Last July, “The Vineyard,” a series about a handful of 20-somethings on Martha’s Vineyard premiered to mixed reaction by cable television viewers across the Island and the country.
The series followed a mix of locals and so-called “wash-ashores” as they summered on Martha’s Vineyard and worked for the Black Dog while living in a beachfront home on East Chop overlooking Nantucket Sound — so much for reality. The plot focused primarily on young lust and its consequences, all tied to multiple hookups and temporarily shattered friendships.
One year ago, ABC Family announced in a press release that it had picked up the show, described as a dramatic coming-of-age docu-soap. Filming began in May.The news in February that reality TV had discovered the Island drew gasps from some Island residents.
Filming for eight, one-hour episodes began in May and wrapped up in June. By most accounts, the production barely created a ripple of excitement or inconvenience.
ABC Family and 25/7 Productions, which produced the show, have not commented on the show’s return. “Since this is an ABC Family show, we can’t comment on it,” Dave Broome, executive producer of 25/7 Productions, said in an email to The Times.
“A decision hasn’t been made about a second season of The Vineyard,” Jori Arancio, Vice President of Media Relations for ABC Family, told The Times in a phone call. “That’s all I can say.”
The show was pretty much panned by Islanders, who took to The Times website and Facebook with criticisms that it was unrealistic and not representative of the Island. Mainland critics were more forgiving. The series received an average of three stars by major TV reviewers that included TV.com and IMDB.
There was some support for the Vineyard cast members, which included Cat Todd of Oak Bluffs and Ben Rossi of West Tisbury.
“They tried something new and different. I applaud them for that, despite how the show turned out,” said one commenter to The Times website.
Now working at a bar and grill in New Jersey, Ben is waiting to hear from producers about whether there will be a second season.
Appearing in a TV show was a new experience. “I’m used to being on the sidelines, and I’d never really been on camera before,” he said. “It was a surreal experience, but I got used to it quickly because everyone on the show had a really good attitude.”
He came in for his share of ribbing. “My friends gave me a hard time, of course, about being in a show about the Island, but they were supportive and my family was great,” he said.
People were quick to judge even before the show aired. “A lot of people were talking badly about it before it even came out, but it turned out great, just like I expected,” he said.
Ben hopes there will be a second season. “I think most of the original cast would do it again,” he said. “It was so much fun, really a great time. I loved every second of it.”
Cat Todd of Oak Bluffs, the other Islander featured in the series, could not be reached for comment.
Dan Pucillo, Black Dog chief operating officer, said he has no updates. “The last time we heard from the producers about a second season was early January,” he said. “Talks with ABC were looking positive, but there’s new ABC Family leadership, and that’s changed it up.”
At the same time that the future of “The Vineyard” remains in doubt, “The Vineyard Project,” a new reality show focused on members of the Island’s affluent summer African-American community has appeared on the horizon.