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ABC’s ‘Single Parents’ among premieres

September 25, 2018

A natural companion to “Modern Family,” “Single Parents” (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) stars Taran Killam (“Saturday Night Live”). He’s Will, an enthusiastic PTA-type who appears a tad too devoted to indulging his child and forgetting about his own identity. It’s unclear if Will was unmanned by divorce or if his wimpy nature inspired his wife’s departure, but he’s become a walking, talking “Barney” cartoon.

Fellow single parents, most notably Angie (Leighton Meester, “Gossip Girl”), rally to Will’s aid, trying to set him up on dates and keeping him from saying “it takes a village” all the time.

This is vaguely amusing, but it’s not entirely clear where “Single Parents” can go. Brad Garrett stands out as Douglas, the widowed alpha male of the group, a steak-loving, Trump-quoting, older dad of twins, adrift in a world where someone can actually grow up to become Will.

Unfortunately, all of the children are precocious, highly articulate and 6 going on 37. It’s like “Modern Family,” where every kid is Manny.

• Another variation on the theme of masculinity and sensitivity, “A Million Little Things” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14) left me feeling more like Brad Garrett’s Douglas as the pilot careened from somber to hilariously pretentious.

An unholy alliance of “This Is Us” and “thirtysomething,” propelled by a plot device from “The Big Chill,” it’s basically a greatest-hits medley of everything I hate.

The show concerns four guys, Jon (Ron Livingston), Gary (James Roday), Rome (Romany Malco) and Eddie (David Giuntoli), who meet when trapped on an elevator. They discover they are all Boston Bruins fans, buy season tickets together and become best buds.

Not to give too much away, but the sudden suicide of one of the gang (that happens on the same day that another was contemplating the very same thing!) propels the pilot to a big talky funeral scene.

Somebody must love shows like this. Or shows like “This Is Us,” the series this is trying so desperately to imitate.

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