A look at spring’s new television shows

Jason Isaacs is living in two worlds on “Awake.”

 It’s time for the networks to do a little spring cleaning on their
prime time lineups.  Metro takes a look at the new shows to find what’s in season
and what’s out of date.


Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC

The plot: Detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) lives two realities — one in which his wife is dead, the other in which his son has passed away — after a deadly car accident. He can’t figure out which one is reality and which one is a dream.
Smells like: A mix between “Memento” and “Lone Star.”
“Awake” creator Kyle Killen was also behind the short-lived drama “Lone Star,” about a con man who led two very different lives.

“There were aspects of ‘Lone Star’ that were more difficult to get a wider, broader audience interested in,” Killen admits. “[The main character] was somebody that you couldn’t decide if you liked or hated. Britten’s dilemma is something that we’re not only sympathetic for, but somehow we want him to win. We’re all behind him. Everybody is telling him that he can only have one [reality] or the other — we want him to have both.”


Premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on ABC

The plot: Scandal forces a former mean girl (Leslie Bibb) to move back to her well-heeled Dallas community, where her high school frenemies still live.
Smells like: “Desperate Housewives”: Texas edition.

“GCB” is drawing comparisons to “Desperate Housewives” for its cast of over-the-top female characters and soapy story lines. But producer Robert Harling — who wrote about another group of strong-willed Southern women in “Steel Magnolias” — doesn’t entirely agree with the parallels.  
“The fabulous thing about ‘Desperate Housewives’ is it’s sort of universal. It could be happening everywhere,” Harling says. “Our world could only take place in Texas and only in Dallas and only in a particular part of Dallas.”

So is “GCB” a send-up of the characters found in Dallas, or more of a love letter to them?
“The great thing about Texas people  — and Dallas especially, because I have lots of family there — is they get the joke,” Harling says. “They understand that they are larger than life, and they love that. It’s more of a celebration of that whole Texas thing.”

‘Fashion Star’

Premieres March 13 at 9:30 p.m. on NBC

The plot: Aspiring fashion designers compete to become household names — literally, because the winning looks will be available for purchase in Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue stores the day after each episode airs. Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos serve as celebrity mentors.
Smells like: “Project Runway” on QVC.

“Fashion Star” creator/host Elle Macpherson says her mission was “to create a show that was as much about shopping as it was about fashion and capitalizing on interactive capacities and technologies so that people could actually buy what they were seeing immediately. We felt that was new and very relevant to where we are today.”


Premieres March 15 at 8 p.m. on ABC

The plot: A former CIA agent tears through Europe in search of her son, whom she suspects has been abducted.
Smells like: “Taken,” with Ashley Judd in the Liam Neeson role.

Remember that scene in “Taken”: “I don’t know who you are. But if you don’t let my daughter go, I will find you. I will kill you,” Neeson says. To what lengths is Judd’s character willing to go in “Missing”?

“In a flashback, you see my husband and me working as CIA operatives together, and we are faced with some really wrenching moral dilem­mas,” Judd says. “[Now the question is, ‘Will] I potentially set aside my values and integrity in order to accomplish what seems to be a more precious goal, which is save my child?’”

‘Frozen Planet’

Premieres March 18 at 8 p.m. on Discovery

The plot: This seven-hour documentary from the team behind “Planet Earth” uses its incredible filmmaking technology to capture an unprecedented glimpse of life at Earth’s polar regions.
Smells like: “Planet Earth” on ice.

“We were really motivated as a team to go and create this kind of ultimate portrait of the polar regions, because I think everyone’s aware that there’s a lot of change going on,” says series producer Vanessa Berlowitz, referring to global warming. “In some ways, we feel that this series may be a last chance to see these great wildernesses on our planet before they change forever. I hope that’s going to be the legacy of the series.”


Premieres March 22 at 9 p.m. on Fox

The plot: Kiefer Sutherland plays Martin, a widower struggling to provide for his emotionally challenged mute son, Jake, who has the ability to see patterns that connect everything in the world. The series weaves a globetrotting web of emotions as the interconnectivity of seemingly disparate people is revealed through Jake’s actions and Martin’s attempts to understand them.
Smells like: “Heroes” meets “Crash.”

Tim Kring, the mastermind behind “Heroes,” is the creator of “Touch.” And although Jake seems to have a supernatural view of the world, Kring insists the kid is not an X Man-in-the-making.

“In terms of Jake’s character being like a character on ‘Heroes,’” Kring says, “we probably had some characters that had various abilities that would be kind of in that [same] category, but this is not a superpower idea. It’s more of a mystical or spiritual idea.”

‘Magic City’

Premieres April 6 at 10 p.m. on Starz

The plot: In late-1950s Miami, the swanky Miramar Playa Hotel plays host to everyone from Frank Sinatra to the CIA as Castro’s army rises in Cuba. The series follows the drama surrounding the family (headed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) that runs the resort.
Smells like: “Mad Men” with gangsters.

“Magic City” creator Mitch Glazer grew up in Miami Beach and says he’s been “squirreling away” stories from this era to write into a show. “The cool thing was, besides the beauty and the glamour [of the ’50s-’60s], there were also really amazing things happening in the world,” Glazer says.


Premieres April 5 at 10 p.m. on ABC

The plot: Kerry Washington stars as a Washington, D.C., “fixer,” the head of a crisis-management firm who can resolve any conflict — except those in her personal life.
Smells like: “Grey’s Anatomy” in the capitol.

“Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes strips her trademark female lead of scrubs and transports her to D.C. for “Scandal.”

“I love my shows that have stethoscopes in them,” says Rhimes, who also created “Private Practice.” “This is just a different story. My shows are not necessarily medical shows or political shows. They’re shows about strong, smart women and flawed, interesting people.”

‘Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23’

Premieres April 11 at 9:30 p.m. on ABC

The plot: The unlikable Chloe (Krysten Ritter) attempts to rip off her naive new roommate (Dreama Walker) in NYC, but may have met her match.
Smells like: “2 Broke Girls,” but way more bitchy.

Chole is a pretty horrible person — until she does something completely crude and unorthodox in the name of helping her new roomie.

“It’s fun when you get to play somebody so bold and badass and unapologetic,” Ritter says of playing the “B.” “It’s a really complex character. It’s really just the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”


Premieres April 15 at 10:30 p.m. on HBO

The plot: Writer/actress Lena Dunham brings her jaded take on life as a twentysomething in NYC to television — with the help of executive producer Judd Apatow.
Smells like: Dunham’s film “Tiny Furniture,” moving the hipster pathos to Brooklyn.

“It’s closely based on my own experience of getting out of college and not having a sense of whether I would ever get to do the thing I wanted to do,” Denham says of her inspiration for “Girls.” “I’ve always been someone who feels better if I see what I’m going through in a movie — I’m like, ‘OK. It’s not the worst.’ So I really wanted that for me and for other people.”


Premieres April 22 at 10 p.m. on HBO

The plot: Political satirist Armando Iannucci (“In the Loop”) is behind this chronicle of the day-to-day minutiae of Selina Meyer, vice president of the United States (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
Smells like: A funny version of “The West Wing.”

“Watching the political process at the moment, your instinct now is to laugh because the alternative is to cry,” Iannucci says. “I think a lot of people are genuinely frustrated because they don’t understand why so many clearly very able people concentrated in one locale can’t sort something out. It seems to be the right moment to come up with something that starts asking you or showing you how this happens.”


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