ABC Announces Fall Schedule – Get A Peek At What’s Coming

ABC‘s slate of new shows for fall has a strange flavor to it, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride. The network has about as many new shows as returning ones (if you count all the midseasons), and a good percentage of the returning offerings are a year old or less, making this look a bit like a rebuilding year.

Not only is it a rebuilding year, but it’s the year of bringing back every actor and actress who ever had a decent run on a show before. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a network’s new season slate that was so crammed with people returning from something else. If you can’t make it good, I suppose, make sure viewers recognize the faces.

It’s tricky to get a solid feel for ABC at this point actually, and while they have a couple of my favorite shows, the current stock of new ideas is a bit odd.

It’s probably easiest to break this down night by night.

 

Mondays are still dedicated to reality and Castle. Another shot of Dancing with the Stars is followed by another trip with The Bachelor in January, and Castle is slated to follow both. Not much worth mentioning here. Castle may actually have run its course already, but it’s hard to begrudge them keeping this one around. It’s still fun, and better than most.

 

Tuesdays are still a weird mix. You’ve got DWTS results, followed by comedy, followed by Private Practice, and considering the kind of comedy, you don’t exactly get much lead from anything to anything, backwards or forwards. It pains me greatly that Private Practice won’t die, and frankly makes me fear for the general state of the nation, but with a couple of big names from this realm leaving the schedule, it isn’t hard to imagine hoping to capitalize on the familiar.

On the flip side of that coin, Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (which needs an official name change), are sandwiched between two shows that their viewers have no interest in, and are great shows. I’ve been a fan of Happy Endings from the beginning, and was pretty nervous when it looked like cancellation was a sure thing, what with Wayans in the pilot for New Girl. Don’t Trust the B—- is a trickier show, but one that is steadily growing on me, and at the very least offers something rather unique. It’s good to see this one get the chance to get its feet under it.

Taking over for DWTS results show midseason are two of our new entries. Let’s check them out.

 

How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)

We kick off the former stars hard here, and I gather that much of the idea is simply that if Sarah Chalke, Brad Garrett, Elizabeth Perkins, and Orlando Jones can’t collectively bring in some viewers… well, who knows?

Heavy on the eccentricity, this one looks a little rough. You’ll see moments in the trailer that offer some hope, but the overall picture may not be quite the draw someone thinks it is. Paired up with The Family Tools, which actually makes sense (as a pairing), these two shows don’t match up with the comedies that follow, and the reverse lead isn’t probably going to provide a lot of benefit.

I could be surprised, but neither of these two shows give me the instant impression that they are winning over large crowds. I hope this one works a little more than the other, because I think that ten episodes in it could start to deliver, but I don’t actually think it has all that much chance of lasting that long.

 

Polly (Sarah Chalke) is a single mom who’s been divorced for almost a year. The transition wasn’t easy for her, especially in this economy. So, like a lot of young people living in this new reality, she and her daughter, Natalie (Rachel Eggleston), have moved back home with her eccentric parents, Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and Max (Brad Garrett). But Polly and her parents look at life through two different lenses.

Polly’s too uptight. Her parents are too laid back. Polly’s conservative when it comes to dating (no action, whatsoever), while her parents are still sexually adventurous. They think Polly turned out okay, so what’s the big deal? Well, they say it takes a village to raise a child…and in Polly’s case, this village is on fire. But with help from her best friend Gregg (Orlando Jones), her lovable yet irresponsible ex-husband Julian (Jon Dore) and her cool and fun assistant Jenn (Rebecca Delgado Smith) Polly takes her first steps toward getting a life, starting with a social one.

“How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)” stars Sarah Chalke (“Mad Love,” “Scrubs”) as Polly, Jon Dore as Julian, Rachel Eggleston as Natalie, Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “‘Til Death”) as Max, Orlando Jones (“Rules of Engagement”) as Gregg, Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”) as Elaine, Rebecca Delgado Smith as Jenn.

“How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)” was written by Claudia Lonow, who is also an executive producer along with Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. The pilot for “How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)” was directed by Julie Anne Robinson. The series is produced by 20th Century Fox and Imagine Television.

 

The Family Tools

There aren’t many things I’d love to get behind more than a show with J.K. Simmons, especially when it’s based on a U.K. series, but I don’t think Kyle Bornheimer can hold this one together, and the comedy is sure to be Americanized into oblivion.

These shows always make me think of Coupling now, the attempt to recreate one of the best shows ever made, which resulted in every bit of life being sucked out of it.

Mixing family with business is never easy, and Jack Shea (Kyle Bornheimer) is about to learn that lesson the hard way. When Jack’s father, Tony (J.K. Simmons), has a heart attack and is forced to hand over the keys to his beloved handyman business, Jack is eager to finally step up and make his father proud.

Unfortunately Jack’s past career efforts have been less than stellar, so everyone seems to be waiting for him to fail. His new job isn’t made any easier by Tony’s rebellious, troublemaker assistant, Darren (Edi Gathegi), and Darren’s flirtatious sister, Liz (Danielle Nicolet), who works at the local hardware store. Yet with the support of his Aunt Terry (Leah Remini) and his oddball yet endearing cousin Mason (Johnny Pemberton), Jack Shea may just find his true calling right at home.

“The Family Tools” stars Kyle Bornheimer (“Bachelorette,” “Romantically Challenged,” “Perfect Couples”) as Jack Shea, J.K. Simmons (“Ultimate Spiderman,” “Generator Rex,” “The Closer”) as Tony Shea, Edi Gathegi (“X Men: First Class”) as Darren, Johnny Pemberton (“21 Jump Street,” “Aim High”) as Mason, Danielle Nicolet (“X Men TV Series”) as Liz and Leah Remini (“In the Motherhood,” “King of Queens”) as Terry.

Based on the UK series “White Van Man,” “The Family Tools” teleplay is by Bobby Bowman. “The Family Tools” is executive-produced by Bobby Bowman, Mark Gordon (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds”) and Andrea Shay (“It Takes a Village,” “Virtual Virgin”) and Paul Buccieri (“Prime Suspect”). The pilot for “The Family Tools” was directed by Michael Fresco (“Suburgatory,” “Raising Hope,” “Better Off Ted,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Northern Exposure,” “St. Elsewhere”). The series is from ABC Studios.

 


 

Wednesday‘s we stick with our comedy stranglehold, but something has gone very wrong. The Middle and Modern Family are as good as they’ve ever been, and I’m glad to see The Middle holding on strong. Suburgatory is something of a surprise, as it becomes progressively harder to watch, but I’m a big fan of most of the stars, and at least it’s a bit of a snotty comedy.

What’s gone wrong is the absolute insult of giving The Neighbors this kind of lead. The comedy is once again followed by the dramatic, this time with newcomer Nashville, and that’s a real question mark.

The Neighbors

I’m very slightly torn here, but only because I’m happy Lenny Venito has a major role in anything. Beyond that tiny plus, this looks so ridiculous that I’m willing to bet a fair percentage watching the trailer will assume it must be a joke. This is getting put right after Modern Family? Good luck ABC. I assume this will be pulled quickly, but I’ll be irritated if it even actually airs.

How well do you know your neighbors?

Meet the Weavers, Debbie (Jami Gertz) and Marty (Lenny Venito). Marty, in hopes of providing a better life for his wife and three kids, recently bought a home in Hidden Hills, a gated New Jersey townhome community with its own golf course. Hidden Hills is so exclusive that a house hasn’t come on the market in 10 years. But one finally did and the Weavers got it!

It’s clear from day one that the residents of Hidden Hills are a little different. For starters, their new neighbors all have pro-athlete names like Reggie Jackson (Tim Jo), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye), Dick Butkis (Ian Patrick) and Larry Bird (Simon Templeman). Over dinner, Marty and his family discover that their neighbors receive nourishment through their eyes by reading books, rather than eating. The Weavers soon learn that the entire community is comprised of aliens from Zabvron, where the men bear children and everyone cries green goo from their ears.

The Zabvronians have been stationed on Earth for the past 10 years, disguised as humans, awaiting instructions from home, and the Weavers are the first humans they’ve had the opportunity to know. As it turns out, the pressures of marriage and parenthood are not exclusive to planet Earth. Two worlds will collide with hilarious consequences as everyone discovers they can “totally relate” and learn a lot from each other.

“The Neighbors” stars Jami Gertz (“Entourage,” “Modern Family,” “Still Standing,” “Ally McBeal”) as Debbie Weaver, Lenny Venito (“Bored to Death,” “Men in Black III,” “Person of Interest,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Marty Weaver, Simon Templeman as Larry Bird, Toks Olagundoye as Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Clara Mamet as Amber Weaver, Tim Jo (“Glory Daze”) as Reggie Jackson, Ian Patrick (“Wanderlust”) as Dick Butkis, Max Charles (“The Three Stooges,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”) as Max Weaver, Isabella Cramp as Abby Weaver.

Guest starring are Mitch Rouse as Real Estate Agent and Doug Jones as Alien. Co-Starring are Bruce Green as Angry Man and Mary K. DeVault as Angry Woman.

“The Neighbors” was written by Dan Fogelman (“Cars,” “Tangled,” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love”) who is also an executive producer with Aaron Kaplan, Jeff Morton (“Modern Family”) and Chris Koch (“Workaholics,” “Modern Family”). “The Neighbors” was directed by Chris Koch and is from ABC Studios.

 

 

Nashville

Here’s one I’d love to find myself surprised by, and mainly because Connie Britton is in it. As much as I thought she was great in Friday Night Lights, I never really thought she got an absolutely fair shake out of the show. I think she’s better than a lot of what she was given.

I like the potential here, but this one is going to really depend on how well things come across. It could get too shticky, and it’s hard to tell where we go after the first few episodes.

Chart-topping Rayna James (Connie Britton) is a country legend who’s had a career any singer would envy, though lately her popularity is starting to wane. Fans still line up to get her autograph, but she’s not packing the arenas like she used to. Rayna’s record label thinks a concert tour, opening for up-and-comer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young and sexy future of country music, is just what Rayna needs.

But scheming Juliette can’t wait to steal Rayna’s spotlight. Sharing a stage with that disrespectful, untalented, little vixen is the last thing Rayna wants to do, which sets up a power struggle for popularity. Could the undiscovered songwriting talent of Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) be the key to helping Rayna resurrect her career?

Complicating matters, Rayna’s wealthy but estranged father, Lamar Hampton (Powers Boothe), is a powerful force in business, Tennessee politics, and the lives of his two grown daughters. His drive for power results in a scheme to back Rayna’s handsome husband, Teddy, in a run for Mayor of Nashville, against Rayna’s wishes.

“Nashville” stars Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights,” “American Horror Story”) as Rayna, Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) as Juliette, Powers Boothe (“MacGruber,” “24”) as Lamar, Charles Esten (“Enlightened,” “Big Love”) as Deacon, Eric Close (“Chaos,” “Without a Trace”) as Teddy, Clare Bowen as Scarlett, Jonathan Jackson (“General Hospital”) as Avery, Sam Palladio as Gunnar and Robert Wisdom as Coleman.

“Nashville” was written by Callie Khouri (“Thelma & Louise”) who is an executive producer along with R.J. Cutler (“The September Issue,” “The War Room,” “Flip That House,” “A Perfect Candidate”) and Steve Buchanan. The pilot for “Nashville” was directed by R.J. Cutler. The series is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Gaylord Entertainment.

 



 

Thursday‘s are now a night devoted utterly to the nonsensical… or guilty pleasures, depending on how fondly you choose to look on these shows. On the potentially positive side, at least you know where you are. Grey’s Anatomy won’t die, and it doesn’t seem to matter how far afield we stray from what made the show tolerable in the beginning. It’s followed by Scandal, among the worst, most insulting shows I’ve seen in quite a while. Guilty pleasures are one thing, but both of these shows are at this point actually calling you stupid.

Hoping to capitalize on the theory that viewers are hoping they don’t have to change the channel all night, ABC is kicking this spectacle of a night off with the new show Last Resort.

 

Last Resort

Naturally, my initial thought is simply that I’m saddened by this move of Andre Braugher’s, after the unfortunate demise of his last show.

I can’t even read the synopsis without busting up, but you go ahead and try it out.

500 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, the U.S. ballistic missile submarine Colorado receive their orders. Over a radio channel, designed only to be used if their homeland has been wiped out, they’re told to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan.

Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) demands confirmation of the orders only to be unceremoniously relieved of duty by the White House. XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) finds himself suddenly in charge of the submarine and facing the same difficult decision.

When he also refuses to fire without confirmation of the orders, the Colorado is targeted, fired upon, and hit. The submarine and its crew find themselves crippled on the ocean floor, declared rogue enemies of their own country. Now, with nowhere left to turn, Chaplin and Kendal take the sub on the run and bring the men and women of the Colorado to an exotic island. Here they will find refuge, romance and a chance at a new life, even as they try to clear their names and get home.

“Last Resort” stars Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age”) as Captain Marcus Chaplin, Scott Speedman (“The Vow”) as XO Sam Kendal, Daisy Betts (“Sea Patrol”) as Lieutenant Grace Shepard, Dichen Lachman (“Being Human”) as Tani Tumrenjack, Daniel Lissing (“Crownies”) as SEAL Officer James King, Sahr Ngaujah (“House of Payne”) as Mayor Julian Serrat, Camille de Pazzis as Sophie Gerard, Autumn Reeser (“Hawaii Five-O,” “No Ordinary Family”) as Kylie Sinclair, Jessy Schram (“Falling Skies,” “Once Upon a Time”) as Christine Kendal.

Recurring guest star is Robert Patrick (“The Gangster Squad”) as Master Chief Joseph Prosser.

“Last Resort” was written by Shawn Ryan (“The Shield,” “The Unit,” “The Chicago Code”) and Karl Gajdusek, who are also executive producers along with Martin Campbell and Marney Hochman Nash. The pilot for “Last Resort” was directed by Martin Campbell. “Last Resort” is produced by Middkid Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

 


 

Friday‘s, as we all know, are difficult ground, and have long been mostly abandoned by every network. Fall kicks off with the return of Shark Tank, and I’m happy this one is still going, even if it is getting a little weird. The show’s British and Canadian versions have both been favorites of mine for a long time, and even if it is stuck on Friday, I hope this keeps growing. That’s followed by Primetime: What Would You Do?, a show that has lost its common sense, but apparently people still like it. It was fun for a while, but now it seems to just hope that it will finally get somebody to punch one of its actors. Whatever. The night rounds out with 20/20.

We switch it up in an early mid-season shift, with the return of Last Man Standing and newcomer Malibu Country. I was nervous about Last Man Standing when it kicked off last year, but I’m glad to see it get renewed. There’s a market for this “throwback” sitcom genre, as TV Land has proven with its own efforts, and it’s a pretty fun show. Malibu Country is perfectly placed for its best shot at success.

 

REBA MCENTIRE, LILY TOMLIN in Malibu Country
REBA MCENTIRE, LILY TOMLIN in Malibu Country (ABC/NICOLE WILDER)

Malibu Country

If this actually has any chance, this the spot for it. Following on the heels of Tim Allen’s somewhat surprising success with a return to his sitcom roots, Reba should be able to spin her own web over the audience it gets delivered. Moreover, one has to imagine that Lily Tomlin can deliver enough to keep people interested. The premise is a bit goofy, but it didn’t stop her other show, and at least this one isn’t overly focused on admitted idiots.

On a final note, it’s oddly interesting that ABC has two shows with, more or less, the same plot.

When Reba Gallagher (Reba) discovers that her husband, Bobby, (Jeffrey Nordling) a country music legend, has a cheatin’ heart, her world is turned upside down. Reba dreamt of becoming a country star herself, but put her career on hold to raise a family. Now she’s questioning all of that, big-time.

With the ink on her divorce barely dry, Reba packs up her sharp-tongued mother, Lillie Mae (Lily Tomlin), her two kids and the U-Haul and heads for sunny California to begin a new chapter. Leaving Nashville in the rear view, they start over at their Malibu residence — the last remaining asset they have.

Reba gets to know her new open and loving neighbor Kim (Sara Rue) and her son, Sage, but also discovers that relocation to Southern California is going to be quite an adjustment for a traditional southern belle: the West Coast seems like the polar opposite of Music City, and Reba feels like an outsider. Still, with the support of her family she sets about finding her voice, jump-starting her music career with the help of her new music agent, Geoffrey (Jai Rodriguez), and embracing this chance to begin again.

“Malibu Country” stars country music superstar Reba (“Reba,” “Tremors”) as Reba, Sara Rue (“Rules of Engagement,” “Less Than Perfect”) as Kim, Justin Prentice as Cash, Juliette Angelo as June, Jai Rodriguez (“Bones,” “How I Met Your Mother,” one of the original hosts of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”) as Geoffrey and Lily Tomlin (“Eastbound and Down,” “Damages,” “Desperate Housewives,” “West Wing,” “Nine to Five,” “All of Me,” “Nashville”) as Lillie Mae.

“Malibu Country” is from Kevin Abbott (“Last Man Standing,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Reba”) who executive produces along with Michael Hanel & Mindy Schultheis, Reba McEntire & Narvel Blackstock, Dave Stewart & Pam Williams, John Pasquin. The pilot for “Malibu Country” was directed by John Pasquin. The series is from ABC Studios.

 

 

Saturday is up in the air, as ABC‘s fall schedule lists only Saturday Night College Football. If Friday is a night networks give up on, Saturday is a night they pretend doesn’t exist at all.

 

Sunday is an interesting mix across the networks, with each fairly committed to their own “home” theory. ABC finds it to be the home of goofy, cheeseball fun, and that may continue to work out for them. Once Upon a Time did surprisingly well, and I even liked it a fair amount. That one returns, followed by the other surprise of whactasticness, Revenge, which is already getting to the point where we wonder when we’re out of Revenge, and have to rename the show, but as crazy things go, it’s actually pretty cool.

We’re playing on those leads to finish out the night with 666 Park Avenue, a show that has ABC saying, “You want to get nuts? Let’s get nuts.”

 

666 Park Avenue

We know that ABC is the home of series that hope to be guilty pleasures, but take things too far, but this one might deliver on the idea. It’s in the fantasy realm, and looks to be really weird, but in keeping with the night’s offerings, it might be a decent amount of fun.

This one is based on a book series, and by all accounts it is a series that delivers a hefty dose of fun. We’ll see how that works out. I actually hope this one is good, just because of Terry O’Quinn.

It’s either going to be really good, or so stupid that it gets pulled after two episodes.

At the ominous address of 666 Park Avenue, anything you desire can be yours. Everyone has needs, desires and ambition. For the residents of The Drake, these will all be met, courtesy of the building’s mysterious owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). But every Faustian contract comes with a price.

When Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), an idealistic young couple from the Midwest, are offered the opportunity to manage the historic building, they not only fall prey to the machinations of Doran and his mysterious wife, Olivia (Vanessa Williams), but unwittingly begin to experience the shadowy, supernatural forces within the building that imprison and endanger the lives of the residents inside.

Sexy, seductive and inviting, The Drake maintains a dark hold over all of its residents, tempting them through their ambitions and desires, in this chilling new drama that’s home to an epic struggle of good versus evil.

“666 Park Avenue” stars Rachael Taylor (“Charlie’s Angels,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” Transformers) as Jane Van Veen, Dave Annable (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Reunion”) as Henry Martin, Robert Buckley (“One Tree Hill,” “Lipstick Jungle”) as Brian Leonard, Mercedes Masöhn (“The Finder,” “Chuck,” “Three Rivers”) as Louise Leonard, Helena Mattsson (“Iron Man 2,” “Nikita,” “Desperate Housewives”) as Alexis Blume, Samantha Logan as Nona Clark, with Vanessa Williams (“Desperate Housewives,” “Ugly Betty,” “Shaft,” “Soul Food”) as Olivia Doran and Terry O’Quinn (“Lost,” “Millennium,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Alias,” “The West Wing,” “Jag”) as Gavin Doran.

Based on the book series by Gabriella Pierce, “666 Park Avenue” was written by David Wilcox (“Fringe,” “Life on Mars”), who is also an executive producer along with Matthew Miller (“Chuck,” “Human Target”), Leslie Morgenstein (“Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Lying Game,” “The Secret Circle,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”), Gina Girolamo (“The Secret Circle,” “The Lying Game”) and Alex Graves (“Fringe,” “The West Wing”). The pilot for “666 Park Avenue” was directed by Alex Graves. “666 Park Avenue” is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Alloy Entertainment (“Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Pretty Little Liars”) and Warner Bros. Television.

 

 

 

Now we move on to a few shows listed as mid-season, but without their spots nailed down as yet. These will likely show up around February or March, filling in gaps.

 

Mistresses

The problem here is that this is based on the U.K. hit of the same name, and that show was one of the best to come along in some time. I predict we have another Coupling fiasco on our hands here, as the best the show has to offer is likely to get lost in the translation. Apart from those general doubts, I have serious reservations when it comes to Alyssa Milano’s ability to pull this off.

Welcome to a provocative and thrilling drama about the scandalous lives of a sexy and sassy group of four girlfriends, each on her own path to self-discovery, as they brave the turbulent journey together.

Meet Savi (Alyssa Milano), a successful career woman working toward the next phase in her life — both professional and personal — simultaneously bucking for partner at her law firm while she and her husband, Harry (Brett Tucker), try to start a family of their own.

Savi’s free-spirited and capricious baby sister, Josselyn (Jes Macallan), couldn’t be more different – living single, serial dating and partying, and regularly leaning on her big sister along the way. Their common best friend, April (Rochelle Aytes), a recent widow and mother of two, is rebuilding her life after tragedy and learning to move forward, with the support and guidance of her closest girlfriends. And friend Karen (Yunjin Kim), a successful therapist with her own practice, reconnects with the girls after her involvement in a complicated relationship with a patient goes far too deep.

“Mistresses” is a salacious new drama about a group of friends caught in storms of excitement and self-discovery, secrecy and betrayal, and bound by the complex relationships they’ve created.

“Mistresses” stars Alyssa Milano (“New Years Eve,” “Romantically Challenged,” “Hall Pass,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Charmed,” “Melrose Place”) as Savannah, Yunjin Kim (“Lost”) as Karen, Rochelle Aytes (“Work It,” “White Collar,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” “Desperate Housewives”) as April, Jes Macallan (“Kiss Me,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Crash and Burn,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Shameless”) as Josslyn, Jason George (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Closer,” “Against the Wall,” “Castle,” “Off the Map,” “Eastwick”) as Dominic, Brett Tucker (“Castle,” “Spartacus: Vengeance,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” “NCIS,” “Neighbours”) as Harry, Erik Stocklin (“Grey Sheep,” “Sick Day,” “Let’s Big Happy”) as Sam.

Guest Starring Marin Hinkle (“Two and a Half Men,” “Brothers & Sisters”) as Elisabeth, John Schneider (“Smallville,” “90210,” “Desperate Housewives”) as Thomas Grey, Shannyn Sossamon (“How to Make It in America,” “Dirt”) as Alex, Cameron Bender (“Commander in Chief,” “Whitney,” “Beverlywood”) as Richard, Kate Beahan (“Burning Man,” “Rake,” “Boston Legal”) as Miranda, Sunkrish Bala (“Notes from the Underbelly,” “I Just Want My Pants Back”) as Hamid.

Based on the U.K. television series, “Mistresses” is from K.J. Steinberg (“Gossip Girl”) and is executive-produced by Robert Sertner (“Revenge,” “No Ordinary Family”), K.J. Steinberg (“Gossip Girl”), Rina Mimoun (“Privileged,” “Gilmore Girls”) and Douglas Rae (“Wuthering Heights,” “Camelot,” “Mistresses,” “Raw,” “Meadowlands”). The pilot for “Mistresses” is directed by Cherie Nowlan. The series is from ABC Studios.

 

 

 

Red Widow

This one has me hoping against hope. I’d love this one to work, and hope it can put things together in a way that pulls in viewers, just so that it gets a chance to run long enough to really get good. The trailer leads me to suspect that it may not manage it, but I hope anyway.

This one is based on a Dutch show, and while I haven’t seen that show, I have it from reliable sources that it’s brilliant. I’m not sure that “from the screenwriter of the Twilight movies” is a direction the creators of that show had in mind, but we’ll see what sort of translation that leads to.

Plus, I love some of the supporting actors.

When Marta Walraven’s (Radha Mitchell) husband is brutally murdered, her first instinct is to protect her three young children. Her husband’s business partners – Irwin Petrova (Wil Traval), Marta’s scheming and untrustworthy brother, and Mike Tomlin (Lee Tergesen) — were involved in an illegal drug business deal with rival gangsters, and Marta’s husband paid the ultimate price.

She already knows the violent world of organized crime; her father, Andrei Petrova (Rade Sherbedzija), and loyal bodyguard Luther (Luke Goss) are gangsters too. She and her sister Kat (Jaime Ray Newman) had always wished for a safer life without bloodshed and fear. For a while Marta lived happily as a stay at home housewife in San Marta’s cooperation, FBI Agent James Ramos (Mido Hamada) now promises justice.

Marta discovers a tenacity she never knew she had, and takes on the gangsters and the FBI to unveil the truth about her husband’s death. As she digs into this dark underworld, she’ll test her own strength, relying on her resourcefulness, determination and family ties like never before. To get out of this mob, she needs to beat the bad guys at their own deadly game.

“Red Widow” stars Radha Mitchell (“Melinda and Melinda,” “Silent Hill,” “Rogue,” “Henry Poll Is Here,” “The Children of Huang Shi,” “The Waiting City”) as Marta Walraven, Wil Traval (“Rescue Special Ops,” “Underbelly,” “All Saints”) as Irwin Petrova, Erin Moriarty (“One Life to Live”) as Natalie Walraven, Sterling Beaumon (“Arthur Newman, Golf Pro, “Clue”) as Gabriel Walraven, Lee Tergesen (“Army Wives”) as Mike Tomlin, Jakob Salvati as Boris Walraven, Mido Hamada as FBI Agent James Ramos, Luke Goss as Luther, Jaime Ray Newman (“Drop Dead Diva”) as Kat Petrova, Suleka Mathew (“Hawthorne”) as Dina Tomlin and Rade Serbedzija (“24”) as Andrei Petrova.

Based on the Dutch series “Penoza,” “Red Widow” teleplay is by Melissa Rosenberg (“Dexter” and screenwriter of the Twilight franchise). “Red Widow “is executive-produced by Melissa Rosenberg, Howard Klein (“The Office,” “Parks & Recreation”), Endemol Studios and Alon Aranya. The pilot for “Red Widow” was directed by Mark Pellington. The series is produced by ABC Studios.

 

 

 

Zero Hour

I don’t know what to make of this one, and it doesn’t even have a trailer available. It probably doesn’t matter actually, because by the time it comes around, you’ll have forgotten all of this anyway. It stars Anthony Edwards, and it looks a bit nutty. That’s all you’ll remember.

As the publisher of a paranormal enthusiast magazine, Modern Skeptic, Hank Galliston has spent his career following clues, debunking myths and solving conspiracies. A confessed paranormal junkie, his motto is “logic is the compass.” But when his beautiful wife, Laila (Jacinda Barrett), is abducted from her antique clock shop, Hank gets pulled into one of the most compelling mysteries in human history, stretching around the world and back centuries.

Contained in one of his wife’s clocks is a treasure map, and what it leads to could be cataclysmic. Now it’s up to Hank to decipher the symbols and unlock the secrets of the map, while ensuring the answers don’t fall into the wrong hands – a man they call White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist). With his two young associates, Rachel (Addison Timlin) and Arron (Scott Michael Foster), in tow, along with Becca Riley, a sexy FBI agent (Carmen Ejogo), Hank will lead them on a breathless race against the clock to find his wife and save humanity.

“Zero Hour” stars Anthony Edwards (“Big Sur,” “Flipped,” “ER”) as Hank, Carmen Ejogo (“Sparkle,” “Chaos,” “Away We Go”) as Beck, Scott Michael Foster (“Californication,” “The River”) as Aaron, Addison Timlin (“Californication”) as Rachel, Jacinda Barrett (“Matching Jack,” “Middle Men,” “New York, I Love You”) as Laila and Michael Nyqvist (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Patrol”) as White Vincent.

“Zero Hour” was written by Paul T. Scheuring (“Prison Break”) who is also an executive producer along with Pierre Morel, Lorenzo DiBonaventura (“The Transformers,” “GI: Joe” franchise, “Salt,” “Red”) and Dan McDermott (“Human Target”). The pilot for “Zero Hour” was directed by Pierre Morel. The series is produced by ABC Studios.

 

 

Here’s the full schedule. Let me know your thoughts on any of these.

 

 

MONDAY:

8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”

10:00 p.m. “Castle”

 

In January:

8:00 p.m. “The Bachelor”

10:00 p.m. “Castle”

 

TUESDAY:

8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”

9:00 p.m. “Happy Endings”

9:30 p.m. “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23”

10:00 p.m. “Private Practice”

 

In January:

8:00 p.m. “How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)”

8:30 p.m. “The Family Tools”

 

WEDNESDAY:

8:00 p.m. “The Middle”

8:30 p.m. “Suburgatory”

9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”

9:30 p.m. “The Neighbors”

10:00 p.m. “Nashville”

 

THURSDAY:

8:00 p.m. “Last Resort”

9:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”

10:00 p.m. “Scandal”

 

FRIDAY:

8:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”

9:00 p.m. “Primetime: What Would You Do?”

10:00 p.m. “20/20”

 

In November:

8:00 p.m. “Last Man Standing”

8:30 p.m. “Malibu Country”

9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”

10:00 p.m. “20/20”

 

SATURDAY:

8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night College Football”

 

SUNDAY:

7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”

8:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time”

9:00 p.m. “Revenge”

10:00 p.m. “666 Park Avenue”

 

 

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Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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