"Freddie" (7:30 p.m., ABC) has all of the makings of an interesting comedy, if not a successful sitcom. Unfortunately it squanders its promise with easy gags and tired situations.
Let's start with the interesting premise. "Freddie" stars Freddie Prinze, Jr. as a successful Chicago chef, albeit one who never seems to actually work. After the death of his brother and his older sister's divorce, he allows his unstable sister-in-law Allison (Madchen Amick) and the bossy Sofia (Jacqueline Obradors) to move in and share his vast modern apartment.
But wait, there's more. Sofia's precocious daughter Zoey (Chloe Suazo) is part of the package, and so is Freddie's imperious mother (Jenny Gago). Freddie's mother speaks only in Spanish, even though she understands English quite well. This passive-aggressive trait has its comic moments, and also makes "Freddie" a rare sitcom that relies on subtitles.
Their presence puts a strain on Freddie's bachelor behavior. And to make that obvious, his friend and fulltime "player" Chris (Brian A. Green) lives next door.
The tension between Freddie and his relatives is fun to watch. And the makers of "Freddie" aren't afraid to depict his family as genuinely warm and supportive. But every moment Freddie spends away from them drags "Freddie" back to the contrived world of sitcom phoniness.
Wednesday's must-see show
Presumably that shotgun blast knocked out the hatch-basement's sound system, so nobody's going to play "Make Your Own Kind of Music" anymore on "Lost" (8 p.m., ABC). The night belongs to Hurley, his number phobia and his flashbacks.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Major League Baseball playoffs (7 p.m., Fox).
¢ Tyra Banks plays host to "America's Next Top Model" (7 p.m., UPN).
¢ A San Diego sicko eludes capture on "Criminal Minds" (8 p.m., CBS).
¢ Martha Stewart is host on "The Apprentice" (8 p.m., NBC).
¢ A tiger mauls its rescuer on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).
¢ A car bomb kills a husband on the way to his wife's hospital bed on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).
¢ After lab animals escape, flu worries spread on "Invasion" (9 p.m., ABC).