If you were planning on using the next few months to catch up on your delayed DVR viewing, you might want to reconsider. With more than 80 new and returning series coming to a TV near you from May to August, save your “to watch” list for another day. This summer is all about fresh programming from new seasons of old favorites to new shows wanting to become your favorite. One of the premieres vying for your attention is ABC drama “Mistresses,” which is about, you guessed it—women getting up to no good. Married women break their vows. Unmarried women sleep with married men. There’s betrayal, lies, guilt and maybe love. Based on a UK series, the show focuses on four friends who navigate their way through the emotional fallout inevitably caused by complicated sexual entanglements.
Alyssa Milano is Savannah Davis, a lawyer who is trying to juggle a marriage that is feeling the strain of infertility and a colleague who wants to be more than friends. Savannah is the sister of Josslyn Carver (Jes Macallan), a single real estate agent who doesn’t let a ring or a relationship stand in the way of a good time. Unapologetic about her behavior, she’s Samantha from “Sex and the City” but with less wit. Josslyn and Savannah are friends with April Malloy (Rochelle Aytes) a mother of a 10 year-old daughter whose husband died a few years ago. She’s getting strange phone calls that she thinks are a sign from the hereafter that she shouldn’t be dating yet. Rounding out the foursome is Karen Rhodes played by “Lost” alumni Yunjin Kim. Karen is a psychiatrist who gets herself into a tricky situation with a male patient who happens to be one of the founding partners of the law firm where Savannah works.
“Mistresses” tries to ground its approach to infidelity by injecting some realism into the characters’ situations. Their choices aren’t wildly irrational or completely implausible. You believe that what happens to them could happen to you or your best friend. Yet as much as you may like these ladies, their relatability doesn’t equal complexity. Savannah and company aren’t going to surprise you with deep thoughts but they do try and work through their issues by leaning on one another.
While the show’s depiction of supportive female friendships is refreshing, its attempt at dramatic tension needs work. The series shows enough skin to earn its title but lacks a good villain or juicy storyline to keep it interesting. It needs to feel a little more like a nighttime soap opera and a little less like a daytime talk show. Calling a series “Mistresses” practically demands weekly: “Oh no she didn’t!” moments. So far, most of these ladies’ situations lead to anxious expressions and heartfelt chats in someone’s tastefully decorated living room over a glass of wine. I’m not saying that I’m rooting for someone to throw a glass but a little passive aggressive spillage wouldn’t hurt.
“Mistresses” premieres June 3 at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.