ABC had a pretty full sack of new shows to distribute to all the good children during this busy week of Upfront presentations, which are basically TV's Christmas. The network's recently announced 2012-2013 schedule features 10 new series—six dramas and four comedies—and now there are accompanying trailers to boot. Let's take a look at these sneak peeks and make some snap judgments!
ABC's pitch: 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?
Our take: This looks totally... pretty good? Give it up for Connie Britton, who is picture perfect for the role of the aging country star. But we're having trouble seeing Hayden as the trampy little upstart. In Connie we trust, so this could be a hit.
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: This is a TV show? Last Resort came in as my most anticipated series of the new season, and this trailer with its nuclear missiles a' firin' keeps it there. This looks pretty good! Or very serious, at least. Plus it's the only show on ABC geared toward humans with a penis.
666 Park Avenue
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: Okay so this is less of a haunted apartment building and more of a place for Satan Landlord to catch souls while tenants get their most secret desires. O'Quinn is a great choice for the Devil, but Rachael Taylor couldn't even play the lead in a biopic about Rachael Taylor. Looks like campy fun, though.
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: Older women act slutty and justify it. This is trashy television at its mediocre-est.
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: It's like ABC wanted to do another Missing but also wanted to add some Revenge and set it against a mob background. This might be okay, but it will definitely never see a Season 2.
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: This show has Nazis. And religious conspiracy. And babies with demon eyes. It could be ABC's best new comedy.
How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest Of Your Life
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: Hey! I forgot that Jon Dore, also known as Canada's Jon Dore, is in this! He's hilarious! However, Brad Garrett in various states of undress is disturbing, and the show looks like a bunch of "STOP IT MOM AND DAD YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME!"
The Family Tools
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: A typical Kyle Bornheimer comedy. Good for goofy buffoonery and about four episodes!
ABC's pitch: 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.
Our take: This could have gone one of two ways, and unfortunately it went the wrong way. This joke of aliens pretending to be humans should be funny for about three minutes, and TV seasons run a little longer than that. Heck, this one might run a whole 30 minutes! So disappointing.
ABC's pitch: 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 May (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.
Our take: Hey, this will fit great with Last Man Standing! Which is to say, no thanks! Pot-lollipop granny had to happen, people.
What looks good to you so far? Let's hear your first impressions in the comments!