We watched, we listened to the backlash and, yes, we felt your pain. But “Grey’s Anatomy” fans, do not despair. Sure, if you were hoping for something a little more exciting out of “Private Practice,” the “Grey’s” Addison-centric spin-off, it’s highly possible that the sneak peek you saw last season was not what you’d bargained for. But that preview was not entirely indicative of what the show has become. The season premiere finds Addison much happier, convincingly ready to move on with her life and, as the previews have so repeatedly plugged, dancing half-naked in her fabulous new beach house. Unfortunately, it also finds her surrounded by a number of ridiculous cases, including a teen pregnancy, a sticky (sorry) sperm battle and a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown at the mall. Yep, this is L.A. alright… Who’s that?: Joining Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) in her new doctor-o-rama California adventure are Tim Daly (“The Nine,” “Wings”) as Pete; Taye Diggs (“Day Break”) as Sam; Tony winner Audra McDonald as Sam’s ex Naomi; Amy Brenneman (“Judging Amy”) as Violet; Paul Adelstein (“Prison Break”) as Cooper; and KaDee Strickland (“The Wedding Bells”) as Charlotte. Buzzed about: After Addison’s plan to break up Meredith and McDreamy ended unsuccessfully, her reunited affair with McSteamy didn’t quite work out either and her flirtation with McAlex was a bust, it was about time the fiery beauty had more fun, less drama and, let’s face it, a lot more lovin’. The “ooh” factor: After the debacle that was the “Grey’s”/”Private Practice” mash-up last season, Addison fans spoke out—and it looks like, for the most part, ABC listened. They’ve cut out the shirtless time for Wellness Center receptionist Del (Piz from “Veronica Mars”) and—drumroll, please!—they got rid of that ridiculous talking elevator. The “eh” factor: Don’t these people have any non-doctor friends? And, although we won’t deny that Audra McDonald is hugely talented, we sort of preferred Merrin Dungey playing Addison’s best friend Naomi. OK, OK…one last nitpicky thing: if this is supposed to be acting as “Grey’s” for the more mature, less whiny set, then why are these people still acting like children? The verdict: It’s not winning a recommended weekly dosage just yet, but then again, neither is “Grey’s” anymore. We’re hoping this is the season to get things back on track—for both shows—and get these trains moving in new, “Mc”-less directions.
”Private Practice” premieres Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m./8c on ABC.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times