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ABC's New Fall 2016 Shows: First Impressions
May 18, 2016  | By David Bianculli  | 1 comment

Last year, ABC had what seemed like the most promising new show of the season – but The Muppets never gelled, and now it’s gone. Yet despite a tepid new lineup, ABC once again has one promising new show… but this year, will promises be fulfilled?

ABC is adding three dramas and two new comedies to its fall lineup, with more coming at midseason. Two of the dramas are infected with ABC’s ever-spreading Shonda Rhimes virus – overkill, oversell, overeverything – but the third, based on even the short teaser clip, looks like something to look forward to seeing.

It’s called Designated Survivor, and stars Kiefer Sutherland as a cabinet member who, according to established government practice, is squirreled away in seclusion while the President of the United States delivers his State of the Union Address to Congress – just in case a disaster occurs which takes out the chief executive and the other members of his administration and cabinet.

Which, as this clip shows, it does. It’s set up quite nicely – nicely enough to make this a strong contender as best new show of the fall:

The other ABC dramas, not so much. Conviction stars Hayley Atwell, from Marvel’s Agent Carter, as a wild-child former President’s daughter who becomes assigned, as a sort of punishment, to run a legal team. It comes from a Shonda Rhimes show producer – and based on the previews, it feels like it:

ABC’s other new drama, Notorious, has the same sort of vibe. Piper Perabo stars as a TV news producer, about whom another of the show’s characters says, “You’re a tough-ass bitch. You can do anything.”

Maybe she can even make this show another of ABC’s high-octane, low-logic hits. I’ll reserve judgment, as with all these clips, until the full previews arrive. Meanwhile, there’s this:

The two new comedies need to be seen at full length, to be fair, because the first impressions are anything but overwhelming. American Housewife is about an overweight married woman in Westport, CT, and Speechless stars Minnie Driver, whom I’ve liked a lot in other shows, in a comedy that… well, doesn’t make much sense in a cut-down version. Here’s Speechless:

At midseason, ABC’s bench players include a made-for-TV movie remake of Dirty Dancing, a Kevin Williamson remake of the time-travel drama Time After Time, and – I’m not kidding – Downward Dog. That last show is a comedy from the point of view of a talking dog. Which sounds sad, except that it actually appears funnier than the other ABC comedies sampled at Tuesday’s upfronts.

And maybe that’s what’s really sad…

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Mark Isenberg
Typical ABC junk which may have one hit in the mix but not much else and the Shonda Rhimes overkill is not helping much,not on Grey's anymore for sure.Anybody remember when ABC was bold with Cop Rock,Thirtysomething and My So Called Life and a little project from the great Glenn Gordon Caron,Moonlighting?
May 18, 2016   |  Reply
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