Dissecting the Trailers for ABC’s Most Promising New Shows

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“Why just watch when you can feel?” That was the question ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee put to advertisers while pitching next year’s lineup at the network’s upfront presentation. Those are awfully grandiose words for someone affiliated with The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars (both returning next year), don’t you think?

The shows that apparently weren’t living up to this lofty guiding principle: GCB, Missing, The River, Cougar Town, and Pan Am. Cougar Town is moving to TBS where they don’t care about feelings, and there’s been an outpouring of support from GCB fans, with people signing petitions to save the show, so there were some feelings, but I guess it was too late. No one seems too worked up about the other cancellations, though, so Lee got it right.

The emotion stirring returning shows include Last Man Standing, Happy Endings, Modern Family, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and America’s Funniest Home Videos. ABC recently released trailers for its new series and here are a few of the more interesting ones. But how well they fit with the network’s new philosophy is a little confusing.

The Neighbors


Marty and his family move from the city to a new suburban neighborhood filled with aliens disguised as humans who go by names culled from ESPN Classic— Larry Bird, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Dick Butkus. The odd names give the father alien the opportunity to say, “oh dear, I fear our little Dick may have exposed himself again” when the alien kid reveals his true nature to Marty’s son and daughter (I think the whole show was built around this one joke).

Just looking at the trailer, I wouldn’t have given this one the go-ahead and I’m actually an alien show proponent. The concept seems very similar to 3rd Rock from the Sun but if I wanted to watch something similar to 3rd Rock from the Sun, I’d just watch 3rd Rock from the Sun, not whatever this is.

Zero Hour

Anthony Edwards is a writer who debunks conspiracy theories and coincidentally gets tied up in one of the biggest conspiracies of all time—it spans continents and time—when his wife is kidnapped by an international terrorist. This Da Vinci Code-styled mystery revolves around clocks (that’s what the title is hinting at, I’d imagine).

The trailer has baddies pointing guns at pretty ladies, an old man discussing the overarching mystery in that way that only old men can do, priests, clandestine ancient societies, and Nazis. Honestly, it seems like it’s trying too hard to be interesting and the scope feels way too big for TV (it’s executively produced by Transformers and G.I. Joe’s Lorenzo Di Bonaventura), but maybe that’s just me being narrow-minded.


GCB failed to be the network’s new Desperate Housewives, so it looks like they’re trying again with the Alyssa Milano-led Mistresses. Based on the British series of the same name and Americanized by former Gossip Girl scribe K.J. Steinberg, the premise isn’t even apparent through the trailer. All I could glean was that some of the women are mistresses of wealthy men and there is sexy stuff happening.

According to ABC’s website, it’s a “salacious new drama about a group of friends caught in storms of excitement and self-discovery, secrecy and betrayal, and bound by complex relationships they’ve created.” So…no help there. But I will admit to enjoying Gossip Girl more than I probably should and if this is anything like that show then this could be ABCs new guilty pleasure.

666 Park Avenue

This supernatural series stars ABC staples Terry O’ Quinn and Vanessa Williams. It’s set in a fancy high-rise where it looks as though all of the ambitious residents have found success through shady dealings with the building’s manager played by O’Quinn, who could be the devil or some other devil-like being.

I like a good fantasy show but ABC doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to sticking it out with the genre—V is the show that immediately comes to mind. Once Upon a Time did well, though, so there might be some hope for this one.

Red Widow

Red Widow is their strongest new show. Based on a Dutch series called Penzoa, it has Radha Mitchell playing a woman named Marta who takes over her husband’s shady, criminal dealings after he’s murdered right outside of their beautiful home (in broad daylight).

It promises a lot of action tempered by emotion—Marta has children and how she manages to care for them while she’s doing her nefarious work should be interesting. This may be the one new ABC show that I’ll feel and watch.

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