May 14, 2013

THE SKED 2013 UPFRONTS: ABC Midseason Trailer – “Mind Games”


Kyle Killen’s Lone Star and Awake were two of the most ambitious network series of recent years–and two of the most resounding flops.  He has to be hoping that his third time (and third network) is the charm, with ABC’s TBD midseason series MIND GAMES.  It features Steve Zahn and Christian Slater as brothers (one is bipolar, the other is an ex-con) with an unusual business–they use emotional and strategic manipulations to get people to do what their clients want.

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And… maybe it’s the fourth time that’s the charm?  Mind Games looks like quirky with a capital “quirk,” between Zahn’s antics as the biopolar brother, and the pair’s con-man schemes to make people follow their will.  The tone seems odd, too, with the pilot seemingly concentrating on the brothers causing a heartless insurance adjuster to pay for a young man’s expensive surgery, mixing heartwarming with wacky humor with jargon.  Maybe it can work–it does almost have the feel of one of those eccentric-detective USA Network shows, except without the crime or the self-mocking humor.  Certainly 3 minutes of trailer can’t effectively convey what’s certainly an unusual concept and set of characters.  Still:  it’s hard to be terribly optimistic.


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."