Yesterday brought new trailers for Fox and NBC’s fall series, including some exciting entries in The Grinder and Blindspot as well as a lot of potential duds like Rosewood and People are Talking, but now ABC has unveiled first looks at many of its upcoming entries. Luckily, what’s on display here actually looks pretty promising. Based on early impressions, ABC is going to dominate this fall.
Here are my snap judgments on The Catch, The Family, OIL, Of Kings and Prophets, Quantico, Wicked City, The Muppets, Dr. Ken, Uncle Buck and The Real O’Neals.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned in the trailer for ABC’s latest Shondaland drama, which stars Mireille Enos as ruthless fraud investigator Alice Martin, who discovers she’s about to be defrauded herself by the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with. Determined to take control of her life back and get revenge while continuing to dominate in her career, Alice sets out down a dangerous path.
The Catch looks a surefire hit for ABC but, beyond that, it boasts a furious talent in Enos (AMC’s The Killing) and her work here might be about to give How to Get Away with Murder‘s Viola Davis a run for her money. Definitely worth checking out.
Any show that can make a line like “I want a big piece, I want the frosting” send a shiver down my spine is one I’ve already accepted I’ll be curled up on the couch watching, and that’s definitely the case for ABC’s ambitious-looking drama The Family. It features a capable cast in Joan Allen, Alison Pill, Margot Bingham, Andrew McCarthy, Liam James and Zach Gilford (among others), and the tale of a politician (Allen) whose bid for office is complicated by the return of her long-thought-murdered son (James) should feature enough twists and turns to warrant comparisons to House of Cards and Bloodline.
Of Kings and Prophets:
Harder to say whether there’s a place for a Biblical epic on one of the primetime networks (after all, The Dovekeepers was far from a hit). The British accents are ridiculously distracting and out of place, and there’s no escaping that the restrictions in place on ABC, both budgetary and in terms of content, is going to render this a pretty impotent Game of Thrones derivative. If it’s somehow good, it’ll be really good, but I’m not sold by this trailer.
Whoever pictured The Muppets as an Office-style mockumentary, kudos to you – this new take on the beloved characters doesn’t look half bad. The slightly more adult nature of a series that follows the Muppets’ personal lives in and out of the office is what sets this one apart, but of course this is still going be required family viewing in many households. I’m particularly amused with Gonzo, who’s essentially taking on the Abed-from-Community approach here to analyze every shot, but the entire trailer is surprisingly terrific.
A serial killer thriller set against the mayhem of the Las Vegas strip circa 1982, Wicked City seems like a pretty closed-loop series for ABC. That being said, buzz about the pilot is extremely strong, and casting Ed Westwick as a necrophiliac mass murderer is actually spot-on casting, which might explain why I was so uncomfortable watching him in Gossip Girl. The period vibes are strong with this one, and if the acting is strong across the board, it could go the distance.
It’s an extremely conventional family sitcom, but coming from a fan of Ken Jeong, Dr. Ken may have a leg up on the competition. Not only is it more Asian representation on TV after Fresh Off the Boat, but the show boasts an accomplished comedian in the lead who is going to excel with absolutely any material he gets. Ditch the laugh track and I’m on board.
Egad, that voice-over… Updating the Gold Rush for modern times with a story about people going to seek their fortunes in North Dakota after the biggest oil discovery in U.S. history is an interesting concept, but the series is too cheesy and melodramatic to suggest that there’s anything here worth spending time on. If ABC is trying to come up with an Empire-style dynasty series about a power-hungry family at the peak of power, it will have to look elsewhere. And that title is terrible. But not as terrible as, “When you’re building a fortune, you’re bound to get a little bit dirty.” [Laughs]
Mike Epps is the main draw here, because outside of the talented comedian, Uncle Buck is playing in extremely familiar territory. The giant pancakes, of course, make an appearance here, but how the series is going to sustain itself past the pilot is an unanswered question. ABC execs clearly think this show is a shoo-in for high ratings, but they’ll have to do a lot better than punchlines like an adult man taking a nude picture of a teenage boy as he steps out of the shower.
Wow. This is ABC’s response to Homeland, and it looks pretty damn good. The trailer is great at laying out a complex story – one of the recruits at an FBI training base is a terrorist, but when their attack is pinned on the wrong agent, she makes it her mission to weed out the culprit – and the cast is excellent, including Priyanka Chopra, Dougray Scott, Aunjanue Ellis and Jake McLaughlin. Quantico is going to be twisty and intense, but there’s also some sense of fun to the proceedings, which is a refreshing shift when compared to a lot of thrillers of this kind.
The Real O’Neals:
Surprisingly bold for a family sitcom, The Real O’Neals is working from a gold set-up – the son of a traditional Irish-Catholic family comes out as gay, pushing all the family members to reveal truths about themselves – with a great cast, including Martha Plimpton (RIP Raising Hope), Jay Ferguson (anticipatory RIP Mad Men), Bebe Wood (oh yeah, The New Normal, forgot about that) and up-and-comers Noah Galvin and Matt Shively.
All in all, ABC killed the upfronts. There are a few harder sells here, including two of the bigger dramas (Of Kings and Prophets and Oil), but a whole lot of promise in both the dramas (I’m most anticipating The Family and Quantico) and comedies (The Muppets, of course, but also The Real O’Neals and Dr. Ken). Compared to Fox and NBC, though, ABC is going into this fall on top.