Judging the Upfronts By Their Cover: ABC

ABC Upfronts
Poor, poor ABC has sunk pretty low in the past couple years. Still yet to find a hit behind Modern Family, and really no hits to speak of besides Scandal, ABC is giving the people what they want: an all-Shonda Rhimes Thursday night. So, to save you some time, Celebuzz has judged which shows you should give a shot, completely site unseen.


Selfie
What's it about?: It's a My Fair Lady adaptation where, instead of a Cockney accent, the Eliza character can't put her phone down.

Who's involved?: Doctor Who's Karen Gillan and John Cho play the central Eliza-Henry characters. (Amber Rose has a credit in the pilot as well.) The show is written and produced by Emily Kapnek (Suburgatory).

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

The Verdict: This sounds a little exhausting, no? Like how many Instagram jokes can one person take? An besides, what's the long term arc here? How can you expand this concept in the three or even four seasons? I'm betting this one's a dud.


Manhattan Love Story
What's it about?: Here's another rom com. This one has voice overs.

Who's involved?: Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love) and Jake McDorman (Greek) play the budding couple whose thoughts we get to hear.

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

The Verdict: This seems cute, maybe, but I don't know if I'm sold on the concept of hearing their thoughts. Most of the things people think are complete garbage. Plus, it's a pretty flooded market for rom coms this season, so only the best will end up surviving. This seems like a sinker.


Forever
What's it about?: An immortal medical examiner. Oh the irony.

Who's involved?: Ioan Gruffudd (Glee) plays Henry, our 200-year-old doctor and Alana De La Garza (Law & Order) plays his police officer partner and, let's be honest, eventual love interest. Judd Hirsch (Damages) plays the mysterious man who knows Henry's secret.

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

The Verdict: A procedural with a 200-year-old medical examiner? It looks like someone sucked all the wit out of Pushing Daisies.


Black-ish
What's it about?: This sitcom about a successful black family who fears they've assimilated into white culture too far gets the coveted post-Modern Family spot.

Who's involved?: Anthony Anderson plays the patriarch and Laurence Fishburne plays his father, the two are also producers. Tracee Ellis Ross plays Anderson's wife, whose name is Rainbow. There are some kids too.

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

The Verdict: This seems like the subject matter that's ripe for comedy, however it's also the type of subject matter that's ripe for offending people. And there's nothing edgy about network TV. So we'll see. But I'll definitely be giving it a watch, despite Rainbow.


How to Get Away with Murder
What's it about?: Your latest Shonda Rhimes obsession. A brilliant lawyer/professor teaching a class called How to Get Away with Murder gets tangled up with four students who are trying to do just that. Think of Annalise DeWitt as this show's Olivia Pope and the students are the gladiators.

Who's involved?: This is Shonda Rhimes' third show on ABC (all of which will now be shown back-to-back-to-back). THE Viola Davis plays Annalise DeWitt while Katie Findlay (The Carrie Diaries), Matt McGorry (Orange Is the New Black), Aja Naomi King, Karla Souza, Jack Falahee and Alfie Enoch all play her students.

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

The Verdict: This looks like Shonda at her finest. And the combination of Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis is pretty irresistible. ABC Thursday looks like the new must see TV.


Cristela
What's it about?: The semi-autobiographical comedy follows Cristela, an aspiring lawyer, and the rest of her Mexican-American family.

Who's involved?: Newcomer Cristela Alonzo plays the title character. The show was created by Alonzo and Kevin Hench (Last Man Standing) who executive produce.

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

The Verdict: The trailer looks cute, but it's not a great time slot. It's nice to see more different-looking families on network television, however.


Fresh Off the Boat
What's it about?: Set in the '90s, a Chinese-American family moves from Washington, D.C. to Orlando in order to operate a Wild West-themed steakhouse chain. The show is based off the memoir of chef Eddie Huang.

Who's involved?: Randall Park (Veep) and Constance Wu play the family's parents, Hudson Yang plays the character based on Eddie and Forrest Wheeler plays one of his brothers.

When will it air?: midseason, TBD

The Verdict: Past-set The Goldbergs was a hit for ABC this season, this trailer looks charming as well, but is the schtick too similar?


Secrets & Lies
What's it about?: Secrets & Lies is an American remake of an Australian drama about a child's murder.

Who's involved?: Juliette Lewis and Ryan Phillippe square off the detective investigating the murder and the primary suspect, respectively.

When will it air?: midseason, TBD

The Verdict: This looks very intriguing. Lewis and Phillippe aren't seen nearly as much as they should be, this is definitely worth checking out.


American Crime
What's it about?: After a brutal attack a war veteran is murdered and his wife is unconscious. The investigation focuses on a Hispanic suspect and, more specifically, the four suspects who are to be arrested.

Who's involved?: John Ridley, who just won an Oscar for writing 12 Years a Slave, wrote the script and executive produces. Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton play the dead man's parents.

When will it air?: midseason, TBD

The Verdict: This looks to be a gritty and unflinching look at race in America. Knowing Ridley's skill, it should also be a captivating story, nearly a can't miss.


The Whispers
What's it about?: Aliens are using unwitting children to begin their takeover of the planet.

Who's involved?: Soo Hugh (Under the Dome) wrote the script and produces with Steven Spielberg. Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) plays the woman tasked with solving the mystery; Barry Sloane (Revenge) and Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) also star.

When will it air?: midseason, TBD

The Verdict: This looks genuinely creepy and Lily Rabe knows creepy. Definitely watch. She also knows alien abduction, thanks to AHS: Asylum.


Agent Carter
What's it about?: Here's ABC's second Marvel TV show, this one about Peggy Carter, as she balances administrative work and secret missions for Howard Stark. The show is set in 1946, just after she's lost the love of her life, otherwise known as Captain America. There's no trailer, because the pilot's not even been shot yet.

Who's involved?: Hayley Atwell reprises her role as Peggy from Captain America: The First Avenger.

When will it air?: midseason, TBD

The Verdict: It's hard to judge based on one photo. Do you like Marvel movies?


Here is the complete fall schedule:

MONDAY
8:00-10:00 PM DANCING WITH THE STARS
10:00-11:00 PM CASTLE

TUESDAY
8:00-8:30 PM SELFIE
8:30-9:00 PM MANHATTAN LOVE STORY
9:00-10:00 PM MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
10:00-11:00 PM FOREVER

WEDNESDAY
8:00-8:30 PM THE MIDDLE
8:30-9:00 PM THE GOLDBERGS
9:00-9:30 PM MODERN FAMILY
9:30-10:00 PM BLACK-ISH
10:00-11:00 PM NASHVILLE

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM GREY'S ANATOMY
9:00-10:00 PM SCANDAL
10:00-11:00 PM HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

FRIDAY
8:00-8:30 PM LAST MAN STANDING
8:30-9:00 PM CRISTELA
9:00-10:00 PM SHARK TANK
10:00-11:00 20/20

SATURDAY
8:00 PM SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

SUNDAY
7:00-8:00 PM AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS
8:00-9:00 PM ONCE UPON A TIME
9:00-10:00 PM RESURRECTION
10:00-11:00 PM REVENGE

 

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