With the exception of “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC has not had the best luck finding footholes for its series on Thursday nights. Yes, “Grey’s” recently departed spin-off “Private Practice,” can be called a success, but not to the level of its big sister series. Nor has anything worked in the dead zone known as the “lead-off” spot, but last year the network found a modest hit at 10 p.m. in “Scandal,” and now it’s risen to become appointment television!
When “Scandal” was brought back last May, ABC ordered 13 episodes, which was more than the 7 episodes of its first season, but less than the 20+ episode that constitute a full season run. However as the season progressed, “Scandal” has come into its own and built up a loyal following that consistently gives timeslot rival “Elementary” a run for its money in the all-important 18-34 demographic. In fact “Scandal” has also become one of the most social media savvy online series on TV, which helped it secure an additional 9 episode order.
The first of those new episodes begins tonight and will pick up 10 months following the events of last week’s “soft” midseason finale. Creator Shondra Rhimes had only planned for those first 13 episodes, but when the show was given the extra vote of confidence just a few weeks into sophomore run, she and her team had to find a way to continue (and top) the original seasons storyline.
Fans aren’t at all worried though about the “tacked on” arc as they are well versed in what Rhimes can accomplish is a short period time. In an interview today with HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall, Rhimes also made news by promising fans that she’s not moving away from the storylines that made the show’s current season so amazing.
“And we want to be clear that we're not just going to go, "Okay, that happened, and now everything's back to normal," and we're going to drop everything and pretend that none of that happened. That's not the world we're working in.”
“Scandal” also owes a debt to it talented ensemble led by star Kerry Washington. The actress, who currently is also being seen on the big screen in “Django Unchained,” may just now have found her breakout role, but she’s no rookie. Having worked opposite Jamie Foxx in “Ray” and Forest Whitaker in “The Last King Of Scotland,” Washington knows how to command attention.
She’s joined on screen by “Ghost” veteran Tony Goldwyn, “West Wing” staple Joshua Malina and a pair of “Grey’s” alums (Jeff Perry, Kate Burton) among many others. Hollywood’s go-to villain Gregg Henry also has a recurring role this season and fan favorite Barry Bostwick even popped up for one of the show’s trademark flashback episodes.
All in all “Scandal” is a fun ride that has probably benefited greatly from CBS’ decision to move “The Mentalist” to Sundays. As the show begins its extended season two swan song tonight, you should think about tuning in for TV’s latest guilty pleasure; you won’t be disappointed.
“Scandal” airs tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC.