By Ken Tucker
May 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

ABC announced its new fall shows today. Here are mini-reviews of seven of ’em. Warning: they’re based solely on short clips provided by the network, so I (and you) reserve the right to adjust the grades of them, up or down, once full-length episodes are available. But that will be… in the fall. Who wants to wait to have an opinion until then? (Clips added where available.)

Modern Family This sitcom follows three very different suburban families including Married… With Children‘s Ed O’Neil as a guy who’s married a much younger woman, and a gay couple who’ve just adopted a Vietnamese baby. It has a crisp knowingness that seems very promising.


Eastwick That sound you hear is John Updike rolling over in his grave: This TV version of The Witches of Eastwick, starring Rebecca Romijn and Lipstick Jungle‘s Lindsay Price, looks amazingly lame, as though ABC had put it through a Desperate Housewives wringer and then squeezed out all the jokes.


Flash Forward The season’s trickiest premise: in a worldwide event, everyone blacks out for two minutes, 17 seconds and has mysterious visions. It all looked like a muddle in a brief clip, but since it is a complex idea, and is created by David Goyer (The Dark Knight) and Brandon Braga (24), it could be better than it seemed.


Cougar Town Poor Courtney Cox: Why can’t this woman find another good TV project. She plays a desperate divorcee with a son, and she’s trying to get back in the dating game. Worst exchange in the clip I saw: “When was the last time you got laid?” Cox’s character: “I almost hooked up with my son last night.” What? Huh?


Hank Kelsey Grammer stars as a self-described “rich white man” who’s suddenly downsized. Yes, he’s working another variation on his Frasier character, but yes, it’s still funny.


The Middle Patricia Heaton (Grammer’s partner in the recent, short-lived Back To You) seems miscast as the harried wife of Neil Flynn (Scrubs‘ janitor). Heaton is called upon to be frantic, slinging a bag of fast food on the table and yelling, “I made dinner!” It’s like pre-Everybody Loves Raymond-era humor.


The Forgotten A group of amateur detectives solves unidentified-victim murder cases. They’re called the Identity Network. They’re earnest but hardboiled, intense but… dull. With 24‘s Reiko Aylesworth and Tell Me You Love Me‘s Michelle Borth.