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ABC: The 2012-2013 Television Season

Posted By Brett Harrison Davinger On May 15, 2012 @ 9:02 pm In Movies & TV,Television | No Comments

Photo by: ABC

Say what you will about ABC, but the network seems to give its shows a chance. Sure, maybe Pan Am didn’t fly (pun!) but a lot of the shows on the line-up this coming fall are newer series that, even without particularly strong ratings, warranted a second chance.

MONDAY:

8-10 p.m- “Dancing with the Stars”
10-11 p.m.- “Castle”

Midseason:

8-10 p.m.- “The Bachelor”
10-11 p.m.- “Castle”

The Cast of ABC’s Castle

Photo by: ABC

It’s a presumably successful line-up for the network and mixes a reality show I don’t care about with a procedural I don’t watch.

TUESDAY:

8-9 p.m.- “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
9-9:30 p.m.- “Happy Endings”
9:30-10 p.m.- “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23”
10-11 p.m.- “Private Practice”

Midseason:

8-8:30 p.m- “HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE)”
8:30-9 p.m.- “THE FAMILY TOOLS”

The Cast of ABC’s Happy Endings

Photo by: ABC

Tuesday nights seem to be shaping into one of two proven comedy nights for the Disney subsidiary. ABC apparently recognized the natural pairing of Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23- two shows about the lives of attractive, childless, late 20s/early 30s somethings- and put them together, even though they aired in the same time slot at different times of the year this season.

However, the mid-season replacements for the Dancing with the Stars Results Show do not follow this formula. They are family comedies, with which ABC is glutted. While I understand that these shows are playing off the success of Modern Family and that they are edgier than the network’s TGIF offerings, the weekly line-up is nevertheless saturated with children.

How to Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)

Starring Scrubs‘ Sarah Chalke as Polly, the too-long-titled Parents tells of a single mom forced to move into her parents’ house with her daughter due to the bad economy and a divorce. Her parents (Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett) are eccentric while she’s, shockingly, uptight. Nevertheless, I presume they learn to love one another and reconcile their opposite approaches to raising kids. The promo clip, complete with overuse of beeps and black boxes, not only gives it a “trying-too-hard” vibe, but makes it blatant that they were inspired by Ben Stiller’s parents in The Fockers Trilogy.

The cast also features Rebecca Delgado Smith as Polly’s “cool and fun assistant,” which makes you wonder how bad her financial situation is if she can afford an assistant. Her “lovable but irresponsible ex-husband” played by Jon Dore is also on staff. Parents also has Orlando Jones as Polly’s best friend, which finally answers the question of “Is Orlando Jones still alive?” Now we must wonder, is Cedric the Entertainer?

The Family Tools

Starring Oz‘s J.K. Simmons, The Family Tools is about an adult (Kyle Bornheimer, late of NBC’s not-that-bad-in-hindsight Perfect Couples) who comes back home. (Again? Right after Parents?) Except while Polly from the previous show is supposed to be a business-oriented success lady, Jack from Tools is a failure at all his previous ventures. Forced to take over his family handyman business after his father suffers a heart attack, Jack discovers a severed ear in a field and… This show also features a “rebellious, troublemaker assistant,” and I’ve come to realize I’ve seen the role of “assistant” a lot in this season’s plot descriptions.

After watching the preview clip, it’s not as bad as I expected (my expectations were very low), but that’s mostly due to the reliable Simmons.

WEDNESDAY:

8:00-8:30 p.m.- “The Middle”
8:30-9 p.m.- “Suburgatory”
9-9:30 p.m.- “Modern Family”
9:30-10 p.m.- “THE NEIGHBORS”
10-11 p.m.- “NASHVILLE”

The Neighbors

Wednesday continues to be ABC’s chance to show us that families are okay but the suburbs suck. What make The Neighbors different is that it’s a series that could have come right out of the 1960s. After the Weavers (Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito, some kids) move into their gated community, they realize that the people with whom they live are a bit odd. Why, they have the name of famous sports personalities such as Dick Butkis, Larry Bird, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The twist? Everyone but the Weavers are…aliens! Zany! Despite coming from different worlds, they learn that they share a lot in common when it comes to dealing with life, love, and other such emotions. See, we’re not that different after all.

It’s the most “out there” (and I don’t mean that in a good or bad way) of all the sitcoms I’ve read/previewed so far this year, and sometimes it’s nice to have a show that’s willing to embrace utter stupidity as its central premise. However, it’s difficult to know how well this show can pull the alien concept off.

While 3rd Rock From The Sun lasted for many years working off of a similar idea, it had the multi-talented John Lithgow as the lead (rather than the Willem Dafoe-looking Scott Templeman) as opposed to humans dealing with the Solomons with full knowledge of who they are. Also, the extraterrestrials in the earlier show were more eccentric than blatantly alien, and they had to hide their identities rather than be in the open about it… at least to the neighbors.

From the promo, the show also gives us the fat, whipped husband/hot wife combo that’s always so entertaining and CGI so horrible that it has to be a joke. And if it is a joke, good job. Also, and I rarely say this, The Neighbors looks as though it would work (a term I use very loosely) better as a three camera sitcom.

Nashville


Set in the country music scene, Nashville stars American Horror Story‘s Connie Britton as fading country music star Rayna James and Heroes‘ Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, a rising young country music starlet. With both of their careers at such important places, they must deal with one another while on tour. Wasn’t this the plot of that Paltrow/Meester movie, Country Strong? Along the way, they must contend with Tennessee business, politics, and power thus solidifying this show’s placement as a soap. The most interesting thing about the series is that it stars Powers Boothe as Rayna’s father, a heavy hitter in Tennessee Power Games.

THURSDAY:

8-9 p.m.- “LAST RESORT”
9-10 p.m.- “Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00-11 p.m.- “Scandal”

Last Resort

What makes Last Resort stand out from most every other show on the line-up this season is that it was written and executive produced by Shawn Ryan of The Shield. His name alone might give me enough reason to check out at least the pilot.

A U.S. submarine is ordered to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan. After Captain Marcus Chaplin (the underused Andre Braugher) and Commanding Officer Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) refuse to fire without confirmation, they are attacked by the military and declared traitors. (I think I read this story in World War Z). Branded enemies of the state, they hide out on an exotic and non-mysterious/non-deadly/non-eerie island as they try to clear their name, The Fugitive-style.

The trailer does Last Resort a service and makes it seem like one of the strongest shows of the season. I wasn’t sure how the concept would play out, and the plot description made it sound as though the crew would hide until they could clear their names. With a submarine, it would probably easy for the military to find out where they were. But the submarine crew going on the offensive both against the island and the United States, plus the focus given to the state-side military, makes Last Resort the frontrunner for the new season.

FRIDAY:

8-9 p.m.- “Shark Tank”
9-10 p.m.- “Primetime: What Would You Do?”
10-11 p.m.- “20/20”

Midseason-ish:

8-8:30 p.m.- “Last Man Standing”
8:30-9 p.m.- “MALIBU COUNTRY”
9-10 p.m.- “Shark Tank”
10-11 p.m.- “Primetime: What Would You Do?”

After seeing the promos last year, I’m surprised Last Man Standing is returning. I guess Tim Allen is more of a force than I considered.

Malibu Country

Reba McEntire’s second sitcom, this one also features her as a Southern lady dealing with a cheating husband. Reba again plays a character named Reba, an aspiring country music star (what’s with ABC and country music?) who moves her mother (Lily Tomlin) and her children to Southern California where it never rains, but it pours. They move next door to a caring individual (Sara Rue) and have to deal with culture shock, because in 2012, people from the South simply don’t get those crazy city folk. Looking forward to the confusion over sushi and wheatgrass. The narration and the laugh track is overbearing.

SATURDAY:

8-11 p.m “Saturday Night College Football”

A football for football

Sports are sports.

SUNDAY:

7-8 p.m- “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8-9 p.m- “Once Upon a Time”
9-10 p.m.- “Revenge”
10-11 p.m- “666 PARK AVENUE”

America’s Funniest Home Videos is still on the air? That’s kind of quaint.

666 Park Avenue

Hate The Drake

One of the shows I am hesitantly looking forward to (as in “if nothing else is on…”), 666 Park Avenue is this year’s major dramatic spooky series. Starring Terry O’Quinn as possibly the devil, 666 Park Avenue is a The Twilight Zone/The Shining tale of a happy Midwestern couple (Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable) moving into a mysterious New York City apartment complex- The Drake.

As caretakers of a virtual Hotel California where people sign away their souls for whatever their hearts desire, the couple finds themselves entranced by the seductive evil within. Unlike some of the other dark shows this season (e.g., The Following, Hannibal), this is the type of vice-based “darkness” that might actually work on network television since it doesn’t require a legitimate focus on psychological complexity or brutal violence.

Unknown is whether this show will go to the extent of camp of American Horror Story or whether it will be more along the lines of a Rod Serling series. However, the shot of the 999 Park Avenue turning into 666 Park Avenue is not a good sign; it looks silly reversing the numbers while leaving the letters right side up in the same effect- doing the mirror thing on just the ‘999’ would have been fine.

Coming This Fall- Dramas

Mistresses

Based on a British series, Mistresses features Alyssa Milano, Yunjin Kim, Rochelle Aytes as a “sexy and sassy group of four girlfriends, each on her own path to self discovery.”

Not my thing.

Red Widow

Radha Mitchell stars in this entry in the female lead action genre. Spurred into battle mode following the death of her husband due to a drug deal gone wrong, Marta Walraven (Mitchell) takes on both the FBI and the mob in order to get justice. Oz‘s Lee Tergesen co-stars.

Since ABC has apparently found a niche in shows with lead females destroying those who have wronged them, Red Widow might garner an audience.

Zero Hour

The network’s Big Conspiracy Show really takes the conspiracy angle to the extreme by making it about “one of the most compelling mysteries in human history, stretching around the world and back centuries” with the main character “on a breathless race against the clock to find his wife and save humanity” and it quotes Revelations! You’re not going to outdo that NBC’s Revolution! We’re in Dan Brown territory here!

Anthony Edwards (who now looks like the offspring of Mitch Pileggi and Louis CK) stars as the editor of a paranormal magazine who is forced to investigate the disappearance of his wife along with two associates and an FBI agent while outplaying the original Swedish Mikael Blomkvist, Michael Nyqvist.

I might be interested in this show if it is more The Night Stalker/Drive (the shortly lived FOX show with and Emma Stone, not the Ryan Gosling movie) than National Treasure/The DaVinci Code. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just seem like the latter, but it goes over-the-top of all of the other two series’ over-the-topness. We have Nazis! And demon babies! And Nazi submarines! Throw in whatever ludicrous concept you can think of, we made series!

Tomorrow CBS.


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