We’ve done it for NBC and we’ve done it for Fox, so now let’s take a look at ABC’s trailers for its new series. The network announced its 2013-2014 primetime schedule earlier today, and we’re ready to rank the offerings.
ABC has unleashed more promos for more new shows than either of the big networks that came before, and what’s notable, watching them, is how male-centric both NBC and Fox’s programming looks in comparison. ABC actually has some female-led series in its batch, though none of them come off as all that strong, at least in trailer form.
The cream of ABC’s crop, unsurprisingly, is Joss Whedon’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The production is slick and expensive looking, but so are plenty of other new shows — what stands out here are the snippets of snappy dialog (“There are two ways we can do this.” “Oh, is one of them the easy way?” No.”). Whedon gives good geek — he knows how to build out and respect a fantastical universe — and while the characters do look like variations on his standard types (like Ming-Na Wen as your typical Whedonesque badass damaged pixie), he does those types very well.
The ensemble drama “Lucky 7” has a genuinely interesting premise — a group of seven Queens gas station employees win the lottery — and the possibilities for where it could go seem endless, plus it features characters of a type and of a class you just don’t tend to see on screen. It’s based on the British series “The Syndicate.” “Mind Games” comes from “Awake” and “Lone Star” creator Kyle Killen, a smart writer who’s had no luck with the networks so far. This series, which stars Christian Slater and Steve Zahn, is less concept-heavy than Killen’s last two while retaining a psychology-based twist on the heist format that could potentially be a lot of fun.
“Resurrection,” on the other hand, does have a high concept center — it’s about a boy who’s inexplicably found in China who claims to be the child of a Missouri couple, one who died over 30 years before. There’s a lot that could be done with the idea, especially as (presumably) more of the dead return and are funnels to an agent played by Omar Epps, but the trailer feels a little gauzy and soft where it should be sharper. “Betrayal” is about an affair between characters played by Hannah Ware and Stuart Townsend, and while it seems a little thin in terms of premise and the attractive leads don’t share an overabundance of chemistry, the fact that Patty Jenkins (“Monster”) directed the pilot and the hints at larger complications to come regarding a murder case give it interest. Also, it’s being paired with “Revenge,” making for a hilarious evening of television in terms of titles.
“The Goldbergs,” starring Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Covey (of “Bridesmaids”), is an ’80s-set comedy that shamelessly stretches for a “Wonder Years” vibe, and actually sporadically manages it in the trailer, though the period music choices help more than you’d guess (that’s some curiously touching REO Speedwagon). “Killer Women” features beautiful and robotic Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) as a Texas Ranger and, despite a “Kill Bill”-esque soundtrack comes off looking like the kind of thing that’s too male-pandering to attract a female audience but not quite the right style of tough to keep the guys around.
“Super Fun Night” was created by and stars the very funny Rebel Wilson, who would be a terrific talent to have in a regular primetime role, but the trailer — which pairs Wilson with Liza Lapira and Lauren Ash as a trio of geeky girls who’ve traditionally stayed in together on Friday nights — just isn’t all that funny, with the premise of social awkwardness not meshing well with the broad physical comedy and Wilson’s innate confidence. “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” is a spinoff of ABC’s popular fairy tale-inspired drama that sounds like it could be interesting, but in the trailer below mainly looks like the kind of project that’s too epic in visual scope for the producers to pull off, at least on a TV budget. “Back in the Game” is a “moving back in with my parents” comedy starring James Caan and Maggie Lawson, likable actors who nevertheless don’t make it looks like anything other than a completely rote affair.
And down at the bottom of the list, “Trophy Wife” has a great cast, including Malin Åkerman, Marcia Gay Harden and Bradley Whitford, but it feels even more familiar in its set-up of a reformed party girl who marries into a family with reluctant children and controlling ex-wives — it’s hard to believe it’s not based on some movie somewhere that you don’t really remember watching. And, written by “The Hangover” scripters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and directed by Larry Charles (“Borat”), “Mixology” is set at a bar and has an incredibly ambitious premise — the entire season is going to take place in one night. The trailer, sadly, doesn’t offer any reasons why you’d want to spend even that amount of real life time with these characters.