So, ABC has three new comedies that are directly pegged to race, two shows about people investigating a MUUUURDER, Scandal If Olivia Pope Were A Lawyer, a show called Selfie that is less annoying-seeming than it should be, What If Sherlock Holmes Were Welsh, Occasionally Naked, And In New York, Oh, And Also Immortal, and… one Spamalot-style musical. And some other stuff. It’s weird. Clips are here. (The network stupidly released actual scenes from each show first, and THEN the clip reels, and the reels are way more informative so that’s what I linked to there.)
Galavant: This one is the musical. I kind of can’t believe this show is happening, but in a good way. The songs are written by Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid), and the script is by Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love), and it’s a farce about a knight, AND Vinnie Jones is in it. There are some terrible but sort of charmingly terrible jokes, and some that are actually funny, and mostly it’s a little bit fabulous that it’s even happening at all on network television. It could be the new Sleepy Hollow, in a way, and it could also be like that time there was a show about Snow White and Prince Charming.
Forever: Ioan Gruffudd stars at a duffurgy medical examiner who uffs and ffudds and occasionally grudds and is basically SUPER ATTRACTIVE and charismatic and retains his natural-born accent (PRAISE) while often dying intentionally to help solve crimes and then waking up naked in a nearby body of water. Obviously I will be watching the hell out of this. (I just called it Sherlock Hollow to Jess and I think that’s fairly accurate actually.)
How To Get Away With Murder: This is Shonda’s latest, starring Viola Davis, and the premise SEEMS to be that she’s a law professor who uses her students to help her with her cases, to test their intellectual mettle — so, Olivia Pope with a law degree and younger, potentially less sociopathic, HOPEFULLY less lick-y Gladiators. She teaches them how to practice the law by beating the law, I think, and then they may end up having to use her tips because they might kill someone? Call it Pretty Little Scandals.
Selfie: This one’s for you Dr. Who fans. It stars the EXTREMELY cute Karen Gillan and John Cho — that compliment is for both of them — and it’s basically a modern My Fair Lady, wherein he’s the Higgins and she’s Eliza Dooley, a girl who tried to recover from unpopularity by becoming an insufferably self-centered pseudo-fabulous Instagram addict who THEN realizes nobody likes her NOW, either. There are parts of this — including the title — that are grating, but the thing is, the two leads are actually doing a really good job selling it and by the end I was like, “Yeah, actually, I’m totally giving that a shot.”
Manhattan Love Story: It’s like Look Who’s Talking, except instead of actual babies, it’s emotional babies. Jake McDorman from Greek and Analeigh Tipton from Crazy Stupid Love (and ANTM, obviously) are courting, and we can hear their thoughts, and y’all, sometimes they are NOT THINKING what the other person THINKS they are thinking!!!! I cannot imagine wanting to deal with the voice-over stuff much longer than three minutes at a time.
American Crime: INCREDIBLY DEPRESSING-SEEMING. Like, the first thirty second are all Timothy Hutton feasting on scenery as a grieving father. His son was murdered and there are THINGS TO SOLVE, and it’s framed as being The Next Great Story About Race — no, seriously, those words appear on the screen — because it’s from the 12 Years A Slave screenwriter. There’s something a little smug about that on ABC’s part, but I guess they need to differentiate it from the other show about muuuuuurder. Which is…
Secrets and Lies: Ryan Philippe, while jogging, finds the body of a dead child. OR DID HE? MAYBE HE DID THE KILLING. Juliette Lewis certainly seems to think so. Yes, she plays a detective, and she’s actually better in this clip — although EXTREMELY frowny — than in the Wayward Pines one, where she plays a kook. This one and the former are the kinds of things that will sit on people’s DVRs because, once you factor in Broadchurch and/or Gracepoint, people are going to want to watch something super fluffy instead of more Murder Most Foul and dark corners of humanity. Just a guess. And these last two also both feel more like movies.
The Whispers: In this one, the children are alive… AND TRYING TO KILL EVERYONE ELSE. They’re being manipulated by aliens into Mischief. Lily Rabe (American Horror Story: All Of Them) stars as The ET Whisperer who manages to figure out that it’s getting martian up in this joint. Oh, and Autumn Reeser is the mother of one of the kids. OH PART II: Milo Ventimiglia. It’s a gentle thriller. I’m not sure it’s for me, but at least they’re all ALIVE.
Fresh Off The Boat: An Asian family opens up a steakhouse; based on the life of celebrity chef Eddie Huang; kind of painful.
Cristela: Starring stand-up comic Cristela Alonzo, about a woman living with her family while going to law school, from what I can tell. Mostly it’s all LISTEN TO HOW RAUCOUS OUR LAUGH TRACK IS and a bunch of sass. It actually feels like it was unearthed in a time capsule from fifteen years ago, in a weird way, in a sense that the vibe is SO yesteryear that I’m not sure it will find an audience now.
Blackish: Anthony Anderson plays a guy who thinks his family is losing touch with its roots. Also starring Laurence Fishburne as Gruff Old Man and Tracee Ellis Ross. Feels a bit labored? I love all this diversity on the networks, but I wish the shows themselves didn’t feel like one-note race jokes at times.