Television Without Pity

ABC’s Fall and Midseason Shows: Our Early Look

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"Charlie's Angels" tops ABC's slate

"Charlie's Angels" tops ABC's slate (Bob D'Amico/ABC)

Instead of leading off with Jimmy Kimmel to get us warmed up and excited about these new shows, ABC's upfront presentation jumped right in, so Jimmy didn't come out until halfway through the event. Actually, thirty minutes in was perfect timing for him because that was about when we become fairly horrified with the new crop of shows.

But even Kimmel seemed off his game, making easy jokes about CBS ("More people die watching CBS than any other network") and NBC ("They'll be selling their ads on Groupon this year") and Fox's "X Factor" ("It's like 'American Idol' meets a mirror"). As for the network's gobs and gobs of new shows? They've been better in years past, too.

[Photos: Check Out ABC's New Fall and Midseason Shows]


"Charlie's Angels"

We were secretly hoping that since "Hawaii Five-0" turned out to be a fun new take on a classic, this one might fall in that same vein, but we were wrong. Even the voice of Charlie is weak and forgettable. And if you can't get that right, you're in trouble. Mostly, it just looks like any other show about scantily clad attractive women who like to blow stuff up. Better luck next time, Minka Kelly.

"Once Upon a Time"

Yesterday, we saw a clip for the new NBC show "Grimm" and today we get more fairy tales, but here they have Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla and Ginnifer Goodwin. This one isn't a cop show that has some supernatural elements, but rather a full-on fairy tale, with princesses and castles and a whole town that's filled with characters out of storybooks. It looks like something that would normally be a Syfy miniseries.

"Pan Am"

"Mad Men" flies the friendly skies. Or at least what network television thinks "Mad Men" is, with the period garb and the sex, but without the actual quality scripts and the beautiful pacing and the talented actors and the sociological insights.

"Last Man Standing"

While we might have tolerated quite a bit of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor back in the day before we learned about quality sitcoms, we certainly don't want to see a gender-reversed version in which Tim is a stay-at-home dad surrounded by a bunch of daughters. And putting in Buzz Lightyear jokes only looks desperate.

"Man Up"

This show about three manchildren who do ridiculous things, are lazy and like to play video games most of the time gave us hives. We hate this sort of comedy unless it's done really well. Like, "The Hangover" well. This is definitely more akin to Adam Sandler's movies.


Single-dad Jeremy Sisto freaks when he finds out his teenage daughter (Jane Levy) has condoms, so he makes the drastic decision to move them out of Manhattan and into the suburbs. She's a new girl in a new school and is a fish out of water. Cheryl Hines plays an appearance-obsessed woman trying to hook up with Sisto. It has a "Mean Girls" vibe and the cast seems strong and this is definitely worth a look for at least a few episodes in the fall.


We're not entirely convinced that Emily Van Camp can really act, or pull off devious, but she's sure going to try. She's a young woman set on bringing down the Hamptons socialite society that somehow destroyed her father. What she needs is that guy from "The Borgias" to do it for her.


"Apartment 23"

Obviously, this is our favorite new sitcom because it has James Van Der Beek playing himself. It's about perky blonde Dreama Walker who moves into an apartment with a roommate (played by Krysten Ritter) who tortures her and steals her money. The two basically destroy each other in various ways... but out of love. It seems inappropriate and potentially amusing, and did we mention it has Dawson?

"Work It"

The basic gist is that in this economy, men just can't find jobs. So two guys have to pose as women in order to gain employment. It's like "Bosom Buddies," but about work instead of apartments. And it looks as awful as it sounds. Worse, even.

"Good Christian Belles"

If you don't have a strong tolerance for Kristin Chenoweth, you might want to just skip on ahead to the next show on this list. Considering that she's playing a bitchy Christian woman who likes to do Pilates and belittle people in public, if you don't like her, this isn't going to change your mind. This also stars Leslie Bibb as a former queen bee who has returned to her Dallas home twenty years after high school, due to a scandal in her marriage, while Annie Potts plays her mom.


Ashley Judd is a former government agent searching for her missing son in Europe, and while the show looks stylish and a bit like a "Bourne" movie, how could this possibly last? Will she still be looking for her son five seasons from now? And won't she seem a bit sad and desperate after a while? But, in the meantime there are explosions and car chases.

"The River"

Trying to capitalize on the success of "Paranormal Activity," this focuses on a crocodile hunter type of guy who disappears in the middle of the jungle. His wife goes searching for him and finds something mysterious on his boat. Personally, we're not fans of this sort of thing, and we hate all that jumpy and scrambled footage, so we'll be skipping this one.


This Shonda Rhimes show isn't about medicine — we know, we couldn't believe it either. Here, Shonda is writing about politics, specifically about a lawyer (Kerry Washington) who specializes in cleaning up scandals and managing crises for those in powerful positions... like the President. Plus, there's Desmond from "Lost." We're so happy that he and Hurley both have jobs this season.

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Which new ABC show looks best to you? Let us know in the comments.

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