Fall Television Preview: ABC Sitcoms

To generate buzz for some of their new shows, ABC has released the pilots of three new fall shows on ABC.com until September 17. Naturally, we decided to take a look at them. See what we thought of Back in the Game, The Goldbergs, and Trophy Wife. 

Back in the Game


If nothing else, this show wins the award for Most Improved Title. During its development, Back in the Game was briefly titled She’s Got Balls. While that wouldn’t have been the most atrocious title in the world, Back in the Game is a much better fit for this show, which is pretty much adorable.

Maggie Lawson (Psych) stars as Terry Gannon, a divorced single mother who is forced to move back in with her father The Cannon (James Caan, The Godfather). Terry and The Cannon have a few issues, to say the least. Terry claims that The Cannon crippled her emotionally, but it seems like his ways of parenting are just a little more unconventional. By the end of the episode, he has done a couple things that show he really does love his daughter and grandson Danny (Griffin Gluck, Private Practice). 

The heart of the show revolves around baseball, specifically Terry’s relationship with the sport. The Cannon was a baseball player, though it is uncertain at which level he played. He pretty much forced Terry into playing the game and she went on to play softball in college. Terry is adamant that baseball ruined her life. However, Danny has a crush on a girl at school who “digs ball players,” so he decides he wants to play on a team. When Danny tries out and doesn’t get picked, Terry naturally ends up coaching the newly-formed Angles. They are called The Angles because The Bad News Bears is already copyrighted, but it’s pretty much the same thing. They’re a team of misfits. There are a couple chubbier kids, one who claims that “fire is the only thing that loves me,” and a super flamboyant one. If these characters are used sparingly, they will be fantastic.

In the pilot, we are also introduced to Gigi (Lenora Crichlow, Being Human), the mother of Michael (J.J. Totah, Jessie), a.k.a. the super flamboyant kid. Gigi is poised to be the best friend character to Terry and I really liked their chemistry. She is pretty much the stereotypical gold digger, but she definitely has a heart and she is great comic relief. We also meet Dick (Ben Koldyke, How I Met Your Mother), the super smarmy Little League organizer who may or may not end up as a love interest for Terry. Personally, I’m hoping they keep as a total douchewad and don’t try to redeem his character. Koldyke makes a really great villain.

Overall, this show definitely has potential. It’s a great family sitcom and is positioned perfectly between The Middle and Modern Family on Wednesday nights. Lawson can definitely carry the series and she has a great supporting cast. It’s nice to see Caan in such a comedic role. Danny runs the risk of becoming too much of an adorable moppet, but he’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t become too precocious. The scene where he stands up to the school bully was pretty fantastic. This had an incredibly strong pilot. I have no doubt it will get picked up for a full season and I fully expect it to continue after that.

Back in the Game will air Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m., starting September 25.

-Amanda W

Next: The Goldbergs

  • Meg

    I liked Trophy Wife much, MUCH more than I expected to. I laughed several times, and it’s nice to see Bradley Whitford on television again. My main problem was the same as Amanda’s, which is that Kate’s character was a little bit too close to the stereotype. She’s likable, but there are only so many “you tried” gold stars you can give someone in the span of twenty minutes before it becomes annoying. But I’m still going to watch the second episode.