ABC stirred up a little late-afternoon excitement in the TV world on Friday (November 1), ordering up additional episodes for three of its freshman comedies.
Per ABC’s announcement, Tuesday duo “Trophy Wife” and “The Goldbergs” both received full back-nine orders. While “Super Fun Night” wasn’t quite as lucky, the Wednesday comedy earned an additional four episodes.
The expanded orders came after a week in which all three comedies were given the opportunity to stand without their high-profile lead-ins and a couple of them shined, relatively speaking.
Airing without a new “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on Tuesday, “The Goldbergs” drew 5.43 million viewers and did a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49. “Trophy Wife” drew 4.33 million and did a 1.4 rating in that key demo. For “Goldbergs,” that was up slightly in viewers and flat in the key demo, while “Trophy Wife” was up week-to-week in both measures.
Airing on Wednesday after a repeat of “Modern Family,” “Super Fun Night” definitely dropped, but with 5.17 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo rating, that was enough for ABC to want some more inventory for the Rebel Wilson comedy.
The news was less good for the network’s other new comedy, the Wednesday 8:30 sitcom “Back in the Game,” which will air its 13 episode run, but will not be picked up for any additional episodes. [You can perhaps start doing the math on “Back in the Game,” which has aired six episodes, to start estimating a return date for “Suburgatory.”]
Personally, I gave up on “Super Fun Night” after three episodes. If somebody wants to tell me it has gotten better, maybe I’ll check back in at some point, but I feel like I’ve seen enough.
“Trophy Wife” was perhaps my favorite net network pilot for the fall and it has continued to be an early standout for me. The pleasure of watching Malin Akerman on a weekly basis hasn’t been a surprise, but I continue to be impressed by how well the show is handling the main character’s relationship with her on-screen hubby, played by the expertly deadpan Bradley Whitford. Michaela Watkins and Marcia Gay Harden have both been occasionally hilarious, but the real supporting standouts have been Ryan Lee as Warren and Albert Tsai as Bert. Before the show began, I had fears about its ability to use Natalie Morales and those fears haven’t been dissipated and, in fact, Morales has been absent in more episodes than she’s appeared in so far. But this remains a comedy that I think could have real value for ABC and I can’t help but think that with a better title, it might not have struggled like it has.
I was less immediately enamored of “The Goldbergs” and it still remains a show about a family that likes to yell entirely too much. But when they aren’t yelling, I find myself somewhat warming to the characters and I just wish the actors would trust the sometimes strong writing a bit more. I do find that I laugh a couple times per week at “The Goldbergs” and that has been enough to keep me watching relatively contentedly. I like how the show’s uber-80s timeframe has become something of a running joke and yet folks on my Twitter feed keep suddenly noticing that the years don’t line up from cultural reference to cultural reference. Yes, this is a show in which “Poltergeist” and the Reebok Pump came out the same year. Do you think the writers are unaware that this doesn’t match? They know. Move on.
Anyway, I endorse a network allowing comedies the chance to grow. The big question is when ABC will make the move to give either “Trophy Wife” or “The Goldbergs” the post-“Modern Family” slot. They’re both more compatible than “Super Fun Night” and these pickups indicate that ABC has less confidence in Rebel Wilson. It seems to me like “The Goldbergs” has had the chance to at least get a sampling thanks to “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” meaning that “Trophy Wife” deserves a chance on Wednesday. But what do I know?
Are you pleased with these ABC pickups? Are you watching any or all of the three comedies? And will you miss “Back in the Game” after it’s done?