The news out of the CBS upfront was pretty boring, as CBS upfronts are wont to be. However, one thing struck me as extremely smart on their part: They picked up Medium, which NBC discarded. And let’s face it, that’s where it belongs.
I know I used to hate Patricia Arquette, but I think I’ve changed my mind. Read on about why NBC is stupid, CBS is smart and ABC is confusing.
NBC has paid so little attention to this show with solid enough ratings that I’m not surprised to see it gone, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a beyond stupid move on the Peacock’s part. This IS the network that is taking the brave step of effectively wiping out five original programming slots (not to mention undercutting the brilliantly funny Conan O’Brien) by allowing Jay “Snoozefest” Leno to bore the fuck out of anyone watching for an hour of primetime five nights a week.
It’s even less of a surprise to see Medium slide over to CBS. Shows about soccer moms who have visions that help them solve crimes TOTALLY belong on CBS. That’s what they do. Their shows are not flashy, but they pull in solid, solid ratings because Grandma and Grandpa gotta have something to fall asleep to, amiright? CBS execs say that if Ghost Whisperer and Numbers had a baby, it would be Medium. Hmmm. I dunno. I feel like that’s almost an insult to Medium.
It may not be the most exciting show on television, but it absolutely NAILS the suburban family dynamic. Joe and Allison DuBois are as normal as a married rocket scientist and a spirit-talking DA’s assistant can be. They’re seasoned parents to their three daughters (who are excellently portrayed not as perfect little angels, but as the sweet, but sometimes bratty preteens and teens they are) and they face normal family problems like the first unsupervised boy-girl party, home reno disasters and of course, what happens when their kids start showing signs of being psychic or whatever the hell it is that Allison is.
That’s the other thing I like about this show. Unlike Ghost Whisperer, where Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Melinda Gordon seems to know absolutely that she can and does see dead people and it’s her job to shepherd lost, confused souls (and they’re always merely that) toward “the light” while wearing ridiculous costumes and tons of makeup, Patricia Arquette’s Allison Dubois is pretty down-to-earth. (And I know that I didn’t like her at first, or even at second, but she’s grown on me.)
She still struggles with her abilities and they don’t really seem to be as easily defined. Sometimes, she seems to see the future, sometimes, the past. Sometimes, she gets a vision, sometimes it’s a sound, sometimes she sees an entire scene. It’s never explained and I kind of like that. If I believed in psychics, I’d think they’re probably more like that than “I see ghosts and they always are angry at first, then just sad and confused and finally, crying as they cross over.”
Medium has big potential and CBS made a smart move. NBC, as usual, went with a more bonehead option.
Other news: ABC cancelled Cupid (good), Samantha Who? (good), and The Unusuals (bad) and moved Ugly Betty to Fridays (Meh.) If you ask me, NBC should pick up The Unusuals. It seems like their kind of show. ABC doesn’t do well with quirky. Pushing Daisies, Cupid and The Unusuals were all pretty quirky and they’ve all been cancelled. It’s like ABC is aspiring to be CBS with a dash of Fox. They’re definitely the network that has to try hardest, but they’re relying on some pretty weak shit. Even diehard fans are starting to drift from Lost, Grey’s Anatomy is just stupid (ditto Private Practice) and I didn’t even remember that Desperate Housewives was still on the air. Renewing Scrubs is maybe not a great idea. It had its day and I don’t think anybody expected it to stick around. Neil Flynn (Janitor — my favourite!) is going to be on the inevitable Patricia Heaton failure-com The Middle. Flynn is really fucking funny and he deserves better because he’s awesome. But Scrubs is not the awesome thing he deserves.
Ah well, at least they have Dancing With the Stars! Cue mocking sound effect.
NBC is just going to ride the Jay Leno gravy train into obscurity, CBS will coast on their old person programming and nobody expects much of Fox beyond a bunch of procedurals, stupid game shows, a solid season of House, the inevitable and boring American Idol ratings juggernaut and 40 shows from stupid Seth MacFarlane. That’s why the middling success of Fringe and the last-minute renewal of Dollhouse were such happy surprises. It’s all up to you, ABC. And you’re blowing it.