“Lost” is done. “Ugly Betty” was canceled. “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s” are beginning to seriously show their age. Kelsey Grammer’s “Hank” and “Eastwick” were complete failures. “Flash Forward” was a mess and “V” has been a disappointment. “Scrubs” and “Better Off Ted” have sadly been canceled, “Happy Town” has, ahem, happily been canceled, “Romantically Challenged” has been quickly canceled, on and on. I think it’s safe to say that ABC is in a bit of flux right now.
On the plus side for the network, “Dancing with the Stars” remains a ratings deliverer, and “The Bachelor” inexplicably is still watched by too many people. “Castle” has turned into a reliable little show for the Alphabet, and Nathan Fillion is actually about to enter the third season of a TV show. The network also found comedy gold in “Modern Family,” arguably the best freshman comedy of last year (depending on the day, I’d argue for “Modern Family” or “Community”). “Cougar Town” has shed its original stupid premise and, in learning how to use its good cast’s strength, has quietly become a strong little comedy that will likely have a new title when it reappears next fall.
But most importantly of all, even if ABC does have some problems that need fixing, there’s this — as an insider tells me that, while they’re aware of the sea change, they continually comfort themselves in the fact that they’re not NBC. Poor NBC. …Anyway, ABC has ten new shows joining its lineup, so let’s dig in to the new fall lineup.
Mondays. Same as last year: “Dancing with the Stars” will run for two hours, with “Castle” pulling up the rear at 10.
Tuesdays. The results show for “Dancing with the Stars” will air at 9, sandwiched between two new dramas. At 8, there’s “No Ordinary Family,” which is Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz’s new show, where they’re a married couple “balancing work and their two children.” I’m going to guess that they’re no ordinary family (you know, because of the title and all) because they’re wacky and zany and what not. …Oh, wait. That’s not at all why they’re no ordinary family:
During a family vacation set up by Jim in an attempt to reconnect, their plane crashes into the Amazon River. But this is where the fun starts for the Powells, as they soon discover that something’s not quite right. Each of them now possesses unique and distinct superpowers.
Huh. The show also stars Romany Malco, George St. Cloud, Tate Donovan and Autumn Reaser and comes from Jon Harmon, who was responsible for the entertaining “Dirty Sexy Money.” While Harmon was also responsible for the decidedly unentertaining “Big Shots” and “Reunion,” given the cast, I’m in on this one.
Meanwhile, after the results show for Celebrities on Ice, it’s “Detroit 1-8-7.” Anyone who has listened to just about any hip-hop in their life knows that 1-8-7 is the police code for murder, so I think we can see where this show is going. It’s about “damaged but driven Detective Louis Fitch, a wily homicide vet” who is teamed up with a rookie partner about to have his first child, because of course he is. It’s also about the “edgy and beautiful” lady detective who’s a rising star, an undercover narcotics cop, and the “amusing mismatch” formed by the old vet teamed with the “fully Americanized son of Indian immigrants” …OK, I give. Merciful Christ. It stars Michael Imperioli and a bunch of others, and I will not be watching. But the reference to the “amusing mismatch” made me remember how much I miss ABC’s last take on cops, the nice little “The Unusuals.” That, I’d watch. This, not so much.
Wednesdays. Suddenly, ABC has a comedy night. So it’s “The Middle,” followed by the new “Better Together,” and then “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town.” The new comedy, “Better Together,” sounds a bit too close to “Modern Family,” as it focuses on three different relationships in the same family. But it’s different, you see, because it’s about relationships at three different stages. See, there’s the couple that’s been dating for a decade, that girl’s sister, who’s been dating for seven weeks but is now with child and getting married, and the girls’ parents, who “have recently adopted a carpe diem sort of philosophy.” Meh. I’ll probably give it a shot, anyways, but I can’t say I’m particularly excited by the premise (particularly given that it’s a traditional multi-camera/stage sitcom).
And speaking of not being excited, following the comedy block it’ll be the new drama “The Whole Truth,” which is another fucking legal drama starring Rob Morrow as a rising criminal defender and Joely Richardson as the Deputy Bureau Chief in NY’s DA’s office. See, this show will give us the whole truth because it will show both sides of the case, the prosecution and the defense. Blurgh.
Thursdays. “My Generation” starts the night off and, well, I’ll let the press release explain it:
What a difference ten years can make. In 2000, a documentary crew follows a disparate group of high schoolers from Greenbelt High School in Austin, TX as they prepare for graduation, then revisits these former classmates ten years later as they return home to rediscover that just because they’re not where they planned doesn’t mean they’re not right where they need to be.
It stars a bunch of people I’ve mostly never heard of and, speaking of “The Unusuals,” comes from Noah Hawley, the writer and exec producer of that show (and from “Bones,” before that). Because of that, I’ll probably gives this show a chance. But I’ll be setting my expectations low.
After “My Generation,” I’ll immediately be going to another network, because it’s followed by “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” and I don’t dig on swine.
Fridays. At 8, it’s the new reality show “Secret Millionaire,” which “follows some of America’s wealthiest people for one week as they leave behind their lavish lifestyles, sprawling mansions and luxury jets, conceal their true identities, and go to live and volunteer in some of the most impoverished and dangerous communities in America.” At the end of the episode, they’ll give away $100K. That’s nice of them. And if this sounds familiar, it’s because the same show was on Fox two years ago for a brief spell of time. It didn’t do well, but I guess in the wake of “Undercover Boss” being a hit for CBS, ABC decided to give it another shot.
After that, it’s “Body of Proof,” which stars Dana Delany as “a brilliant and driven neurosurgeon” whose “career is cut short,” so “she turns her unrivaled medical skills toward solving murders” because “every body has a story to tell.” Holy Christ. The only thing I’m happy about is that this show is set in Philly. Because other than that, it sounds as cliche as you can get. Delany’s character is one whose “reputation of being difficult precedes her” and “she’s never encountered a boundary that she wouldn’t cross” and, of course, “when it comes to her relationships with the living, she has a lot of work to do.” It also stars Jeri Ryan, Sonja Sohn (Kima from “The Wire”) and a bunch of who-dats.
Friday night rounds out, as always, with “20/20.”
Saturdays. College football, the way God intended it.
Sundays. Nothing new to see here, as the Sunday lineup remains unchanged. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” is still on the air. I will never stop being amazed by this. Following that, which airs from 7 to 8, it’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Desperate Housewives” and no-more-Rob-Lowe “Brothers & Sisters.”
ABC also has a few midseason shows up its sleeve. “Dancing with the Stars,” “Supernanny” and “V” will be returning, along with a few new shows. First, there’s “Mr. Sunshine,” Matthew Perry’s new comedy. Perry plays “Ben Donovan, the self-involved manager of a second-rate San Diego sports arena who begins to re-evaluate his life on his 40th birthday.” He’s got a cast of characters around him, of course, including Allison Janney as his boss and the owner of the arena. The pilot was written by Perry and few others and directed by Thomas Schlamme. Assuming this makes it to air, I’m totally in.
Then there’s “Off the Map,” a new drama from Shonda Rhimes. It’s about gifted surgeons who give up their wonderful careers and families to go work at a South American clinic. “In this ensemble drama, five doctors who have lost their way will go to the ends of the earth to try to remember the reasons why they wanted to become doctors in the first place. Because sometimes in order to find yourself… you have to get lost.” …I can’t wait. /pukes/
“Happy Endings,” meanwhile, is a new comedy starring Elisha Cuthbert and Damon Wayans, Jr., among others. It’s a “modern comedy” about who friends’ lives are complicated when couples break up. Whatever. I’m out. I gotta go clean up the puke.