First Look at ABC’s New Shows: Once Upon A Time and Charlie’s Angels

With the demise of No Ordinary Family and V, it’s once again up to ABC to attempt to fill the void left behind by these 2 genre shows, especially with a slate left almost devoid of any genre shows after the end of Lost. With both No Ordinary Family and V cancelled due to meandering storylines that didn’t seem to want to culminate to anything (and falling viewerships), ABC has just announced 2 new shows that hopefully can capture audience interest once again, both presumably taking very different approaches to storytelling: Once Upon A Time, which appears to be taking a long form series approach like Lost, and Charlie’s Angles, that’s like the original going to be more episodic in nature – but thanks to the successes of Lost, I’d bet that Angels is going to have an underlying storyline that culminates in the season finale. A betrayal, anybody?

There’s not much to go on right now other than the official synopses, but thanks to ABC we have a chance to take a quick look to whet your interest, complete with first look trailers!

Once Upon A Time

Welcome to a world where fairytales are real. Anna Swan is like any other 28 year old, until she discovers she’s a lost princess destined to save her world from darkness. Experience the passion project of executive producers/creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron). Once Upon A Time is a thrilling twist of our most beloved stories.

So… which of you had to pause in the middle of watching this and think… Fables? I know I did. That’s not to say that they’re exactly similar, of course, but it gets curiouser and curiouser when one looks deeper into the rabbit hole: ABC did take a long hard look at making the Fables TV series back in 2009, so the similarities do make one do a double take. That being said, the similarities are rather skin deep, seemingly going no further right now than “all the myths are true” so it’s really up to Tron: Legacy scribes Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz to do their own spin here. For an idea of what we thought of their previous collaboration, you can check out our Tron: Legacy review.

Interest in Urban Fantasy does continue, and I wonder if these shows really came out on time to catch the Twilight craze. But that might be a good thing too – distancing yourself from Twilight might be beneficial – depending on your target market. TV based fantasy stories can sometimes come off looking as rather cheap visually (see: The Tenth Kingdom), and I think having the proper budget to dress up the period scenes can help bring the show a step up to greatness. Based on the trailer the CGI could do with a dose of realism added to it (ironic in a fantasy story, I know, but it just looks too… clean) but props to the costume and props for a fantasy based show would suffer without a good dressing and props department.

A lot of the weight is going to weigh on Jennifer Morrison’s (How I Met Your Mother) shoulders, but thanks to the multitudes of characters available (such as Josh Dallas, who’s Fandral from Thor), there’s a lot of chance for any of the ensemble cast to rise up and hopefully with ABC’s support the show can be allowed to evolve depending on which characters capture audience interest – just like how Ben Linus rose from being a throwaway character to perhaps one of the best written and acted villians on Lost. Child actor Jared Gilmore (Henry, who I don’t know who he is right now) does appear very natural, and kudos to casting for that.

With NBC’s Grimm getting ready to air, it’s going to be a crowded year for fans of Urban Fantasy, especially for those two similar shows. I look upon Once Upon A Time with guarded optimism – and if Horowitz and Kitsis can quickly move away from the Fables comparison, and in a good way, this show is going to have legs. And it might bode well for the seemingly on hiatus Fables adaptation!

Charlie’s Angels

Get ready for the knockout hit of the year. Charlie’s Angels is back and hotter than ever. Meet three ex-bad girls who are earning their wings by busting the really bad guys. Together with legendary producer Leonard Goldberg and Drew Barrymore, Smallville’s Alfred Gough and Miles Millar re-imagine the popular 1970’s series with more action, more eye candy and more heart than ever before.

So… another relaunch of an old hit TV series, joining the movie version of the A-Team and Hawaii Five-0. Strangely I don’t feel the need to compare it with those shows, both of which were successes in some form or another, but instead inspect the show by another mirror – other recent spy shows, of which Undercovers, Nikita and Chuck come to mind.

There’s probably no real formula right now to ensure a spy show’s success (given how Undercovers was cancelled, Nikita is doing pretty good on The CW, and Chuck barely gets renewed every season), but based on the trailer it appears that the show’s vibe is very close to Undercovers’. Undercovers didn’t survive very long, but perhaps what killed it wasn’t the light hearted nature of the show but the focus on domestic issues/bliss – the lead characters had tons of charisma and chemistry, but somehow people weren’t interested. Charlie’s Angels comes in with a pre-built fanbase, and that can’t hurt it chances one bit – and being more light hearted would distance it from comparisons with Nikita while right now Chuck continues to do it’s own thing (very well), and the show would likely avoid all the domestic issues. So I won’t say that Charlie’s Angels will right away head the way of Undercovers, but if people rejected one spy show so easily, the Angels will have a battle on their hands.

I will miss Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz, but at any rate filling any show with three hot (relatively unknown) female leads can’t hurt when trying to attempt the non-discerning male viewer. It’s currently hard to say if the show aims to offer more than just eye candy and hot stunts when it comes to the show, and if some of the female viewers will appreciate it. This show should pass the Bechdel test with no problems at all – and if it actually fails it I doubt it’ll be worth watching for any viewer (reruns of Sex in the City might be more interesting). That being said, the Bechdel test is far from being a guarantee of a show’s quality… so, who knows?

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are coming off the end of their long run on Smallville which always had a very devout fanbase that kept it going for 10 years, and being able to keep a show on for that long does speak volumes of their ability to run a show, especially when working with an already established universe. It does look like they’ll pay tribute to the original series (thought it must be said it can’t be too hard, since they just have to involve the Angels, Charlie on the speaker and Bosley), but as long as they keep it fun and breezy like Maimi I think these Angels will have long legs.

And I end on that very bad pun.


The technological backbone of, Alvin’s machinist-nature also ensures that this blog remains alive when the unpredictable Murphy’s Law comes into effect.

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