ABC Fall Preview
by Matthew Romanada on September 22, 2006

After a banner 2004-2005 season, where ABC saw Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy become massive hits reviving the network, the 2005-2006 was a bit of a let down. Lost and Desperate Housewives went through sophmore slumpts and none of its new shows hit one out of the park. This season ABC has brought out a whole fleet of new shows and has a whopping load of mid-season shows ready to go if any of the first ones falter. If ABC can find a couple gems in this pack it will be off and running in the race for the top network.

Six Degrees
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Thursday, 10 p.m. on ABC, Wednesday, 9 p.m. on Global
Premiere: September 21

Cast:
Jay Fernandez…Carlos
Bridget Moynahan…Whitney
Campbell Scott…Steven
Hope Davis…Laura
Erika Christensen…Mae
Dorian Missick…Damian

Show Premise : The show deals with the connections between random people. In this case six very different New Yorkers, who are in very different stages of their lives. The pilot hints that each of these characters will have an impact on the lives of the others.

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: There were some real standouts in the cast, mainly the always solid Campbell Scott and underated talent Hope Davis. The overall idea is interesting, if not all that creative.

Murtz: I like the concept of six degrees shows and I thought it was interest to see how each character bumps into each other. I liked it a lot.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show :

Romo: No Kevin Bacon, I mean come on this is totally his gig. But seriously I think the pilot lacked a sense of comedy and joy. It felt almost too depressing. The whole plot around Erika Christensen’s character felt forced.

Murtz: Not sure if the cast is big enough. How many times can the same people cross paths with each other (even if it is “random”)? I think some of connections, even on the first episode were a little forced.

Final Verdict :

Romo: Watchable, but one of those shows that will need three or four episodes to make a real judgement on the merits of the series. I could see it start to take itself too seriously and became silly. If it can maintain a good balance and not focus too much on the “connections” and deal more with the people (preferably) Scott and Davis’s characters, it could be a solid show. 6.5/10

Murtz: I dig this show. I think it could be one of the sleepers this season. It was fun to watch and the anticipation was great because you were waiting to see how people would be connected. 9/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: It’s in a tough time slot facing ER but it could compete with Shark and if it wins that battle, thanks no doubt to the Grey’s Anatomy lead-in, it could survive the year.

Murtz: Hoping this one sticks around. I think it is going to but it definitely will require some promotion by both networks and this is promotion that I haven’t come close to seeing yet.


Brothers & Sisters
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Sunday, 10 p.m.
Premiere: September 24

Cast:
Calista Flockhart…Kitty
Rachel Griffiths…Sarah
Balthazar Getty…Tommy
Matthew Rhys…Kevin
Sally Field…Nora Holden
Dave Annable…Justin
Ron Rifkin…Saul Holden

Show Premise: You can probably guess that this series follows a set of siblings, five to be exact. Needless to say each sibling is very different and unique. You’ve got the gay brother and the Republican sister (in a Democrat family). The siblings are brought together for a family gathering but their much beloved father dies. Upon that death secrets about his life and the dealings of the family business start to unearth themselves.

What We Liked About The Show :

Romo: Rachel Griffiths really steals every scene she appears in. I do like the overall idea of the show. One of the more “complete” pilots. It felt like the cast and crew had worked together for years, rather than just one episode.

Murtz: I thought the first episode was good and the characters engaged me. I have always had a thing for Calista Flockhart. In fact, she is probably my favorite actress and celebrity so I will follow her anywhere. Ally McBeal and Alias were two of my favorite shows, and three actors on them makes Brothers & Sisters definitely worth watching for Murtz.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show :

Romo: I’m not 100% sold on Calista Flockhart in this series. I still see her as a mix of Ally McBeal and the poster child for anorexia.

Murtz: I thought the premiere was very slow and very boring at times. The same reasons that I like the show are the same reasons why I didn’t like it. The familiarity of the actors make the viewer associate them with their previous roles.

Final Verdict:

Romo: A solid and very well put together pilot. One of the better pilots I screened this year. 8.5/10

Murtz: I think it is interesting. Is it worth the promotional campaign? Perhaps it is. Shows about families with secrets are always entertaining, but the problem is that the viewer must care about the family. That is clearly what this show will come down to. 7/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: If Vegas was taking odds on shows succeeding Brothers & Sisters would be the lowest at somewhere around 3/1 or 2/1. ABC put it in Grey’s post-Housewives slot, which means it has high hopes. Without a Trace will give it a fight but if this show doesn’t make it to its second year ABC in dire straights.

Murtz: In Canada, Global has given this show a lot of attention. I would even say that they have pushed this the hardest, it’s kind of like their Studio 60. Is it warranted? I think to a degree it is. Actually, the parallels to Studio 60 are quite prevalent. Just like I said for that show, this one will require commitment and patience


Help Me, Help You
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. (not on schedule for CH at this time)
Premiere: September 26

Cast:
Ted Danson…Bill Hoffman
Charlie Finn…Dave
Darlene Hunt…Darlene
Jere Burns…Michael
Jim Rash…Jonathan
Suzy Nakamura…Inger

Show Premise: Ted Danson plays Bill Hoffman, a well-known therapist and the show revolves around the patients in his newest group therapy. Problem is that Hoffman is just as messed up as his patients, some of whom are there because of a court-order.

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: It reminded me a great deal the show Dear, John, which I loved back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The co-stars behind Danson were decent.

Murtz: This one had its moments, but nothing too special. Ted Danson is usually good and I like him in this Hoffman-psychiatrist role. It seems to suit his method of acting. Supporting case is average, but passable.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show:

Romo: It felt like the show might get preachy at times. Playing the mental deficiencies of people for comedy can be difficult without becoming either preachy or offensive.

Murtz: I think Romo and I are on different pages in terms of comedies. I didn’t find this one that funny and I thought it was kind of forced at times.

Final Verdict:

Romo: It had some decent laughs, a few that were moderately creative and fresh, more than I can say for most of the comedies on TV these days. 7/10

Murtz: It would struggle to compete against some of the funnier commercials that I have seen, but still has something that can be molded to work. I’ll check it out one more time, but that’s about all I will promise. 5.5/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: It wasn’t exactly given a great time slot but it’s one that it could find a niche in where the two returning shows, The Unit and L&O: Criminal Intent aren’t exactly juggernauts. It is also the only comedy option on Tuesdays. Still, the odds are against it unless it comes out of the gate fast.

Murtz: I actually think the timeslot is pretty decent for this one. I think it will fight and claw hard to stay, but I think it is doomed.


The Nine
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Wednesday, 10 p.m. on ABC, Saturday, 10 p.m. on CTV
Premiere: October 4 on ABC, October 7 on CTV

Cast:
Tim Daly…Nick Cavanaugh
Scott Wolf…Jeremy Kates
Chi McBride…Malcolm Jones
Kim Raver…Kathryn Hale
John Billingsly…Egan Foote

Show Premise: A bank robbery gone bad and its after effects. Ok, its a bit more complex than that but you get the idea. Nine survivors from a 52-hour hostage standoff deal with the ramifications of their ordeal. Each episode more clues of what took place in the 52 hours will be revealed. And what happened in their to make these nine people feel so connected, and what is the secret they are hiding from police?

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: Excellent ensemble cast. From top to bottom perhaps the best lineup of actors in all the new shows. I can’t imagine anyone not turning on the show and not recognizing at least two of the veteran stars. Enterprise fans will be happy to see Flox (John Billingsly) has landed on his feet.

Murtz: Great show. The premiere was very fast-paced and cool. When I first heard about the premise for the show, I was very skeptical. Why would I care about the bond between these hostages after the trigger incident was over. I like the fact that there are secrets and I also dig how it will take the entire season to truly find out what really happened in the failed robbery attempt.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show:

Romo: Too many secrets. It’s trying to pull of the Lost secrts thing and even using flashbacks to reveal the secrets. While it’s a cool idea it feels like it’s ripping off the ideas of other shows.

Murtz: As I have said for the majority of the shows that I have liked, there isn’t much that I would improve upon. Of course it is always better to sex things up, but I could say that for just about any show on television. I think that the show is unique and hip with a great chemistry between the cast.

Final Verdict:

Romo: One of two or three shows I have on my “will definitely watch” list. The depth of the cast means the show will have multiple avenues to go down in terms of character development. 9/10

Murtz: I’ll watch it. I just want to find out what really happened in the hostage situation and why some seem to be taking it better than others. 8.5/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: It was given the post-Lost slot, which while it seems is a good omen doomed Invasion by putting too many high hopes on the show. I think it lasts at least the year but ABC may not give it a second season if it doesn’t become a super hit.

Murtz: It’s on after Lost. Enough said. Although while I am sure that it is coming back, it will be interesting to see what will happen in seasons that come after this one.


The Knights of Prosperity
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Tuesday, 9 p.m. on ABC, Saturday, 9 p.m. on CTV
Premiere: October 17 on ABC, October 21 on CTV

Cast:
Donal Logue…Eugene Gurkin
Josh Grisetti…Louis Plunk
Sofia Vergara…Esperanza Villalobos
Kevin Michael Richardson…Rockafeller Butts
Lenny Venito…Francis Squacieri
Maz Jobrani…Gourishankar Subramaniam

Show Premise: Eugene Gurkin decides that his crappy life will be made better by owning his own bar. Problem is he has no money so he enlists a group of people to form his own merry band of adventures placing himself as Robin Hood. They decide to rob Mick Jagger, who actually makes an appearance in the pilot.

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: It had a few funny moments. Logue is talented, and the supporting characters are solid.

Murtz: Gotta agree. Logue is very good and clearly the life of the party. I like the supporting characters as well because they are all personalities that you can get behind and root for. Really reminded me of The Lone Gunmen actually. A lot of similarities. I also thought the Mick Jagger cameos were hysterically funny, because the lines he was delivering were so over-the-top and bad that it actually worked fantastically well for a comedy.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show:

Romo: The concept of the show is a bit lame and doesn’t seem to have legs. The show didn’t not stand out as unique or creative in many ways.

Murtz: Watching a group roll around while they try to steal keys to a condo may have its moments, but definitely not enough to make up 22 minutes of original programming. I think the act will stale out pretty quickly.

Final Verdict:

Romo: Another mediocre comedy for the new century where comedy on TV seems to have fallen into a dark chasm. 4/10

Murtz: It’s slightly below average, but comedies are the hardest category to break through. 4/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: Already on its fourth title Knights could find the same audience that loves the other crappy comedies on TV, but if I have anything to say about it Knights will be gone by mid-season.

Murtz: It’s done. A few episodes and I will be surprised. I think it is trying to be like My Name Is Earl, but I don’t thinl it can be.


Day Break
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Wednesday, 9 p.m. (listed as midseason replacement for Global, no time slot yet)
Premiere: November 15

Cast:
Taye Diggs…Brett Hooper
Moon Bloodgood…Rita Shelten
Adam Baldwin…Chad Shelten
Meta Golding…Jennifer Mathis

Show Premise: Think Groundhog Day except instead of a weatherman the star is a cop. Brett Hooper wakes up every day reliving the same day where he is alleged to have killed a district attorney. Each time he wakes up he tries to change the result of the day, saving his loved ones from those conspiring to frame him, and proves his innocence.

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: Taye Diggs was a captivating star and held his own in a show that pretty much features him in 90% of the scenes.

Murtz: I thought it was a fantastic premiere. It captivated me and I couldn’t wait to see what Diggs would do next.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show:

Romo: An obvious ripoff of the Bill Murray flick’s basic premise. The repetition may drive viewers a bit insane.

Murtz: This is totally Groundhog Day and if this actually is the premise for every show, it’s going to get old really fast. I mean like within three episodes.

Final Verdict:

Romo: Even though it steals from past projects it’s an interesting twist and Diggs is a star in the making. 7.5/10

Murtz: A great premiere. Deserves a shot just because the first episode really got you involved and wondering why Diggs’ character was in the trouble that he was in. 8/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: I’m pretty sure it will last the year, which for it is only 13 episodes as its essentially pinch-hitting for Lost. Whether it gets a full run next year or not will depend on how long the writers can drag viewers along with one story, one repetative day, and not bore them to death.

Murtz: I think it might have been smarter to do the show like Early Edition, where everyday, Brett Hooper has to repeat that day over and over again. If it is true that it is just the same thing everytime I tune in, I will tune out and I think that most would in that scenario.


Big Day
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Not determined yet
Premiere: Midseason 2007

Cast:
Marla Sokoloff…Alice

Josh Cooke…Danny
Kurt Fuller…Steve
Miriam Shor…Becca
Stephen Rannazzisi…Skobo
Stephanie Weir…Lorna
Wendie Malick…Janes

Show Premise: Take a dash of 24 and a pinch of Father of the Bride and you have Big Day. Every episode shows an hour in the day of a wedding, one that the father of the bride is not 100% sold on.

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: Marla Sokoloff is as cute as ever. There were a few decent laughs in the pilot.

Murtz: Had some laughs, and the two leads work well together. The concept is also interesting as usually shows tend to follow what happens after the wedding and not before. I like the way it is shot too, showing the true chaos that weddings really are.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show:

Romo: The whole premise seems forced and to make it fit into the format will no doubt mean each hour has its own crisis…ugh…shoot me now.

Murtz: Wasn’t funny enough. Almost seemed like an amateur sketch comedy at times. I thought the production value wasn’t as good as the camera work. Some of the jokes felt like the show was happening in the 80’s.

Final Verdict:

Romo: Not funny enough to keep me interested and coming back. 3/10

Murtz: In a season filled with great comedies, this was not one of the highlights. Decent, but won’t stand the test of time. 4/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: If it even gets on the schedule I would be shocked if viewers even got to see the wedding. And what happens next year? The show suffers from the Reunion problem of one-and-done.

Murtz: I can easily answer that one Romo. If the show does make it to next year, it will either follow the divorce or the sister’s wedding. I am positive.


In Case of Emergency
Networks: AC and
Time slot: Not determined yet
Premiere: Midseason 2007

Cast:
Jonathan Silverman…Harry Kennison
David Arquette…Jason Ventress
Greg Germann…Sherman Yablonsky
Kelly Hu…Kelly Lee
Lori Laughlin…Jonna Lupone

Show Premise: Another show about late 20s, early 30s single people who’s lives are falling apart. Harry Kennison realizes he has no one to put as his “in case of emergency” contact on a medical form. Basically Kennison randomly reconnects with some old high school colleagues and forms a group of friends.

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: The Single Guy is BACK!! Silverman has a certain charm and the ensemble cast features a good lineup from Arquette to Germann. And Full House is back too, in the form of Lori Laughlin. Btw…Kelly Hu is super hot.

Murtz: Another show that I absolutely loved. I am a big Kelly Hu fan and as I mentioned for Brothers & Sisters, I liked Ally McBeal as well. Greg Germann was great on it and great on this. The acting is very strong on this show and just like ‘Til Death, I think that this is must-see comedy. The premiere was smart, funny, and twisted all at the same time. In contention for the best comedy that I saw.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show:

Romo: The show could get a bit whiny. No one wants to hear about how crappy someone else’s life is. They want to escape.

Murtz: There wasn’t much that I didn’t like. I thought this was a phenomenal program.

Final Verdict:

Romo: A decent comedy with a solid cast. 6.5/10

Murtz: This show is a keeper and I highly recommend it. 10/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: It will depend where it gets sloted in the schedule. If given a decent time slot and some decent promo I could see this show sticking around.

Murtz: I think that this show will stick around. It’s cool and fresh and also has some big names in it.


Traveler
Networks: ABC and
Time slot: Not determined yet
Premiere: Midseason 2007

Cast:
Aaron Stafford…Will Traveler
Logan Marshall-Green…Tyler Fog
Matthew Bomer…Jay Burchall
Steven Culp…Fred Chambers
Viola Davis…Jan Marlow

Show Premise: Three college buddies take one last road trip before they are done school for good. Upon hitting New York they decide to rollerblade through a famous museum. Will films Tyler and Jay pulling their prank. But soon Will disappears and the museum has a bomb explode just after Tyler and Jay get out. Now Tyler and Jay are being hunted ala The Fugitive styles and soon question what happend to Will and who he really was?

What We Liked About The Show:

Romo: Aaron Stafford as a potential bad guy is appealing, although if he lasts for later episodes is unclear at the end of the pilot. It’s a well put together pilot with a solid supporting cast. I love conspiracy theories and this one a is a good one.

Murtz: Loved this show. I thought it was fantastic and another Murtz favorite. It kept me riveted and the premiere felt more like a capitivating twists and turns before almost every commercial break. Strong acting and writing where young talent could blossom instead of being hampered down by faces that we already know from other places.

What We Didn’t Like About The Show:

Romo: I said I love conspiracy theories but most of them end up becoming stupid, silly and ridiculous (think Prison Break).

Murtz: Gotta disagree. I think this is a conspiracy theory that works (like Prison Break and I think this one has been strung together well, where the plot can go in many different directions. We have to find out who Will Traveler is, why he chose these two guys to screw over and definitely who the mysterious guardian angel is. Once again, not much that I would change.

Final Verdict:

Romo: A show that I will definitely watch out for when it comes out. I’m a bit annoyed I have to wait till 2007 to see further episodes. 7.5/10

Murtz: Waiting for the mid-season shows does suck, but this gives them a stronger chance of sticking around. Ready for this Romo? 10/10

Likelihood Of The Show Succeeding :

Romo: Probably not as good as I hope. Mid-season shows normally have a tough go unless they are given a great time-slot and start off fast.

Murtz: I thought it was great. The pilot seemed expensive to make and when we were at the Upfront presentation, it stood out. I highly recommend it.

Sir Linksalot: Television News



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