Fall TV 2010: ABC Pilot Picks

Posted: September 9, 2010 in better with you, body of proof, no ordinary family, pilots

Best Offering: No Ordinary Family (Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m.)

Another Best Offering with a few caveats. No Ordinary Family goes through enough story in its first five minutes to fill at least an hour. I’m not sure the series knows yet what it wants to be. It’s been described as The Incredibles for TV — a show about super-powered people that’s really a family show. But there are elements in the pilot that suggest a bigger scope and focus, something a little more like Heroes, but not quite as epic and global. With Greg Berlanti (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone) behind the wheel, I hope that the show sticks to its family roots and hopefully the writers will find the right tone with a little time. Despite my issues, No Ordinary Family still has a lot going for it. I mentioned the behind the scenes pedigree already — Jon Feldman is the show’s other creator — so let’s move on the cast, which features one coup after another: Julie Benz (Dexter), Michael Chiklis (The Shield), Autumn Reeser (The O.C.), Romany Malco (Weeds). Benz and Chiklis are both fantastic in these very different, much softer roles, and make a very sweet, genuine couple, kind of a believable version of the hot-wife-with-bigger-husband duo that’s so popular on sitcoms. Reeser and Malco are great sidekicks/confidants for Benz and Chiklis. If you liked Reeser as Taylor Townsend on The O.C., you’ll love her as Benz’ lab assistant Katie, who Reeser says is like an extension of Taylor. The show also looks great. The superpower special effects are very impressive and polished for TV. No Ordinary Family has tons of potential. Hopefully, like any superhero, it’ll live up to its potential.

Worth A Second Look: Better With You (Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 8:30 p.m.)

This is a poor season for new comedies, made even poorer when compared to last season’s crop of new comedy hits. Better With You will be sandwiched between two of those comedies — The Middle and Modern Family — but it’s a far more traditional sitcom. A four-camera comedy about three different stages of relationships, Better With You‘s jokes are well-treaded territory, although I did find myself genuinely laughing a few times during the pilot. Where the show really makes up for its shortcomings is in its terrific cast. Joanna Garcia, who plays the newly engaged Mia, has been a long-time TV favorite of mine. She’s the definition of likable and has the comedic chops to give her sweetness some sass. Her free-spirited Mia is bubbly, sweet and effervescent. She and Jennifer Finnigan (playing Maddie, the sister who’s been with her boyfriend for nine years) share a believable sisterly chemistry, and Jake Lacy as Mia’s dumb jock-type fiance is actually kind of sweet and adorable. Then there’s Debra Jo Rupp and Kurt Fuller as Garcia and Finnigan’s parents, adding some caustic humor and bite as longtime marrieds.

Worth A Second Look, Part 2: Body of Proof (Fridays at 9 p.m., Premiere Date TBA)

This will probably be the new favorite show of moms across America, but don’t let that scare you off. The more familiar procedural forensic elements of Body of Proof and the House-like nature of the main character are offset by the amazing Dana Delany, who’s finally playing more than just cuckoo in every other episode on Desperate Housewives. This is definitely a case where talent elevates a mediocre show.

Also Premiering: Detroit 187 (Sept. 21), The Whole Truth (Sept. 22), My Generation (Sept. 23)


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