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Winter TV Preview: ABC's Midseason Lineup

Winter TV Preview: ABC's Midseason LineupThis post is part of a series of reports from this month's Television Critics Association winter press tour, where the networks introduce their midseason offerings. Check back over the next week for more info on what's coming soon to primetime TV.

Even though ABC is riding high with "Dancing With the Stars" and a strong Wednesday comedy lineup, the network is rolling out a fall's worth of new shows for midseason. Comedy, drama, horror: There's something for every taste here ("Work It" being the obvious exception). Here, we let you know what ABC has in store this winter and spring, along with a key quote from each show's panel and our opinionated take on whether we'll check it out or not.

"Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" (April 11)

"Girls behaving badly" is the vibe of this new comedy, starring Dreama Walker ("Gossip Girl") as an innocent Midwestern gal who moves to the city and gets stuck with the roommate from hell: devilish man-eater Chloe (Krysten Ritter, "Breaking Bad"). And a heads-up to all you "Dawson's Creek" fans: James Van Der Beek plays a seriously skewed version of himself here, as a good friend of Chloe's.

Choice Quote: "I auditioned against six other James Van Der Beeks for this role. I was lucky that four of them were not actors, and two of them didn't speak English, so by default, it was me." —Van Der Beek

Will We Watch? Sure. We like the show's wicked sense of humor, and Van Der Beek's self-mocking performance is a must-see.

[Photos: Meet the Cast of 'Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23']

"The River" (February 7)

"Paranormal Activity" director Oren Peli brings his distinctive brand of found-footage horror to TV with this tense drama: When famous explorer Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing, his estranged family treks to the Amazon jungle to find him… and discovers that supernatural forces may be to blame for his disappearance.

Choice Quote: "We looked more to 'The X Files' as an inspiration than to things like 'Lost.' We just want to do the best eight episodes we can and make each one of them a little jewel of a thriller and make sure anyone can enjoy any one of those episodes." —Executive producer Michael Green

Will We Watch? Yes, the pilot is fantastically scary and atmospheric. We're not exactly sure how far the story can go from here, but we look forward to finding out.

"GCB" (March 4)

Leslie Bibb stars in this campy, Southern-fried comedy as a California housewife who's forced to move back to her hometown of Dallas after losing everything in a federal investigation. There, she finds a viper's pit of catty wives and philandering husbands waiting for her. "GCB" looks like it'll be the perfect pairing with "Desperate Housewives" on Sunday nights.

Choice Quote: "I would like to go on the record to say if you liked 'Designing Women,' you’re going to love this." —Co-star Annie Potts, who starred on the 1986-93 CBS comedy

Will We Watch? Nah, it's not really up our alley. But we can definitely see "GCB" winning a loyal following from "Housewives" fans, both "Real" and "Desperate."

[Check Out Photos of the 'GCB' Cast]

"Scandal" (April 5)

This rapid-fire spin-control drama from "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes stars Kerry Washington as crisis manager Olivia Pope, who's the best in the business at sweeping high-profile scandals under the rug. Her team includes lawyer Stephen Finch (Henry Ian Cusick) and young hacker Huck (Guillermo Diaz) -- and she still maintains a good relationship with her old boss, the current President of the United States (Tony Goldwyn).

Choice Quote: "Part of 'Scandal's' pace was born of me not wanting actors to linger in the moments. It’s a world in which everyone is really incredibly busy, and there’s no time to feel your feelings. So part of it was that. Part of it was that I wrote a pilot that was, like, 75 pages long." —Rhimes

Will We Watch? Maybe. The pilot is nicely paced, and the President angle has us intriguing.

[Photos: Meet the Cast of 'Scandal']

"Missing" (March 15)

The ever-luminous Ashley Judd kicks some serious butt as former CIA operative Becca Winstone, who springs back into action when her teen son goes missing while studying abroad. Enlisting the help of old friends, she heads to Europe determined to leave no stone unturned in her search for her child.

Choice Quote: "None. I just fight." —Judd, on what martial arts she learned for the role

Will We Watch? Probably not. Seeing Ashley Judd beat up large men certainly has its appeal, but "Missing" veers a little too close to self-parody to grab our interest.

 

"Desperate Housewives"

ABC trotted out the cast of its hit primetime soap for one final panel before the show wraps up its eight-season run this May. Stars Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, and Marcia Cross waxed nostalgic about the series' long run, their favorite moments to play, and what they'll miss most about Wisteria Lane.

Choice Quote: "I’d written on 'The Golden Girls,' and the writers on that show used to say how brilliant Rue McClanahan was because no matter how selfish or vain her character acted, you still loved her. And one day, I was just looking at little Eva Longoria and I went, 'You know, I think she could get away with that.'" —Creator Marc Cherry

Will We Watch the Finale? Nah, we'll pass. We've managed to avoid Wisteria Lane for this long, we'll just keep it that way.

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