Last year around this time, ABC trotted out a mid-season replacement called Grey's Anatomy. That show, with its talented ensemble cast led by Emmy-winner Sandra Oh and the dreamy Patrick Dempsey, quickly turned into one of the biggest hits on TV, even surpassing its lead-in Desperate Housewives in its second season.
ABC could have another hit on its hands after the debut of another mid-season replacement, What About Brian. The show, which will air regularly on Mondays at 10 but was sneak previewed tonight, was created by the great J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, Felicity) and stars Barry Watson (7th Heaven) as the title character. The premise of the show: Fifth-wheel Brian, the only single guy in his group of friends, falls in love with his best friend Adam's girlfriend, Marjorie.
In the pilot, Brian realizes he has feelings for Marjorie. He's dating "Car Girl", played by Amy Jo Johnson (ah, it wouldn't be a J.J. Abrams show if he didn't cast someone from Felicity! I'm waiting for Alias to go off the air so he can bring in Greg Grunberg, who has also been in Felicity AND Lost), but obviously isn't too fond of her. Adam comes up with a pact for them to break up with their girlfriends, which Brian does (and Car Girl goes amusingly bat-shit crazy on him). Adam, however, not only doesn't do it, but he proposes to Marjorie instead.
Brian and Marjorie later kiss, and he reveals his feelings to her, but nothings comes out of it, which, of course, sets the rest of the season up for us. Will Brian and Marjorie get together? If they do, you can guarantee it won't last. The tension has to be there or the show won't last (i.e. Moonlighting and Who's The Boss, which both jumped the shark as soon as the two main couples got together). Meredith and McDreamy didn't last. Felicity and Ben had a roller-coaster relationship, Sydney and Vaughn had problems (presumed deaths, of course, being the root of the problems), Dawson and Joey (thankfully ... because those two were only tolerable together in the first season when he was oblivious to it. She was much better with Pacey!), etc.
Anyway, I just hope this show lasts long enough to at least resolve itself. If this ends up the way of Miss Match, I will kick something (I'm still pissed about the cancellation of that one!). The premise is a good one, the pilot was engaging, the cast appealing (I normally have an aversion to Barry Watson, but he was really likeable here, and I can even overlook the fact that Sarah Lancaster, who plays Marjorie, got her start on Saved By The Bell: The New Class ... and how sad is it that I KNOW that?!).
Another thing I really liked about this show was the great music they played - "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" was a brilliant choice for the scene in which Brian drove to Vegas to find Marjorie, had second-thoughts and then turned to leave, and then her seeing and stopping him. Other tunes I remember hearing were "Baba O'Riley" and "All-American Girl". The previews for the show used one of my favorite recent songs - "Collide".
If you missed Sunday's pilot, well, you're probably TSOL unless ABC shows it on their website, but the first episode airs Monday at 10 pm on ABC. Check it out!