Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fall TV Preview--ABC

I took a few more days off this past week to actually watch some of the shows that I've been talking about in these Preview posts. One of those was a highlighted show for ABC, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (9/24@ 8), a high profile effort that jumps off of the big, sparkly success of Joss Whedon's The Avengers movie and the decade-long (or does it just seem that way) build up of the Marvel superhero brand. All culminating in this weekly TV show that begins where Whedon's summer blockbuster ended--as everyone recovers from what is being called The Battle of New York.

The public is adjusting to the idea that super-beings exist . . . and that aliens and other super villians also exist. And if you live in a densely populated urban area, you are in severe danger of having your place of residence demolished at any time. Naturally, the government has been preparing for this for a while--probably since Peter Parker first donned his red & blue tights and started fighting crime in Brooklyn and the Bronx. But this show doesn't follow Sam Jackson's character, Nick Fury. Rather, it reveals (NOT a spoiler if you've seen the inumerable commercials leading up to last week's premiere episode) that his right-hand man Agent Phil Coulson is alive and leading a team of agents who investigate Supers and strive to make the rest of us safe from their potential damage.

The show . . . isn't great, to be honest. The premiere had to work hard to connect all the dots left over from the movie--and it doesn't feature any of the superheroes, mind you. Even Disney-owned ABC and Marvel can't afford those Hollywood guys on a weekly basis. Rather, it feels a bit like Alias, without all the sexiness and a lot like Alphas. (But ABC surely doesn't want this tent-pole show to be compared to that middling USA Networks effort.)

Joss Whedon is the executive producer, but not the creative leader of the show. Rather his brother Jed and his sister-in-law Mo Taucheron are show-runners. And they do provide a flavor of the Whedonesque speak that everyone expects. But the show just didn't snap. Its probably due to the needs of a pilot rather than the intrinsic weaknesses of the show . . . but we'll see. There have been reports that the show must answer to Disney, Marvel, and Mutant Enemy (the Whedon production company) and with that many cooks in the kitchen . . . the souffle might not rise as expected.

ANYWAY . . . on to the weekly lineup.


Once Upon a Time (9/29 @ 8) seems to be the big draw--at least to my particular set of entertainment values. The show still smacks a bit of the Disney movie Enchanted, where fairy tale people interacted with the real world. But maybe it is a modern-day Fantasy Island, mixed with some of the drama and danger of a Lost-type show? (I've never watched it.) The commercials tell me that this season is centered around trying to get to Neverland and it seems like either Peter Pan himself is not the happy-go-lucky boy we thought he was . . . or his shadow is sort of murderous and ragey? Anyway, it might actually be entertaining if you are into that sort of thing. And it is surely the best textile porn this side of The CW's Reign.

If you like your drama a bit more centered in the "real world" you can watch Revenge (9/29 @ 9) or Betrayal (9/29 @ 10). One is about people righting wrongs done to them . . . and the other is about avenging murder and lies. I'll let you figure out which one is which.


Dancing with the Stars (9/16 @ 8) has already premiered its new set of hoofers and I'm not sure if Bill Nye the Science Guy has been voted off yet. But I hope not. I only see the last few minutes of this show as I am preparing to watch Castle (9/23 @ 10). And because of that I know that some sort of former football player was voted off last Monday night. But I can't remember who it was. Anyway, Castle is still going strong and the big deal this season will be to see if Nathan Fillion's character and Stana Katic's character can maintain their deepening public relationship while she is now working in Washington D.C. as a federal-agent-in training?


This night begins with the aforementioned Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But the network hopes that this provides a strong lead-in for the new comedy The Goldbergs (9/24 @ 9) and Trophy Wife (9/24 @ 9:30). Goldbergs seems exactly like I [heart] the 80s + The Wonder Years. And while the voiceover by Patton Oswald is interesting to me, I don't think much else of it will be. Its probably a well-done show that I might catch up with some day on Netflix.

There is also a show called Lucky 7 (9/24 @10), but I initially forgot to even write about this show. So . . . maybe it is not capturing my imagination as much as a show about a group of people who won the lottery and then faced dramatic changes should?


This is ABC's big comedy night and half of these shows are returners from the past. This includes The Middle (9/25 @ 8) and Modern Family (9/25 @ 9)--which just won the Emmy for Best Comedy again. New comedies include Back in the Game (9/25 @ 8:30) and Super Fun Night (10/2 @ 9:30). Dean has already announced his deletion of Back in the Game, so I feel justified in never having started. And I don't think I care that much about Rebel Wilson's show. I am not sure about some one named Rebel and this feels like something that might have been created to take advantage of Melissa McCarthy's popularity, without paying for Melissa McCarthy. (Wilson was also in Bridesmaids.)

If you don't want to end your mid-week viewing with comedy (and why would you since The CW is serving up two hours of drama?), you could stay with ABC and watch Nashville (9/25 @ 10).


If you liked the idea behind Once Upon a Time--and maybe are planning to watch the Sunday night version of the show . . . then why not try Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (10/10 @ 8), a spin off of the original that follows the Alice character in her "natural" habitat. But don't get too attached. This is a one-season tale only.

Here is the part of this year's Fall TV Preview when I marvel that Grey's Anatomy (9/26 @ 9) is STILL on the air. And here is the part of this year's Fall TV Preview when I don't even try to distinguish Scandal (10/3 @ 10)  from the ABC shows Revenge or Mutiny or Betrayal or Evil. (Some of those names are made up.)


I wish that Last Man Standing (9/20 @ 8) was actually based on Y: The Last Man which people tell me is very good and that I think I should read. But it is a sitcom starring Tim Allen and I think you know all that you need to know.

I'll leave it to Dean to even try to explain why The Neighbors (9/20 @ 8:30) should be given any more time to prove itself more than a terrible idea for a TV show. And . . . speaking of terrible TV shows, I guess you could do worse on a Friday night than watch Shark Tank (9/20 @ 9)--might I suggest America's Next Top Model? But really, you should just watch a rerun of the excellent Sleepy Hollow instead.

And then there is 20/20, which is still going and provides new-journotainment for junkies at the start of a weekend. But I think it would just be better if you read the local paper and thought about what life would be like if the events of Sleepy Hollow could be plausible.


Football, football, football!!!!!

(But what might it be like if the quarterback was headless and he threw a pumpkin instead?) Hmmm?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Look, The Neighbors is consistently hilarious, which is more than can be said for any of the new comedies. I unabashedly love it. --Dean