Judging the Upfronts By Their Cover: ABC

Every spring, each major television network announces its primetime schedule for the next fall. Many new shows will premiere, but few will make it past November. Here at Celebuzz, we know your time is valuable so we’re picking which of these new shows is worth your time, completely site unseen.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

What’s it about?: Perhaps the most anticipated new show of 2013, Disney is finally allowing some of the success its had with Marvel in theaters to trickle down to ABC (which is owned by Disney). Agent Coulson is back and his group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents investigate the supernatural. It’s The X-Files: Superheroes.

Who’s involved?: Clark Gregg will reprise his role as Agent Coulson from Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and The Avengers and Joss Whedon — who wrote and directed The Avengers — will serve as the show’s executive producer.

When will it air?: Tuesday at 8:00 EST

The Verdict: This show will be a success whether or not it’s good. However, Joss Whedon’s presence is reassuring and ABC (fourth in the ratings for the second season in a row) is desperate to breathe some life into their schedule, which means they’ll likely pull out all the stops for this thing. Even if you aren’t into superheroes you should give this thing a shot.

The Goldbergs

What’s it about?: Fox already tried That ’80s Show and failed but who’s to stop ABC from trying again? The show is told from the perspective of the Goldbergs’ youngest son growing up in the ’80s. A future director, the boy films everything, including his strange family.

Who’s involved?: The Goldberg parents are played by masters Wendi McClendon-Covey (Reno 911!; Bridesmaids) and Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm; basically any Pixar movie). X Factor alum Hayley Orrantia plays the “hot” eldest daughter, Troy Gentile — who played the young version of Jack Black in both Tenacious D and Nacho Libre — plays the “grade-A spaz” middle child and newcomer Sean Giambrone plays 11-year-old Adam. Throw in George Segal (Just Shoot Me!) as grandpa and you’ve got one wacky family. The show is written and produced by Adam F. Goldberg (Fanboys).

When will it air?: Tuesday at 9:00 EST

The Verdict: Telling the story with “footage” “shot” by the family’s youngest son could be a neat subversion of wacky family TV show clichés. Plus McClendon-Covey is one of the best out there and her absence from television has been too long. Plus we know you’re longing for more of these sweaters. Definitely give this a watch.

Trophy Wife

What’s it about?: It’s a tale as old as time. Party girl meets two-time divorcee, they fall in love, the rest is history.

Who’s involved?: Malin Ackerman headlines the show as the titular trophy wife. Her husband is played by Bradley Whitford (The West Wing). Rounding out the cast are his two ex-wives played by Marcia Gay Harden (Damages; Mystic River) and Michaela Watkins (Saturday Night Live) with whom he has three kids.

When will it air?: Tuesday at 9:30 EST

The Verdict: Among this cast there is an Academy Award, a Tony and an Emmy. But none of that can hide the fact this this plot sounds like the idea of a drunk person who wondered, “what if Stepmom was a comedy?” Make sure you skip this thing and together we can get Marcia Gay Harden and Bradley Whitford actual good jobs.

Lucky 7

What’s it about?: The ensemble cast includes seven employees of an Astoria, Queens gas station who each contribute to a lottery pool. Each has a different reason he or she needs the money. It’s based on a BBC show called The Syndicate.

Who’s involved?: The show is written by David Zabel (ER) and Jason Richman (Detroit 1-8-7). The cast includes Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (The Wire), Matt Long (Private Practice), Stephen Louis Grush (Detroit 1-8-7), Lorraine Bruce (The Syndicate), Anastasia Phillips (Stoked), Summer Bishil (Towelhead), Luis Antonio Ramos (The Ruins) and Christine Evangelista (The Joneses). Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer.

When will it air?: Tuesday at 10:00 EST

The Verdict: This is an enticing (if vague) premise. It’s worth a watch to see what happens as money, almost certainly, complicates things.

Back in the Game

What’s it about?: A promising softball player’s career is cut short when she gets pregnant. After leaving her husband she moves in with her father, an ex-athlete himself. When her son fails to make the Little League team, she agrees to coach a team of misfits.

Who’s involved?: Oh my god is that James Caan? Yes it is. Maggie Lawson (Psych) plays Terry, Jr. and her son is played by Griffin Gluck (Private Practice).

When will it air?: Wednesday at 8:30 EST

The Verdict: This sounds sort of dull, no? Or maybe it sounds sweet and fun! Who knows, no one’s watching.

Super Fun Night

What’s it about?: Junior attorney Kimmie and her two best friends have a 13-year tradition of spending Friday nights at home together. But that all may change when Kimmie gets a promotion and a new love interest.

Who’s involved?: This is, for all intents and purposes, the Rebel Wilson show. Not only does she star as Kimmie, she is an executive producer and writer of the show. Lauren Ash (Lars and the Real Girl) and Liza Lapira (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23) play her best friends and Kelen Coleman (The Newsroom) and Kevin Bishop (the little boy from Muppet Treasure Island, don’t worry, he got hot) play her new boss and love interest, respectively. Conan O’Brien also serves as an executive producer.

When will it air?: Wednesday at 9:30 EST

The Verdict: ABC is clearly confident in the show, giving it the plum spot after Modern Family and why wouldn’t they be? After Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, Rebel Wilson is hot right now. We aren’t completely convinced by the plot, but we desperately hope it’s good and you can bet we’ll be watching.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

What’s it about?: Sophie Lowe plays Alice in this Once Upon a Time spinoff set in Alice’s Wonderland.

Who’s involved?: In addition to Lowe (Beautiful Kate), the show stars John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun) as the White Rabbit.

When will it air?: Thursday at 8:00 EST

The Verdict: Once Upon a Time has some of the worst writing on network television and assuredly this will too. But it doesn’t matter, it’ll probably be pretty successful. Ugh, do what you want.


What’s it about?: An unhappily married woman starts an affair with an attorney. Soon, a murder pits the woman’s husband (a prosecutor) against her lover (a defense attorney).

Who’s involved?: Hannah Ware (Shame), Stuart Townsend (Charlize Theron’s ex) and Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries) star as the show’s central love triangle. James Cromwell (Babe; American Horror Story) also stars. This is the second show picked up this season by ABC written by David Zabel.

When will it air?: Sunday at 10:00 EST

The Verdict: Airing in a post-Revenge slot, ABC is doubling down on its lineup of Sunday night melodramas. It could make this show a sexy, soapy hit.

ABC also picked up dramas Killer Women, Mind Games and Resurrection; comedy Mixology and reality series The Quest as midseason replacements. Many of ABC’s new shows will run for 12 weeks, then go on hiatus and be replaced temporarily by these shows.

Here is the complete schedule:

10:00-11:00 PM CASTLE

8:00-9:00 PM MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (new)
9:00-9:30 PM THE GOLDBERGS (new)
9:30-10:00 PM TROPHY WIFE (new)
10:00-11:00 PM LUCKY 7 (new)

8:00-8:30 PM THE MIDDLE
8:30-9:00 PM BACK IN THE GAME (new)
9:30-10:00 PM SUPER FUN NIGHT (new)
10:00-11:00PM NASHVILLE

9:00-10:00 PM GREY’S ANATOMY
10:00-11:00 PM SCANDAL

9:00-10:00 PM SHARK TANK
10:00-11:00 PM 20/20


9:00-10:00 PM REVENGE
10:00-11:00 PM BETRAYAL (new)