Monday, March 30, 2009

What have I done to you, ABC?

ABC and I have a long, tortured relationship. It has historically been home to some of my favorite shows. Some, like LOST and Grey's Anatomy, have been supported, successful, and gotten proper runs. Others, like My So-Called Life, Relativity, Eyes, The Nine, and Sports Night, have been cancelled far too early. Even when ABC breaks my heart by cancelling my beloved shows after only 15 or so episodes, I still come back because every fall, they have the new shows that appeal to me the most.

But this is too much. Back in 1998, ABC premiered two new shows that I loved. Everyone remembers Sports Night, the glorious Aaron Sorkin show that had better ratings than its second season cancellation would suggest. It's been shown on Comedy Central since then and the entire series is on DVD (and in my living room). Few people other than me and my mom remember the other one. It starred Jeremy Piven, before he became Ari Gold, and Paula Marshall as Trevor and Clare. Trevor claimed he was Cupid and had been sent to New York by Zeus with instructions to match 100 couples. (What a convenient number that is, as 100 is gold in the syndication world.) Clare was the psychiatrist assigned by the state of New York to oversee Trevor's care after his release from a mental hospital. It was funny, witty, intelligent, and surprising. I cried when ABC cancelled it.

And now they're bringing it back. The same producer, Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars fame), the same premise, even the same character names. Only this time it's Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson. Huh???

If ABC were just starting this show from scratch now, I'm sure I'd watch it. I'd probably enjoy it. I've always liked Sarah Paulson, ever since Jack & Jill (not an ABC show, but short-lived). But it's not starting from scratch. It's an idea I loved 10 years ago. ABC liked it 10 years ago, seeing as how they put it on the air. Evidently, they still like the idea now. If only they'd given the original a real chance back in 1998. Because now, I haven't seen the original in 10 years, but I have 10 years of remembering how great it was and how much I loved it.

I'll watch the new version anyway, but, man, it just won't be the same. I can't imagine that I won't watch every episode comparing it to how I remember the original. It's going to have to be extraordinary this time around for the new version to live up to how fantastic I have built the original up to be in my head all these years.

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