Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: ABC's Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife PreviewThe broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a futuristic tale from the Fringe team and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

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THE SHOW | ABC’s Trophy Wife (Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles, NBC’s The Voice, Fox’s The Mindy Project, The CW’s Supernatural and USA Network’s Covert Affairs

THE CAST | Malin Akerman (27 Dresses), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Marcia Gay Harden (Damages), Michaela Watkins (Saturday Night Live), Natalie Morales (The Middleman, not Today) and others

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THE SET-UP | Party girl Kate (Akerman) and lawyer Pete (Whitford) “meet cute,” and in short order she becomes his third wife — following in the footsteps of rigid surgeon Diane (Harden) and New Age-y Jackie (Watkins) — and a stepmom to a total of three kids. Morales plays Kate’s bestie Meg.

ALBERT TSAI, NATALIE MORALES, GIANNA LEPERA, RYAN SCOTT LEE, MALIN AKERMAN, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, MICHAELA WATKINS

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THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Of the 12 new sitcoms I have screened thus far, Trophy Wife is easily among the Top 4, and upon second viewing might ultimately land in the No. 2 spot. Akerman, playing someone savvier than The Comeback‘s Juna and less selfish than 27 Dresses‘ Tess, no less than shines here, coming off as fun-loving but not flaky, warm and not overheated. (The physical comedy she pulls off during a vodka-chugging scene is memorable.) As a whole, the strong ensemble hits few wrong notes, though Harden was a bit OTT OCD for my liking, and I very much look forward to Whitford having better material than the hamster-shopping he does in the pilot. Among the moppets, Ryan Scott Lee is a standout as Warren, a metal-mouthed geek.

RELATED | More Fall TV First Impressions: Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, CBS’ HostagesNBC’s IronsideABC’s Super Fun NightThe CW’s The Tomorrow PeopleFox’s Almost HumanCBS’ The Crazy Ones

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | ABC’s problem here: Great show, ghastly time slot, sandwiched as it is between a weaker freshman comedy (The Goldbergs) and a new drama (Lucky 7) and facing significant competition on both broadcast and cable. Me, I’d have slotted Trophy Wife after Modern Family, leaving the neither super nor fun Super Fun Night to flounder somewhere else. If ABC ultimately makes such a switch, it’d create a mighty Wednesday melange of its best returning comedies and its far-and-away strongest new ones (including Back in the Game).

Watch a video preview for Trophy Wife, then vote in our poll below.