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Hayley Atwell and Allison Tolman Have Made Huge Mistakes

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 17, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 17, 2016 |

ABC presented its new fall programming at its upfronts earlier today. Upfronts used be a huge cause for celebration around these parts, and we would devote thousands of words to them each season, breaking down the new series and the fall schedules. We mostly let it slide these days because there’s so little reason to get excited about anything on network television because most of it will die a quick death. Most of it deserves to die a quick death.

That is most certainly the case for two new series ABC presented today, Hayley Atwell’s legal drama, Conviction, and Allison Tolman’s Downward Dog. I have singled these two series out from among all of ABC’s new programming because they are the only ones I might watch, owing to the presence of Atwell and Tolman.

Both deserve better. So much better.

Conviction stars Atwell as a former First Daughter turned lawyer turned coke addict, who ends up accepting a job from her “sexy” nemesis, NY District Attorney Wayne Wallis, in order to avoid jail time for cocaine possession. You can imagine what the series might look like without watching the trailer, but basically it’s a generic legal drama with a fish-out-of-water element, and Atwell, of course. I will probably watch it more times than once because of Atwell, but it is most certainly beneath her.

Allison Tolman’s new sitcom isn’t on the fall schedule, and it looks like the kind of sitcom that the network, sadly, will plug into a hole and burn off in three weeks with back-to-back episodes. It’s about the life of a struggling millennial as told from the perspective of her dog. It might fetch (ooof) a few canine lovers, but even the trailer looks tepid. I am hoping against all hope that Tollman can fall back on a future season of Fargo or, like, a successful career in a duo with Rachel Bloom in feature films.

ABC also presented Imaginary Mary, a sitcom starring Jenna Elfman as a single woman with an imaginary friend who falls in love with a man with kids and becomes their step-mother. I believe the imaginary friend helps her in this regard. I adore Jenna Eflman. This sitcom, nevertheless, looks dreadful. It’s not yet on the fall schedule, either.

The two sitcoms that are on the fall schedule are Speechless with Minnie Driver as a harried mother raising several kids, including one with cerebral palsy; and American Housewife, formerly called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport. Good decision in changing the title. Unfortunately, it still looks like a sitcom that would be called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport.

There is one new show from ABC that I’m somewhat intrigued with, and it’s not Still Star-Crossed , which is a drama that follows the Montagues and the Capulets after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet (sorry, spoiler). Rather, it’s Time After Time, from Kevin Williamson. It’s a “fantastical cat and mouse adventure through time when famed science fiction writer H.G. Wells is transported to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper. ” I don’t have high hopes, but it may be worth a look see whenever it premieres.

The takeaway here, really, is that network television continues to be useless, and Hayley Atwell and Allison Tolman need to find work on FX or AMC or HBO or Netflix as soon as possible.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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