ABC: What’s New for Fall 2010

TUESDAY

No Ordinary Family (Tues., Sept. 28 @ 8:00 PM, ABC)

* The competition: “NCIS” (CBS), “The Biggest Loser” (NBC), “Glee” (Fox), “One Tree Hill” (The CW)

Starring: Michael Chiklis, Julie Benz, Romany Malco, Autumn Reeser, Kay Panabaker, Jimmy Bennett, Stephen Collins

Producers: Greg Berlanti (“Eli Stone”), Jon Harmon (“Tru Calling”), David Semel (“Life”), Morgan Wandell

Network’s Description: The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim feels disconnected from his workaholic wife, Stephanie, and two teenage children, Daphne and JJ. To encourage family bonding time, Jim decides the family will join Stephanie on her business trip to South America. When their plane crashes into the Amazon River, they barely enjoy a moment to celebrate their survival before returning to the grind of everyday life. But they will soon realize that their lives have been forever changed. Each member of the family starts to show signs of new, unique and distinct super powers. Will their newfound abilities finally bring them together or push them further apart? For the Powells, embarking on a mission to understand their new abilities becomes the key to rebuilding their family life, as they learn what defines and unifies them. Despite the fact they can collectively lift a car, run at lightning speed, read your mind and calculate the dimensions of the Eiffel Tower — all before you say “superhero” – they are first and foremost an average family with everyday problems.

The Buzz: Decidedly strong at Comic-Con, as you’d expect, and there’s no question that ABC’s treating it as a major player in the season, given all of the intrusive pop-ups promoting the series during its current programming. The big question, though, is whether or not non-nerds (and as a nerd myself, please understand that I’m simply using this phrase as to separate us cool kids from those other people) can be sold on the show.

Pilot Highlight: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the members of the family discovering their respective abilities make for the most fun, but as for the best of that bunch, it’s a tie between Jim learning how to jump and Stephanie speeding around the track.

Bottom Line: The pilot is a heck of a lot of fun, offering a sense of humor and a sense of adventure that’s more like a live-action “Incredibles” than another “Heroes,” but given the tough competition, superhero fans had better tune in from the get-go, keep on coming back for more, and spread the good word on the show for all they’re worth if they want “No Ordinary Family” to stick around.

Detroit 1-8-7 (Tues., Sept. 21 @ 10:00 PM, ABC)

* The competition: “The Good Wife” (CBS), “Parenthood” (NBC)

Starring: Michael Imperioli, James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds, D.J. Cotrona, Jon Michael Hill, Shaun Majumder, Natalie Martinez, Erin Cummings

Producers: David Zabel (“ER”), Jason Richman (“Bangkok Dangerous”), Kevin Hooks (“Prison Break”), David Hoberman (“Monk”), Todd Lieberman (“The Kill Point”)

Network’s Description: What does it take to be a detective in one of America’s toughest cities? Follow one homicide unit as Detroit’s finest reveal the crisis and revelation, heartbreak and heroism that characterize these inner city cops in this series shot entirely in Detroit, Michigan. There’s the damaged but driven Detective Louis Fitch, a wily homicide vet who is the most respected — and most misunderstood — man in the division; Detective Damon Washington, Fitch’s new partner, who finds the first day on the job is a trial by fire, complicated by the imminent birth of his first child; Detective Ariana Sanchez, sexy, edgy and beautiful, who has emerged from a rough background to become a rising star in the department; narcotics undercover cop John Stone, a streetwise smooth talker, clever and quick with a smile made for the movies, who is teamed with Sanchez — a combustible pairing rife with conflict and sexual tension; Sergeant Jesse Longford, a 30-year veteran and sage of the department struggling with his impending retirement from the force and the city he loves, who, together with his partner, Detective Vikram Mahajan — a fully Americanized son of Indian immigrants — form an amusing mismatch of experience and enthusiasm, intellect and instinct, old school and new world, but whose combined skills have never encountered a case that couldn’t be cleared; and all are headed by Lieutenant Maureen Mason, a strong-willed single mom struggling to balance home and work. The unit works with the primary medical examiner, Dr. Abbey Ward, who has an unusual hobby in her off-hours-roller derby. The men and women of Detroit Homicide are as smart and tough as they come. They have to be, as they struggle with their own inner demons, using only their sharp sense of humor to keep them grounded while working the neighborhoods of the historic Motor City.

The Buzz: The show earned a few headlines when it had to deal with an impossible-to-predict change from its original faux-documentary format after a real death in Detroit during the filming of an episode of A&E’s “The First 48” led the city to ban camera crews from following cops around. The producers, of course, have put the most positive possible spin on the situation, but given that it was one of the few things that instantly helped the show stand out from its fellow police dramas, you know it had to hurt, especially since there hasn’t really been any buzz about the show.

Pilot Highlight: The conclusion to Washington’s first day as a detective. You won’t see it coming, and it wipes away many of your concerns that the show might wallow in schmaltz.

Bottom Line: The cast is strong, but the show still ends up feeling like a typical cop drama. Having both Imperioli (“Life on Mars”) and McDaniel (“NYPD Blue”) back on the beat is nice, and the last scene of the first episode will no doubt bring just about everyone who’s watching back for Episode #2, but it still may not be enough to help “Detroit 1-8-7” compete against two shows that absolutely do have buzz.

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A Chat with Anders Anderson and Andy Steinman (“Stolen”)

When you hear about a movie that stars Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Josh Lucas (“Glory Road,” “Poseidon”) and fleshes out its ensemble with Morena Baccarin (“V,” “Firefly”), Michael Cudlitz (“Southland”), James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”), and half a dozen other faces that are instantly recognizable from television and motion pictures, it’s hard not to get excited when you’re pitched the opportunity to speak with the director (Anders Anderson) and the cinematographer (Andy Steinman).

But what happens if, before you see the film, you read on the website RottenTomatoes.com that it’s actually earning the much dreaded 0% rating on the Tomatometer?

Well, if you’re me, then the first thing you do after that is actually watch the film yourself…and, personally, I liked it.

If I had to guess about the reason “Stolen” has received so many sneering reviews, it’s that it bears striking similarities to a couple of high-rated but critically snubbed police procedurals currently airing on network television. But, hey, I like those shows, and I also like the actors in “Stolen,” so if you’re of the same mindset, then you’ll probably like the film, too.

Still, before I got off the line with Messrs. Anderson and Steinman, I felt obliged to buckle up and ask them what they thought about the film’s Tomatometer rating….and, no, the line didn’t go dead immediately after I asked it.

Bullz-Eye: Hi, guys! Good to talk with you.

Anders Anderson: Hey, Will, how are you doing?

Andy Steinman: Hey, Will, nice to talk with you.

BE: Now, I hope you guys don’t mind if I ask you to identify yourselves before you answer questions, just because your voices sound kind of similar.

AA: Yeah, no problem.

AS: They’re actually quite different, but when you’re around someone that long, they start melding into one.

BE: (Laughs) That’s probably what it is. Well, I guess my first question is to ask how you guys first began your collaboration. Had you been friends prior to this project?

AA: Yeah, we had, but I’ll let Andy tell this tale. He’s told it many times.

AS: Yeah, we first met on a short in Santa Fe, NM, that Anders was acting and…I think you were producing it, too, yeah?

AA: Yeah.

AS: And I was a cinematographer, and I came out there, and we just clicked. Talking to him about whatever we had to do with the camera, talking to him about performance, talking to him about movies that we like, how to make the short the best it could be. We just kind of hit it off on what we wanted to do in our careers when we were done with this short, so we started talking about possibly forming a company and trying to do movies that we wanted to do. And it was just one of those things where we talked to each other and asked, “Well, what do we do next?” And the answer was always, “Well, we’ve got to make a feature.” And so we started talking about, “How do we make a feature? What do we do?” And we just started that process, step by step, of trying to get a movie made: pulling our resources and connections, however little they were, to try and get a feature off the ground. And we became friends all at the same time.

BE: So how did Glenn Taranto’s script cross your path? Did you know him, or was it pitched to you?

AS: We basically contacted everyone we knew. (Laughs) Friends, family, any type of business connection, and asked, “Does anyone know anyone who has a script? Does anyone have a script? We’re looking for material. We’re just looking for something that we can get behind.” And a production company that we’d worked with in the past basically said, “Here, we have a couple of scripts that we like. Why don’t you take a read?” And, lo and behold, Glenn’s script – which was originally called “Box in the Box” – showed up in front of us, and instantly we knew that something was there was that was a great vehicle to get actors, to get performers to be in our first film. Being first-timers, we knew that a lot of this had to be…we knew that we had to get some really good cast behind us to kind of help get the movie out there, and we thought that script would do that. So we just kind of took it and ran with it.

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