In the past, a once-cancelled TV show like A.P. Bio would have needed fans to move mountains to get back on the air, be it though letter-writing campaigns, public stunts, or (in more recent times) viral internet campaigns. Of course, such attempts don't guarantee shows the second life that projects like Star Trek or Jericho successfully received. However, A.P. Bio creator Mike O’Brien’s sardonic but heartwarming sitcom was lucky enough to be revived not too long after its cancellation was first reported, thanks to one word: Peacock.
Though the sophomore NBC comedy found itself axed from broadcast TV, a key discovery saved A.P. Bio before it truly headed to the dissection table: audiences apparently love to stream the show. That trend directly led to execs ordering the third season that’s currently streaming on Peacock right now. In the eyes of the show’s cast members, this turn of events couldn’t have been more pleasing.
CinemaBlend spoke with several of the show’s main cast members recently as part of the press day highlighting the currently streaming Season 3. Naturally, as I'm both a fan and journalist curious about TV necromancy, one of the first questions that came to mind was how everyone reacted to the big move from NBC to its proprietary streaming service. The answers were as varied as the speakers were, but one common thread was present: everyone couldn’t be happier to keep A.P. Bio going. The trio of Mary Sohn, Lyric Lewis, and Jean Villepique – better known to A.P. Bio fans as Mary, Stef, and Michelle, respectively – revealed their own endearing feelings about returning.
Mary Sohn: I don’t know about you gals, but I think the first day on set coming back, we were all like, ‘This was once taken away from us. Now we shall enjoy this to the maximum.’ We were so happy and so spirited that even the minor inconveniences of filming or whatever really went out the window. Because we were so excited, and grateful to be back.
Lyric Lewis: It was just so fun to be back. Like Mary said, it almost felt like Christmas in January. It was just so fun to be back together again, and I feel like it almost reignited that kind of second wind of like ‘Ah! We get to reinvigorate these characters and these relationships,’ and it just felt so good to be back on set together. It was really awesome. And just to get to clown a little bit harder, now that it is on streaming, in a way that we may not have been able to do before, that was a lot of fun.
Jean Villepique: Sometimes with being on network, there’s a lot of pressure. The stakes seem higher, and there’s a lot more freedom. We could do takes longer and improvise more, which we all love to do. And it’s the swearing, there’s more swearing.
Everybody loves more swearing, Jean! As you can see from the above answers, the stars' behind-the-scenes friendship was among the major forces that made Season 3 as good as it is, as well as the general appreciation that they were all allowed to return to a gig that they adored in the first place.
Of course, another party thrilled to be back on A.P. Bio duty was none other than Glenn Howerton. With him splitting his time between the Peacock-ordered season and his usual tenure on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you’d think that Howerton might have felt a little bit of relief in going back to just one hectic production cycle at a time. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Below, he shares his love and respect for A.P. Bio’s foundations, and how he feels the jump to Peacock has helped the show out:
I’ve always loved the sense of humor and the comedy of the show. I thought it actually worked well on NBC, on network, because it was a show that was so filled with wholesome characters, with the possible exception of my character. Mike O’Brien, the show’s creator, has always done a good job of making good use of sort of a different way of talking that we’re not accustomed to. I think we think that comedy has to be just really profane these days, and he found a style that’s like totally different. He didn’t want to change that too much. I mean that would kind of be the only real thing. That, and also, honestly, you get a little bit more time. The episodes can run a little bit longer, which is always helpful when you’re trying to tell a story, especially if you’re trying to have an A, B, and a C story. So not much changed, but there’s some subtle nods to the fact that things have changed a little bit this year. There’s some sort of meta language within the context of the show that I think is kind of fun.
Some of the meta-language that Glenn Howerton talked about refers to A.P. Bio letting those new swear words creep into the fabric of Whitlock High’s language, which leads to some gags questioning whether the students are allowed to swear, when then leads to a running count of the curse words used in Season 3. While there are still some words that hide behind bleep-outs, the dialogue evolution still led to some fun jabs at how things work in censorship land.
But of course, perhaps the best thing about A.P. Bio’s particularly unique renewal scenario is the fact that the move from NBC to Peacock doesn’t sound like it was all that hard to get used to. At least, it sounded like a perfect match made in heaven the way co-star Paula Pell spoke about it in our interview.
We were so thrilled! And it was so fun that it was just next door at Peacock. It’s like the neighbors wanted you! You’re kicking your child out, but the neighbors would like to adopt them. It was like a really nice feeling of still staying within the family, many of the same faces, many of the same people that we did care for so much. But I also felt like we always were aware that people were streaming the show so much, and that’s kind of what brought it to Peacock, because it’s like, ‘Oh, this is a show that’s very popular with people that like to stream shows.’ As opposed to watching them just once a week on the network. It was so fun, we were really celebrating when we found out the news, because we are selfishly just wanting to spend time with each other, and get to goof around and crack each other up.
Selfish is quite an appropriate word for how A.P. Bio is still alive and kicking on Peacock this very day. Fans immediately asked for more of the dark but sweet comedic misadventures at Whitlock High after the show's cancellation, taking to the internet with the hashtag #SaveAPBio as the sword for their cause. And thanks to the right timing, some key viewing habits, and a new streaming service looking for fresh content, that dream became a reality. Which means that if you’re a paid Peacock subscriber, you can watch all of A.P. Bio on the platform today! Though if you’re a free Peacock subscriber, you’ll only be able to watch the first two seasons and the Season 3 premiere, just to get a taste.
While waiting to see if A.P. Bio will get renewed for a fourth season, head to our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.