Saturday, July 16, 2011

2011-12 Fall Preview: Hits and Misses, Part I: ABC.

For the first time in three years, I missed the upfronts entirely. HUGE bummer. I think watching the upfronts made me like the shows more. There's something about seeing a preview on a ginormous screen in surround sound, and then having that show's stars come out on stage and smile and wave and the network president coming out and putting his or her arm around them like they're great friends and crack an awkward joke or two that nobody catches except for the people sitting in the first three rows... Wait, where was I? Oh yes, the new fall schedule. Without further ado, my opinion of the new fall shows. Let's start with ABC.

Charlie's Angels (Thursdays at 8PM): I knew this remake was coming, and yet, I'm still disappointed that it's here. I was really hoping this wouldn't be made, because I never watched the original, and the Drew Barrymore movies were just okay. As for the show, the trailer looks meh. It's about 30 seconds long, because you're already supposed to know what the show is about. My notes: "will probably go the way of that show about the four women detectives, Women's Murder Club: moderate viewership, followed quickly by oblivion and then cancelation." Grade: C-.

Last Man Standing (Tuesdays at 8PM): Two words: Tim Allen. Guh. Grade: F.

Okay, to be fair, let me actually watch the rest of the trailer. It looks like a family comedy a la According to Jim- you know, hapless, bumbling father with three daughters and a harried wife. This formula has worked for ABC many, many, many, (kill me now) MANY times. Almost a guaranteed renewal, even if it totally sucks. Grade: Still F.

Man Up (Tuesdays at 830PM): Another comedy with "Man" in the title. By the way, this show should get an F on title alone. Man Up? Seriously, ABC? Why even bother making a trailer, since I already know what this show is about: buffoonish manchildren married to attractive women who somehow put up with them. I watched the trailer (one minute, 55 seconds I will never get back) and it's about: buffoonish manchildren married to attractive women who somehow put up with them. ABC, a bit of advice: Abort! Abort! Grade: F.

Once Upon a Time (Sundays at 8PM): A fairy tale series. I'm with you so far. A mom moves into a town called Storybrooke. According to her creepy son, nobody can leave this town, or else bad things happen. Jumby wants to be born! The townspeople are all fairy tale characters but they don't know it. Ginnifer Goodwin is in it. Jennifer Morrison (House) plays the mom. Interesting twist: Turns out the mom is in this fairy tale, too. She is from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming's missing daughter. According to the ABC description, her parents "sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen's curse, which trapped the fairy tale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world." Ooh. Sold. Grade: B+.

Pan Am (Sundays at 10PM): My notes, verbatim: "Christina Ricci. Stewardesses back in the 1960s. Mad Men set at an airport. Lots of potential." Grade: A-.

Suburgatory (Wednesdays at 830PM): Right off the bat, the narrator (a sarcastic outcast girl) is very funny. Reminds me of Emma Stone's character in Easy A. The show is about a girl who gets into "condomgate" in Manhattan and her dad forces her to move to the 'burbs (it looks like somewhere upstate). The people in her new town are plasticky and fake. This comedy looks really good. And it's got a great time slot between two other very funny shows, The Middle and Modern Family. Did I mention the narrator is awesome? Grade: Easy. A.

Revenge (Wednesdays at 10pm): Emily Van Camp plays a girl who was dragged out of her house kicking and screaming when she was a young child. Now she's all grown up and has moved back to the Hamptons and she's out for revenge on all the rich people. Don't know why she wants revenge- ABC only tells us "something bad happened that ruined her family and their reputation." Seems to have potential, and Emily is always a solid bet. Grade: B.

And here are the new shows coming in midseason:

Work It: A comedy about men who dress up like women so they can get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. (Why is that the only job available?) Looks funny, but has zero chance of succeeding- which were my same thoughts about Cavemen. Grade: B. Clever title, though!

Apartment 23: What on earth is this show about? I watched the trailer twice and still have only a vague idea. Basically, it's about these two roommates who don't get along, and they play pranks on each other. Or something. By the end of the trailer, they've made up. Okay, so where does the show go from here? Random: James Van Der Beek plays himself in the pilot. Grade: D.

Good Christian Belles: Kristin Chenoweth's in this! The show's about a former mean girl (Leslie Bibb) who returns to her hometown and the girls still hate her, but the guys are in love with her. Seems okay, but this trailer, like Apartment 23, feels hurried- like they crammed the whole show into two minutes. I'm wondering how long the series can last. Grade: C+.

Missing: ABC did not provide a trailer on its website, so I am going on the description alone. It's about a mom (Ashley Judd) whose son goes missing while studying abroad, and she goes to find him. Zzz. Haven't they made 87,000 movies with this exact plot? Also, how long can the son be missing before they find him? And what if they find him, will someone else go missing? Shows that have one-season concepts make me nervous that the writers will come up with ridiculous ways to stretch out the plot into another season. Not bothering with this one. Grade: D.

Scandal: Shonda Rhimes's new show. Stars Kerry Washington and Meredith Grey's alcoholic dad. Kerry is a consultant who handles political scandals. Trailer looks pretty good. I love a good political drama, and this one reminds me of The Good Wife, only way less classy (and that's awesome by me). Grade: B+.

The River: This is the one I am most excited about. It's about a nature explorer who disappears in the Amazon, and his family goes to find him. The thing is, creepy stuff starts to happen- seriously creepy stuff. The show is shot documentary style, like Paranormal Activity. And oh look, the guy who made Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli) is exec producing this one, along with Steven Spielberg. Leslie Hope (24) is in this. Love her. Love this show already. Grade: A-.

So there you have it, the enormous crop of new shows from the Alphabet Network. Some real stinkers in the bunch, but also some shows that have real potential. Next up, CBS! Stay tuned.

(Pictured: The cast of Pan Am. How hot does this show look? Am I the only one who suddenly wants to be a stewardess?)


  1. Revenge premieres 21 September at 10/9c, not midseason.