Fall TV First Impression: ABC's Selfie

Fall TV Preview Selfie

The broadcast networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this fall, including Katherine Heigl‘s TV comeback, a trip to Gotham, a third NCIS and a Flash-y Arrow offshoot. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

PHOTOS Fall TV Preview: Your Guide to What’s New!

THE SHOW | ABC’s Selfie (Tuesdays at 8/7c, premiering Sept. 30)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ NCIS, NBC’s The Voice, The CW’s The Flash, Fox’s Utopia

THE CAST | Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), John Cho (Star Trek), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Broadway’s Ghost), Allyn Rachel (Weeds) and David Harewood (Homeland)

THE SET-UP | Loosely based on My Fair Lady and written by Suburgatory‘s Emily Kapnek, Selfie stars Gillan as Eliza Dooley, a pharmaceuticals sales rep overly obsessed with outward beauty as well as her standing in social media. In the wake of a mortifying public incident, Eliza beseeches her company’s branding whiz, Henry Higgs (Cho), to improve her image. (There’s no “Rain in Spain” per se, but Henry at one point does rattle off what happens to be a rhymed list of suggestions.)

RELATED Fall Preview 2014: Your Handy Calendar of 99 Premieres

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | The worst thing Selfie has going for it is a potentially polarizing title. The best thing it has going for it is its status as the fall’s best new half-hour comedy, and that’s in large part due to the highly entertaining dynamic between its leads. Even minus her native Scottish accent, Gillan is endearing and — despite Eliza’s considerable foibles — quickly gets you rooting for her extremely egocentric alter ego, as she begins clumsily sampling Henry’s advice. Cho’s Henry, meanwhile, has little tolerance for Eliza’s chronic status-updating and speaking in #hashtags, yet therein sees an opportunity for his greatest re-branding project yet. But neither is Henry a perfect human, and the show’s obvious endgame is for both of the unlikely allies to emerge the better for knowing each other, as evidenced in an incredibly sweet closing scene.

Bristle if you will at the title, but Selfie‘s stealthy mission is to in fact capitalize on such distaste for social media addicts by deftly mocking Eliza’s habits and tendering the possibility of a life-changing “make-under” — with some additional help from her frenemy neighbor Bryn (Rachel). Randolph plays the company receptionist (a highlight of many of the comedy’s trailers), while Harewood is Henry’s bromance-obsessed boss.

MORE FIRST IMPRESSIONS CBS’ Scorpion, The CW’s Jane the Virgin, ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, Fox’s Red Band Society, CBS’ Madam Secretary, NBC’s State of Affairs, ABC’s black-ish, CBS’ Stalker, The CW’s The Flash, Fox’s Gotham

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | In addition to its title, Selfie‘s obstacles include an unenviable time slot, asked as it has been to self-start ABC’s Tuesday line-up versus TV’s most watched drama, NBC’s stalwart Voice and The CW’s buzzy Flash. (Paired with the flawed Manhattan Love Story, the freshman comedies feed into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new 9 o’clock home.) Worse, if Selfie fails to attract and retain Friends and Followers, there’s no logical place for ABC to shuttle it to.

Watch a preview for Selfie, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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43 Comments
  1. Ashley says:

    This is one of the shows I’m most looking forward to, as I love its stars and thought it had a good promo. The time slot is going to throttle it, however, so I hope ABC finds a better place (any room in the Wednesday night line-up?).

  2. dman6015 says:

    Critics said the same thing about the ‘Cougar Town’ title. They still do, and the question keeps coming up about changing the title. They’ll get over it.

  3. ggny says:

    This has Trophy Wife redux written all over it. Well like but ratings will be terrible. Really hope that doesnt happen

  4. Man, I wish I could get on board with this review but everything about that trailer makes me cringe. Especially the wig. There’s a big difference between being obsessed with social media and acting like an alien from another planet. And Gillan is hamming it up BIG TIME. Couple that with their disaster time slot and I think we can say goodbye to Selfie and Manhattan Love Story in one fell swoop.

  5. Tran says:

    One of the new comedies I’m really not looking forward to this season. Didn’t know Karen Gillan was on Doctor Who but she was great in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (saw it during opening weekend).

  6. ... says:

    I haven’t seen the pilot yet, but I just can’t get excited about this. The promos look overly precious by half and Suburgatory fell apart in its third season, so the only thing that has me interested is John Cho.

  7. kd83954 says:

    “Fall’s best new half-hour comedy”?! WOW. I was already going to check it out because of Karen Gillan and John Cho, but that statement gets me even MORE excited for it!

    • Christian says:

      Although that may be damning with faint praise. Have you seen the trailers for the networks’ Fall new comedy series?

  8. Coal says:

    I don’t get what’s polarizing about the title as it embodies the show perfectly as it deals with self image and social media standing and nothing describes this more than a selfie. I don’t see any similarities with the title name problems Cougar Town had.

  9. Domi says:

    This will be a flop,,i would have prefered How I Met Your Dad so far

  10. Jon says:

    I really love Karen and I’m all for this type of comedy, but you NEED to stop with the cute/witty names for half hour comedies. Remember Trophy Wife? Learn from your mistakes, ABC.

  11. murley says:

    If I learned anything from Cougar Town and Trophy Wife it is to not be put off by the title of an ABC comedy. Plus I love John Cho. Definitely going to give this a shot.

  12. Luis says:

    I’ll watch it once, out of devotion to Karen Gillan, but I cringed the moment I read the description of the show last spring

    • Liz says:

      Same here that promo tag & description made me so turned off. But I am glad you gave it good reviews because I will root for my girl Karen. So now I am definantly going to tune. And seeing as my life is social media & re branding (public relations) I am probably going to like it.

  13. Ram510 says:

    I’m going to check this out at least once, since Flash doesn’t start til the week after. And my problem isn’t the title (although ABC really needs to find better titles, they have a bad track record of that) it the fact that it comes from the Suburgatory people. Suburgatory started out nicely (I suppose) but by season 2 it felt like they didn’t have anywhere else to go. I feel Selfie could suffer a similar fate (if it even makes it to season 2). This actually seems like it would be better off as a movie

  14. Aha says:

    The time slot is most definitely the problem her for me. I could care less about the title but the competition is insane. It has to compete with the voice and The Flash for me.

    • Beth says:

      Yeah i don’t think exces found Flash to be a clash but seeing as Karen & John are pretty high on the geek scale of fandom, Flash is very much a clash. I am afraid I must record this one.

  15. Ari says:

    I’m torn on this one. I like John Cho but have an irrational dislike of Karen Gillan. I am thinking this is going to be a spring catch up series for me.

  16. Et al says:

    All signs point to another great-but-doomed ABC comedy. They should have titled it Don’t Trust The Cougar Trophy Ted. Why bother?

  17. Dan says:

    Thank you for the really good info on the title’s relation to the show. Looks like it’s almost ironic, which turns the game in my view. Now I’ll probably check the first episodes waiting for something different.

  18. Kenbud says:

    I thought the premise was very intriguing when I first heard about it. Sounds like the only people who are bristling at the title are “critics.” Hope it succeeds.

  19. Quinn Mallory says:

    Like Karen Gillan and John Cho and Suburgatory who it first started, so I will give this show a try, although I’m not sure how long they can drag on the concept before it becomes stale.

  20. herman1959 says:

    I pushed past the silly title and so-so premise in order to be fair and give the preview a shot, but NOPE! I think it’ll be cancelled by episode 5, and I’ll be seeing Mr. Cho back on Sleepy Hollow. Plus, it’ll be competing with The Flash…bye-bye.

  21. MattArmando says:

    “Fall’s best new half-hour comedy”… Wow. Very surprising, but at the same time, not very surprising. Kapnek is a quirky genius. The show already has a lot of social media attention; with almost 10,000 followers on Twitter, pretty big for a new series that hasn’t premiered yet. I do have a feeling this will premiere very well with ratings & critical reviews. We’ll see.

  22. Kat says:

    Would love it if they would have let her use her Scottish accent!! Looks cute!

  23. Mandy says:

    I LOVE John Cho and will give this a chance for him, but the premise seems impossibly stupid. But your review seems to imply some of my worries (a main character I will hate) seem to be okay. So we will see.

  24. Ally Oop says:

    Henry Cho won me over in the trailer. The comedy looks like it will be entertaining but I doubt it can survive it’s horrid timeslot.

  25. DanielleZ says:

    Definitely looks good. I’m a huge fan of John Cho.

  26. S. from A. says:

    i am so glad to read that it is supposed to be good! i really wanted to like this show because karen gillan is in it (i am basically ginger because of her : P ) but the first trailers were horrible. but if it is good i am absolutely excited about it again. : D

    • Tinamarie3456 says:

      Love Karen. Have a massive girl crush on her. Sooooo glad this has turned out to be good. Can hardly wait.

  27. I like the cast, but the preview makes it look terrible.

  28. Allison P says:

    As much as I love Karen Gillam and John Cho, I wasn’t planning on watching this show. However, this preview has changed my mind a little; I may tune in once or twice now…

  29. Babygate says:

    The name is the thing that completely turned me off to this the first time I heard about it. After watching the previews I found it very likeable. Its the same experience I had with Black-ish. ABC has a penchant for picking the worst names…

  30. meatwad says:

    i’ll give it three episodes because of Karen

  31. Prinzess says:

    Pleased to hear this is good. The title is off putting but it’s a great cast. Karen Gillan is on a roll in the US at the moment with GotG breaking box office records, Oculus also a hit and a new film currently underway. I understand she also had a couple of well reviewed tv shows in the UK under her belt since she left Doctor Who. ‘Who’ would have thought Amy Pond would have the most successful career post Who? Christopher Eccleston has continued to pick and choose shows at will, but already had a good career on both sides of the Atlantic behind him, David Tennant has really struggled with two big failures here and some pretty poor offerings in the UK, some of which were shown on PBS – sounds like Gracepoint has already been written off by critics but concept was dumb to start off – Matt Smith only having the Terminator film on the go at the moment. (I think Matt is having some time to unwind after the gruelling time on the show, so no doubt will be on our screens or on stage here inthe near future). Billie Piper was great in Penny Dreadful and we had Freema in The Carrie Diaries, so the gals of Who are beating the doctors!

    Disappointing that some critics are writing this off based on the title alone, without having seen it. John Cho is a draw as well and the preview clips look like they have great chemistry so fingers crossed this will be the success it sounds as though it deserves to be.

    Definitely going to watch as we sure could do with a quality comedy on TV.

    • Bunny56 says:

      I *adore* Karen. gorgeous, talented, funny, sweet, adorable. It would be awesome if she could persuade Matt Smith to guest star. He’s based in the US now and I am sure he would jump at being on his best friend’s show. Can you imagine how adorably goofy they woukd be together.

  32. Alex says:

    Well, it got two of my faves as the leads, so yes, definitely. Besides, I cannot judge the show by it’s trailer only, so hopefully it will be a lot better than what little we saw there.

  33. Cate612 says:

    Watched it on demand this weekend. Fan of both leads and really wanted to like it. First impression, meh. :(

  34. Jim says:

    Comedy for millennials. I hope this one drops fast.

  35. sab says:

    Love John Cho and I loved Suburgatory and watched every episode! But, I saw the premiere already on hulu and I’m not excited about this show at all. The premiere just didn’t grab me, and I didn’t find it at all funny. Sad that TVLine thinks this is the best new comedy of the season. That means that that the other comedies are likely to be a lot worse.

  36. cmaglaughlin says:

    I watched the preview. It was simply amazing. And I’m 65 and have no clue what they talked about! A “New Girl” in the making!

  37. Nicole says:

    I was really skeptical from the first descriptions but I checked out the pilot and it was fantastic. It reminded me a lot of what I loved about Ugly Betty. I hope people give it a chance.

  38. Nana3 says:

    The show has potential to be a keeper. The stars make the show. I think if it was on Friday nights after Last Man Standing it will have a better chance than on Tuesdays.

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