LOS ANGELES — ABC launches a lineup tonight of four new shows — two dramas and two comedies — with no returning programs to help lure viewers. These four shows will win big or die fast on their own.
The evening kicks off with the much-anticipated "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," followed by the new comedies "The Goldbergs" and "Trophy Wife." The evening ends with the drama "Lucky 7."
"S.H.I.E.L.D." is the story of the mysterious agency that travels the world fighting evil. It stars Clark Gregg, who reprises his role as Agent Coulson seen in several Marvel superhero movies, including "The Avengers."
Jeff Loeb, head of television for Marvel, says the new ABC series will be more than just a spinoff of "The Avengers."
"I think it's important that everybody understands that Marvel is one universe. So it doesn't really matter to us whether or not it's publishing games, animation, cinematic universe, or what we're doing on television," he says. "What's important to us is character and that's what we're doing is telling stories about the real world ... ."
ABC will switch the tone to comedy after "S.H.I.E.L.D."
"The Goldbergs," a twisted look at the '80s, stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin and George Segal. All of the insanity is inspired by events that actually happened in the life of series creator Adam F. Goldberg. Everyone in his family is behind the project, except for his brother Barry who wants people to know he isn't as silly as portrayed in the TV show.
The comedy returns to the present with "Trophy Wife," a look at a household where Malin Akerman plays the younger wife in a relationship where her husband (Bradley Whitford) is still in contact with his previous two wives (Marcia Gay Hardin, Michaela Watkins). She also has to deal with being an instant mom to three children.
Akerman initially balked at playing a trophy wife, but she changed her mind after reading the script.
"It is the complete opposite of a trophy wife, " Akerman says. "I think that for me this show was really relatable just because I think this is the new family unit that we see so often. I really thought it was great. I wanted to explore that and bring my own experiences to it as much as I can."
Wrapping up the evening is "Lucky 7," a drama about a group of gas station employees in Queens, N.Y., who have been chipping into a lottery pool for years and finally hit it big. It stars Summer Bishil, Lorraine Bruce, Alex Castillo, Christine Evangelista, Stephen Louis Grush, Matt Long, Anastasia Phillips, Luis Antonio Ramos and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Although the show will delve into how winning the lottery isn't always a good thing, executive producer Jason Richman says the driving element of the show is the effect such a change has on the working class.
"There's a lot of love and life and spirit in the show, and we don't think it's down at all," he says.
"We really love the world. This is about a surrogate family and there's a lot of spirit and life in it. And we were really attracted to telling that kind of story."
New: "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," 8 p.m., "The Goldbergs," 9 p.m., "The Trophy Wife," 9:30 p.m., 'Lucky 7," 10 p.m., KFSN (Channel 30.1)
Returning: "NCIS," 8 p.m., KGPE (Channel 47.1); "The Voice," 8 p.m. KSEE (Channel 24.1); NCIS: Los Angeles," 9 p.m., KGPE; "Person of Interest," 10 p.m. KGPE; "Chicago Fire," 10 p.m. KSEE.
New: "Back in the Game," 8:30 p.m. KFSN (Channel 30.1)
Returning: "The Middle," 8 p.m. KFSN; "Revolution," 8 p.m. KSEE; "Modern Family," 9 p.m. KFSN; "Criminal Minds," 9 p.m. KGPE; "Law & Order: SVU," 9 p.m. KSEE; "Nashville," 10 p.m. KFSN; "CSI," 10 p.m. KGPE.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, email@example.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.