TV Q&A: 'Last Man Standing' works for ABC lineup

  • Article by: ROB OWEN , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Updated: December 1, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Tim Allen and Nancy Travis star in the ABC show “Last Man Standing.”

Q: I’m surprised that ABC sticks with “Last Man Standing.” Tim Allen’s show isn’t “Malibu Country”-awful, but the 1980s sitcom vibe is stale and the bizarre decision to recast the oldest daughter poisoned the family’s compatibility dynamic. The youngest daughter’s transition from a smart, thoughtful, amusingly sarcastic student-athlete into a one-note G.I. Jane ROTC fanatic is desperately foolish, and the Ryan character is an arrogant, condescending, self-righteous buzzkill who freeze-frames the show whenever he’s on screen. I’m glad that the always reliable Nancy Travis and Hector Elizondo are on board, but they deserve better than “Last Man Standing.”

Does the show have great ratings, or does ABC simply not have an actual entertaining comedy on deck to occupy the time slot?

A: The reality is that “Last Man Standing” gets better ratings than its smarter, funnier companion series, “The Neighbors.” ABC has been trying to re-establish Friday with a TGIF-styled block of comedies for several years. Although the network has more ratings success with reality show “Shark Tank,” “Last Man” does well enough to keep it in the mix.

Would ABC still hang on to the show without Tim Allen? Doubtful. But it likes being in business with brand-name stars, even if the shows are mediocre at best.

Saying goodbye to Finn

Q: What is said under the picture of Finn Hudson on the plaque they hung on the wall in the Finn’s death episode of “Glee”? I replayed it several times but couldn’t make it out.

A: The lighting was bad in that shot, but I was able to make out the Finn quote: “The show must go on … all over the place or something.”

‘Flashpoint’ won’t go away

Q: I’m a fan of “Flashpoint.” I heard Ion didn’t renew the series, but it continues to be on during the week and Sunday. If it still has a following, why cancel?

A: Ion has canceled “Flashpoint” and isn’t ordering new episodes but will continue to re-air old episodes. Airing reruns is significantly less costly than producing new episodes, so my guess is that cancellation was a financial decision.

No more fast-forwarding

Q: In the past, when I watched CBS On Demand on Comcast, I was able to use the fast-forward function. Now I can’t. Has CBS changed its policy for On Demand shows?

A: My understanding is that all the networks disabled the fast-forward option with the start of the new TV season in September because the first three days of video-on-demand playback is now counted in the Nielsen C3 commercial ratings.

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