The social media conversation around ABC’s upcoming fall slate was dominated by mixed-ish, a spin-off of the network’s comedy hit black-ish, according to analysis by The WIT.
Scheduled on Tuesdays as a lead-in to black-ish, the spin-off tells the story of a young Rainbow Johnson coming of age in a mixed-race family in the 1980s. The trailer had about 10.8 million views on its official Facebook page and ABC’s YouTube channel. It also spawned more than 10,000 social media comments on Twitter and Facebook. (As with the new shows on the other broadcast networks, social media conversation has been more limited this year—the buzziest ABC pickup in 2018, The Rookie, had 12 million views, more than 54,000 Facebook likes and some 6,000 tweets.)
“As usual in shows tackling gender or race issues, there are polarized (and often politically biased) opinions,” says The WIT’s Geise Fiscina, who found some viewers asking, sarcastically, what community would get the next “ish” show. There were also critiques that the “premise is narrow in scope and reductionist, since interracial and multi-ethnic families may have different backgrounds. Many also believed it is pointless to extend the franchise [which also includes grown-ish on Freeform]. Moreover, the social media crowd pointed out the lack of continuity in the casting, especially the case of Rainbow’s mom, who suddenly appears dark-skinned in this prequel.”
There was positive feedback too, Fiscina adds, “Many thought that the trailer featured an accurate representation of biracial people and the stigmas and tensions towards them. A special mention goes to the child actress who plays Rainbow’s little sister for her fun and sassy character!”
The new drama addition to the ABC Tuesday schedule, Emergence, centers on a sheriff who takes in a young child she finds near the site of a mysterious accident who has no memory of what has happened. Its trailer had 9.9 million views in the week since the upfront, but social media traction was low with just 1,000 Instagram followers and about 1,000 tweets. “The trailer gave the social media crowd a bit of a Manifest meets Stranger Things feel,” said Fiscina. “Some even dubbed it as ‘ABC’s annual attempt at trying to make another Lost.’ Most of the viewers expressed positive feelings about the cast, with special enthusiasm around leading actresses Allison Tolman (Fargo, Good Girls) and Alexa Swinton. On the negative side, users [argued] that it is pointless to get interested in the story as ABC’s mystery/conspiracy-based shows end up getting canceled too early, without resolution.”
ABC’s other new fall drama is Stumptown, based on the comic-book series of the same name by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth, which had about 9.5 million trailer views. Again, social media traction was slow, with about 1,000 Instagram followers and 4,000 Facebook likes. The conversation was centered on star Cobie Smulders, who viewers are excited to see have her own show. “Again, as usual, some social media users are ready to predict an early cancelation and are not holding their breath for a season two. Some even urged Netflix to pick it up already!”