This Year’s Best Fall TV Lineup? It’s Easy as ABC

This year I’ve devoted most of my screen time to ABC. I perused through the various networks, and ABC has delivered. This channel has an incredible line-up with plenty of laughs and tears. No matter what type of show you are in the mood for, ABC has you covered.

“Splitting Up Together,” Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. 

Based off a Danish show, this series highlights the family of recently divorced couple Lena and Martin, played by Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson. They’re joined by their three children, Milo, Mae, and Mason, along with good friends, Arthur and Camille, and Lena’s sister, Maya. The ensemble cast works together in harmony to provide viewers with a realistic portrayal of love found, lost and found again. Hudson, who is the real-life older brother of Kate Hudson and son of Goldie Hawn, is out of his sister’s shadows as the star of “Splitting up Together.” As Martin, he comes across as honest and believable. A romantic at heart, Martin wants to put effort into his relationship but cannot figure out what his former spouse, Lena, wants from him. Season one brought a pregnancy scare, and in season two, Lena and Martin contemplate selling their home.

In a recent episode, Fischer’s real-life best friend, Angela Kinsey, stopped by. It can be easy to walk away and assume the series will be one long round of “will they or won’t they?” when it comes to Lena and Martin. However, this couple is not a reincarnation of Ross and Rachel or Ted and Robin. Lena and Martin are more complex and sophisticated, and they have a much better fashion sense. ABC has ordered additional episodes of this series, so viewers will not have to split up with these characters just yet. 

“Single Parents” Wed, 9:30 p.m. ABC

Taran Killam shines as Will Cooper, a naïve and sensitive dad who is the classroom parent for his daughter’s first-grade class. Sitcom star Brad Garrett, “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester, Jake Choi and Kimrie Lewis join Killam along on this zany escapade through parenthood. This sitcom works well because the ensemble cast has chemistry.

Lewis shines as Poppy Banks, who is the proud proprietor of a feminist bookstore that serves wine. Her unique occupation provides her with a certain awareness and outlook on life that is refreshing to see on a 2018 sitcom. And, Garrett brings the laughs as a wealthy and widowed dermatologist named Dr. Douglas Fogerty. The children are brilliant actors. They bring a rare mixture of vulnerability and energy, as they each have their own quirks and interests. Devin Trey Campbell’s Rory Banks steals the show as a rambunctious child with an unmatched adoration for fashion. His character is fascinating, as Campbell portrays an air of confidence that is rare for a boy of his age. 

The writing is innovative, and the performances keep me on the edge of my seat. I find myself wanting to learn more about these characters’ stories and see if any of the parents wind up as couples. The show has received a full-season order, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the plot unfolds. 

“A Million Little Things,” Wed, 10 p.m. 

On the outside, I wrote off this drama as a mere replica of “This is Us.” In fact, a teaser trailer for “A Million Little Things” used the same song, “Heartbeats,” by Jose Gonzalez, that was featured on “This is Us.” And the comparisons do not stop there as both dramas tackle the tough issues of alcoholism and depression. 

Despite the similarities, “A Million Little Things” is closer to my personal definition of a soap opera. A main character cheats on his wife, and there is a suicide. Soon, an unplanned pregnancy occurs, and a lead character is even hospitalized. 

It’s a decent watchable drama, and while it is not my favorite fall drama, the characters are fascinating. Christina Marie Moses has charisma and an infectious drive to succeed as Regina Howard, a chef and restaurateur, and “Devil Wears Prada” alum Stephanie Szostak delivers a stellar performance as a grieving widow. The star of the show is James Roday’s Gary Mendez, a cancer survivor with a heart of gold. The main mystery surrounds the death of the characters’ best friend, Jon Dixon. Viewers are anxious to find out the contents of a mysterious blue envelope that was left at the scene of his death. ABC has ordered more scripts, so viewers will have a million more reasons to tune in for weeks to come. 

 

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