May 17, 2011

THE SKED: 1st Pre-Look At ABC’s Fall Comedies

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Written by: Mitch Salem


DISCLAIMER: These initial impressions are based on the clips (usually 3-5 minutes) released by the networks to use in their Upfront presentations and for promos.  They’re chosen to sell the show, not to accurately represent it.  So take the reactions below with a large satchel of salt–we may well feel differently about these shows once we see the full pilots.  That being said, it’s also true that these clips are carefully selected to give the best impression possible of a show–if it still doesn’t look great, that may not bode well.
Clips are available, among other places, at  
LAST MAN STANDING (Tuesday 8PM): Or as it will be known in millions of American households, “The Tim Allen Show.” The title refers to the premise of Allen being in an otherwise all-female family surrounded by wife and daughters, and we can expect much good-natured grumbling and grimacing at having to put up with those absurd woman people.  The trailer includes a snipe at Glee (which will be its competition in the fall) and a Toy Story reference, so they’re not leaving anything on the table.  The whole project (written by Jack Burditt of 30 Rock) is constructed around Allen, and it should please his longtime fans.

MAN UP (Tuesday 8:30PM): On paper, this should be a comfortable fit with the Allen show, being about younger guys who do guy things like play video games, stink at basketball and fail at handling their girlfriends.  Tonally, though–and this isn’t something ABC would want to hear–it feels a lot like FOX’s recent flop Traffic Lights, albeit with a stronger cast that includes Dan Fogler, Teri Polo, Amanda Detmer and writer/star Christopher Moynihan.  (In a potential sign of danger, the last show he created and starred in was NBC’s blink-and-you-missed-it 100 Questions).  The trailer has some breezy charm, though, so don’t give up hope yet. 
SUBURGATORY (Wednesday 8:30PM):  A cute variation on the Mean Girls template:  a smart-mouthed NY teen is forced to move by her father to the suburbs, where the girls are endlessly vacuous and superficial.  Jane Levy seems to have some flair in the lead, and the cast includes Jeremy Sisto and Cheryl Hines; the creator is Emily Kapnek, a Parks & Recreation writer.  It feels extremely compatible with The Middle and Modern Family on either end, so this could strengthen ABC”s comedy Wednesday.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."