s Angels
2) Once Upon a Time
3) Pan Am
4) The River