ABC’s well-reviewed alien skein, a reimagining of the 1980s miniseries, bowed Tuesday to the best numbers for a new 8 p.m. drama since “Lost” in 2004.
The legacy sci-fi re-boot is one of two serials ABC is looking at to fill the scheduling and audience gap LOST will leave once it concludes in 2010. In addition to V, FlashForward is looked upon as an heir apparent. It has been well documented how serials struggle not only against procedural dramas, but also the still popular reality TV.
Whether the serialized storytelling can be sustained is potentially another matter (witness the growing pains experienced by ABC’s “FlashForward”), but at least in terms of the acrobatics that go into a polished launch, “V” sticks the landing.
And that is not where the similarities between V and FlashForward end. Soon after being picked up for the entire season, FlashForward made this announcement:
After learning the ropes in a co-showrunner capacity on the original 12-episode order of “FlashForward” alongside Guggenheim, Goyer will fly solo for the series’ back-nine order.
Coincidentally or not, FlashForward’s ratings started to slide leading into a major distraction in terms of the baseball World Series. A somewhat rude, but not entirely unexpected, interruption that it did not need when developing a complex plot line.
“FlashForward” (9 million viewers, 2.7 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) should have seen this coming. The most male-skewing show in ABC’s lineup fell 13% against the World Series, though perhaps gripes about the show maintaining the promise of its pilot are more to blame.
Was the show-runner hand-off to blame? ABC certainly hopes not since the other horse it is backing in the race to replace LOST is in similar shoes.
The network, which recently swapped writer-producers on “FlashForward,” is now subbing “V” showrunner Scott Peters with “Chuck” veteran Scott Rosenbaum. Peters will continue working on the show.
To be fair, comparing the two situations is not apples to apples. In the case of FlashForward, a relative novice was learning the ropes of a large scale production. V, on the other hand, has been the subject of rumors before it even aired, leading to concern among the community awaiting the new show.
In the case of FlashForward, the change may have always been plan of record, but with V artistic differences appear to be at the root. Any changes to FlashForward are subtle at best. Fans that leave were probably just fair weather. For V, the test will be after it returns to your HDTV from hiatus. Only then will you really see the change in direction and how the audience reacts.
Time, and the overnights, will tell. Happy viewing.