Burkie did his roundup of the summer USA and TNT shows that Mira and I don't watch so I figured it's my turn to summarize a network I do watch: ABCFamily!
First, a qualification. I would consider myself a fan of ABCFamily...they used to have really cute original movies back in the day and I've enjoyed many of their series throughout the years including Kyle XY, Greek, The Middleman, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Huge, but their latest offerings (and biggest hits, which is worrisome) have majorly turned me off. The Secret Life of the American Teenager makes me want to puke, Pretty Little Liars is just insane, and we all know how Mira and I fell out of love with Make it or Break it. But I still decided to check out their three new series this summer and I was happy to see that they're not exactly following in those footsteps.
Switched at Birth: As clear from the title of the show, this show is about two teenage girls who discover that they were switched in the hospital as babies. And of course, their families are complete opposites: Bay grew up with the Kennishes, a wealthy white family, while Daphne went home with Regina, a Hispanic single mother. The Kennishes are pretty entitled and conceited (Mr. and Mrs. are played by D.W. Moffett, who perfected the asshole dad routine as J.D. McCoy's dad on Friday Night Lights, and Lea Thompson, whose acting style I find really grating), while Regina is defensive and a little hot-headed (but supported by her wise, voice-of-reason mother).
A lot of the plot details are really obvious: Bay finds out that she's artistic and rebellious like Regina, Daphne is athletic like the Kennishes. They even immediately kind of swap love interests: Bay's ex-boyfriend Liam pursues Daphne, while Bay finds herself attracted to Ty, a boy from Daphne's neighborhood.
But there is one really different thing about this show, and it's kind of a big one that's keeping me interested: Daphne is deaf. While she speaks relatively well and can read lips, most people don't understand her world. The actress who plays her, Katie Leclerc, is really great. Daphne could have come off as insufferably saint-like but I found myself really liking her. Bay is actually the annoying one (it doesn't help that she's played by Vanessa Marano, who was Luke's long-lost daughter on Gilmore Girls, one of the worst characters ever) as kind of a brat who finally finds a reason to feel sorry for herself.
It's probably likely that I'll tire of this show and its ABCFamily-ness, especially if they renew the show and it airs during the regular TV season when I have less time, but for now I'll keep watching.
The Nine Lives of Chloe King: This is definitely my favorite of the three...in a way it's kind of like the ABCFamily version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's not as edgy or dark or witty as Buffy, but the lead, Skyler Samuels as Chloe, is really likable as a teenage girl who discovers that she has cat-like powers (and nine lives) and is part of an ancient tribe of some sort called the Mai, and she has two sidekicks, Amy and Paul, who are kind of Willow/Cordelia and Xander-like. They're brought into the secret right away, which I like, and they're also a couple right away too. Two other kids at school, Alek and Jasmine, are also Mai and believe that she is the "Uniter" and the key to saving the race. But this also means that she's being hunted by an assassin who has connections to the father of her love interest, Brian (played by Grey Damon who prettied up the final season of Friday Night Lights as Hastings but didn't get anything to do much else), whom she can't kiss because it'll probably kill him.
On the surface it all sounds somewhat ridiculous but it's actually kind of fun. I like all the characters and hope that the mythology doesn't get too crazy or dumb. Kyle XY started off kind of similarly but then eventually got really good (as good as ABCFamily gets anyway) so I'm hopeful about this one.
State of Georgia: Only one episode of this has aired and there were a lot of things I didn't like about it but I'll probably stick with it for a few weeks because of one reason: Majandra Delfino! She's been completely off the radar since her days as Maria on Roswell which is definitely a shame because she's so likable and has great comic timing here. She plays Jo, the nerdy best friend of Georgia (Raven-Symone, overacting as usual) who moves with her to New York to start their careers. Georgia wants to be an actress, and Jo is supposed to join a physics graduate program. The humor is really broad and in-your-face so I hope that gets toned down a little. We shall see...