This is not a joke: ABC is seriously bringing back Rob Thomas’s whimsical Cupid ten years after they unceremoniously buried it. I guess it’s finally going to be Thomas’s year (like it was Josh Schwartz’s last year). Good. My only caveat: where was this love back when he was trying to keep Veronica Mars on track during its muddled third (and final) season?
It’s especially puzzling to see the CW chasing down Thomas for an update/spinoff of Beverly Hills 90210. Though it’s nice to see the network tacitly admitting it was wrong to meddle with Veronica Mars, why not give Thomas something more constructive to do? Every other year there’s a hot new show that’s anointed “the new 90210“. The challenge isn’t hooking kids with the first season; it’s guiding the show past that tricky second season (which is where The O.C. ignominiously flew off the rails). And I doubt Thomas is going to stick around much beyond the first twenty-or-so episodes.
If anything, I think he’ll throw himself into making sure Cupid stays on the air this time. It’s not often (if ever) that you get a chance to restart a failed series ten years after the network canned it – for the same network! I supposed it’s too much to hope for the return of Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall as the bantering leads. In case you forgot (or, more likely, never watched it in the first place), Cupid starred Piven as a seemingly regular guy who claims to be the god of love. This earns him a brief stay in the loony bin, where he encounters a hot-and-perky psychiatrist (Marshall) who vouches for his sanity. Basically, she thinks he’s a harmless kind of crazy, but when he begins to succeed in his quest to unite disparate souls in love, she finds herself kinda taken with the guy.
It was a cute premise executed with just the right mix of sweetness and quirky humor, and it should’ve been a hit the first time around. Unfortunately, ABC stuck it in the no-win 10 PM Saturday time slot; in other words, it aired right around the time its target audience was trying to chase down a little love of its own.
It’ll be interesting to see how Thomas casts his new Cupid. Knowing that he likes to recycle actors as much as possible, it’d be nice to see him try a gender-reversed take with Kristen Bell. But if he sticks to the traditional approach, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries Jason Dohring in the lead role (though he might need to think a little bigger than that).