ABC Goes Big With “S.H.I.E.L.D” (And Its Other New Shows)
February 4, 2017
ABC has ordered 12 new shows after a season when it renewed only one freshman drama (Nashville), one new comedy (Neighbors), and killed all the rest (Red Widow, 666 Park Ave, How to Live With Your Parents, and a slew of others). And though the network is more stable than NBC, and has a few big hits, it is in fourth place because NBC has football.
And that is why there are some big bets here, including the biggest for the new season: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Joss Whedon.
Going forward, Dancing With the Stars is being reduced to only one night a week (Mondays), allowing Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to air on Tuesdays for an all new night of television: It will be followed by a comedy block of The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife and then the drama Lucky 7.
ABC had its upfront on Tuesday, and presented the trailers for the new shows, which are now embedded (along with my reactions to them).
The network’s full fall schedule is at the bottom of this post, and the new shows are arranged by night of the week. For renewals and cancellations for all the networks, take a look here.
3. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Clark Gregg, Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet
Who made it?: Are you kidding? Joss Freakin’ Whedon! And: Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen, Jeffrey Bell, Jeph Loeb
What’s it about?: In Marvel’s first television show, Clark Gregg’s character from the film franchise, Agent Phil Coulson, runs a cool-ass law enforcement agency. My colleague Jordan Zakarian has put together a post of everything nerd-dom has been able to glean about the show. Read it, nerds!
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: What can I say? It looks spectacular, in the literal sense. As a huge Joss Whedon fan — even if I’m less of a Marvel franchise-lover — this show seems fun, populist, and Clark Gregg is a really good actor. It’s the biggest bet of the new season.
4. The Goldbergs (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, George Segal, Hayley Orrantia, Sean Giambrone, and Troy Gentile
Who made it?: Adam F. Goldberg and Doug Robinson. The pilot was directed by Seth Gordon (Identity Thief and Horrible Bosses).
What’s it about?: A family comedy set in the ’80s. Note the sweaters.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: During his conference call with reporters, and again at the upfront, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee repeatedly mentioned how much he loves this show. I really don’t understand: Maybe this cutdown doesn’t do it justice? It looks flat and shrill and like it tries too hard. There are no laughs. Paul Lee: Help us see what you see.
5. Trophy Wife (Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins, Natalie Morales, Ryan Scott Lee, Albert Tsai, Gianna LePera
Who made it?: Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins, and also executive produced by Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky. Akerman is a producer, also. The pilot was directed by Jason Moore, the genius Pitch Perfect director.
What’s it about?: Akerman plays Whitford’s third wife, Harden is wife No. 1, Watkins is wife No. 2. There are a bunch of kids, none of whom are Akerman’s character’s.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Not my thing. ABC is going to have an interesting situation on Tuesdays in the 9 o’clock hour against The Voice, NCIS: LA, and New Girl/Mindy Project. This show looks like cannon fodder to me.
6. Lucky 7 (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Isiah Whitlock, Jr, Matt Long, Stephen Louis Grush, Lorraine Bruce, Anastasia Phillips, Summer Bishil, Luis Antonio Ramos, Christine Evangelista
Who made it?: David Zabel and Jason Richman. And then the Spielberg TV people: Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey
What’s it about?: A group of seven employees at a gas station in Astoria all contribute to a lottery pool regularly. I assume they win? It actually doesn’t say!
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Maybe there’s a compelling drama here that is too sprawling for a short trailer. There are a lot of characters.
7. Back in the Game (Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Maggie Lawson, James Caan, Lenora Crichlow, Griffin Gluck, Ben Koldyke, Kennedy Waite, J.J. Totah, and Cooper Roth
Who made it?: Mark and Robb Cullen; directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. And Aaron Kaplan.
What’s it about?: An ex-girls’ softball star whose life has turned out disappointingly moves herself and her son in with her father (Caan). When her son wants to play little league, she ends up coaching his team.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Weirdly, I laughed several times watching this. It seems like it could be sweet, and I love the mom-does-baseball angle (personally). I do like the idea of what ABC has built in its Wednesday comedy block with The Middle and Modern Family. Maybe this show fits into that brand?
8. Super Fun Night (Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Rebel Wilson, Lauren Ash, Liza Lapira, Kelen Coleman, and Kevin Bishop
Who made it?: Written by Rebel Wilson! Executive producers are Conan O’Brien, David Kissinger, John Riggi (director)
What’s it about?: Wilson plays Kimmie; she and her two best friends have “Friday Night Fun Night” every Friday for 13 years. Complications ensue. Rebel Wilson!
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Rebel Wilson came out onto the stage during the upfront and killed it. And that is not easy. You know why? Advertising and TV schedules do not provide funny material. The point is! She is so funny. This show doesn’t look hilarious yet? I don’t care.
9. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thursdays at 8 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Sophie Lowe, Michael Socha, Peter Gadiot, Emma Rigby, and John Lithgow (as the voice of the White Rabbit).
Who made it?: The Once Upon a Time creators, of course: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Also executive produced by Steve Perlman and Zack Estrin, and directed by Ralph Hemecker.
What’s it about?: The OUAT folk take on Alice in Wonderland.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I appreciate Once Upon a Time more than I actually watch it. I think it’s taken some hoary Disney characters and some cool ones and created an often delightful mashup. But it’s not exactly for me. This show, on the other hand, looks more like it’s for adults — and Sophie Lowe seems like a star. I do want to talk to ABC about two of its show names, however. I’m just going to call this Wonderland, OK? And I’m extremely tired already of typing all the periods in S.H.I.E.L.D, not to mention the Marvel part. FIX IT.
10. Betrayal (Sundays at 10 p.m.)
Who’s in it?: Hannah Ware, Stuart Townsend, James Cromwell, Henry Thomas, Chris Johnson, Wendy Moniz, Elizabeth McLaughlin, and Braeden Lamasters
Who made it?: The first of two David Zabel (of ER) shows here; and the pilot was directed by Patty Jenkins. Rob Golenberg and Alon Aranya are also EPs.
What’s it about?: A twisty drama involving politics, infidelity, and murder. Sounds fun to me. Also, let’s pause to admire that Henry Thomas, after being in ET, just has a normal career as a working actor. Good for you, Henry Thomas!
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Trashy, soapy fun? I can’t tell whether we’ll sympathize with the female lead. And the two men look too much alike. A wait and see.
11. Resurrection (Sundays at 10 p.m. when Betrayal is on hiatus)
Who’s in it?: Omar Epps, Matt Craven, Devin Kelley, Frances Fisher, Kurtwood Smith, Sam Hazeldine, Samaire Armstrong, Nicholas Gonzalez, Mark Hildreth, Landon Gimenez
Who made it?: Aaron Zelman (creator), JoAnn Alfano, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Jon Liebman
What’s it about?: I read the description of this show about six times. It’s something about the dead starting to return to Arcadia, Missouri and an 8-year-old who finds himself in China but then turns out to be … from Arcadia 30 years earlier? My head! Confession: I love a show like this, and they basically never work. But I fall for them every time.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: In watching this, I found it to be absorbing and moving. And intriguing. I’m in.
12. Killer Women (Midseason)
Who’s in it?: Tricia Helfer, Mark Blucas, Marta Milans, Alex Fernandez, and Michael Trucco
Who made it?: Written by Hannah Shakespeare, and executive produced by Sofia Vergara, Martin Campbell, Ben Silverman, and Luis Balaguer
What’s it about?: Helfer, who is such a good actress, plays a… Texas Ranger? Clunk.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I take it back! I take back the clunk! I have no idea whether this show will be good. But I liked the Robert Rodriguez-y feel to it, and she seemed a little Raylan-from-Justified-like. Let’s wait to see the pilot.
13. Mind Games (Midseason)
Who’s in it?: Steve Zahn, Christian Slater, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Cedric Sanders, Gregory Marcel, and Wynn Everett
Who made it?: Kyle Killen (of Lone Star and Awake bad luck) and Keith Redman
What’s it about?: I fall for a Kyle Killen show pretty much every time for at least the pilot, so this one should be no different. Zahn and Slater play brothers who run an agency that’s part psychological manipulation/part con. No, I don’t know what that means. Stay tuned.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I don’t know, you guys. Between Christian Slater and Steve Zahn, who’s the calm one? The premise is a stretch. And not a solid business model, may I add.
14. Mixology (Midseason)
Who’s in it?: Blake Lee, Andrew Santino, Kate Simses, Adam Campbell, Craig Frank, Vanessa Lengies, Alexis Carra, Sarah Bolger, Ginger Gonzaga, and Adan Canto
Who made it?: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (the Hangover screenwriters); Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass, and Adam Sher are also EPs. Directed by Larry Charles.
What’s it about?: The log-line says: “One bar. One night. Ten single people.” And then describes the plot. But I assume all of these people are going to become entwined.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: The entire season will take place over one night. One night with these people who seem terrible. Not for me. Another one of Paul Lee’s favorites, by the way! Paul: Call.
8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
10:00 p.m. “Castle”
8:00 p.m.”Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
9:00 p.m.”The Goldbergs”
9:30 p.m.”Trophy Wife”
10:00 p.m.”Lucky 7”
8:00 p.m.”The Middle”
8:30 p.m.”Back in the Game”
9:00 p.m.”Modern Family”
9:30 p.m.”Super Fun Night”
10:00 p.m. “Nashville”
8:00 p.m.”Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”
9:00 p.m.”Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00 p.m. “Scandal”
8:00 p.m.”Last Man Standing”
8:30 p.m.”The Neighbors”
9:00 p.m.”Shark Tank”
10:00 p.m. “20/20”
8:00 p.m.”Saturday Night College Football”
7:00 p.m.”America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m.”Once Upon a Time”
10:00 p.m. “Betrayal”