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TV Talk - ABC unveils its fall schedule and new series, now with 100% more Nathan Fillion

May 15, 2018 Updated: May 15, 2018 at 5:57 pm
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THE ROOKIE - "Pilot" - Starting over isn't easy, especially for small-town guy John Nolan who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being an LAPD officer. As the force's oldest rookie, he's met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can't keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he'll be risking lives including his own. But if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humor to give him an edge, he may just become a success in this new chapter of his life. (ABC/Tony Rivetti) TITUS MAKIN, MELISSA O'NEIL, NATHAN FILLION

Upfront rolls into its third day. Yesterday, NBC and Fox debuted their fall lineup and new series, today it was ABC’s turn. The network recently cancelled nine programs (still bummed about “The Crossing” and “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World”) and announced eight new shows today.  

Below is a synopsis of each new series along with my outlook on how it will do solely based on the trailer. You can watch the trailer for yourself for each series with the provided link. 

“A MILLION LITTLE THINGS” (Drama, Fall)
Synopsis: They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way, they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.

“A Million Little Things” stars David Giuntoli as Eddie, Ron Livingston as Jon, Romany Malco as Rome, Allison Miller as Maggie, Christina Moses as Regina, Christina Ochoa as Ashley, James Roday as Gary, Stephanie Szostak as Delilah and Lizzy Greene as Sophie. 

Outlook: Looks like emotional dramas are en vogue thanks to “This is Us.” NBC is debuting another tear jerker, and this looks to be one as well. Love the cast, the premise looks good, and as a man of a certain age I certainly can relate to the demographic of the characters. Just hope the Boston setting isn’t too overbearing, that backdrop needs a rest.  View the trailer here

“THE FIX” (Drama, Mid-Season)
Synopsis: Attorney and author Marcia Clark co-writes and executive produces a new legal drama about Maya Travis, an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in Washington. Eight years later when this same celebrity is under suspicion for another murder, Maya Travis is lured back to the DA’s office for another chance at justice.

“The Fix” stars Robin Tunney as Maya Travis, Adam Rayner as Matthew Collier, Merrin Dungey as CJ, Breckin Meyer as Alan Wiest, Marc Blucas as Riv, Mouzam Makkar as Loni Kampoor, Alex Saxon as Gabriel Johnson, with Scott Cohen as Ezra Wolf and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje as Sevvy Johnson.

Outlook: Gee, I wonder if the character of Maya is inspired by Marcia Clark and if the high profile actor is modeled after OJ Simpson? Hmmm, what a strange coincidence. The trailer makes me curious and I certainly like the cast. But are we just seeing a lawyer’s wish fulfillment or is there more to this series than that? Only time will tell. View the trailer here

“GRAND HOTEL” (Drama, Mid-Season)
Eva Longoria executive produces this bold, provocative drama set at the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. Charismatic Santiago Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success. The hotel's loyal staff round out a contemporary, fresh take on an upstairs/downstairs story. Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior. The show is based on the Spanish series.

 The series stars Demian Bichir as Santiago Mendoza, Roselyn Sanchez as Gigi Mendoza, Denyse Tontz as Alicia Mendoza, Bryan Craig as Javi Mendoza, Wendy Raquel Robinson as Mrs. P, Lincoln Younes as Danny, Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, Anne Winters as Ingrid, Chris Warren as Jason, Feliz Ramirez as Carolina and Justina Adorno as Yoli. 

Outlook: Looks interesting, has a bit of a “Jane the Virgin” vibe but with a lot more over the top drama, at least from the look of the pilot. It also has an old school evening soap feel along the lines of “Dynasty,” which we haven’t seen in a long time. I’m curious to see how this show will perform because it certainly looks unique. You can view the trailer here

“THE ROOKIE” (Drama, Fall)
Starting over isn’t easy, especially for small-town guy John Nolan who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being an LAPD officer. As the force’s oldest rookie, he’s met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can’t keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he’ll be risking lives including his own. But if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humor to give him an edge, he may just become a success in this new chapter of his life. 

 The series stars Nathan Fillion as John Nolan, Alyssa Diaz as Angela Lopez, Richard T. Jones as Sergeant Wade Grey, Titus Makin as Jackson West, Mercedes Mason as Captain Zoe Andersen, Melissa O’Neil as Lucy Chen, Afton Williamson as Talia Bishop and Eric Winter as Tim Bradford.

Outlook: I’ll admit, the premise is a bit far fetched (Fillion and I are the same age) but I’m such a huge fan of the man, I’ll watch this show and likely be invested regardless. ABC has given press access to a few of their pilots, I plan on watching this one tonight. You can view the trailer below. 

“WHISKEY CAVALIER” (Drama, Mid-Season)
“Whiskey Cavalier” is a high-octane, hour-long action dramedy that follows the adventures of tough but tender FBI super-agent Will Chase (codename: “Whiskey Cavalier”), played by Scott Foley. Following an emotional breakup, Chase is assigned to work with badass CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: “Fiery Tribune”), played by Lauren Cohan. Together, they lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics. The series is from writer/executive producer Dave Hemingson and executive producer Bill Lawrence with Warner Bros. Television.

The series stars Scott Foley as Will Chase, Lauren Cohan as Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge, Ana Ortiz as Susan Sampson, Tyler James Williams as Edgar Standish and Vir Das as Jai Datta. 

Outlook: To be honest, when I read the episode description and saw the name of this show I instantly thought ABC made a huge mistake. That’s why you should never judge a show until you’ve seen its trailer. “Whiskey Cavalier” looks like a nice blend of action and light comedy. I’m certainly intrigued. You can view the trailer here

“THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT” (Comedy, Fall)
Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves. 

The series stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence, Caleb Martin Foote as Eddie, Sawyer Barth as Frank, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey, Jack Gore as Timmy, Andy Walken as William and Santino Barnard as Pat.

Outlook: While watching the trailer, I thought this was a spinoff of “The Goldbergs.” It’s not (see below), but this series certainly has some of the same DNA. While its a bit odd to see tough guy Michael Cudlitz in a comedy, this series shows promise. You can view the trailer here

“SCHOOLED” (Comedy, Mid-Season) 
This spinoff of the hit series "The Goldbergs" will be set in 1990-something and follow the hilarious teachers of William Penn Academy – led by Tim Meadows (Principal Glascott), Bryan Callen (Coach Mellor) and AJ Michalka (Lainey Lewis) – who, despite their eccentricities and crazy personal lives, are heroes to their students.

Outlook: "Schooled" was the one series ABC doesn't have a trailer for. But chances are if you like "The Goldbergs," and I do, you'll give this series a shot. 

“SINGLE PARENTS” (Comedy, Fall)
Synopsis: This ensemble comedy follows a group of single parents as they lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood. The series begins when the group meets Will, a 30-something guy who’s been so focused on raising his daughter that he’s lost sight of who he is as a man. When the other single parents see just how far down the rabbit hole of PTA, parenting and princesses Will has gone, they band together to get him out in the dating world and make him realize that being a great parent doesn’t mean sacrificing everything about your own identity.  

 The series stars Taran Killam as Will, Leighton Meester as Angie, Kimrie Lewis as Poppy, Jake Choi as Miggy, Marlow Barkley as Sophie, Tyler Wladis as Graham, Devin Trey Campbell as Rory, Grace Hazelett as Emma, Sadie Hazelett as Amy and Brad Garrett as Douglas.

Outlook: I’m not sure what to make of this one yet. The cast is certainly good, the premise is unique, and if I’m an average TV viewer that alone will get me to watch an episode or two. You can view the trailer here

Gazette media columnist Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.

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