Tagged: ABC

Fresh Off The BoatLoosely based on the autobiography of chef Eddie Huang, Fresh Off The Boat is a freshest attempt to bring an Asian family to television. This comedy uses the overused style of remembrances of a past decade with a disembodied voice of the adult version of one of the characters. Fresh Off The Boat follows the adventures of Eddie and his family as they move from Washington DC to Orlando, Florida.

Young Eddie (Hudson Yang), his brothers Emery (Forrest Wheeler) and Evan (Ian Chen), attempt with some success but mostly failure to acclimate into the Southern Caucasian Culture of Florida. At the same time, Eddie’s parents, Louis (Randall Park) and Jessica (Constance Wu) struggle to operate a steakhouse in downtown Orlando. Opening a steakhouse might seem to push the boundaries of reality and comedy, except for the fact that Eddie’s parents tried to do that in real life.

Hudson Yang as Eddie Huang

Hudson Yang as Eddie Huang

Fresh off the boat succeeds in many ways that other “ethnic” show have failed. First, it’s funny. Created by Nahnatchka Khan (Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23), the show is a character-based comedy. Unlike ABC’s “Christela,” the dialog of the show is not based on a steady stream of set-ups and punchlines. Every character in Fresh Off The Boat is an individual character with individual personalities, quirks, and personality traits.

There is no character more unique than the main character Eddie, played endearingly by Hudson Yang. He plays the smart-mouth, oft-misunderstood lead, who manages to embody the struggles of the real Eddie Huang’s heroes Notorious B.I.G. and Shug Knight.

Second, the show is now about being “Asian.” Fresh Off The Boat does not attempt to teach its audience what it’s like being Asian in America, and the struggles Asians have faced standing up to the man. Like ABC’s “Christela,” this is a family that happens to be Asian, and ethnicity serves as an accent to the storytelling and comedy.

Finally, Fresh Off The Boat places its characters in situations that are relatable to a broad audience. It’s not a show for Asians; it’s a show for everyone. The Hwang family is a fish-out-of-water family wanted to fit in with their neighbors and surroundings. It’s a story of a family wanting to succeed in the midst of diversity as they struggle to find customers for their restaurant. It’s also a family that knows it has to band together to survive.

Episode 1 – “Pilot,” the Hwang family moves from Washington DC to Orlando to fulfill the Louis’ dream of owning a successful restaurant. On the way down, Louis confesses to Jessica that the restaurant is not doing well and hid the fact so that Jessica would not have a reason for not moving away from her family. Louis realizes that he needs to create a warmer reception for guests and hires a white host in Mitch (Paul Scheer). Eddie, on the other hand, connects with the white kids at school thanks to his idolization of Notorious B.I.G. but is immediately shunned by the lo-mein his mother packed for lunch.

Episode 2 – “Home Sweet Home-School,” Eddie’s first report card at his new school brings the great news of straight A’s. Rather than rejoice, Jessica realizes that school is too easy. Speaking of easy, Jessica sees Louis as being too easy on his employees, Mitch (Paul Scheer) and Nancy (Jillian Armenante). Jessica feels Louis’ “killing-them-with-kindness” attitude is financially destroying the restaurant. Louis tricks Jessica into providing the boys a home-after-school education, freeing him up to run the restaurant his way.

The Verdict

8Great

The Good: Funny story lines | Likable fascinating characters

The Bad: Overused takes-place-in-the-past vehicle with disembodied narrator.

IOAN GRUFFUDD, JUDD HIRSCHThe crime procedural is a tried and true television genre. In order to keep it fresh each successful iteration must have an interesting and unique idea. ABC’s Forever brings a unique idea to the crime procedural, what if your investigator could not die and what if he could use this ability to solve crimes.

Forever is the story of Doctor Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), New York City’s star medical examiner. Dr. Morgan has a secret. If he should ever die, his body disappears and winds up in the nearest body of water, usually the Hudson River. Call it a curse or a miracle, Morgan has lived a very long time because he received his power during the 18th century.

The ability to not die is especially helpful in solving crimes. In the pilot episode, Dr. Morgan uses his ability to understand the way the body reacts to a certain poison used in a crime.

Henry has only one friend and confidant, Abe (Judd Hirsch) who knows Henry’s secret. Henry has a lab assistant, Lucas (Joel David Moore) who admires Henry, but friendship is just not in the cards. And finally, Henry manages to find an ally in Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza) as a member of the homicide division.

IOAN GRUFFUDD, ALANA DE LA GARZAForever succeeds thanks to a very simple setup. Dr. Morgan can not die. He does not age and he remembers everything with his Sherlock Holmes’ photographic memory. He can solve crimes because he can replicate the death of the victims. He knows the streets and history of New York City because he lived there for centuries. He’s fearless because…he can’t die.

Why can’t Dr. Morgan die? That’s a mystery that exists, but is definitely played on the back-burner. But it’s a prevalent mystery, because it appears that Dr. Morgan isn’t the only one who can’t die. We are also given subtle clues to Morgan’s life including his marriage long ago.

Judd Hirsh plays Abe, Morgan’s only friend. Hirsh seems to be typecast as the wise, loyal friend. Good reason, he’s so damn good at that role.

Alana De Le Garza is Detective Jo Martinez. Her beauty makes the show worth watching on its own, but she plays a detective well after being a District Attorney for years on Law and Order. She manages to be believable but at time second banana to Henry. Her character also has her flaws including the emotional torture from the death of her longtime love.

Unlike most supernatural mystery shows, Forever keeps the mystery simple, the characters sympathetic and the mysteries grounded in reality. The ratings aren’t the greatest for Forever, but hopefully it will find its audience.

 

The Verdict

8Great

The Good: Simple mystery | Grounded Murders

From the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Shonda Rhimes, comes the tale of Annalise Keating (Academy-Award Nominee Viola Davis). Keating is a brilliant criminal law professor and defense attorney. She represents the most hardened, violent criminals and will do almost anything to win their freedom, just because she loves the challenge.

The series premiere starts by introducing this year’s batch of new law students at the yet-to-be-named university, where Keating is a teacher. These students are all competing as the most ruthless for a coveted job at Keating’s law firm. These students include Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), a wide-eyed, likable boy- next-door recently accepted off the weightless. Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), a confident, ambitious overachiever born knowing how to “lean in.” Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), a slight sophisticated heartbreaker used to getting any prize he lays his eyes on. Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) is a quiet, sensitive idealists whose easy to underestimate. Finally, Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) plays an entitled know- it-all born into a world of Ivy League education and country club memberships.

Viola Davis plays the tough-talking no-nonsense, sexy law professor Keating to perfection. She brings a level of seriousness, ruthlessness and sexiness you expect from a law drama. It’s hard not to feel the high-level tension in each character of trying to come up with the perfect defense, not blowing it on the witness stand and not being seen as a weak individual.

How To Get Away With Murder is a very, very dark law program. In the past, television shows about law, like LA Law used to be light and comedic and then moved to the dramatic in shows like The Good Wife. But How To Get Away With Murder is a show where every single character is deeply flawed and at any moment the skeletons in his/her closet will be thrown into the light. This show is reminiscent of ABC’s Dirty, Sexy, Money where a corrupt personality is considered a positive personality trait. The show ultimately failed because it’s hard to build a show around characters that are unlikable and where the ones with any redeeming social value ultimately succumbs to the dark vehicle of the show. In How To Get Away With Murder, the path is a little more palatable, because as corrupt as the characters are, they dark personalities will ultimately be their downfall.

How To Get Away With Murder succeeds is its ability to juggle three distinct stories. Each show highlights a weekly murder, much like a police procedural. Someone is murdered; Keating and her students must find a way to get that person off whether they are guilty or not. It’s all done in a very interesting and cunning way.

The second story is the death of a fellow law student who may or may not have been having an affair with Keating’s husband her professor. And the third storyline, has all five of our new law students attempting to cover up the murder of Keating’s husband, Sam.

How To Get Away Murder is off to a good start the season and has enough cliffhangers to keep you interested week to week.

The Verdict

8Great

The Good: Dark, dark story | Adeptly tells three stories at one time

Amazon Studios

Showing that the Walt Disney Company likes to spread the love, ABC Studios and Amazon Studios will partner together to produce “Point of Honor” a post-Civil War series with Lost creator Carlton Cuse.

The project will be a coproduction between ABC Signature and Amazon Studios. “Point of Honor” was initially developed for ABC in 2011.

Other pilots Amazon Studios has in the works include dramedy “The Cosmopolitans” from Whit Stillman and hour-long drama “Hand of God,” starring Ron Perlman (“Sons of Anarchy”) and helmed by Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball,” “World War Z”). Those are slated to come out later in 2014 as part of a third wave of pilots Amazon will present for public feedback.

The Cast of The Whispers

The Cast of The Whispers

Will “The Whispers” finally be the hit Alien takeover show, we’ve been looking for?

Aliens have invaded Earth by using our most unlikely resource to achieve world domination—our children. As the kids unwittingly help these unseen enemies, the clock counts down in this suspenseful race to save humanity.

“The Whispers” stars Lily Rabe as Claire Bennigan, Barry Sloane as Wes Lawrence, Milo Ventimiglia as John Doe/Drew Bennigan, Derek Webster as Jessup Rollins, Brianna Brown as Lena Lawrence, Catalina Denis as Dr. Maria Benavidez, Kylie Rogers as Minx Lawrence and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Henry.

The Whispers” was written and co-executive-produced by Soo Hugh, with Amblin TV co-producing. Executive producers are Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Dawn Olmstead. “The Whispers” was directed by Mark Romanek and produced by ABC Studios.

Agent Carter Header

“Marvel’s Agent Carter,” starring Captain America’s Hayley Atwell follows the story of Peggy Carter. It’s 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life–Steve Rogers. Inspired by the feature films “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” along with the short “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.”

Starring Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, “Marvel’s Agent Carter” is executive produced by Christopher Markus, Steve McFeely, Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Jeph Loeb.

LISA RINNASo get this…your favorite C-List celebrity is going to get a makeover to look like a famous singer and try to win the votes of celebrity judges.

Sing Your Face Off,” a talent variety competition featuring celebrities who are transformed and trained to perform as legendary musical icons, will premiere on SATURDAY, MAY 31 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT). Over the course of the series, the 5 celebrities (Sebastian Bach/legendary rock star from the band Skid Row; Landry Fields/NBA’s Toronto Raptors; Jon Lovitz/comedian, actor, singer; China Anne McClain/Disney Channel’s “How to Build a Better Boy” which premieres this summer, “A.N.T. Farm;” Lisa Rinna/”Days of Our Lives”) will each take on the identity of a different and iconic music performer — the celebrities could find themselves transformed into someone far older, younger or even someone of the opposite sex.

From the hours in the makeup chair to the days spent with choreographers and vocal coaches, each show will feature the complete transformation – not just physical – the celebrities will embody everything about the assigned icon – their walk, their talk, and their distinguishing mannerisms leading up to the live performance in front of the studio audience. Viewers will get the chance to see each of the celebrities portray multiple musical performers during the series.

Episode 101’s Transformations

Sebastian Bach = Adam Levine
Landry Fields = Lionel Richie
Jon Lovitz = Elton John
China Anne McClain = Rihanna
Lisa Rinna = Dolly Parton

Episode 102’s Transformations

Sebastian Bach = Lady Gaga
Landry Fields = Pitbull
Jon Lovitz = Pavarotti
China Anne McClain = Tina Turner
Lisa Rinna = Britney Spears

John Barrowman (“Arrow,” “Torchwood”) is the host. Debbie Gibson and Darrell Hammond are the primary judges, while David Allen Grier is the guest judge for “101” and RuPaul Charles is the guest judge for “102.”

Based on Endemol’s global hit “Your Face Sounds Familiar,” “Sing Your Face Off” is produced by Endemol USA. Georgie Hurford-Jones (“America’s Got Talent,” “Britain’s Got Talent”) is Executive Producer.

Agent CarterBig news for Marvel Comics on television. After much speculation, ABC has renewed “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” for a second season to begin in Fall 2014 and “Marvel’s Agent Carter” has been picked up to series.

This is good news for the cast and crew of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” which saw the show start off slow with unimpressive rating and then to see growth in the ratings with a daring crossover episode with Thor and a major game-changing tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Solder.

The Agent Carter featurette that accompanied the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray release was meet with critical acclaim. This allowed Marvel Studios to produce a pilot for potential series.

John Cho

John Cho (Star Trek Into Darkness, Harold & Kumar franchise) has been cast as the male lead in ABC’s half-hour comedy pilot Selfie.

Cho will play Henry, a self-assured, successful marketing expert who is “a different breed from today’s social media–addicted society.” As a challenge, he decides to “re-market” his coworker Eliza (Karen Gillan), a social media star with a bad reputation.

Selfie is from executive producer/writer Emily Kapnek (Suburgatory). The comedy, inspired by My Fair Lady, is described as “the story of a self-obsessed 20-something woman who is more concerned with ‘likes’ than being liked. After suffering a very public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media followers than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image.”

The addition of Cho completes series regular casting on this project. He joins previously announced castmembers: Karen Gillan, David Harewood, Allyn Rachel, Tim Peper and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

OMAR EPPS, FRANCES FISHER, KURTWOOD SMITH, DEVIN KELLEYThe people of Arcadia, Missouri are forever changed when their deceased loved ones suddenly start to reappear. This mid-season series takes the coveted Desperate Housewives slot that has yet to a permanent series to live there.

Broadcast Date: March 9, 2014
Network: ABC
Cast: Omar Epps (“House”) as J. Martin Bellamy, Frances Fisher (“Titanic”) as Lucille Langston, Matt Craven (“Crimson Tide,” “A Few Good Men”) as Fred Langston, Devin Kelley (“Chernobyl Diaries,” “The Chicago Code”) as Maggie Langston, Mark Hildreth (“The Tudors”) as Pastor Tom Hale, Samaire Armstrong (“Entourage,” “The O.C.”) as Elaine Richards, Sam Hazeldine (“The Raven”) as Caleb Richards, Landon Gimenez as Jacob and Kurtwood Smith (“That ’70s Show”) as Henry Langston.

A good mystery drama starts with a “What If” premise. For ABC’s Resurrection, the question is “What if a loved one who died several decades ago suddenly reappear?” In the pilot episode, a young boy, Jacob (Landon Gimenez) awakens in the small village in China. Next we find that boy with an INS agent taking him to his home town in Arcadia, Missouri and returned to his parents, Harry and Lucille Langston (Kurtwood Smith and Francis Fisher). The mystery, their son Jacob drowned 30 years ago with his Aunt and the boy has not aged at all.

The “What If” has been asked and we get to see the results of the “What If”. Is this boy really their son? What do you do when your sons return yet you’ve aged 30 years? How can you prove that this is the real Jacob? Of course, what in the world happened to cause this? By the end of the episode, we find out that Jacob is not the only person to came back to life.

Resurrection was interesting to watch. The show appears to be a Twilight Zone-type drama and with actors like Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith and Francis Fisher the seemingly impossible comes across as real versus over-the-top. The first episode is pretty interesting to watch and many of the “What If” questions get answered. At one point, Jacob escapes from his hospital room and runs into the forest. He heads to a tree and begins digging around it until he finds his G.I. Joe action figure that he buried before he died.

As mentioned before, the episode ends with the appearance of another resurrected resident of Arcadia. We can probably tolerate another story of who is this person and is this person really the person they appear to be. At some point, the mystery needs to be explored and investigated and that’s where the real story begins and this is where we discover whether or not resurrection is worth watching.

Episode one was fine but not great. It was dramatic with a twinge of interesting but the forecast is unclear whether our attention will be held from episode to episode. Resurrection would probably be a better movie or mini-series that a television series.

The Verdict

7Good

The Good: Cast anchored by Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith and Francis Fisher.

The Bad: Not sure it will maintain my interest through the summer