Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9:30 p.m., ABC
Co-creator Sarah Haskins based this appealingly manic sitcom on her own experiences after marrying a man 20 years older who has kids from a previous marriage. Malin Ackerman stars as Kate, who has married Pete (Bradley Whitford of “The West Wing”) and, a year later, is still trying to navigate her role as a stepmom to Pete’s four children from his previous marriages (yes, plural) to Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) and Jackie (“Enlightened’s” Michaela Watkins).
“Trophy Wife” is the only new sitcom that clears the double hurdles of cast chemistry and story pacing in the pilot episode. That’s mostly because the premise isn’t wielded like a frying pan to the head and because the grown-ups in “Trophy Wife” are entertaining to watch and believably flawed; the kids are a common TV assortment of precociousness, but they’re also talented wiseacres. “Trophy Wife” is no “Modern Family,” but it’s as close as we’ll hope to see this season. (And, in the tradition of “Cougar Town,” the show has been given a title that is far less worthy of its aim.) Grade: B