Monday, September 27, 2010

ABC'S No Ordinary Family Worth Catching

People don't believe me when I tell them it really doesn't matter if a new series is bad or good.
A series will succeed or fail based on its time slot.
Don't believe me? I have all the ammunition on my side.
Consider Seinfeld, one of the most successful ever TV situation comedies, right?
Wrong. Because Seinfeld in its first full season (1991) ran Wednesdays at 9:30 and was one huge rating flop.
The time spot was out of joint and NBC was about to cancel it but executive producer Rob Reiner begged for one more chance and so from April to July, 1991, Seinfeld was plopped into Thursdays at 9:30 and roared into ratings success.
It was a case of right night, right audience, get it?
Another example: In August, 1972, I was in the Warners office of Earl Hamner,creator of the new series The Waltons, and he was bemoaning his time period: Thursdays at 8 on CBS smack dab against ABC's The Mod Squad and NBC's Flip Wilson, then the number two rated series (All In The Family was number one)..
By season's end The Mod Squad got cancelled after its fifth season and Flip Wilson flipped out of solid ideas to land well down in the ratings
And The Waltons by September 1973 was number two and growing.
That's a long winded attempt to explain my uneasiness at the situation of the new ABC series No Ordinary Family debuting Tuesd. Sept. 28 at 8 p.m..
Over at CBS there's NCIS which just keeps on attracting huge numbers. And there's Fox's Glee which every critic around is big on.
So expectations for No Ordinary Family are hardly optimistic.
Yet, maybe, just maybe it might be the next Waltons and destroy all others ratings wise?
This is a family splintering apart. Jim (Michael Chilkis) is Jim Powell, a dedicated sketch artist for the police department, sees his family slipping away from him.
Wife Stephanie (Julie Benz from Dexter) is a dedicated scientist who spends every waking hour at her lab or so it seems.
Daughter Daphne (Kay Panabaker) can actually read minds which she feels is really weird.
And son JJ (Jimmy Bennett from Star Trek) is actually a genius but he scores very low on tests.
Then the family take quality time to the extreme by visiting the Brazilian rain forest where their plane crashes into a phosphorescent lake. They return, well, they've changed.
Jim thinks he can fly and jumps off a skyscraper to test his theories.
Wife Stephanie can outrun anything and starts speeding all over the place.
This pilot is chock full of possibilities but it's almost overstuffed with ideas. It never stops for a moment leaving viewers confused.
What kind of a show is this going to be? Stay tuned, the possibilities are endless.
And if enough viewers are tiring of NCIS or Glee, then maybe just maybe No Ordinary Family can make it.

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