The upfronts are here again, that magical time of year when the American viewing public gets a first glimpse at the shows the television networks will be selling us next year, while the American advertising industry gets its first glimpse at the demographic segments of the American viewing public the networks will be selling them. Usually, this is a time for sober reflection along the lines of, “Huh, I guess someone thinks there’s an audience for that.” But occasionally, it’s a time for even more sober reflection along the lines of, “Huh, I guess they correctly figured out I was the audience for that.” That’s what happened with this trailer for ABC’s upcoming show Stumptown, an adaptation of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s series of comic books about a Portland private investigator starring Cobie Smulders:
To be precise, that’s what happened with the first half of this trailer for Stumptown, which is an absolute delight in the Higgins/Leonard/Tarantino vein. “Boneheaded crooks screw up a job beyond all recognition and chaos follows” is a pretty solid premise for a scene that you don’t see in TV too often outside of actual Elmore Leonard adaptations, at least not in the kind of full-on clown car glory that the Stumptown trailer showcases. The reason is pretty simple: That kind of chaos doesn’t lend itself well to serial storytelling, since the thing boneheaded crooks do best is get themselves killed. The second half of the trailer, in which Smulders plays an amalgam of more traditional television figures—the cop who plays by her own rules and gets results, crossed with the frequently-humiliated everywoman just trying to get by, crossed with the badass, hard-partying cool girl—looks less promising, although Smulders is great in both modes. We’ll have to wait until fall to see if ABC can provide Smulders the steady supply of boneheads Stumptown will need to succeed, but on the basis of the trailer, advertisers seeking to purchase access to my personal eyeballs should enquire at ABC. At least for the pilot.