Sep 18, 2020
Hit or miss? Predictions for every new show on ABC this fall
It’s brutal out there for new TV shows. Among the major broadcast networks, none of them invited more than two of last fall’s newcomers back onto their schedule this year for a second season. That’s a horrific 38% survival rate.
Who among this year’s freshmen contenders has what it takes to survive? The former Happy Nice Time People TV recappers (now the Agony Booth TV recappers) are going to roll out our predictions one network at a time this week, starting right now with ABC:
Anybody out there need a white savior? The daughter of a former U.S. president works her over-privileged ass off trying to free people who were wrongfully convicted.
Premieres Monday, Oct. 3.
Winston – Agent Carter is back on our TV screens already! Except this time, Hayley Atwell’s sporting a (barely passable) American accent. And the promo would like you to know her boobs are in this as well. The show’s got an interesting premise, but everything else looks dull and formulaic. CANCELLED.
Julie – Why are we supposed to be so shocked and awed that a former president’s daughter would land herself a cushy criminal defense job? Have her join the circus, or become a stripper, or do whatever Eleven did for the government on Stranger Things, you know, with the wearing of funny hats and fondling of monsters while treading water in a dunk tank. Now that’s a show I’d watch… maybe. This? CANCELLED!
Marion – Obnoxious former first daughter who won’t go to rehab – no, no, no – is instead forced – like on Mod Squad, It Takes a Thief, Drop Dead Diva, etc. – to work on the side of good and discover she really isn’t any different from a wrongfully convicted black youth who’s also made mistakes. If I were a network exec, I’d pass, but if they played it for laughs with a recast Ilana Glazer, I’d say “yas, yas, yas!” CANCELLED.
Susan – ABC is loving them some “Anti-hero Female Lead With Dark Past” dramas right now, but a cocaine-snorting Peggy Carter being blackmailed into being a lawyer is too much. I mean, who even does cocaine anymore? Since it has to fend for itself on Monday nights, it will be probably be CANCELLED.
Rick – Aside from the whole “president’s daughter” thing, this is a decent concept. Too bad. CANCELLED.
Odds of survival: 0%
Kiefer Sutherland is once again saving America from terrorists, but not as a badass federal agent this time. Instead, he’s the lone surviving cabinet member when the president’s State of the Union speech gets blowed up real good. Welcome to the Oval Office, Kiefer.
Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Winston – President Jack Bauer would be something to see, but this isn’t that. There’s something depressingly disconcerting about Kiefer going from a hardcore action hero to a lowly, out-of-his-depth HUD Secretary, and I don’t think viewers will warm to it. CANCELLED.
Julie – I was intrigued enough by the trailer to Wikipedia “the presidential line of succession” just to see if I was on it and nobody ever told me. Fortunately for all of you, I’m not. But the random trivia knowledge I gained from this nerdy internet excursion is enough for me to give this a tepid RENEWED.
Marion – Worst King Ralph/The West Wing mash-up ever! Sutherland’s post-24 career already includes a cancelled high-concept series, but the network seems to be pushing this big time with trailers being shown to captive movie goers. Maybe they know something we don’t. Reluctant RENEWED.
Susan –I guess Kal Penn needs a new administration to work for, but this presidency is clearly not headed for re-election with such an outlandish premise. CANCELLED.
Rick – What if West Wing was 100 times more bleak and 1,000 times more preposterous? CANCELLED.
Odds of survival: 40%
A sexy, unscrupulous attorney teams up with a sexy, unscrupulous reporter to use sexy, unscrupulous means to turn each case into the trial of the century of the week.
Premieres Thursday, Sept. 22.
Winston – Wait, why are a talk show producer and a celebrity lawyer joining forces in the first place? The premise seems a bit nonsensical if you don’t know it’s based on the true story of Mark Geragos’s relationship with a Larry King Live producer. Actually, even knowing that, it still makes no sense. CANCELLED.
Julie – These two actors are so much hotter, more eloquent, and have so much more sexual chemistry together than that deceased chubby rapper from the ’90s and Puff Daddy: the two folks who came up in my search feed first when I googled the series title. Unfortunate series name, but still, RENEWED.
Marion – Lawyers and television producers so good looking they could play themselves in the movie. It’s about “truth”. It’s about “power”. But what is it about, exactly? This looks like it could be fun, but the trailer gives no sense of the there there. It’s a word salad of clichés: “You set me up!” “I’m doing my job.” “Give me a chance.” Still pretty people and good time slot. Sure. Why not? RENEWED.
Susan – Yet another sexy legal drama about beautiful people doing ugly things? Yawn. But tossing in another occupation is a smart move to make Notorious stand out from the pack. Plus, that TGIT spot will surely help ratings. RENEWED.
Rick – People always like sexy and unscrupulous, right? RENEWED.
Odds of survival: 80%
We really want to like this show because hooray for making a disabled kid part of a wacky sitcom family. But we read the leaked script of the pilot, and it was painfully obnoxious and a little racist. The only black guy in the county is the school’s janitor, for fuck’s sake, but of course he’s a fount of coolness, calm, and common sense among all these cray-cray white people, helping them with all their problems and forming a special bond with a white kid, who’s really the one we’re supposed to care about here. Of course, everyone else is a one-dimensional, over-the-top stereotype as well, especially the combative, aggressive mom. Imagine Malcolm in the Middle if Lois were supercharged with self-righteousness. And don’t get us started on how the show mocks the very same triumphalism of the disabled that it basks in, as if we wouldn’t notice. Okay, we may have some strong feelings about all this, and maybe we should have turned this rant into its own article. Anyways, the best thing about the show is that the disabled kid is the best thing about the show, stealing all the genuinely funny lines. Hopefully, the director and actors can bring it all down a (hundred) notch(es) and salvage a decent premise from its own overblown THIS-IS-HILARIOUS-RIGHT bullhorn writing style.
Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Winston – Nothing in the trailer made me so much as crack a smile, and Minnie Driver’s overbearing mom is going to get tiresome fast, but it does look well-acted and well-written, and it just might find its footing given a few episodes. RENEWED.
Julie – I actually found myself underwhelmed by the trailer, annoyed by Minnie Driver’s character, and somewhat put off by/made uncomfortable with the series premise. But every review of this series that I read online calls it insightful, witty, authentic and a breath of fresh air in an otherwise run-of-the-mill pilot season. If I agree with them for strategic purposes, is that cheating? Forgive me, Agony Booth, for I have sinned. RENEWED!
Marion – Minnie Driver stars as a woman whose oldest son can’t speak, either because he has cerebral palsy or because his life-force mother won’t shut up long enough for him to get a word in edgewise. Seriously, is she auditioning for Mama Rose? Why does the magical-Negro janitor who apparently has no life outside of helping Driver’s family, sound like a college professor despite his menial position? Is that the show’s idea of not being racist? On the other hand, Life Goes On featuring Broadway diva Patti Lupone as the mother of a plucky teenager with Down’s syndrome ran several seasons, so this show has a shot if they can tone down Driver and maybe develop one or more of the other characters. RENEWED.
Susan – I thought this show was going to be about JJ and his wacky family dealing with people who don’t get his disability, but disappointingly enough, the focus seems to be on Minnie Driver stomping around self-righteously. Still, it will be RENEWED so ABC can pat themselves on the back for being so forward-thinking.
Rick – The network will give it lots of time to work out the many kinks. It won’t be enough. CANCELLED.
Odds of survival: 80%
Originally titled The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport, an everywoman with problem children finds herself struggling to fit into her new snobby neighborhood while staying true to her values. The original title was much more evocative and descriptive (and a touch controversial), so here’s hoping the show’s humor stays along those lines and hasn’t been neutered by the network as well.
Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Winston – Maybe my standards were driven low after viewing the Speechless trailer, but I’m digging this show’s sense of humor and its cynical take on well-to-do mommy-blogger types, and Kati Mixon is hot, and when has Diedrich Bader ever not been funny? (Okay, he was in one of those Atlas Shrugged movies, but let’s stay on topic.) RENEWED.
Julie – I actually do own two Fitbits like the mocked suburbanite from the trailer. One is a lower-grade model that I purchased before my upgrade. I wear it while my other Fitbit is charging. I also will occasionally wear both to test the accuracy of the step counting. Hey! Why are you judging me? Why is this show judging me? Mean Stupid Show! CANCELLED!
Marion – A barely zoftig woman with no job and too much money obsesses about her weight in a suburb where everyone speaks in recycled sitcom dialogue. CANCELLED.
Susan –Being bitter and resentful of the perfect, rich yoga moms at school is not shorthand for funny. CANCELLED.
Rick – The bar is low for sitcoms these day. Not sure it’s this low. CANCELLED.
Odds of survival: 20%
Tomorrow comes CBS. Then FOX on Wednesday. Thursday is NBC.
We want to hear your predictions in the comments!