Where we’ve seen her before: Caplan played outcast and friend to Lindsay Lohan in the film “Mean Girls.” On television, she’s known for her small but recurring roles on “New Girl” and “True Blood.” (Craig Blankenhorn / Showtime)
Where we’ve seen her before: For four-and-a-half years, Fumero played a love-at-first-sight, smitten teen on the soap opera “One Life to Live.” Other television credits include stints on “Gossip Girl” and “CSI: NY.” (Fox)
Where we’ve seen her before: Kane played a recurring role on horror TV series “Teen Wolf.” She also starred in action-adventure “Power Rangers R.P.M” and Australian TV series “Neighbours.” (Mathieu Young / The CW)
Where we’ve seen her before: On the big screen, Beharie portrayed Rachel Robinson, wife of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, in the biopic “42.” Beharie is also known for her film debut as a single mother faced with drug charges in the drama “American Violet.” (Kent Smith / Fox)
Where we’ve seen her before: Lowe had a small role on the comedy series “The Slap” and on the drama “Satisfaction.” In between, she starred in movie shorts like “Moth” and “Kiss.” (Jack Rowand / ABC)
Where we’ve seen her before: Song played ditzy and affluent London Tipton on the Disney Channel series “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” She went on to star in the show’s spinoffs and Disney feature films including “College Road Trip,” alongside Raven Symone. Most recently she has appeared on episodes of “Scandal” and “New Girl.” (Jennifer Clasen / Fox)
Where we’ve seen her before: In a slew of rom-coms like “27 Dresses,” “The Proposal” and “The Heartbreak Kid.” Her television credits include stints on “Entourage” and “The Comeback.” (ABC)
Where we’ve seen her before: She voiced Mulan in the Disney animation film by the same name. She also played a physician in the medical drama “ER” for nine years and a state judge on the comedy “Two and a Half Men” for three years.
(Justin Lubin / ABC)
Where we’ve seen her before: Need we say...Gellar starred as protagonist Buffy Summers in the action-drama “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” On the big screen, she played an American nurse living in Tokyo in horror mystery “The Grudge” and “The Grudge 2.” (Richard Cartwright / CBS)
Where we’ve seen her before: In comedies including “Enough Said,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Connie and Carla” and dramas including “The Way Way Back,” “Hitchcock” and “Mental.” (Jeff Neumann / CBS)
Where we’ve seen her before: On the big screen, we’ve seen Faris star in “The House Bunny” with smaller roles in “The Dictator,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Lost in Translation.” (Monty Brinton / CBS)
Where we’ve seen her before: In a swath of comedies like “Pitch Perfect,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Bridesmaids.” Wilson can also be seen on comedy TV series like “Bogan Pride,” “Pizza” and “World Record Pizza.” (Colleen Hayes / ABC)
Where we’ve seen her before: On the 1960s drama “Mad Men” and comedy drama “90210" in recurring roles. In addition to stints on action-comedy “Monk” and drama “One Tree Hill.” (The CW)
Where we’ve seen her before: Cameron played small roles on the Reba McEntire comedy “Malibu Country,” crime drama “The Mentalist” opposite Simon Baker and comedy drama “Shameless” with Emmy Rossum. (Disney)
Where we’ve seen her before: On TV series like “State of Mind,” “Six Feet Under” and “Deadline.” On big screen flicks like “Ransom,” “High Fidelity” and “The Conjuring.” (FOX)
With a show called “Kirstie,” it would be easy to dwell on TV Land’s “Pet Sematary"-like attempt to resurrect the career of sitcom star Kirstie Alley, not to mention Rhea Perlman and Michael Richards. But here is what matters about the new half-hour comedy: It revolves around a Broadway diva.
A Broadway diva! As in a woman who has made a career starring in hit Broadway plays, a feat that was becoming rare even when Bette Davis played Margo Channing. Who is this Madison “Maddie” Banks that Alley is playing? Patti Lupone? Bernadette Peters? Maybe, but those women also sing, make movies and write children’s books. (Lupone is currently starring in FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven.”)
If the thought of Alley playing a pillar of the American theater isn’t jarring enough, it gets better. Maddie is suddenly reunited with Arlo (Eric Petersen), the son she gave up for adoption. After a few requisite scenes of selfish denial, she invites him to move in with her, rounding out a household that also includes trusty assistant Thelma (Perlman) and wacky driver Frank (Richards).
And why not? Career-driven narcissists have been taught to love by the unexpected appearance of children ever since Brian Keith turned into Uncle Bill on “Family Affair.” Except that Arlo is 26, which in today’s slacker-slingshot math is apparently the new 15.
So something old, something new, many things borrowed, the audience, blue. Blue because buried deep within the general TV Land-meets-Kirstie-Alleyness of it all is a show that could have been satiric and smart. It could have been a time-warped clash of cultures in which the nature of big dreams is explored by the generation that moved to the Big City to attain them and the one that relies more on YouTube and “X Factor.”
Instead, “Kirstie,” premiering Wednesday, goes for the worst of both worlds, arraying itself in the worn-thin comfort of predictable humor and sloppy sentiment in the vain hope that it comes off as retro, or quaint or something.
Frankly, it is baffling why creator Marco Pennette bothered making Maddie a Broadway star (except, perhaps, that “actress” has become synonymous with a selfish mess). Despite a career that could be characterized as unsinkable, Alley does not project the presence of a woman who has spent her adult life performing on the stage.
Indeed, she cannot seem to progress past characters defined by adolescent insecurity and sweet-natured self-centeredness, both of which result in broad jokes about her tendency to overindulge in just about everything. There are no Elaine Stritchian one-liners to be had in “Kirstie,” no insider gossip or name-dropping. Maddie could just as easily be an infomercial queen.
Perlman and Richards are certainly capable of taking “Kirstie” into the outer reaches of dark humor, but Perlman’s character, Thelma, vacillates between indulgent sarcasm and platitude delivery, while Richards’ twitches and blurts lines that seem lifted from an earlier, more promising draft.
Arlo meanwhile is nothing more than a blank space. He’s a man-boy who, having just lost the mother that lovingly raised him, turns to the one who bore him — an underlying message about adoption that is more than a little troublesome.
But then, as we learned in “Pet Sematary,” when those we love come back, it isn’t always a good thing.
Where: TV Land
When: 10 p.m. Wednesday
Rating: TV-PG-D (may be unsuitable for young children with an advisory for suggestive dialogue)