I’m sick this week so I will do this briefly (as I possibly can be), but I wanted to finish a quick round up of some of the other new shows, and my thoughts on the ones I’d seen. Pinky promise to keep it short and sweet.
NBC’s Welcome to the Family
The critics kind of spat all over this one, and the ratings were pretty bad, but I thought it was firmly in the realm of “okay”. Not great, but not bad. The premise is obviously a little worn – teenage pregnancy – but the actors are extremely likable, which I think gives the fledgling comedy a bit of potential. The kids are especially charismatic, and who can not like Mike O’Malley? Here O’Malley seems to have finally found the balance between the jackass dad he portrayed for six seasons on Yes, Dear (yep, that show ran for six seasons, you made that happen America) and the emotional, caring dad role he so famously stepped into on Glee.
The biggest problem is that NBC is trying to sell this as a Thursday night comedy. It’s not fit for Must See TV! Not that you need to hear this again, but Thursday nights were the home of Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, The Office and 30 Rock. Welcome to the Family is cute but it’s not innovative or exciting like those shows were. It’s a family show (who’d have thunk it with a title like that!) and belongs on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, coupled with a show like Parenthood. Nobody is going to watch this on Thursdays, NBC. Move it or lose it.
Sink or Swim?: Treading water.
Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine
I didn’t know what to expect from Andy Samberg’s first real post-SNL starring vehicle – I mean, a comedy cop show? Starring the sophomoric (albeit hilarious) doofus who gave the world “I’m On a Boat” and “Jizz In My Pants”?
But guys. Seriously. It rocks.
Having Mike Schur as executive producer – that’s the EP behind Parks and Recreation, writer for The Office and best known on camera as Mose Schrute – should’ve tipped me off. This show is really funny, with the potential for Community-level greatness. The first and most important thing is that Andy Samberg is toned down on the wackiness, but not neutered comedically. His style of humor is still present, but he’s managed to grow up enough to convincingly play a working, capable adult.
The second major detail is the casting – which, by the by, is incredibly diverse for network television. The relationship between Samberg’s character to his new captain, played by Andre Braugher, will clearly drive the series, much as the relationship between Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson anchors Parks and Rec. Much like Leslie and Ron, Jake and Captain Holt are wildly different – one’s a young, wisecracking hotshot with a disrespect for procedure, and the other’s a tough, by-the-books gay boss. They have but one thing in common: they are both trying to prove themselves.
I have found every episode to be funny so far, and there’s enough of a narrative to keep me tuning in – hopefully America will follow suit. This one needs to stay on the air.
Sink or Swim?: Swim!
NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show
Sorry, MJF, but this one is kind of boring. The acting’s great and the premise is good – a former news anchor, diagnosed with Parkinson’s, returns to work. I liked the pilot quite a bit, but the subsequent episode plots – like the hot barista that lives downstairs – were a little blah.
Sink or Swim?: Sink. Sorry man. I wanted it to be good. I give it a full season before NBC has the balls to drop the axe, though.
CBS’ The Crazy Ones
The media liked to pit this one against The Michael J. Fox Show, though there is nothing similar between the two except for the fact that they are headlined by older, respected A-Listers. In the case of The Crazy Ones, the star is Robin Williams, who plays an oddball aging ad executive.
Now, if that didn’t pique your interest, we’re just getting to the good part.
The queen of my childhood, the goddess I worship, the Slayer herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, plays his daughter. Her character is meant to balance out the wackiness of Williams, but Williams’ Simon Roberts takes certain pleasure in trying to win her over to the “crazy” side. So far, the chemistry between Williams and Gellar is not bad, and we can only hope it will grow over the course of the season. Gellar’s best moment with her onscreen dad can when they weren’t even sharing a scene together – it was when she found herself singing and dancing on a table for Kelly Clarkson’s enjoyment in the pilot episode. The fact you could see her summoning her father to get through the moment was a twinge of promise for the relationship.
Also, Bob Benson from Mad Men – I’m told his name is James Wolk, but that’s irrelevant considering he will be Bob Benson for the rest of the his life, thankyouverymuch – plays Simon’s sidekick copywriter. Bob is charming and instantly lovable; hopefully he can develop a personality beyond his natural charisma over the next few episodes.
A lot of attention has been paid to the fact that The Crazy Ones will be using real companies in the shorelines to lend credibility to the strength of the fictional agency. I understand the worry that the show could become an hour-long commercial, and after seeing the treatment of McDonald’s in the first episode, I am almost inclined to agree. However, Mad Men has done the same thing for six seasons on AMC, and I never felt that they were shucking for Kodak or American Airlines, it just made the work feel more real and appropriate for the time period.
I will probably keep up with this show only minimally, if only to check in on my goddess, but I think the production is solid and it will play well to the older audience CBS is known to court.
Sink or Swim?: Swim. You can’t cancel Patch Adams and Buffy Summers and Bob Benson. You can’t and you won’t.
Shit. Pure shit. Just avoid this like the lazy, STD-ridden, bigoted, unemployed lout that it is.
If you want anymore of a review than that…. Well, let it be said that I gave this one a shot. I haven’t found Seth MacFarlane’s shows funny since I was 18, so hearing he was EP on this show wasn’t enough of a draw for me. But the lead actors certainly are. I really, truly like Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green, the two unfortunate souls who were wrangled into this mess.
Green is geek overlord (another Buffy alum, too), who has made some supremely funny stuff on his own in the past, all while avoiding the sexist, bigoted and idiotic labels that MacFarlane’s comedies have been accused of. Ribisi is not only an established film actor, but he was freaking hilarious on Friends back in the day, where he played Phoebe’s slightly deranged little brother. He made me spit beer out of my nose once I laughed so hard.
On this show, however, all of their comic skills have been neutered by the shitty writing, and their charms lost amid the stupid, worn out, pointless plots. For example: One of the Dads ate a weed brownie! And it made him nicer! That’s hilarious! Because he’s old! I liked this story when it happened ten years ago to Red Foreman, and it worked with Red Foreman because we knew and loved his character and the people who drugged him were children, not grown ass man-children.
Also, the first episode featured some inappropriate jokes involving co-star Brenda Song in a demeaning costume (Song is yet another capable actor whose potential is wasted here). I won’t get into that much here (there’s plenty of material about it online), but I will say – not even close to funny. I can appreciate humor that crosses a line, but that’s WHEN IT’S SMART.
As happy as I am to see both Green and Ribisi with steady work, I implore you all to stay away from this show. Huge waste of time.
Sink or Swim?: Sink!! To the bottom of the ocean!!
So – what did YOU think about the new crop of fall programs?