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Disney In Depth: Previewing ABC’s New Fall 2013 Shows
Brett Nachman   |  @   |  

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Disney In Depth encompasses topics across all branches of Disney, even the occasional focus on the Alphabet Network.

This edition of the column previews ABC’s new Fall 2013 line-up of programming, which contains an assortment of offerings and even a few Disney tie-ins.

Continue below to check out the list of upcoming shows.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesdays, 8/7c)

Early Thoughts: Buzz behind the first Marvel Television project has been gigantic. The entertainment industry has been discussing the strong potential of this show, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since last summer. Now that the series has been ordered, we must only wonder how and if this mission of engaging viewers week after week with superhero-themed drama can be accomplished. Heroes worked, at least for a few seasons. No Ordinary Family never did. But Agents carries major support from Disney, Marvel’s parent company, and they will promote this show to no end.

Strong social media influence and Marvel’s huge base of fans should translate into early success. The question remains if the show can sustain its intriguing premise – can you believe Phil Coulson has returned from the dead? – and be the next hit for the network. Out of this year’s crop of programming, I think this has the best chance of being an instant hit. Marvel’s The Avengers established familiarity, and this show takes the characters and ideas to both another level and another platform (television). The trailer indicates the show has its humorous side, mixed in with exciting action sequences. I’m in.

Competition: CBS’ NCIS, albeit the most viewed series on television, skews to an older audience. Agents will likely draw younger viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic, thus making NCIS not as much of a threat as one might thing. FOX offers new comedies Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but I doubt they will pose a danger. NBC airs The Biggest Loser, already waning in popularity, but the winter season of The Voice (the results show) could pull away female viewers from watching Agents.

The Goldbergs (Tuesdays, 9/8c)

Early Thoughts: Set a comedy in another decade full of humorous references from that era, and that should make it special, right? Let us hope so. The Goldbergs stars Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Covey as parents of teenagers with angst and quirks galore. I think the nostalgia factor and certain sense of innocence could work in making this a great family show – though it would be more compatible after Modern Family – but it also appears somewhat locked in time. That time, 1985. I like from what I see in the trailer, which produces more smiles than laughs, but I doubt if audiences will respond positively – or at all – to a comedy of this nature. Then again, remember That ‘70s Show or The Wonder Years? Those succeeded. Here’s wishing Goldbergs is actually good and could potentially have a similar fate.

Competition: The Goldbergs’ must vie against a few powerful television forces, including CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles and NBC’s The Voice (results). That will absolutely not work in Goldbergs’ favor. On the other hand, the only other comedy in the time slot is New Girl on FOX, which slipped quite drastically in ratings during its second season. Goldbergs should perform modestly, especially with a great lead-in from Agents, but the ratings from its fourth and fifth episodes will be the best determinant if it can survive a season.

Trophy Wife (Tuesdays, 9:30/8:30c)

Early Thoughts: Malin Akerman may not have become an A-list movie star, so perhaps television will serve as a better vehicle for taking her career to another level. Here Akerman plays the titular character, a trophy wife who marries into the stereotypically-typical family model with a much-older husband (Bradley Whitford) and his resentful, difficult ex-wife (Marcia Gay Harden). The physical comedy appears naturally funny from the trailer, but not all of the jokes work. The trailer’s brevity (just under two minutes) makes me question if all of the featured scenes were the only adequate or good moments, but I’m sure the pilot will tell all.

Competition: The second-halves of The Voice and NCIS: Los Angeles will certainly dominate, though younger female viewers may opt for Trophy Wife. FOX’s The Mindy Project bombed in the ratings during its initial season, so odds are Wife will at the very least perform better than that comedy.

Lucky 7 (Tuesdays, 10/9c)

Early Thoughts: Imagine seven gas station employees winning the lottery and the aftershocks that come with that fortuitous situation. Here is the premise of ABC’s Lucky 7, a random show in the network’s line-up. It does not seem female-oriented – an often-typical trademark in the channel’s programming – nor does it seem all that different in execution. The trailer fails to electrify me as a viewer, and there are no well-known performers in the cast. Not good.

Competition: CBS’ Person of Interest is among the most-watched television dramas, and I do not foresee the show losing its dominance. That does not work in Lucky 7’s favor whatsoever, and even NBC’s surprise moderate hit Chicago Fire might scorch away viewers’ desire to catch Lucky instead. Sadly I think this drama is doomed from the start, and only a miracle – like one winning the lottery – may save it from early cancellation.

Back in the Game (Wednesdays, 8:30/7:30c)

Early Thoughts: Up to bat next is a new comedy starring James Caan and Maggie Lawson. Lawson plays a former softball star whose life changes course after having a son. Now he wants to play baseball, so guess who the new coach is? Mom. The trailer holds a handful of funny one-liners and a few too many puns, but I am not extremely drawn to the premise. Could this plot carry several seasons, let alone one? At least it seems humorous. The last twenty seconds of the trailer are hilarious.

Competition: NBC’s Revolution generated much attention last season, and rather-impressive ratings early on, but I do not believe it will uphold its popularity on a new night, in a new time slot, and without any lead-in. FOX’s The X Factor could pull away some viewers, but even that has lost momentum. CBS’ Survivor is a consistent hit, but in its twenty-seventh edition, can it still bring in audiences? Game benefits from following The Middle, and will likely only survive past its initial five or six episodes if it closely matches Middle’s numbers.

Super Fun Night (Wednesdays, 9:30/8:30c)

Early Thoughts: Capitalizing on Rebel Wilson’s popularity from Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, ABC wants this comedy to be big. How big? For one, it’s following Modern Family. Score. Second, it’s executive-produced by proven comedian Conan O’Brien. But the trailer just doesn’t look all that fun. Silly, yes. Over the top, without a doubt. Fun, questionable. Personal tastes are just that, subjective, but I do not see this concept of young women going out and partying as a series that will uphold viewer interest. Night’s striking tone difference from Family makes it a weaker pairing.

Competition: CBS’ Criminal Minds is great counterprogramming for Super Fun Night, and that will likely top the 9:30/8:30c timeslot. FOX’s X Factor and NBC’s Law and Order: SVU will not challenge Night much whatsoever. I would expect Night to stand as second-highest in the slot for total viewers and also 18-49.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thursdays, 8/7c)

Early Thoughts: Spin offs can be successful or fail miserably, much like any other type of show. ABC realizes the value of its Once brand and immediately jumped to having another similar series as the original returns for its third season. I think ABC might be jumping the gun a bit with premiering this Wonderland-themed version so soon after Time entered viewers’ consciousness, but then again, perhaps they question how long the Ginnifer Goodwin series can remain trendy.

The trailer shows promise, looking so impressive that some may be fooled this is not a Hollywood blockbuster. Here the Lewis Carroll story is taken a different direction, one where Alice is considered mentally-insane in having delusions of living in a magical world. This drama appears pretty awesome. One must bet both Disney and ABC will be promoting this show all over the place.

Competition: CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and The Millers, the new show following Theory, will top the charts for sure, but Wonderland need not worry about NBC’s low-rated Parks and Recreation and its new Welcome to the Family. The results show from The X Factor on FOX will also air during the slot. Expect Wonderland to place as the second-best show, and I have an inkling it will perform quite well in the 18-49 demographic.

Betrayal (Sundays, 10/9c)

Early Thoughts: ABC is billing Betrayal as a limited series, meaning it will only air for about 12 or 13 episodes this season. Would it return after that? Who knows. Based on its standard and lackluster plot, I would guess not. Here’s the storyline. Wife feels overlooked by her husband. Wife becomes interested in a new guy. Wife cheats on husband with that new guy. Implications abound. The trailer looks as soapy and systematic as they come, but there is a certain allure, too. I am not that impressed, but then again, I am not the target demo of a young or middle-aged woman. Betrayal could benefit from a Revenge lead-in – certainly in the same vain – but Revenge lost its groove last season in both appeal and ratings.

Competition: Strangely enough, Betrayal could perform very well. Its main competition, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, will lower total viewer numbers, but also serve as terrific counterprogramming to this show that targets females. Otherwise, CBS’ once-hit The Mentalist may steer some away, but that drama is likely eying its final season.

Which ABC show(s) are you most excited about? Which could be the biggest surprise or disappointment? Share your thoughts.

This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Return back to Disney In Depth next Thursday for a special fiftieth edition of the column, and as always, follow me on Twitter for alerts of new editions. Have a good week!

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