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ABC’s New Fall 2013 Shows

Continuing the trend Hera started yesterday, I’m going to take a look at the new shows that ABC is planning to air during the upcoming fall season.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Synopsis: Agent Phil Coulson puts together a small team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.
Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, J. August Richards

If you ignore the ridiculously convoluted title, this show – high off the success of last summer’s billion-dollar blockbluster The Avengers – looks to be one of the better new fall TV shows. The nerds were on-board as soon as it was announced that it was happening. Although the concept isn’t all that original (a secret agency investigating various “weird” phenomena is nothing new), the way it’s being approached is pretty fresh – with humans at the center of a larger, superhero-infested world. Being a Joss Whedon show, the angle is much more focused on how the supers are just “normal” people. That, combined with what looks to be a slew of interesting characters (especially Angel-alum J. August Richards’ superhero character whose speculated as being either Luke Cage or Rage), some awesome and probably very expensive visuals, and Whedonesque humor, promises something truly great. Even better if we get a surprise cameo from Maria Hill.

Verdict: Yes! Whedon and long-form Marvel that doesn’t need to conform to a cookie-cutter movie approach means I’m in.

The Goldbergs

Synopsis: The ’80s-set series revolves around an overbearing, hyper-emotional shopaholic with no sense of boundaries and a big mouth. Nonetheless, she’s a very dedicated mom.
Starring: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, George Segal

Along with The Americans and The Carrie Diaries, ABC’s new show The Goldbergs continues this trend of TV revisiting the 1980s. Yet another sitcom about a dysfunctional family, this one – narrated by comedian Patton Oswalt – seems to be a cross between The Wonder Years and another ABC show, The Middle. The inclusion of the quirky younger brother character with the video camera is especially reminiscent of The Middle. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good thing or not. The humor in the preview doesn’t really gel with the sentimentality it’s building up to, but that could just be a product of seeing the pilot compressed into 2 minutes and some-odd seconds.

Verdict: I’ll watch the pilot and maybe the first few episodes thereafter. Things could pick up, but I’m not overly hopeful (or invested). 

Trophy Wife

Synopsis: They say the third time’s the charm and reformed party girl Kate is hoping that’s true when she becomes Pete’s third wife. She fell into his arms (literally) at a karaoke bar and a year later, Kate’s got an insta-family complete with three stepchildren and two ex-wives.
Starring: Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins

I’d heard bits and pieces of information about this show for a while now, to the point that I figured it was one of those shows that would never come to fruition. But, here it is. Based on the logline, I was expecting something very broad and over the top, with Ackerman getting crazy drunk and forgetting to tuck the kids into bed or something. Thankfully, the reality seems a lot more grounded. Ackerman comes off as pretty endearing, and the ex-wives don’t seem overly menacing or evil.

Verdict: Why not? I had no interest in seeing this yesterday, but now I’ll at least watch the first few episodes to get a better sense of where the show’s going. 

Lucky 7

Synopsis: A show about seven employees of a service station in Queens whose lives are changed in many unexpected ways when they win a lottery jackpot.
Starring:  Matt Long, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Stephen Louis Grush

I don’t even know what this show is supposed to be. It’s an hour-long, so a drama… I guess. There’s a bit of family drama, a bit of mob (?) drama, and a light dusting of comedy. However, the drama looks crappy and the humor looks humorless. Basically, this show looks like it doesn’t know what it wants to be even before it gets a chance to air.

Verdict: Nope. Nothing in the preview made me even remotely interested in anything that was going on.

Super Fun Night

Synopsis: Three nerdy female friends embark on a quest to have super fun every Friday night in the single-cam project.
Starring:  Rebel Wilson, Lauren Ash, Liza Lapira, Kelen Coleman

I like Rebel Wilson. She’s known for the “kooky” side characters she plays on the big-screen in such films like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, so it’s nice to see her play a more grounded, yet still quirky leading lady. The preview wasn’t super funny, but the show definitely seems like the type to grow into itself later on in the first season. (Rumor has it that the pilot tested really poorly with audiences, and the only reason it was picked up is because ABC wanted to put Wilson on their payroll. Hmm, we’ll see how that pans out.)

Verdict: I’ll check it out. I’m guessing, if it’s not canceled, this is the type of show that will get better with age.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Synopsis: In Victorian England, the young and beautiful Alice tells a tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole.
Starring:  Sophie Lowe, Peter Gadiot, Michael Socha

This and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are currently competing for most unnecessarily wordy TV titles. I would like to go on record as someone who despises OUAT. That convoluted mess is the bane of my existence (okay, maybe that’s going a little over the top). However, this spin-off is looking to be a pleasant surprise. It seems to be leaving behind all the crap that I hate about the original series (like the huge “cheese” factor), and introducing a cool new universe to play around in. Another huge plus for me is the characters, who don’t come across horrifically bad like the ones in OUAT. Judging by the trailer alone, Sophie Lowe, who plays Alice, seems like an actress who can carry a television show a lot better than Jennifer Morrison. While the romance looks a little over the top, the interesting characters – among them the Knave of Hearts who’s played by former werewolf Michael Socha – means it could be something I’ll end up rooting for. Here’s hoping the fact that it’s limited run will keep it from turning into the shit-storm the parent series currently is.

Verdict: Out of nowhere, it’s claimed my number two “most desired” spot – S.H.I.E.L.D. being number one, of course.

Betrayal

Synopsis: A beautiful but unhappily married female photographer begins a torrid affair with a lawyer for a powerful family. When he turns out to be defending a murder suspect who is being prosecuted by her husband, the relationship and the case begin a spiraling series of betrayals with cataclysmic results for everyone involved.
Starring:  James Cromwell, Henry Thomas, Hannah Ware, Stuart Townsend

Hell no. This looks like it’s trying to be an artsy indie movie about an affair. How can that possibly be stretched out into a TV series? Oh, okay, I see. Throw out your faux-artsy crap at the end of the pilot and replace it with soapy, contrived nonsense. Stuart Townsend, I know you’re better than this (I don’t really know that). And what’s with these show titles, lately? Scandal. Revenge. Deception. Now, Betrayal.

Verdict: No. Just no.

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