×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Desperate Housewives

With:
Susan Mayer - Teri Hatcher Lynette Scavo - Felicity Huffman Bree Van De Kamp - Marcia Cross Gabrielle Solis - Eva Longoria Edie Britt - Nicollette Sheridan Mike Delfino - James Denton Rex Van De Kamp - Steven Culp Carlos Solis - Ricardo Antonio Chavira Paul Young - Mark Moses Mary Alice Young - Brenda Strong Julie Mayer - Andrea Bowen Zach Young - Cody Kasch John - Jesse Metcalfe

An inspired wedding of sharp comedic sensibilities with primetime soapiness, the series that launched a thousand billboards offers enough cat fighting, mystery and muy caliente sex to give it a real chance of ending ABC’s desperation to finally establish an hourlong show without “Makeover” in the title. If nothing else, there’s no more indelible moment in a new series this season than the dazzling Eva Longoria mowing the lawn in evening gown and heels to cover up her affair with the gardener, who has been shirking his more traditional duties.

Unlike most of this fall’s promising newcomers, the residents of Wisteria Lane have all kinds of fertile avenues to explore in future episodes. The one cautionary flag is preventing the soapy elements from bubbling over the top, as they threaten to do on only a few occasions in the premiere.

At times, given conventions of the genre, “Desperate Housewives” might be a little too smart for its own good. For the most part, though, producer Marc Cherry (“The Golden Girls”) has concocted a program that’s oodles of fun, chronicling the seemingly idyllic lives of a handful of women after a member of their group, Mary Alice (Brenda Strong), suddenly and inexplicably blows her brains out.

As with “The Big Chill,” the suicide has a significant impact on remaining friends, each of whom have their own particular issues. The divorced Susan (Teri Hatcher), ends up longing for a newly arrived bachelor (James Denton), placing her in competition with the “most predatory divorcee in a five-block radius,” a perfectly cast Nicollette Sheridan.

Gabrielle (Longoria) is a former model who married for money and is finding that late at night (and even in the afternoon) the big ol’ house gets pretty lonely. Meanwhile, Lynette (Felicity Huffman) quit her high-powered job to be a stay-at-home mom, a role she’s ashamed to admit she hates — in contrast to Bree (Marcia Cross), whom her son accuses of running for “mayor of Stepford.”

Although broadly comic in places and darkly so in others, the series also layers on the mystery about Mary Alice, who becomes the omniscient narrator for her surviving friends. It’s an overused device that nevertheless lends an air of gravity to the show, which, thanks to the secrets and laughs, possesses a slightly broader appeal than the average primetime sudser of yester-decade.

Among the series’ many accomplishments, most of the recasting from what media buyers saw in the spring subtly improves the program. And while Hatcher, back in daffy “Lois & Clark” form, ostensibly provides the emotional core, nearly everyone is intriguing in one way or another. Longoria, the least-known of the bunch, has the makings of a breakout star, following a brief stint in ABC’s “L.A. Dragnet” and — fittingly, given her character’s nature — “The Young and the Restless.”

Moreover, after years of futility on the drama front, ABC appears to have gotten its act together in launching this one. In addition to those ubiquitous eye-catching billboards, the series actually has a compatible lead-in (the female-oriented “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) and is scheduled in the right timeslot. As a bonus, HBO will be less of a competitive factor with its gritty “The Wire” playing in that hour, and if “Housewives” is succeeding when usual Sunday occupant “Alias” returns in January, well, that’s a nice problem to have.

In short, if these girls don’t wind up being golden, it won’t be for lack of opportunity.

Desperate Housewives

ABC, Sun. Oct. 3, 9 P.M.

Production: Filmed in L.A. by Cherry Prods. in association with Touchstone Television. Executive producers, Marc Cherry, Charles Pratt Jr., Michael Edelstein, Tom Spezialy; co-executive producer, Kevin Murphy; producers, George W. Perkins, Larry Shaw; director, Charles McDougall; writer, Cherry.

Crew: Camera, David Franco; editor, Michael Berenbaum; music, Danny Elfman (theme), Steve Bartek; production designer, Thomas A. Walsh; casting, Junie Lowry-Johnson, Scott Genkinger. 60 MIN.

Cast: Susan Mayer - Teri Hatcher Lynette Scavo - Felicity Huffman Bree Van De Kamp - Marcia Cross Gabrielle Solis - Eva Longoria Edie Britt - Nicollette Sheridan Mike Delfino - James Denton Rex Van De Kamp - Steven Culp Carlos Solis - Ricardo Antonio Chavira Paul Young - Mark Moses Mary Alice Young - Brenda Strong Julie Mayer - Andrea Bowen Zach Young - Cody Kasch John - Jesse Metcalfe

More TV

  • Al Burton

    Al Burton, 'Jeffersons' and 'Diff’rent Strokes' Producer, Dies at 91

    Television producer and executive Al Burton, known for his work on “The Jeffersons” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” died Tuesday at his home in San Mateo, California. He was 91. Burton leaves behind a six-decade legacy of hit television shows that also included “One Day at a Time,” “Silver Spoons,” “Square Pegs” and “Facts of Life.” However, long [...]

  • Dwyane Wade Sets Multi-Year Development Deal

    Dwyane Wade Sets Multi-Year Development Deal at WarnerMedia

    Dwayne Wade is bouncing his way into WarnerMedia’s court. The retired NBA All Star has signed a multi-faceted, multi-year deal with the company, including a development deal via his 59th & Prairie Entertainment production banner. Part of the deal sees Wade sign on as a commentator at Turner Sports. He is set to make appearances [...]

  • Katie Couric Sheryl Sandberg

    Katie Couric Steamrolls Sheryl Sandberg in Roving Vanity Fair Summit Interview

    Sending a jolt through a luxurious and excessively polite afternoon in Beverly Hills, veteran journalist Katie Couric delivered a relentless series of hardball questions to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday. Speaking in conversation at the sixth annual Vanity Fair New Establishment summit at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Couric’s [...]

  • EVIL is a psychological mystery that

    CBS Renews 'Evil,' Orders Full Seasons of Four Other Freshman Shows

    CBS is doubling down on all its new shows. The network has renewed “Evil” for a second season, and handed out full-season orders to its other four freshman series, namely “All Rise,” “Carol’s Second Act,” “The Unicorn,” and “Bob Hearts Abishola.” “Evil” is set to conclude its 13-episode first season (creators Michelle and Robert King [...]

  • Jamie Lee Curtis

    Jamie Lee Curtis to Produce Military Drama With Put Pilot Order at Fox

    Jamie Lee Curtis is teaming up with April Fitzsimmons and Berlanti Productions for a drama project that has received a put pilot order at Fox. Titled “Chain of Command,” the one-hour project follows a young Air Force investigator with radical crime-solving methodology who returns to her hometown to join a military task force that doesn’t [...]

  • Michael MannLACMA: Art and Film Gala,

    TV News Roundup: Michael Mann to Direct and Executive Produce HBO Max's 'Tokyo Vice'

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO Max names MIchael Mann as a director and executive producer of “Tokyo Vice” and Chip and Joanna Gaines announce the first original series coming to the couple’s Magnolia Network. DATES Netflix announced a six-episode docuseries centered on Nasty Cherry, the latest all-female group signed to Charli XCX’s label will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content