Monday, September 16, 2013

I watch this so you don't have to

Hey Guys! *Sleepy Hollow* starts tonight on Fox! Watch it if you please!
That being said, Hulu just put up some of the pilot episodes for upcoming new tv shows and I watched them all in one night. Here are my thoughts. Warning: Very long winded.  Here are my tl;dr
The Goldbergs: Liked it a whole lot, not sure if it has staying power
Welcome to the Family: Expected to hate it, found it inoffensive and watchable
Trophy Wife: Expected to hate it, surprisingly really liked it
Ironside: Expected to really like it, was underwhelmed. Room to grow though
Back in the game: Don't know why I watched. Expected to dislike it, mostly just nothing it.
The Goldbergs
This is basically The Wonder Years. People in their mid-upper 30s will have a mega nostalgia bomb when watching this. It's set in the year 1985, which is just one year after my birth. It follows Adam, an 11 year old boy in a family of five. He has a sarcastic father, an overbearing mother, a super cool granddad, a sort of angsty 16 year old brother, and a slightly bratty sister that's 17/18? Patton Oswalt narrates as the grown up Adam. It's based on the creators own home life growing up. It's a single camera format with no laugh track which I really appreciate. It's got some neat tricks that could turn out gimmicky later. Adam has a video camera that will sometimes be used to show events from said cameras point of view, which is neat.
Turns out that footage is actually recreated from the creators ORIGINAL HOME MOVIES that he actually filmed. At the end of the episode they showed the original footage from 1985 next to the stuff recorded for the tv show. That was super neat! Anyhow, it's 80s enough to know that it's in the 80s but not so much it's basically OMG HI IT'S THE 80S DID YOU KNOW THAT LOL ALF. At least not yet. It remains to be seen if it will devolve into that eventually. I really hope not!
I like it well enough and will continue to watch. I don't know though if it has any hope of additional seasons. It's cute, funny, and heartwarming (if a little cliché and trite) but I don't know if it has the staying power, star appeal, or what the hell ever to continue to pull viewers in. With the right lead in it MIGHT do well. Based purely on the strength of the pilot and without any other things to consider I would give it a 4 on a scale of 1-10 renewability.
Welcome to the Family
I was hesitant to watch this (and observant people will notice it wasn't on my to watch list) but I saw it on Hulu, I had nothing better to do that night, and I didn't feel like watching X-Files so I went for it.
The premise sounds trite and like it would be prone to racial (and considering the competency level of most writers, rac*ist*) humor but so far it's not veering too far into that territory. The basic premise is a well off white family has a daughter that just (barely) graduated high school and will (barely) be attending Arizona State. An also well off Hispanic family has a son that graduated Valedictorian and will be attending Stanford. The two kids are dating and apparently the son wasn't smart enough to use a condom because she done gets knocked up. The two patriarchs of the family Mike O'Malley, a. dentist? and Ricardo Chavira, a boxing instructor and they don't get along very well! Oh lucy, you got some 'splainin to do.
So basically these two families have to learn to get along! Jokes about tacos! So far it's not offensive or terrible though. It's a single camera comedy with no laugh track which places it FAR above other shows imo. Plus, O'Malley (Burt Hummel from Glee or the guy in the Time Warner commercials from a few years back) is a great actor and Ricardo Chavira (Carlos from Desperate Housewives) is pretty good as well! I won't watch this show every week, probably. I expect it will be one of those "I don't feel like sleeping yet but I don't have enough time to watch a 45 minute X-Files episode oh right I'll watch this" show, which isn't anything to sneeze at, really. I would give this, mmmm a 5/10 renewability.
Trophy Wife
Okay, I FULLY didn't expect to a) watch this show and b) LIKE this show. But I did and I did.  I'm going to start this off by saying one thing. Bradley Whitford. If that means something to you then you're probably already halfway to watching the show. But, allow me to ramble on anyhow.
SO. The premise of the show is Bradley Whitford is a twice divorced lawyer with three kids. Two 15 year old (m/f) twins with his first ex wife, played by Marcia Gay Harden, and one adopted 7(?) year old with wife #2 played by Michaela Watkins. Harden plays a sort of stuck up Doctor and Watkins plays a super airy fairy hippie sort.  In comes Malin Akerman's character. She meets Whitford when she breaks his nose singing drunken karaoke and it's apparently love at first break because they are married with a year. I'm not sure what their age difference is supposed to be on the show, but in real life there's an 18 year gap (!)
There were some eye rolly moments but overall it was pretty decent. Pilots tend to have pretty broad, almost caricature level of, um, characters but I have hopes that this will expand beyond that. Whitford plays the (mostly) straight man and Akerman is still kind of a mess. She's a (barely) reformed party girl and she does surprisingly well in her comedic moments and is way better at physical comedy than I would have expected. The kids are somewhat precocious, but in a realistic way and not an annoying tv way. I will likely be adding this to my roster of shows I go out of my way to watch.
I like this show so my instinct is to say it won't last BUT it has some star power behind it so 6/10
This show is on thin ice. This is how I imagine the pitch meeting went:
Exec 1: What if House were a cop???
Exec 2: Yeah! But this time in a wheelchair!
Their Boss: Make him black!
That is perhaps an *unfair* summation but that's my initial impression. Again, I give pilots a LOT of leeway. Basically we have this dude, Ironside, who is a cop and he's in a wheelchair and he like, totally has demons, man. We find out *why* he's in the wheelchair that episode courtesy of flashbacks so I wonder what the season long arc will be. It's a procedural so I don't expect that to be a huge part of the show but it still needs something. I suspect it will have to do further with the case he was working on when he landed in the chair. Which to be honest I'm not terribly interested in exploring. The case itself seems pretty generic and the few details we learned didn't grab me.
I booted L&O:SVU off of my watch list so I have room in my life for a police procedural but I am not particularly anticipating this. I'll probably be watching this last on whatever night it's on. Ah. Wednesday. Well, that's a light night anyhow. Anyway, I was being a bit glib before. It's actually a remake of a show from the 60s so the pitch meeting would have been "Hey remember that thing? Yeah let's do it again." I don't think making him black was tokenism and it's very refreshing to have a lead character on a network show be a POC AND his (boss? Partner?) is Asian so there's some diverse casting here.
Underwood does a good job with the character and he has some *serious* guns. So. I'll keep watching. I expect (hope!) that it will get better. This show kind of fills a void and has a good lead in soooooooo I'm going to go all in and say 7/10.
Back in the Game
This show isn't bad, it's just not really my style. Maggie Lawson (Psych) stars as a single mom forced to move back in with her dad after a messy divorce. Her dad was a (minor league?) baseball star and is emotionally unavailable. Lawson was a college softball star and something something heart broken she has a dorky 11 year old I don't know. Look, I don't care about sports. Also, the whole "emotionally unavailable but secretly has a heart of gold" thing has been done to death. It's a single camera show with no laugh track so it may or may not get watched when I'm bored, desperate, and don't feel like watching anything else. That's really all I have to say about this. 3/10. I don't see this lasting.


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