How much did I love this show? It had moved all the way up to #2 on my DVR prioritizer (just behind Community). I went on a run from the start of the second season through about the time where ABC started running episodes out of order where I saved every episode because they were so good. I very rarely let an episode of any show stay on my DVR. So the fact that I have close to 10 episodes of Apt 23 saved says something.
Unfortunately, what that says is that this is more of a cult show than a big mainstream hit. The very fact that I like a tv show means it's different than most other shows. I hate cliche tv. I've seen every trope there is. And unless you can at least present a trope in a new way I don't care. Community is the best example of actively inverting cliches, which is why it's my favorite show. Another example is The Big Bang Theory. The show is rife with cliches. But I watch it because it's at least presented in a unique way, through characters that are "geeks". I like it because I'm a geek like them. So it blunts the cliches, though sometimes not enough for me to roll my eyes.
Apt 23 doesn't invoke many cliches I can think of. I guess it's a female version of The Odd Couple, which is such an old show that the similarities didn't even occur to me until someone pointed it out yesterday when news of the cancelation broke. You can argue that the Odd Couple thing is a cliche. I'd tend to agree. But the reason it works with Apt 23 is because the two main characters are female. And while the concept might be a trope, they aren't very cliche characters.
June is kind of a cliche small town girl while Chloe is kind of a cliche big city girl. But they are deep, quirky, and likable enough to overcome those labels. That's in no small part to the two awesome actors who play the characters, Dreama Walker and Krysten Ritter. Dreama plays June with just enough naiveté that we root for her. And Krysten plays Chloe with enough charm that we root for her even though she can be crazy.
And of course there is James Van Der Beek, playing a dramatized version of himself. They have him do stuff that is just ridiculous enough to be funny but not make him seem like a too unrealistic version of himself. I can't think of any instance where the character didn't work. He was funny nearly all the time.
In one sense I have to applaud ABC for developing and airing the show. Like NBC with Community and Fox with Firefly, they could just as easily decided not to do the show at all and put a more safe show on tv that was more likely to get a bigger audience. But apparently some people that help run these networks see some value in trying to create something more than a cliche sitcom.
While these people seem willing to try it, they don't seem willing to carry through with it for too long amidst low ratings. But what they don't seem to get (or to be fair, what may not add up $ wise) is that the audience for shows like Apt 23, Community, Firefly, and Chuck (which I've been rewatching and falling in love with all over again) are more dedicated than those of more popular shows. Until networks figure out how to take advantage of this fact I fear the fans will continue to have their hearts broken. And that may have the effect of us not trying new shows because we are scared of being hurt, which in turn hurts the network. Meanwhile, I want to thank everyone involved in Apt 23. It was great while it last. Best wishes in the future.