The new sitcom "The Goldbergs" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14) tries to update "The Wonder Years" to the 1980s, with limited success.
Adam (voiced by Patton Oswalt, played by Sean Giambrone) narrates the series from the present day and wants to convince us that his Reagan-decade childhood was warm and wacky. Unfortun-
ately, we can see it unfold on screen, where
everybody seems to be trying way too hard.
Wendi McLendon-Covey plays the smothering mom with too much eye shadow and no personal boundaries. Jeff Garlin has found a nice role as Murray, the slob father, a recent heart attack victim given to gruff utterances that are "translated" via subtitles into supportive messages. George Segal is reduced to doting granddad.
Adam's older brother, Barry (Troy Gentile), is a charmless hothead and his sister, Erica (Hayley Orrantia), remains a complete cipher.
The show's take on the 1980s seems rather scattershot. The episode is titled "Circle of Driving," referring to a cryptic line that Murray repeats. That's clearly inspired by the song "Circle of Life," from the Disney animated musical "The Lion King," a pop artifact from 1994. How '80s is that?
---"Trophy Wife" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-14) does a surprising job of imbuing a potentially unlikable character with considerable charm. After drinks and karaoke, perky party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) literally falls into the lap of lawyer Pete (Bradley Whitford), sending both to the emergency room.
She soon becomes his inappropriately dressed third wife and an unprepared "mom" for his three kids. She also has to deal with his icy doctor ex-wife, Diane (Marcia Gay Harden), as well as Jackie (Michaela Watkins), his space-cadet second wife who still holds a torch for Pete.
Whitford is all but eclipsed by his brood of kids and "sister wives." Pete had better be a pretty good lawyer though, because Kate's character, while occasionally likable, seems to be a direct infringement on every comedic role Cameron Diaz has ever played.
---Gritty, grainy quasi-
realism is a departure for Disney-ABC. Shot in a jerky, handheld style, with many location shots of the unglamorous New York City borough of Queens, "Lucky 7" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14) follows seven employees at a gas station who find their lives upended when they hit the lottery jackpot.
Art seems to imitate life here. People who begin conversations with the line, "When I win the lottery," tend to be complete bores. "Lucky" will be lucky to survive for seven episodes.
---Sporting the talents of co-creator Joss Whedon ("The Avengers," "Firefly," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), the entire Marvel superhero pantheon to play with, and what looks like a gazillion-dollar budget, the new series "Mar vel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) has "review-proof" written all over it. That's good, because I can't pretend to be 12 years old -- or interested.
---An explosion rattles Parsons on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Sam and Deeks recover on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---A naval officer becomes a "Person of Interest" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---An arsonist targets Severide on "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Returning WWII veterans face discrimination on "Latino Ameri cans" (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG).
---Crimes and misdemeanors on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Mindy asserts herself on "The Mindy Project" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Jax forms a new alliance on "Sons of Anarchy" (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
---Pop culture obsessives live under one roof as they intern at a convention in the new docu-series "Fangasm" (10 p.m., Syfy).
Rebel Wilson, soon to star in the ABC comedy "Super Fun Night," appears in the 2012 musical spoof "Pitch Perfect" (8:05 p.m., Cinemax).
---Half-baked on "Dads" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---The summer ends for "Whose Line is it Anyway?" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
---Peer pressure on "New Girl" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Saboteurs strike on "Cap ture" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Jane Lynch, Natasha Lyonne and Mike Lawrence appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Brody Stevens, Jen Kirkman and Ben Gleib are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Tim Wise appears on "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell" (11 p.m., FXX).
---Metallica sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Cher and Lizzy Caplan appear on "Late Show With David Let terman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Olivia Wilde, Adam Scott and Cher Lloyd on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Justin Timberlake appears on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Joseph Gordon Levitt,
Stephen Merchant and the Avett Brothers visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Ray Romano and Carl Edwards on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.