Three new series make their debuts today - with NBC scoring an A and an incomplete on the comedy front.
Along with the new shows, two old favorites return. The Vampire Diaries premieres Season 5, and Shonda Rhimes’ sexy political soap Scandal launches Season 3.
Scandal stars Kerry Washington hot off her recent best actress in a drama Emmy nomination (she lost to Homeland’s Claire Danes).
I’ve heard grumblings from her fans that Washington was robbed, but Danes’ performance as Carrie Mathison is truly extraordinary for television. Consistently outstanding.
This season, Scandal fans can look forward to Scott Foley (Jake Ballard) returning as a regular character and Olivia Pope love interest. Lisa Kudrow (Friends) will be on board as some sort of politician, and Paul Adelstein (Private Practice) will have a recurring role.
Note: Scandal will have a split season. There will be a long break for the holidays and during the Winter Olympics on NBC (beginning Feb. 6) before returning at the end of February.
Scandal isn’t the only ABC drama that will have a split season. Also going on hiatus to avoid the Olympic rush are Grey’s Anatomy, Nashville, Once Upon a Time and Revenge.
Here’s today’s new stuff, with new shows in bold type.
7 p.m. The Vampire Diaries (CW).
7:30 p.m. Welcome to the Family (NBC).
8 p.m. The Originals (CW); Sean Saves the World (NBC).
9 p.m. Scandal (ABC).
Welcome to the Family. I sat down to preview the pilot for Welcome to the Family with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, the NBC press packet was predictable in touting it as “an Anglo/ Latino culture clash.” It was obvious the network wanted its own version of ABC’s Modern Family, so I was expecting Cheech and Chong meet The Middle.
Why not tweak the blended-family formula? Modern Family has won best comedy four years in a row to equal such classics as The Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family and Cheers.
But in television, imitation is not only sincerest flattery, in most cases it’s boring.
On the other hand, the Welcome to the Family cast is top notch. Pros all around.
The white parents are played by Mike O’Malley(Glee, My Name Is Earl) and Mary McCormack, most lately star of In Plain Sight.
The Hispanic parents are Ricardo A. Chavira (Carlos in Desperate Housewives) and Justina Machado from Six Feet Under and ER.
The premise: Dan (O’Malley) and Caroline (McCormack) discover their just-graduated high school daughter, Molly (Ella Rae Peck, Gossip Girl), is pregnant by her secret boyfriend, Junior Hernandez (Joseph Haro, Glee).
A brilliant, Stanford-bound student, Junior wants to accept responsibility, put college on hold, and marry Molly.
That’s how these two diverse families and cultures are thrown together. Hilarity ensues.
Seriously. This is good stuff. Stereotypes are avoided and genuine characters are developed that are instantly likable.
Check this one out.
Sean Saves the World. NBC immediately follows this winner with an unfortunate mishmash of Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) playing a divorced gay dad to his 14-year-old daughter, Ellie (Sami Isler), who has just moved in with him full time.
Linda Lavin (Alice) plays his critical mom. She’s evidently hanging around just to deliver zingers. Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!) plays his overbearing (to the point of caricature) new boss.
Wait! Don’t completely pass this one by yet. I haven’t totally written this one off because I haven’t seen all of the re-shot pilot with Megan Hilty (Smash) added as his best friend and co-worker. Hopefully Hilty will help Hayes with the heavy lifting. Watching him try to carry this series by himself was painful.
Sean Saves the World has a retro feel for those who enjoy the multi-camera comedies. The series hasn’t re-invented the comedy wheel, so there’s comfort in the familiarity for viewers who look for that sort of thing.
The Originals. This is another of those CW dramas aimed at the younger demographic, starring pretty, pretty young people with all their young people angst.
A spinoff of The Vampire Diaries, the series follows the New Orleans adventures of the Original Vampire Family as they struggle because “the bonds of family are broken since time, tragedy and hunger for power have torn the Original Family apart.”
Joseph Morgan plays Klaus Mikaelson, the original vampire-werewolf hybrid who has returned to “the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter.”
Remember that the next time you go to Mardi Gras.
That’s all you need to know about the series. If you like The CW’s younger-skewed dramas, well, here’s another one. If not, 8 p.m. Thursdays offers something for almost everyone across the lineup.
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Weekend, Pages 32 on 10/03/2013
Print Headline: Family, Sean, Originals debut with mixed results