Though not as funny (or loud) as “The Goldbergs,” “Trophy Wife” (9:30 p.m. Tuesday, ABC) offers some promise if viewers can get beyond its “Cougar Town”-like title, which may be a high bar to clear.
Reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) is the third wife of older man Pete (Bradley Whitford, “The West Wing”) and step-mom to twin teens Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Warren (Ryan Lee) from Pete’s marriage to Diane (Marcia Gay Haren), Pete’s driven, brittle first ex-wife.
Kate is also step-mom to Bert (Albert Tsai), adopted son of ex-wife No. 2, Jackie (Michaela Watkins).
The ex-wives disapprove of Kate and Hillary distrusts her, too, while Warren may be fantasizing about Kate. Misunderstandings, inadvertent bad lessons and attempts to deceive ensue.
The kid characters are pretty funny, especially Bert, who blackmails Kate’s best friend (Natalie Morales) after she makes him late for orchestra rehearsal.
“You’re not even a grownup,” he tells her after locking himself in her car. “Your car is full of garbage and shoes!”
With its title and premise, “Trophy Wife” is not an immediately likable show but some of the jokes land well and the kid characters are fun. It’s not deserving of any trophies yet but perhaps with time, improvement and a forgiving viewing audience it will be. Good luck with that.
ABC’s “Lucky 7” opens with a chase scene and then flashes back in time to seven months before the chase.
On Monday night CBS’s “Hostages” used a similar device (but 12 hours instead of many months) and on Sunday ABC’s “Betrayal” will use the same device yet again. It’s getting stale.
“Lucky 7” (10 p.m. Tuesday, WTAE) also conforms to the string of large-cast dramas that ABC has been rolling out with little success since “Lost.” Will “Lucky 7” have better luck? It seems unlikely.
While there are some things to recommend about “Lucky 7” -- the fresh faces in a cast of mostly unknown, diverse actors -- the show is also one of those frustrating series where every character is desperate and too many of them make bad choices.
The series centers on six co-workers at a New York gas station who have been chipping into a lottery pool for years.
Matt (Matt Long, “Jack & Bobby”) is expecting a child with his pregnant girlfriend when he gets roped into a criminal scheme by his ex-con brother, Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush), who has a crush on co-worker Samira (Summer Bishil).
Cashier Denise (Lorraine Bruce) struggles to lose weight; single mother Leanne (Anastasia Phillips) tries to keep her past a secret and store manager Bob (Isaiah Whitlock Jr.) is keeping a secret, too.
And then there’s poor Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos), who quit paying into the lottery pool but never told his wife, who assumes he’s one of the winners when the group strikes it rich.
“Lucky 7” is based on a British series called “The Syndicate” and Ms. Bruce played a similar role in the original British show. She’s one of the stand-out players in “Lucky 7” as a sympathetic, slightly sad sack woman with a heart of gold.
The working class setting makes “Lucky 7” pretty unique among a prime-time crop that too often focuses on opulence, but there’s a lack of drama in the pilot episode because of the way the show telegraphs all its characters’ decisions before they happen. None of the characters stand out, which would make it easier to latch onto the show and care about what becomes of them.