Is Optimism the New Trend for Fall TV??

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Back in July, Family Guy and Ted creator Seth MacFarland told fans about his brighter, more hopeful vision in science fiction television, with his new fall show The Orville. Today, news breaks from stars and producers of two other broadcast network, primetime dramas, about a brighter, more hopeful tone.  Grey’s Anatomy co-star Giacomo Gianniotti talked to TVLine about a lighter tone this season.  Also, co-creator of Agent Carter Tara Butters tells THR her new show “is really about hope.”  Is optimism the new trend for fall broadcast television?

In July, Seth MacFarland talked about how science-fiction television in general had vacated the hopeful, optimistic media space Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek first explored in the late 1960s. “I’m sick of depressing science fiction,” Mr MacFarland said.  His new show The Orville tells stories about “a future where humanity generally got our [stuff] together.”

Today, Mr Gianniotti said of Grey’s Anatomy Season 14, “It’s funnier… it’s lighter,” co-star Giacomo Gianniotti tells TVLine of Season 14, which kicks off with a two-hour episode on Sept. 28. “We’re going to have fun this season.  As Gianniotti notes, the ABC drama has “been dreary for a long time;… we want to show the characters having some fun.”  The doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital have endured several seasons of separation and loss, so it’s high time for some catharsis and hope.

Also today, Ms Butters, who previously made Agent Carter with Michelle Fazekas, talked to THR about their new show, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. “For us, the show really is about hope, because I feel like right now on television, there [are] more shows about dystopian possibilities than there [are] about people actually learning to be kind to each other,” said Ms Butters, “Now, I say that, and then [I] want to undercut the earnestness of that line. At the heart of our show, [the message is]: ‘Don’t be an asshole.’ ”

Ms Butters also discussed the title change of the show, formerly, The Gospel According to Kevin, now Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.  Ms Butters and Ms Fazekas wanted to make a show about hope and spirituality that accessable to everyone.   Producers and stars alike felt the word Gospel was too limiting. “Ultimately you can be a religious person or you cannot be a religious person and still connect with Kevin’s quest to be a better person,”  Ms Butters said.  In the US about 80% of people believe in God (or some religion), and over 70% of those identify as some type of Christian — the rest Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu.  So, it makes sense for some mainstream programming to have a narrative that puts faith in a positive light.  And with the widespread dystopian and dreary storylines, viewers are due some catharsis and hope.

Optimism, hope and faith are some pretty good ideals to strive toward.  The Orville premiers with optimism on Fox broadcast television on Sept 10th.  Grey’s Anatomy Season 14 begins a lighter tone with a two-hour special on Sept. 28 on your local ABC affiliate.  Kevin (Probably) Saves the World premiers with faith and hope on ABC, this Oct 3d.  Check your local listings for times and channels.  TVoverMind will continue to bring you coverage of all your favorite shows, so check back often.

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