ABC is going back to the well of reliable old stories for a pair of new dramas this fall. With Charlie's Angels, the network is updating a property that has already been both a hit show and a hit movie series with a newer, younger cast. The other new drama, Once Upon A Time, will draw inspiration--and characters--from some of our most beloved childrens' fairy tales.
It's a good strategy, really, and one that I advise online video creators to follow: take something you already know works with audiences, and give it a new twist. The hints of the familiar can draw them in, while the changes and updates can be a great way to keep the viewer hooked.
We just so happen to have exclusive online video previews of both shows, through the graciousness of ABC, so I thought I'd take a look and give you my thoughts.
The original Charlie's Angels series ran on ABC from 1976 to 1981--that's only five years for the math-impaired among us. It was a ratings smash in its first season, but slowly lost popularity every year.
There was a failed spin-off, called Toni's Boys, in 1980. And then, twenty years later, two major motion pictures revived the franchise thanks to the star power of Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore--who is also a producer on the new ABC series.
Looking to breathe some new life into familiar roles, producers have cast three young, attractive actresses. Which I guess is sort of a must for a show like this.
But is it going to be any good? Why not give this exclusive sneak preview a look and judge for yourself:
Of course, there's no way we can know how good or bad this thing will be from a two minute preview, but I'm not exactly bowled over with that clip. However, all the hallmarks of Charlie's Angels appear to be there: action, skimpy clothing, exotic locales, and some humor. But plenty of now-cancelled shows have featured pretty girls with guns. We'll have to hope there's something more of substance behind the scenes as well, so that viewers are able to connect to these characters in some way.
Once Upon A Time
The other new ABC drama this fall also relies on something old--fairy tales. Once Upon A Time is from a couple of former Lost writers, and with that bit of knowledge you might expect some fantasy elements to be involved. And you'd be correct.
Once Upon A Time follows a woman named Anna Swan (House's Jennifer Morrison) as she finds herself in a new town called Storybrooke. What initially appears to be a normal small town soon begins to reveal a shroud of mystery. Are the town's residents all fairy tale characters? Are they being held there against their will?
Here's another exclusive extended video preview from ABC:
Here's what I think is promising about Once Upon A Time: I've never seen anything like this on network television. It's got fairy tale characters, alternate universes and parallel worlds, magic, sword fights... it's a combination of elements I think is very unique. Now, that alone doesn't mean it will be good. But it does probably mean ABC can build a big initial audience just based on viewers' curiosity. They'll have to deliver the goods week in and week out in order to keep those viewers.