Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ABC Fall Pilot Review: The Middle - Premieres September 30; TV Land Goes Brady Crazy This Week

The Middle

The Middle - Wednesdays 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:30PM ET/PT

Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton stars in this warm and witty single-camera comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations.

Frankie Heck is a superhero. Well, no, not an actual superhero - not unless you count getting her kids out the door for school every morning as a superfeat. Middle-aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country, this harried wife and working mother of three uses her wry wit and sense of humor to try to get her family through each day intact. Frankie has a job selling cars at the town's only surviving car dealer; her husband, Mike, is a manager at the local quarry.

In between juggling shifts and picking up fast food dinners eaten in front of the TV, Frankie and Mike raise their kids with love and solid Midwestern practicality. Axl is the oldest, a teenage jock who eats the family out of house and home and walks around in his underwear. Then there's Sue, their extraordinarily ordinary pre-teen daughter who fails at everything she tries with great gusto. Brick, the youngest son, is an odd kid whose best friend is his backpack. Together, they're putting THE MIDDLE on the map.

Cast Details:

* Patricia Heaton as Frankie Heck
* Neil Flynn as Mike Heck
* Charlie McDermott as Axl Heck
* Eden Shur as Sue Heck
* Atticus Shafer as Brick Heck
* Chris Kattan as Bob

Patricia Heaton (Frankie Heck) is perhaps best known for her role as Debra Barone on the award-winning series Everybody Loves Raymond. She won two Emmy Awards for the role and was nominated seven times. In addition to her Emmy wins, Heaton is also the recipient of the Best Comedy Actress Award from the Viewers for Quality Television, a SAG Award and three SAG nominations in the Best Actress category for her work on Raymond. Heaton most recently starred opposite Kelsey Grammer in the Fox comedy series Back to You. She also starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film, Front of the Class. Other television credits include a recurring role on ABC's popular series thirtysomething and prominent roles in the series Room for Two, Someone Like Me and Women of the House, as well as the television films A Town Without Christmas and Miracle in the Woods. Heaton produced and starred in the TNT/FourBoys Films production, The Engagement Ring, She also starred in the TNT/Neil Simon production of The Goodbye Girl and ABC's The Path to 9/11. Her feature film credits include Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Beethoven, New Age and Space Jam.

Neil Flynn (Mike Heck) just finished his eighth season as Sacred Heart Hospital's menacing janitor in the ABC comedy series Scrubs. Flynn can be seen interrogating Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, directed by Steven Spielberg, and is also well known for playing Lindsay Lohan's dad in the hit comedy Mean Girls. His other feature appearances include Hoot, Home Alone 3, The Fugitive, Chain Reaction, Rookie of the Year, Baby's Day Out and Major League. Equally adept at comedy and drama, Flynn has performed a variety of roles on television series, ranging from Seinfeld, The Drew Carey Show and That 70's Show to C.S.I., Boston Public and NYPD Blue. Other T.V. appearances include Arli$$, Ellen, Family Law and Smallville.

Charlie McDermott (Axl Heck) is a quickly rising star who will make his presence felt on both the large and small screen in 2009. On the big screen he has two new films in production: He'll join Chevy Chase, John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson in United Artist's Hot Tub Time Machine, an absurdist comedy slated to open in February 2010; he will also star alongside Laura Linney and writer/director Leland Orser in Morning, opening later this year. McDermott began his career with M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver. Additional film credits include The Sex Drive, opposite Seth Green and James Marsden. Television credits include The Office, as the disinterested student who ignores Michael Scott (Steve Carell), ABC's Private Practice, Parks and Recreation, and Medium.

Eden Sher (Sue Heck) is best known for her work on the ABC comedy Sons & Daughters. She has also starred in Starz Party Down, ABC Family's The Middleman, Disney's Sonny With A Chance and Showtime's Weeds.

Atticus Shaffer (Brick Heck) was discovered by his manager in 2006 and soon landed a guest starring role in the series The Class. That role led him to the role of Brick in the original ABC pilot, The Middle. Several episodics followed, such as My Name is Earl, Days of Our Lives, Carpoolers, Out of Jimmy's Head and Human Giant. Perhaps best known for the bus stop scene he shared with Will Smith in Hancock, Atticus' other roles in feature films include The Unborn, An American Carol, Leaving Barstow and Opposite Day.

Chris Kattan (Bob) is best known for his many characters on Saturday Night Live, which he joined in March 1996, completing his seventh and final season in 2003. With numerous upcoming projects, he was recently seen in the Independent Film Channel's three-part miniseries, Bollywood Hero, in which he played himself in an otherwise fictional comedy. Other big-screen credits include Universal's Undercover Brother, Disney's Corky Romano" the script of which was based on a character Kattan developed, and A Night at the Roxbury, written by Kattan and Will Ferrell and produced by Lorne Michaels and Amy Heckerling. Kattan was also seen opposite Brendan Fraser and Bridget Fonda in Monkey Bone, and in The House on Haunted Hill, opposite Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Ali Larter and Taye Diggs and produced by Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis.


Pilot Plot:

#1 "Pilot" (Airs September 30)
Frankie is struggling in her career as a car salesperson because she has failed to actually sell a car. Sue has auditioned for show choir and, to everyone's shock, makes the team, but fails to mention that she's part of the stage crew. To top things off, Brick wants Frankie to come to his class presentation dressed as a superhero. Just when Frankie thinks she's got a car sold and her kids under control, she does show up to Brick's class dressed as a superhero -- but he's given her the wrong day -- and the car she thought she had sold is stolen right in front of her. Work and home have taken over Frankie's life... to the point that she barely recognizes herself and has even taken to coloring her hair with a magic marker. Her youth has faded and the day-to-day grind has worn her down, but it's family and the struggles they face together that keep Frankie and the rest of the Hecks one big happy mess.
Guest starring are Brian Doyle-Murray as Mr. Ehlert, Amy Farrington as Gail, Patricia Belcher as Mrs. Rettig, Jeanete Miller as Aunt Edie, Francis Bay as Aunt Ginny, Peter Breitmayer as Pete, Andy Kreiss as choir director, Ping Wu as Mr. Yamamoto, Mike Randleman as flight attendant and Robert Clendenin as P.A.
"Pilot" was written by DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, and directed by Julie Ann Robinson.


Analysis:

ABC has had this pilot in development for a few years, so they have really believed in it and got to a point where they made it the best they could. Previously when it was in development, Ricki Lake was the star...now we have Patricia Heaton as the star and she shines in this role! This sitcom is about an average family living in "the middle" of the country in Indiana. If you liked Malcolm in the Middle, you are sure to like this. While that series was focused mainly on Malcolm, this series is all about Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton). But that is not to say this isn't an ensemble, because the family is a key part of the show.

The pilot is excellent. Mike and Frankie Heck have three children Axl, Sue and Brick. They are all so unique and funny in their own ways. I think everyone in the entire country will love the youngest child, Brick. He is unbelievably funny! Even his name is pretty funny! Seriously, Frankie, Axl, and Brick...strange names, but funny! Frankie is a car salesman and of course a mom, where she has to juggle so many tasks. Brick has even called his mom a superhero for his class. What happens with that is actually very hysterical. Frankie also can't sell any cars and when you think she is about to, something very out of the blue happens that you'll never see coming. And at the dealership, Frankie's co-worker Bob (Chris Kattan) is there, but he hasn't really gotten any substance yet. He has now been made a series regular, where on this pilot he was just a guest star. We have two very fun men here in Neil Flynn as Mike Heck and Chris Kattan as Bob the car salesman. Just a wonderful cast and a hilarious family!

You've see some hilarious scenes in promos, such as Brick unknowingly tapping her teacher's breast when trying to get her attention, and the hilarious scenes just keep on coming on this show! Another scene that is hysterical is when Frankie is telling Brick to lick his frozen pancake because it will last longer! Everything in this pilot clicks very well and ABC now I think has 3 very good comedies on Wednesday nights, with only Hank (The Middle's lead-in) being the exception so far.


Conclusion:

This could quietly become one of the top comedies on the air right now. Modern Family is probably the best family comedy, but this should not be overlooked either. If you like sitcoms like Roseanne and Malcolm in the Middle, you'll love this one because it is a mix of both. I am from the Northeast, so I don't know if families are really like that in "the middle" of the country, but Heaton has said in interviews that she was born in Ohio (close to Indiana) and her family was so much like this. I'm sure people in the middle of the country will even like this show more since they can relate to this. In these tough times, we sure need a show like this! I never really liked Everybody Loves Raymond, but Patricia Heaton shines in this role...she plays it real and is funny. Neil Flynn was always hilarious on Scrubs and just seeing the janitor from Scrubs as a father is hysterical itself! I think the real show stealer in this is Atticus Shaffer as the young Brick. He pulls his pants down in public to go to the bathroom, he touches his teacher's breasts (not on purpose), and repeats stuff under his breath. He is like Dewey from Malcolm, but so much funnier!

The ratings should be pretty good for this show. This hour is pretty weak and the show is millions better than CBS's competing Gary Unmarried. Tune in tonight at 8:30pm for this new hilarious comedy on ABC Comedy Wednesday! You'll be saying "this is a winner" and like Brick, you'll say it under your breath, too!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/30/09

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 23 on our message board.

Related Links:


  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Middle Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • TV Land has made a slight change for the remainder of the week starting tonight. The Brady Bunch will air Wed-Fri this week ONLY in the 7pm hour instead of the usual back-to-back The Beverly Hillbillies. That is interesting as it seems last week's Brady Bunch anniversary must have did decent for them in the ratings. However, it just seems so strange they have Brady Bunch followed by Married...with Children! Talk about two totally different shows! I'm not sure what TV Land is doing, but their scheduling has been pretty weird the last year or two.
    TV Land has also quietly returned Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in the weekdays at 9am hour, replacing Good Times, which now shifts to 10-11am, followed by Sanford & Son from 11am-12pm. Previously three episodes each of these two sitcoms were airing from 9am-10:30am and 10:30am-12pm.
    Stay with us for more TV Land news. We hear more changes could happen next week, so keep checking back. We also have the TV Land November 2009 schedule to give you all, but we might wait a few days for that...just in case we have wholesale changes happening next week.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    ABC Fall Pilot Review: Hank - Premieres September 30; ION Not Airing Season 2 of Durham County...Yet

    Hank

    Hank - Wednesdays 8:00PM ET/PT on ABC
    Premieres Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:00PM ET/PT

    Sometimes scaling back is the best way to get ahead. A legendary entrepreneur in the sports retail world, Hank Pryor (Kelsey Grammer) and his wife, Tilly, have been living the high life in New York City. That is until Hank is forced out of his CEO job and has to downsize and move his family back home to the small town of River Bend, Virginia.

    A self-made man, Hank is used to being the boss. But now that he's lost almost everything, is he up for the even bigger challenge of being a husband and father? While Tilly regrets having to leave the glitz of New York City to move back to her hometown, Hank is gung-ho to relaunch his career in the place where it all began for him. Unfortunately this also means having to spend way too much time with his brother-in-law, Grady, who delights in Hank's recent misfortunes. Hank struggles to find common ground with his kids -- offbeat son Henry, who would rather play with action figures than toss a baseball with his dad, and daughter Maddie, a hip, New York City teen in whose eyes Hank can do no right. But every great businessman knows that the key to success is to turn setbacks into opportunities. It may take a while for this corporate giant to figure out how to mingle with the little people -- like his family -- but Hank's up for the challenge, a man who feels he is destined to return to greatness. And he is. It's just not the greatness he imagined.

    This hilarious family comedy mixes genuine, heart-warming moments with Grammer's trademark blustery humor.

    Cast Details:

    * Kelsey Grammer as Hank Pryor
    * Melinda McGraw as Tilly Pryor
    * David Koechner as Grady Funk
    * Jordan Hinson as Maddie Pryor
    * Nathan Gamble as Henry Pryor

    Kelsey Grammer (Hank Pryor) has excelled at the highest level in theatre, television and film as an actor, producer, executive producer and director. Grammer was cast in two TV miniseries, first as Stephen Smith in Kennedy (NBC, 1983), and next as Lieutenant Stewart in George Washington (CBS, 1984). Then, an initial guest-starring role as Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers developed into the cornerstone of actor's career. He continued playing the celebrated character in two different television series (Cheers and then Frasier) over the span of 20 years, tying the record for longest-running television character. This fall Grammer of course stars in the show but also serves as executive producer of the series. Portraying Crane, Grammer won four Emmys, two Golden Globes and a SAG Award, and received an unparalleled 16 Emmy nominations, eight Golden Globe nominations and 16 SAG nominations. Fifteen years ago, Grammer created Grammnet, a TV production company which has produced such hit television shows as the Emmy-winning Medium for NBC/CBS and The Game and Girlfriends for UPN/CW. Grammer has directed single episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, My Ex Life and Out of Practice. He has also directed several episodes of Frasier, one of which earned him a DGA nomination.
    Also accomplished as a voice-over artist, Grammer plays the character Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons, for which he won an Emmy in 2006. He has also lent his voice to the feature films Toy Story 2, Anastasia and Teacher's Pet, to the television series Father of the Pride and Gary the Rat and to the Emmy-nominated Animal Farm for TNT. Other acting credits include Vivendi Universal's An American Carol, Disney's Swing Vote, Fox's blockbuster hit X-Men: The Last Stand, Fox TV's Back to You -- in which he also served as executive producer -- A Christmas Carol for NBC, Benedict Arnold for A&E, Mr. St. Nick for ABC's Hallmark Hall of Fame, and many more films. In his latest film project, a remake of Fame, he stars as the orchestra maestro at the prestigious New York City High School of Performing Arts.

    Melinda McGraw (Tilly Pryor) has made regular and recurring appearances on Mad Men, Journeyman, The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, Inconceivable, Center of the Universe, The District, My Adventures in Television, Skin, Living in Captivity, Pursuit of Happiness, The X-Files, The Commish and The Human Factor. She has also appeared in Law & Order: SVU, Saving Grace, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Mad About You, Larry Sanders and Seinfeld. In addition to television, she appeared in the films Meeting Spencer, Skateland, Weather Girl, The Dark Knight, Wrongfully Accused, Nutty Professor: The Klumps and Albino Alligator.

    David Koechner (Grady Funk) spent one season on the cast of Saturday Night Live before moving to Los Angeles, where he landed guest appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Reno 911 and played a recurring character on Still Standing. And in film comedies like Out Cold, My Boss' Daughter and A Guy Thing. Concurrently, Koechner, along with Dave "Gruber" Allen, developed and performed The Naked Trucker & T-Bones Show on stage at Club Largo in Los Angeles, which later became a Comedy Central series. Koechner's first major film break came when he was cast as Champ Kind in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Since then he has been seen in a variety of films, inlcuding The Dukes of Hazzard with Johnny Knoxville, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Snakes on a Plane, the animated feature Barnyard, the family film Yours, Mine and Ours, the critically acclaimed Thank You for Smoking, opposite Aaron Eckhart and Maria Bello, Semi-Pro and Get Smart. He recently starred in the Fox Atomic comedy The Comebacks. Koechner can be spotted in cameo roles in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Balls of Fury, and Sex Drive. He continues to play the recurring character Todd Packer on NBC's The Office as well.

    Jordan Hinson (Maddie Pryor) began acting in plays at the age of five. When she was 11, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. She began modeling and appeared in several television commercials. Shortly thereafter, Hinson was cast in her first starring role as Kaitlin Kingsford, an aspiring figure skater in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Go Figure. She went on to play Zoe Carter for three seasons on Syfy's highest rated series, Eureka. She also co-starred with Angie Harmon in the movie Glass House 2: The Good Mother. Between seasons of Eureka, she continued to work, guest starring in such shows as Dirt and CSI: Miami.

    Nathan Gamble (Henry Pryor) has already established an impressive career in television and film at age 10. His introduction into the entertainment business came when he played the role of Mike, Brad Pitt's son, in the Golden Globe-winning picture Babel. Babel director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu discovered Nathan after a nationwide search encompassing more than 20,000 young boys, all eager to play the part. Nathan's career soon took off, as he appeared in the feature Marley & Me, starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, the blockbuster hit The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, in Stephen King's The Mist, opposite Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden and directed by Frank Darabont, and in the 3-D feature The Hole for Bold Films.
    His television credits include the CW series Runaway, as Donnie Wahlberg's son, and the pilot Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas, directed by Tommy Schlamme for ABC. Nathan has also had guest appearances on Ghost Whisperer, CSI, Without a Trace and House, MD.


    Pilot Plot:

    #1 "Pilot" (Airs September 30)
    A legendary entrepreneur in the sports retail world, Hank Pryor, and his wife, Tilly, have been living the high life in New York City. That is until Hank is forced out of his CEO job and has to downsize and move his family back home to the small town of River Bend, Virginia.
    "Pilot" was written by Tucker Cawley, and directed by Andrew Weyman.


    Analysis:

    I saw both the original pilot and the new pilot. They are pretty much the same but with new actors playing the children. There are a few scene changes, such as the opening scene is almost completely different and for the better. I think this new pilot is a bit better than the original pilot. I don't like that they replaced Macey Cruthird with Jordan Hinson, though Hinson sort of does look like Cruthird. Why the change then? Actually before Hinson was cast as the daughter, they had Sasha Pieterse replacing Cruthird. Not sure what happened there, but they didn't shoot any scenes with Pieterse. The son was also recast from the original pilot. Originally it was Ryan Wynott, now it is Nathan Gamble.

    Anyway, as for the pilot itself. It is nothing special so far. There are a few laughs, but it has potential. Kelsey Grammer is clearly the star and is in nearly every scene. It's nice to see him in a family comedy for once and playing a dad, but he still has a bit of Frasier in him. The show is about him as a big time CEO who lost his job in New York and he decides to move his family back to his hometown in Virgina. The chemistry between Kelsey and Melinda McGraw, who plays his wife on the show, is not there yet...but I see potential. They had a great scene in bed that was actually funny. She calls Hank, "Awesome Hank." Not sure why since the entire family seems to think he isn't awesome. They all basically ditched his family meeting (see preview video below). Hank is out of touch completely with his family. He has no idea what his kids like and do...so it will be interesting for him to learn now. By the end of the first episode he learns a bit about his son, but also gets played a bit by both the daughter and son. That was one of the better scenes. Brother-in-law Grady Funk is also a bright spot, but I wish he was in it more. David Koechner is a hilarious actor!

    Usually pilot episodes, especially for family comedies, are usually one of the weaker episodes because they are setting things up for the show. So I hope the show does get better because we need a multicamera family comedy. I don't think this is in the same league as recent ABC multicamera family comedies such as 8 Simple Rules, George Lopez, My Wife & Kids, Hope & Faith or According to Jim. But Kelsey is certainly a big name and will draw an initial audience. Let's hope the show gets better!


    Conclusion:

    Originally this show was titled Awesome Hank. I think they should have kept that because Hank seems so dry and broad. Well maybe they decided not to name it that because Awesome Hank is a weird nickname for Hank because they really don't think he is awesome, but maybe they do deep down. I like the nickname for his daughter Maddie better, Moody Maddie! I think you should give the show a chance, meaning not just this episode because it isn't that good. Give it a few episodes to find its footing. Kelsey Grammer deserves that because he is such a great sitcom actor and he even is producing this show. So maybe it will get better. I haven't seen any subsequent episodes, but the second episode is about a yard sale in which Hank tries to run that as he did as a corporation. It's going to be interesting to see if Hank can find himself as a father. The competition isn't that strong in the Wednesday at 8pm hour, so Hank certainly has a shot and ABC Comedy Wednesday is off to a great start already with Modern Family and Cougar Town. Try this....but stick with it for more than just the pilot, because this is just a set-up that isn't very funny yet but has potential. America is an economic crisis, so maybe the nation will watch as it is a reality.


    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

    Watchability: 3.5/5
    Funniness: 3/5
    Overall: 3.5/5

    -- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/29/09

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 30 on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Hank Photo Gallery

    Preview:



    Part of ABC Comedy Wednesday:


    Stay tuned tomorrow for our pilot review of The Middle, which follows Hank on ABC Comedy Wednesday at 8:30pm ET/PT.



  • ION Television has been airing original series Durham County, a one-hour crime-drama series that follows the troubled world of Homicide Detective Mike Sweeney, on Mondays at 10pm since Sept. 7. The show has six episodes for its first season, and ION will air all six...but season two was supposed to start immediately following season one starting Oct. 19. Now that will not happen. Effective Monday, October 19 Criminal Minds will take over the Monday at 10pm slot on ION. Durham County will still air repeats Mondays at 11pm, though. So will ION air the season two episodes at a later date? I'm not sure, but I think they will. 6 more were ordered for season two. The ratings have not been too good, though. The series is a Canadian production and season two has already aired in Canada. Stay with us for continued updates!

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    BET Jazz Renames to Centric; The CW and TBS Cancelations

    We all know about the name change Viacom is doing for The N turning into TeenNick starting today, but did you know Viacom's BET Jazz is turning into Centric today? BET is rebranding its nearly 32 million subscriber "BET J" network under the Centric title, which will target African-American viewers with music and lifestyle programming. The network for the short-term will rely on acquired reality and music programming fare from its sister networks, including such shows as MTV's Run's House and VH1's The Salt-N-Pepa Show and I Want To Work for Diddy. Centric will also feature new shows originally slated to premiere this fall on BET J, including Leading Men, Lyrical Café and Urban Living. The network will also air classic episodes from the long-running Soul Train syndicated music/dance series, including singer Michael Jackson's first appearance on the show as a member of The Jackson Five. The network will pay homage to the "King of Pop," who died this past June, with a Jackson-themed primetime programming block tonight at 9pm (and encoring Friday at 11am). Also, the network will air the original Fame series to launch the network today from 9am-9pm with an encore on Sunday from 6am-6pm. Episode titles from the 1982 series airing in the block are "The Strike," "A Musical Bridge," "Passing Grade," "Tomorrow's Farewell," "The Crazies," "Teachers," "Class Act," "Feelings," "Star Quality," "Solo Song," "Ending on a High Note," and "Not in Kansas Anymore." I believe this is in honor of the new Fame movie that opened this past weekend. As of now, Centric is not airing this series as a regular.
    While the network is officially on the air today, BET and MTV are not planning any major marketing campaigns for Centric until 2010. For the immediate future, Centric will run cross-promotional spots through such MTV Networks properties as VH1, MTV and BET. Hopefully we see some sitcoms on Centric, but it doesn't seem like we will see any...I guess sitcom will be just for BET itself.

    The CW has canceled new Wednesday drama The Beautiful Life: TBL after just two airings. TBL was the fall's first cancelation, after draw just over 1 million viewers for its second episode not holding much of anything of the America's Next Top Model lead-in. Starting this Wednesday at 9pm, repeats of Melrose Place, which is not doing much better, will take over the slot. Melrose Place airs original episodes Tuesdays at 9pm.
    And finally TBS has canceled multi-camera sitcom The Bill Engvall Show after three seasons. The series moved to Saturdays for its third season and didn't generate much numbers. TBS opted to go with a fourth season of single camera sitcom My Boys instead I guess.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Week 1 TV Ratings and Analysis; How the Sitcoms Did

    Week 1 numbers (first four nights of the season, Mon-Thu):
    (Unfortunately we didn't get the network averages through Thursday in time for this, but it is clearly in the rankings like this thru Thursday night. See program finals thru Thursday in analysis.)

    Households: #1 ABC; #2 CBS; #3 Fox; #4 NBC; #5 The CW; #6 MNT.
    Total Viewers: #1 ABC; #2 CBS; #3 Fox; #4 NBC; #5 The CW; #6 MNT.
    Adults 18-49: #1 ABC; #2 CBS; #3 Fox; #4 NBC; #5 The CW; #6 MNT.

    Analysis: We're back with another all-new TV season! The 2009-10 season has begun and most of the shows debuted this past week, with still some shows debuting in the next few weeks. Through the first four days, ABC has the lead in all categories as they did the past few seasons, with CBS second, Fox is in third this year, while NBC is back in fourth. ABC and CBS are just a tad down or on par really from last year's premiere week, with Fox way up thanks to a big House premiere but NBC is way down from last year's premiere week. Among 18-49, it is very close thru Thursday night. ABC has a prelim 4.0/10 rating/share in the demo, followed closely by CBS with a 3.9/10, Fox also has a 3.9/10, with NBC way behind with a 2.5/6 (last year they were at a 3.4/8.8 this time).
    Monday was the first night of the 2009-10 season and it was a three way battle between Fox, ABC, and CBS. Two-hour season premiere of Dancing with the Stars won the total viewer race with 17.79 million for ABC, but down from last year. The competition was much stiffer this year, but still did a solid 4.1 18-49 rating. The season premiere of Castle followed with a solid 9.26 million, on par with its numbers in the spring and an improvement over Boston Legal last fall. Fox had the two-hour season premiere of House and it did a surprising 17.16 million and a mammoth 6.7 A18-49 rating. Next up was CBS with its comedies and CSI: Miami. How I Met Your Mother started it off with 9.09 million, below last year's premiere and Accidentally on Purpose followed with its series premiere doing 8.91 million and a 3.3 18-49 rating, which could be better. Two and a Half Men followed with 13.63 million which seems below normal for the series, but The Big Bang Theory moved to its new time and did a nice 12.96 million, the only timeslot to go up for CBS from last year's premiere week. The show also did a solid 4.7 18-49 rating, for second for the night. The season premiere of CSI: Miami did 14.2 million, down a lot from last year's premiere. NBC followed with the two-hour season premiere of Heroes. The series goes down every year and this year the premiere was only at 6.1 million, down over 4 million from last fall's premiere. The Jay Leno Show followed with only 5.81 million. The CW on Mondays has been a struggle so far, with One Tree Hill doing only 2.29 million and Gossip Girl at an even worse 1.97 million. Last year both were over 3 million.
    Tuesday, CBS and ABC battled. CBS had the always reliable NCIS opened the night off with 20.6 million, up over 2 million from last year's premiere and this was another series high. The premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles was next and did 18.73 million, though a concern was the drop in the second half. And finally CBS premiered The Good Wife and did 13.71 million, also solid but needs to be watched because of a drop at the halfway point. Good Tuesday for CBS. ABC was next with the ladies turn to dance on Dancing with the Stars doing 15.37 million from 8-10pm, the series premiere of the forgotten followed and did a decent 9.54 million. NBC was next with The Biggest Loser 2-hour show doing 7.55 million, down from its season premiere the previous week, followed by the The Jay Leno Show at just 6.91 million. Fox gave way to two episodes of Hell's Kitchen doing 6.78 and 6.98 million, but the show did a second place in 18-49 at a 3.3 average. The CW aired 90210 with just 2.0 million, followed by dud Melrose Place at an even worse 1.44 million.
    Wednesday again it was a battle between CBS and ABC. CBS had the season premiere of Old Christine doing 7.17 million, which was up some from last year's season premieres, followed by the season premiere of Gary Unmarried at just 6.86 million, on par with its premiere last year. Veteran drama Criminal Minds did 15.84 million and a solid 4.4 A18-49 rating, with CSI: NY doing 15.06 million. ABC had a special night and time of Dancing with the Stars, this time the Results. Bye bye to Ashley Hamilton and Macy Gray, as 15.36 million tuned in for the hour results show at 8pm, on par with last year's special on this night. The series premiere of Modern Family and Cougar Town both did very well at 12.6 and 11.28 million, but the 4.2 and 4.4 A18-49 ratings for both were more telling. At 10pm Eastwick premiered to a solid 8.5 million and a nice 3.0 18-49 rating. NBC opened the night with the series premiere of Mercy doing 8.38 million, not bad, but the 2.3 18-49 rating could be better. Law & Order: SVU on its new night and time had a hard time and only did 8.36 million. At 10pm NBC aired The Jay Leno Show of course at just 6.38 million. Fox was fourth, with So You Think You Can Dance at only 5.5 million, but then Glee followed to a decent 6.64 million and a 3.1 A18-49 rating. The CW had its usual showing of Top Model at a only 2.82 million, even this is below 3 million now...a new episode of The Beautiful Life: TBL followed with just 1.05 million....ouch, CW has now pulled it!
    Thursday it was ABC on top. ABC opened the night with the series premiere of FLASHFORWARD doing a 12.47 million and a 4.0 18-49 rating, both first place finishes in the hour. The two-hour Grey's Anatomy season premiere followed with 17.03 million and a great 6.7 A18-49 rating. CBS opened with Survivor: Gabon at 11.66 million and a 3.7 A18-49 rating. The season premiere of CSI followed with 16.01 million, while the Thursday premiere of The Mentalist wasn't as strong as it was on Tuesday doing 15.07 million. Fox started off well with Bones at a solid 9.11 million, but Fringe followed and only did 5.73 million and a 2.3 18-49 rating. NBC was in the familiar fourth place with SNL Thursday Update doing only 4.54 million, followed by sitcom dud Parks & Recreation at only 4.09 million. At 9pm The Office only mustered 7.46 million but a solid 3.9 18-49 rating, but way down than last year. Community closed the comedy block with only 5.39 million, not good for the second episode. The Jay Leno Show closed the night with only 5.13 million. The CW's only consistent player so far is Vampire Diaries doing 3.8 million, followed by Supernatural at a could-be-better 2.66 million.
    Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available, but CBS won Friday with their dramas but only mustered a prelim 2.0 18-49 rating average. ABC was second despite repeats, with 20/20 the best of the night in 18-49. Fox had a dismal Friday with its premieres inclding Brothers and NBC was a disappointment.
    Saturday numbers had ABC win with Saturday Night Football in all categories and Fox was solid in young adults with its crime reality.
    Tonight are the season premieres for ABC Sunday (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters). I saw the premiere of Desperate Housewives already, and it is great...look for the bride reveal right away! NBC should have something to tout about finally this week with the NFL game, as their highest rated show so far has been Mercy at 8.38 million...very sad. CBS has the two-hour season premiere of Amazing Race following 60 Minutes and Cold Case moves to 10pm. Fox launches its animation block with season premieres from 8-10pm, including the premiere of The Cleveland Show.
    As for the week, ABC will win in HH, viewers and 18-49 most likely. CBS could come close in HH and viewers, but ABC likely has sealed 18-49. Will it be a clean sweep for ABC? They've got a good shot.

    Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of September 14-20)

    • The Simpsons (Fox) 3 episodes - three repeat episodes starting at 7:30 to 9pm did 3.72, 5.08, and 5.52 million ...season premiere is tonight
    • The Cleveland Show (Fox) - series premiere tonight.
    • Family Guy (Fox) - A repeat did 5.34 million...season premiere is tonight.
    • American Dad (Fox) - A repeat did 4.53 million...yes, season premiere is tonight.

    Monday Sitcoms

    • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - The season premiere did 9.09 million, lower than the timeslot premiere of Big Bang Theory last year and lower than last season's season premiere, which was at 8:30pm, of 9.79 million. Still decent.
    • Accidentally on Purpose (CBS) - 8.91 million for the series premiere is lower than last year's 9.79 million of How I Met Your Mother, and only a 3.3 18-49 rating compared to Mother's 4.0 from last year. This show needs to sustain these numbers at least to be a hit.
    • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 13.63 million...down from last season's season premiere. Lots of competition.
    • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 12.96 million for the season premiere on its new time, and built from the lead-in's 18-49 rating from a 4.5 to a 4.7...nicely done. The only timeslot to go up for CBS on this night from last year.


    Tuesday Sitcoms

    • None.

    Wednesday Sitcoms

    • Old Christine (CBS) - Season premiere did OK, doing 7.17 million. 18-49 rating of a 2.2 needs to be better.
    • Gary Unmarried (CBS) - Season premiere only mustered 6.86 million, but built from the lead-in a bit in 18-49 to a 2.3 rating.
    • Modern Family (ABC) - The series premiere did a massive 12.6 million and a nice 4.2 18-49 rating. Best comedy premiere in at least 2 seasons.
    • Cougar Town (ABC) - The series premiere of this sitcom did a solid 11.28 million and an even better 4.4 18-49 rating.

    Thursday Sitcoms

    • Parks & Recreation (NBC) - This show did terrible doing only 4.09 million and just a 1.8 A18-49 rating...sorry Amy Poehler.
    • The Office (NBC) - Building on the lead-in, the series did 7.46 million, but its strength is 18-49 and it did a 3.9 rating.
    • Community (NBC) - Second week had a big dip to only 5.39 million and a 2.7 18-49 rating is concerning, especially following a 3.9.

    Friday Sitcoms

    • Brothers (Fox) 2 episodes - The series premiere did terrible with a prelim of 2.82 million for two episodes and only a prelim 1.0 A18-49 rating.
    • Modern Family (ABC) - A special repeat of the pilot did actually solid for a repeat with a prelim 4.28 million and a 1.5 18-49 rating...beat new stuff on Fox and NBC. More sampling!
    • Cougar Town (ABC) - A special repeat of the pilot also did decent with a prelim 4.18 million and a prelim 1.5 A18-49 rating. More sampling!

    Saturday Sitcoms

    • None.

    Airing tonight (Sunday) are season premieres of Fox's animated comedies from 8-10PM.

    Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, Accidentally on Purpose, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as Community, Old Christine) or just plain old terrible (such as Parks & Recreation, Brothers).

    Stay tuned this week for the premieres of Hank and The Middle joining Modern Family and Cougar Town on ABC Comedy Wednesday!

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    Blog DVD Review: Life on Mars - The Complete Series (9/29)

    Welcome to our weekly Blog DVD Review! This week we take a look at ABC Studios' Life on Mars: The Complete Series. Life on Mars is about a New York City police detective Sam Tyler (played by Jason O'Mara), who after being struck by a car in 2008, regains consciousness in 1973. See my Blog DVD Review of Life on Mars: The Complete Series:

    Life on Mars: The Complete Series (ABC Studios, $39.99) brings all 17 episodes of this sci-fi crime drama starring an all-star cast on DVD for the first time! We head back in time to 1973, after Det. Sam Tyler is struck by a car in 2008. The series captivated fans and critics throughout the country, with an irresistible soundtrack and of the most celebrated casts on television including Jason O'Mara, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, and the legendary Harvey Keitel! Life on Mars is a smart, suspenseful drama with a finish that will just blow you away! So the series ends the way it wanted to!
    The series was unfortunately canceled. The series started on Thursdays at 10pm in October and November of lats year before a hiatus took place and the series returned in late January on a new night of Wednesdays, and the ratings suffered big time. The series stars Jason O'Mara as Det. Sam Tyler, Michael Imperioli as Det. Ray Carling, Gretchen Mol as Policewoman Annie Norris, Jonathan Murphy as Det. Chris Skelton, and Harvey Keitel as Lt. Gene Hunt. Among the recurring stars are Lisa Bonet as Maya, Tanya Fischer as Windy, Jennifer Ferrin as Rose Tyler, Dean Winters as Vic Tyler, Caleb Wallace as Young Sam, and Maggie Siff as Maria Hunt Belanger. Among the guests this year are Peter Gerety, Edi Gathegi, Odette Yustman, Lenny Venito, Brad William Henke, Wallace Shawn, Kevin Kilner, Paige Turco, Gina Gershon, Mark Linn-Baker, and Whoopi Goldberg.

    This series was an excellent show. I think the hiatus hurt the show and also when it returned in late January, it was aired out of order. The cliffhanger from episode 7 in November didn't have a resolution until the ninth one aired, as I think they were trying to start the series on its new night with an episode that was self-explanatory. However, on this DVD they do switch the episodes, so "Take a Look at the Lawmen" was the 8th one aired, is 9th on this DVD, while "The Dark Side Of The Mook" was the 9th one aired, is 8th on this DVD. That is much better! But since they did that, they should have reordered episodes 10-13 as well, as they aired out of order, too. The final four episodes were aired correctly and also are placed right on the DVD. Production order would have been the best thing for the DVD. Anyway, some memorable episodes include the series opener "Out Here in the Fields," when after an accident, NYPD detective Sam Tyler inexplicably finds himself back in 1973, where he must help solve a murder that is eerily similar to a case he was investigating in 2008. In "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?" Sam busts a guy for accosting his mother, only to find out he's a loan shark and she's into him for a thousand dollars, but when his mother doesn't want to prosecute, she, unknowingly, leads Sam down a road that puts him on the outs with Annie. In "Things to Do in New York When You Think You're Dead," Sam partners up with Fletcher, his future police mentor, in 1973 to find a Puerto Rican man accused of throwing a black girl off the roof of a building--a case that has the black community up in arms and demanding retribution. In the first half finale, "The Man Who Sold the World," while investigating a child's kidnapping, Sam discovers some disturbing information about his father, as well as the real reason he disappeared for good on the day of Sam's fourth birthday party. In the conclusion, "The Dark Side of the Mook," a mysterious phone call from a tipster leads Det. Sam Tyler to a headless body and a severed head is delivered to the precinct at the same time, thus leading to the discovery of a series of gruesome decapitations that might involve Det. Carling's brother, Eddie. In "Coffee, Tea, or Annie," when a Pan Atlantic air hostess turns up dead, Annie volunteers for a dangerous undercover mission posing as the murdered woman to help solve the second in a possible series of brutal homicides. In "All the Young Dudes," when Sam poses as a streetwise tough to infiltrate a vicious New York City gang suspected of truck hijackings, he's pushed to the limit not to blow his cover, and he reveals a much darker side. In the excellent series finale, "Life is a Rock," Sam wakes up after dreaming about his 2008 apartment with 1973 characters and is told he is most likely closer to going back and later on a mysterious caller offers Sam a chance to return to 2008...all he needs to do is complete three tasks, but a confusing set of circumstances inside and out of the 1-2-5 makes him think twice about whether he even wants to go back. When love, death, promise, hope, fear and mystery converge, will Sam decide to stay in 1973 or return to the future?

    Packaging has a thin outer box that you can remove from the top or bottom to get to the case inside. Both the thin outer box and case have the same artwork for both the front and back. The cover has a nice orange background with the New York skyline along with shots of Keitel, Imperioli, Mol, and O'Mara. The show logo is on top in black lettering with the four main star names on top of that. A Modern Day Cop In A 1973 World is printed on the bottom. The back has that orange background with information on the set and one episodic photo and we also have a photo of an 8 Track that lists the bonus features. Technical specifications are listed below the episodic photo.
    Opening the case, on the left side we see discs one & two. On the right side we see discs three and four. The discs are overlapping each other. There is also an insert for Blu-ray inside. Disc artwork is very nice, with each disc fitting that orange background. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of a 1970's style car and in the background we can see Radio City Hall. Disc two has episodes 5-9 and has artwork of that black phone that Sam gets the mysterious phone calls from. Disc three has episodes 10-13 and has artwork of two guns and the Brooklyn Bridge (it seems) in the background. And finally disc four has episodes 14-17 and has artwork of the NYPD police badge with the New York City skyline in the background. When you remove the discs, the panels have nice artwork, along with a disc-by-disc breakdown of episode titles and bonus features. It is nicely done!

    The menu screen starts with a police car then we get to the main menu with '70s style graphics and music playing in the background. It is groovy! The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up, and Bonus Features. But before the main menu screen comes on disc one, we get some auto sneak peeks of other DVDs: ABC on DVD, Lost, The Proposal, Cheri and Blu-ray DVD. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish and how you can register your DVD. The Episodes option gives us the episode number, title and a screenshot. Bonus Features option has all the extras listed. All of the sub-menus have different background music from the show...very '70s style! This show had great music, didn't it?

    The episodes run usually 41-43 minutes...unedited of course with all the great music intact. The lowest one is 40:10 and the highest is 43:12. There are about 8 chapter stops per episode. The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good! The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is 2008-2009, so it had better be good. There is nothing to complain at all here...it is perfect! The '70s never looked better on DVD!

    Moving on the bonus features. We have a lot of audio commentaries! Disc one has audio commentary for the first episode "Out Here in the Fields" with creator/executive producers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec. They give lots of details and cool facts...I'm sure many of the October Road fans noticed some references to that show, since they created that show also. On disc two we have audio commentary for the great episode ""Things To Do In New York When You Think You're Dead," with Jason O'Mara (Sam Tyler), co-executive producer Michael Katleman and executive producer Scott Rosenberg. Once again this is very fun and O'Mara is interesting to listen to. This was a great episode, too. We also have audio commentary for the fall finale "The Man Who Sold the World" with the same team from the pilot...creator/executive producers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec. A lot of insight once again is given. And find out details on the cliffhanger at the end! The final audio commentary is on disc four and it is for the series finale, "Life is a Rock," with Jason O'Mara (Sam Tyler), co-executive producer Michael Katleman and executive producers Josh Applebaum & Scott Rosenberg. We learn a lot! Find out details on the last scene that was brilliant! Series finale endings usually go either way, you either love it or hate it.
    All of the other extras are on disc four! We have an interview featurette titled "To Mars and Back" (15:34). This is a very good detailed extra that gives us the inside scoop on the cast, characters and the series....journey back to the '70s! Interviewed are Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg, Josh Applebaum, Jason O'Mara, Jane Raab (producer), Jonathan Murphy (Chris), Gretchen Mol (Annie), Michael Imperioli (Ray), Michael Katleman, Matthew Lamb (Location Manager), Joseph Zolfo (Unit Production Manager), Stephen Hendrickson (Production Designer), James Nuciforo (Police Consultant), Jim Lillis (Property Master), Wallace Lane (Costume Designer), and Harvey Keitel (Gene Hunt). Then we have another featurette titled "Sunrise to Sunset with Jason O'Mara" (9:33). We spend an entire day with Jason O'Mara on the set bright and early to the end of the day, which is around 9pm. That is a long day, and O'Mara says sometimes it goes even longer! Then we have a nice '70s style featurette titled "Flashback: Lee Majors Goes to Mars" (7:53). Jason O'Mara shows '70s icon Lee Majors around the set. This is a very good special feature. Lee Majors is a fan of the show it seems. Six Million Dollar Man, indeed! Then we have some "Spaced Out: Bloopers from the Set" (2:43)...yes, bloopers! See all the goofs and play on the set, but this is way too short. Finally, we have 10 Deleted Scenes that run 1:30, 0:50, 2:30, 3:35, 0:41, 0:23, 1:00, 1:36, 2:07, and 1:29. O'Mara said in one of the commentaries they deleted a lot scenes with Windy for time, and we see them on here! Gotta love Windy!

    I highly recommend this series and set...it is an ABC Studios DVD (the show was co-produced by 20th Century Fox as well), so it is good and filled with special features. We have great episodes, great packaging, great menus, and groovy bonus features! If you forgot to watch the show when it moved to Wednesdays, now is your chance to see what you missed. If you have never watched the show, get this DVD! It has an actual ending, so you won't be disappointed. The cast is great! And the '70s clothing, sets, and setting is perfectly done. Get out your 8 Track and listen to David Bowie's Life on Mars song and you'll be ready for the Life on Mars DVD! Don't space out, Spaceman! Is there life on Maaaars?
    View the Trailer.

    -- Reviewed by Pavan
    (4.5/5 stars)

    To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
    Amazon.com

    Related links:
    SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
    Life on Mars TV.com Page

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Fox Fall Pilot Review - The Cleveland Show - Premieres September 27; ION Adds More Ghost Whisperer

    The Cleveland Show Cast

    The Cleveland Show - Sundays 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox
    Premieres Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 8:30PM ET/PT

    Rather than attempt to explain the premise of The Cleveland Show myself, I thought I would let the words of the show's main voice actor, Mike Henry (voice of Cleveland), explain it.

    "Cleveland has kind of had enough in Quahog - he kind of realizes that he wants his own friends, his own sidekicks, his own stories. So he sets out to California to make it in a way that we'll have to keep a secret until the show starts, and then he ends up somewhere else, which we'll also keep a secret until the show starts. But he basically goes home – he goes to his hometown in Virginia and rekindles an old high school flame."

    The above explains this show far better than I could. I'll go ahead and warn you, though, that if you're one of the people who detests both of Seth MacFarlane's comedies (Family Guy, American Dad), you can stop reading *now* as, though the show generally has a cohesive pilot (that, as a bonus, usually makes sense) it is still very clearly a Seth MacFarlane show.


    Cast Details:

    A word of caution here: Because of the animated nature of this show, none of the cast will be physically present in any episodes, and many characters may rotate in-and-out based upon the needs of the episode. Also, as is common in animation, one voice actor may provide the voice for multiple characters.

    * Mike Henry as Cleveland, Rollo
    * Sanaa Lathan as Donna
    * Reagan Gomez-Preston as Roberta
    * Kevin Michael Richardson as Cleveland Jr., Lester the Redneck
    * Seth MacFarlane as Tim the Bear, English Father

    Mike Henry (Cleveland, Rollo) performed stand-up and improv and acted in commercials for several years before meeting Seth MacFarlane in 1995. Henry was a writer and producer on Family Guy for the series' first six seasons. He voices many of the characters he created, including "Cleveland," "Cleveland Jr.," "Herbert," "The Performance Artist," "Consuela" and "The Greased-Up Deaf Guy." His additional acting credits include Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, Yes, Dear, American Dad! and Robot Chicken. Henry and his brother are the creators of the internet-based series Kicked in the Nuts.

    Sanaa Lathan (Donna) was recently seen in Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys alongside Perry, Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard. In 2004, Lathan earned a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the revival of the Broadway classic, A Raisin in the Sun. She later reprised her critically acclaimed role as "Beneatha Younger" in the television adaptation of the play alongside Sean Combs. Lathan's most recent credits include her NAACP Image Award-nominated roles in Something New and Nip/Tuck. She previously starred in Out of Time, Alien vs. Predator, Brown Sugar, Love and Basketball and The Best Man.

    Reagan Gomez-Preston (Roberta) and her mother, at age 14, made a trip to Los Angeles with Dateline documenting their journey for an episode about young actors. Within a few of weeks of landing in Los Angeles, she had booked the remake of Freaky Friday with Shelley Long. Shortly after, Gomez-Preston landed a starring role on the Robert Townsend series The Parent Hood, and with his guidance and support, she co-wrote one of the series' most-watched episodes on teen rape. Her other TV acting credits include Love, Inc., Carmen: A Hip Hopera, ER, That '70s Show, JAG and One on One. Her feature film credits lead roles in Never Die Alone opposite DMX, Love Don't Cost a Thing and Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah. Gomez's additional film credits include the independent films Doing Hard Time and Trois 3: The Escort.

    Kevin Michael Richardson (Cleveland Jr., Lester the Redneck) is no stranger to animation. He has voiced hundreds of characters for films, commercials and video games, including Family Guy and American Dad! Richardson was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his work as The Joker on the animated series The Batman. He has also voiced characters on The Boondocks, The PJs and The Penguins of Madagascar. His feature film roles include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Matrix III and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Richardson starred in the television series The Knights of Prosperity and recently appeared in the drama series The Cleaner.

    Recurring Cast Members include Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad!) as Tim the Bear, English Father, Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live), and Arianna Huffington (author & columnist).


    Pilot Plot:

    Episode #1: "Pilot" (Airs September 27, 2009)

    After Peter (Peter Griffin, from Family Guy) destroys his house one too many times, Cleveland has had enough and decides to move to California with his son Cleveland Jr. Along the way, Cleveland decides to stop in his old hometown of Stoolbend, VA where he meets an old high school love interest and hits it off.


    Analysis:

    Here's the thing about this: As a self-contained episode, this program was OK. The episode feels something that would be consistent in tone and quality from the early years of Family Guy, before the show got consumed with cutaway gags and time-filling jokes that run on for too long. It really does harken back to a time before Family Guy lost its way.

    On paper, I should really like this show. But there's this nagging feeling I keep having when watching. Perhaps it's because they took the 2nd least interesting character from Family Guy (really, is there any character less interesting than Meg?) and gave HIM his own show. This, at least in the first cut of the pilot, is even referenced in a line by Stewie before Cleveland & son drive off into the sunset, with Stewie remarking in shock that it's *Cleveland* getting his own show?

    Also, a note: The first quarter of the episode – the expositional cold open - at least in the version I viewed, *is* set-up as seemingly your usual Family Guy adventure. It has the same musical transition, your usual Family Guy characters (Quagmire, Joe, Peter, Stewie, Brian, et al.), and doesn't become The Cleveland Show until the main theme hits a few minutes in. You'll know when the transition occurs as the show suddenly shifts from full-frame to widescreen in a nice effect.

    Pilots often aren't the strongest episodes of a series, and do tend to get better. This episode left me neutral, so there IS room to grow from here.


    Conclusion:

    I was a huge fan of the show that Cleveland Show is replacing. I absolutely adored King of the Hill, and it's the second show cancelled largely due to Fox's own ineptitude (the list would have been three had they not backpedaled on Family Guy itself). When Fox wants a show to die, it schedules it in the 7-8 PM hour on Sunday nights. They did this to Futurama and they did it to King of the Hill. King of the Hill was one of the best animated comedies I've ever seen, and I can say there WILL be a contingent of viewers who, missing King of the Hill and wary of Seth MacFarlane's growing stranglehold of Fox, will be unusually cool to The Cleveland Show due to its origin and timeslot alone.

    But, there's a lot of potential here, and it'll be interesting to see in which direction things go. The Cleveland Show is a nice detour from the madness that is your average episode of Family Guy, but I've yet to see evidence of how they're going to sustain this show beyond a few episodes. Yes, there are new characters to play off of. But you can't really get away with simply making the show a clone of Family Guy (nor American Dad!), and I'm not sure if Cleveland is an interesting or dynamic enough character to be the focal point of a weekly television series. Of course, they've turned simple background characters into stars of popular spin-offs before - that's the genesis of half of 1970s television right there! Still, I'm neutral at best about the ability of this show to be interesting, good, or funny long term. Consider me "cautiously optimistic."


    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

    Funniness: 4/5
    Watchability: 4/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Seth on 09/25/09

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Sunday, September 27 on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Cleveland Show Photo Gallery


  • Preview:





    ION Television will be adding another hour of Ghost Whisperer starting Monday, Oct. 5. Ghost Whisperer currently airs Mon-Thurs at 8pm and also Wednesdays at 9pm. The series has done so-so in the ratings and is not doing as well as Criminal Minds or NCIS. But still they will add another airing on Mon-Thurs. The new airing will be Mon-Thurs at 7pm, so it will now air back-to-back on Mon-Thurs from 7-9pm, and yes Wednesdays it will be a triple shot from 7-10pm. Ghost Whisperer at 7pm will be replacing Reba, which will move to 4-5pm, as we mentioned. So Reba won't get to air for two hours after all.
    Anyway, as for Ghost Whisperer, if this doesn't help its ratings, I can see ION removing the 8pm hour and airing something else.
    View our full ION Television October 2009 schedule.

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Fox Fall Pilot Review - Brothers - Premieres September 25; WGN America Punk'd Us, No Punk'd

    Brothers

    Brothers - Fridays 8:00PM ET/PT on Fox
    Premieres Friday, September 25, 2009 at 8:00-9:00PM ET/PT

    BROTHERS is a comedy about a former NFL hot shot who learns that even though you can always go home again, doing so might be more difficult than you think.

    MIKE TRAINOR (Michael Strahan) seemingly has it all - he's a good-looking, wealthy and recently retired NFL player living the high life in New York City, but he's about to get sidelined. When Mike gets a phone call from his mom, ADELE (CCH Pounder), who orders him home to Houston, he quickly realizes that the more his life has changed, the more his family has stayed the same.

    His brother CHILL (Daryl Chill Mitchell), whose life changed drastically after a car accident left him in a wheelchair, is struggling to keep Trainor's, his sports-themed restaurant, afloat. Even though the publicity from his famous brother might help business, Chill doesn't want help from Mike. The rivalry between the brothers is exactly the same as they were when they were kids. If they can stop their bickering, put aside their differences and learn to be teammates, Mike and Chill might just turn out to be each other's biggest asset.

    Wedged between Mike and Chill are their parents. Their father, whom everyone refers to as COACH (Carl Weathers), is the local high school football coach and the conservative, opinionated alpha male of his clan. Coach thinks he runs the show, but it's actually Adele who calls the shots. Saucy, stern and a schemer, she is the mastermind behind this family.

    And when she learns that Mike's business manager took off with all his money, she orchestrates a plan to keep Mike in Houston, save Chill's restaurant and bring the family back together under one roof again.

    Adele's plan helps Mike realize that his family -- however dysfunctional they may be -- is the only one he's got. And although he may not have a penny to his name, as long as he's surrounded by people who love him, he'll always be a rich man.

    BROTHERS is created by Don Reo and produced by Tantamount Studios and Impact Zone Productions, Inc. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mitch Hurwitz and Don Reo serve as executive producers. Ted Wass directed the pilot written by Don Reo.

    Cast Details:

    * Michael Strahan as Mike Trainor
    * Daryl Chill Mitchell as Chill Trainor
    * CCH Pounder as Adele Trainor
    * Carl Weathers as 'Coach' Trainor

    Michael Strahan (Mike Trainor) - Super Bowl Champion and Fox NFL Sunday co-host Michael Strahan retired from football in 2007 after completing 15 seasons with the New York Giants and leading the team to their dramatic Super Bowl victory over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots. Strahan had an outstanding final season and lead one of the top defenses in the league. In 2005, he was among the league's leaders in total sacks, and earned his seventh trip to the Pro Bowl. In 2001, Strahan completed what is widely considered to be one of the greatest seasons ever for a defensive player. As the charismatic leader of the New York Giants, Strahan was named the 2001 NFL Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated and the Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He was also one of only four players to lead the NFL in sacks for two seasons.

    Strahan's additional television credits include Pros vs. Joes, which pits amateur contestants against professional athletes in a series of athletic challenges; the family-oriented cable series "Backyard Stadiums," where he and his co-host visited various neighborhoods to build batting cages, putting greens and outdoor recreational centers. He also hosted "Sack and Renovate," giving viewers an inside look at the renovation of his 100-year-old home and revealing his own passion for antiques.

    Daryl Chill Mitchell (Chill Trainor) was born in Bronx, NY, and grew up on Long Island with his five brothers and three sisters. Mitchell first garnered public attention as a member of the rap group Groove B Chill. The Hudlin Brothers, who directed one of Groove B Chill's videos, cast the group in the 1990 feature film House Party, where Mitchell had the opportunity to work alongside Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell. He enjoyed the experience so much that he decided to turn his focus from music to acting.

    Mitchell followed House Party with appearances in the feature films Boomerang, House Party 2, Sgt. Bilko and Home Fries. His more recent films include The Outside Man opposite Denzel Washington, 10 Things I Hate About You, Galaxy Quest, Lucky Numbers, Black Knight and The Country Bears. His television credits include The John Larroquette Show, Veronica's Closet, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Law & Order, The Cosby Show, Here and Now, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and I'm With Stupid. In November 2001, Mitchell was temporarily sidelined by a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. However, it never halted his momentum, and once he was in control of his wheelchair, Mitchell went back to work as a series regular on the series Ed. Mitchell's character, Eli, was known for using the phrase "Roll...or fold," and Mitchell adopted that saying to express his take on life.

    CCH Pounder (Adele Trainer) - Award-winning actress CCH Pounder has earned a long list of credits and accolades throughout a career that spans nearly three decades. Most recently, Pounder appeared in the feature film Orphan and the sci-fi television series Warehouse 13. Other recent credits include the cable series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and the independent feature Rain, which garnered praise at the Los Angeles Pan-African Film Festival.

    For seven years, Pounder portrayed "Det. Claudette Wyms" on the critically acclaimed series The Shield, a role that earned her an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, 10 NAACP Image Award nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series, the Minorities in Business Prism Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Drama, two Golden Satellite Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series, the Genii Excellence in TV Award from the Southern California Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television and the LOOP Award from Lupus LA. Pounder's other honors include Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her role as "Dr. Angela Hicks" on ER and for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her work on The X-Files. In addition, Pounder earned a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album for Grow Old Along With Me: The Best Is Yet to Come, and she won an AUDI, the Audio Publishers Association's top honor, for the album Women in the Material World.

    Carl Weathers ('Coach' Trainor) was born in New Orleans and attended San Diego State University, where he established himself as a football star. After graduating in 1970, Weathers played professional football as a free agent for the Oakland Raiders, as well as the Canadian Football League's B.C. Lions. He retired from the sport in 1974 in order to turn his attention to acting.

    Weathers' big break came when he was cast to play the iconic role of "Apollo Creed" in the film Rocky and reprised the role in Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV. His additional film credits include Predator opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, Happy Gilmore opposite Adam Sandler, Action Jackson, The Comebacks, Force 10 from Navarone, Death Hunt and The Sasquatch Gang. Weathers' television film appearances include The Defiant Ones (which he also co-produced), Shadow Warriors, OP Center and The Hostage Heart. His TV series credits include Arrested Development, The Shield, In the Heat of the Night, Street Justice, Fortune Dane (which he also executive-produced), McCloud, Starsky and Hutch, S.W.A.T., Tour of Duty, Good Times, Barnaby Jones, Kung Fu, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Streets of San Francisco.

    Pilot Plot:

    I received the first two episodes for review.

    #1 Pilot (Airs September 25)
    Mike Trainor seemingly has it all he's a good-looking, wealthy and recently retired NFL player living the high life in New York City. With one phone call from his mom, Adele, Mike's life changes in an instant. He comes home to Houston to find that his brother Chill, whose life changed drastically after a car accident left him in a wheelchair, is struggling to keep his restaurant afloat and that his father's memory is not as sharp as it used to be. When Adele reveals everyone's secrets, the family decides it's time for a fresh start.
    Directed by Ted Wass
    Written by Don Reo

    #2 House Rules/Anniversary (Airs September 25)
    Mike's date spends the night at his parents' place propelling his mom, Adele, to set specific house rules for her very grown sons. As all the family members try to find their way living together again as adults, Mike and Chill are taken aback at their new assigned daily chores and strict limitations on overnight guests. Meanwhile, Coach forgets his and Adele's anniversary and lands in the doghouse, forcing him to come up with a creative way to make it up to her.
    Guest Cast: Jazsmin Lewis as Monica; Shvona Lavette as Janine

    Analysis:

    This is Fox's only new live-action comedy and the only African-American sitcom currently on broadcast tv. It's a multi-camera comedy that is filmed in front of a studio audience. It will air on Friday nights at 8:00pm ET/PT.

    In the "Pilot" episode, we are introudced to the Trainor family. Chill goes to pick up his brother at the airport. Mike talks to 'Coach' in the basement. Mike and Chill play some basketball in wheelchairs. Adele asks Mike to make a special appearance at Chill's restaurant. There are some serious talks between various family members. There's a nice mix of humor and heartwarming moments in the pilot.

    The second episode, "House Rules/Anniversary," isn't quite as funny as the pilot. It opens with a scene at The Gutter bowling alley. Mike meets Monica who gives him some bowling shoes. Adele and Chill are shocked when they see Monica at the fridge dressed only in a football jersey. This casues Adele to set some house rules. Mike is embarrassed to tell Janice that he is living with his mama. Carl plays some foosball with Carl and Mike in the game room. Coach forgets that it's his wedding anniversary and Adele is not very happy about it. He creatively makes it up to her.

    Houston is the location of the show, although you really wouldn't know it by watching the first couple of episodes. They probably could use some more exterior shots or references to the city. The house looks quite nice and the sets are spacious. It just seemed unusual that they have such a small kitchen table in an otherwise large kitchen. Carl has a nice game roon with green carpeting that has yard markers like a football field. The Trainor's set looks your typical bar/resturant with a large photo of Strahan in his football uniform.

    Conclusion:

    This show looks pretty funny from the first couple of episodes, especially the pilot. Michael Strahan has some natural instincts and on-screen charisma. He is basically playing himself on the series. Comedic timing isn't always easy, but he appears to have it down already. Daryl Chill Mitchell brings over 20 years of comedy experience and has some funny scenes. CCH Pounder is not known for comedy, but she really steals the show with some hilarious lines. She reminds me a bit of Jo Marie Payton from Family Matters. Her character is very strong and brings an authoritative presence to the show. Carl Weathers is known for more serious and action-oriented roles, but he has shown he can do comedy from his appearances on Arrested Development. The cast certainly seems like they have some good chemistry and act like they are a real family.

    The show is airing on Friday nights at 8pm ET/PT. I don't think there will be as much pressure on it airing on that night in that time slot. Fox NFL Sunday has given this show a lot of promotion. I'm sure we will be seeing the gang from that show making guest appearances at some point in the season. Kim Kardashian and Mike Tyson will also be guest starring. There are quite a few jokes about Michael Strahan's teeth, Chill's wheelchair and handicap, white people, Coach's memory problems and references to the Rocky franchise in the first few episodes. They are funny in these episodes, but will they get old in later episodes? I guess they won't soon run out of material and can get creative to work these types of jokes in each episode. I think they will need to develop some better storylines in future episodes instead of just randomly tossing in the jokes. If you need some good laughs and occasional warmth, the show is definitely worth checking out on Friday nights.

    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

    Watchability: 4/5
    Funniness: 4/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/24/09

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Friday, September 25 on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • FOX.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Brothers Photo Gallery


  • Preview:




    Now back to some news! Last month we gave you WGN America's fall schedule, they made a minor change to this. Punk'd was set to launch this week at 5am, but was replaced by Funniest Pets & People...but that delay was only supposed to be a week for Punk'd. Now WGN America has "punk'd" America (ha!) by not going to air it at all! Effective Monday, Sept. 28 America's Funniest Home Videos will air in the 4am ET hour (Mon-Wed) and Reno 911 will air Tues-Fri (and Sundays as planned) at 5am. Toni On! New York will air at 5am on Mondays. Punk'd was also scheduled to air Thursdays at 9pm ET following WWE Superstars, but now we get America's Funniest Home Videos instead. The same goes true for Sundays at 11am ET, with AFV instead of Punk'd. We are not sure what happened with Punk'd, maybe Ashton planned this?
    View the full WGN America Fall 2009 schedule by Sept. 28.
    And stay tuned in the coming weeks for more WGN America news, including classic TV marathons for the major holidays this holiday season starting with Halloween!

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    ABC Fall Pilot Review: Cougar Town - Premieres September 23; Glee Picked-Up For Full Season

    Cougar Town

    Cougar Town - Wednesdays 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
    Premieres Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 9:30PM ET/PT

    Courteney Cox stars as Jules, a recently divorced single mother exploring the honest truths about dating and aging in our beauty and youth obsessed culture. While most women in their twenties go through life experiencing the challenges and often humorous pitfalls of meeting men, Jules took on the responsibilities of marriage and raising a son. Now in her forties, she embarks on a journey to self-discovery whilst surrounded by fellow divorcees and singletons eager to live or re-live a time gone by.

    Along for the journey are her friends and family: Laurie (Busy Philipps), the younger, feisty co-worker who encourages her to get out there and have some fun; Ellie (Christa Miller), the sarcastic, unapologetic confidante content with her life and marriage to her average, but loveable husband, Andy (Ian Gomez); ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt), a classic under-achiever who'll test her patience as they attempt to raise their teenage son, Travis (Dan Byrd); and newly divorced neighbor Grayson (Josh Hopkins), who proves to be a catalyst of sorts for Jules.

    Cast Details:

    * Courteney Cox as Jules
    * Busy Philipps as Laurie
    * Dan Byrd as Travis
    * Christa Miller as Ellie
    * Josh Hopkins as Grayson
    * Ian Gomez as Andy
    * Brian Van Holt as Andy

    Courteney Cox (Jules) gained overnight fame as neurotic yet loveable Monica Gellar on the Emmy Award-winning comedy Friends. She teams this season with Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence on the new ABC comedy Cougar Town. They will serve as executive producers through their companies, Coquette and Doozer, respectively. She most recently created, starred, and produced in FX's comedy Dirt. Cox made her acting debut in 1984 on the daytime soap As the World Turns, and later that year was cast by Brian de Palma for Bruce Springsteen's video, Dancing in the Dark. She landed her first well known work as an actress in 1987 when she was cast as the bright, perky girlfriend of Michael J. Fox on Family Ties. Following the series, she appeared in several feature films, including the box-office success Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, opposite Jim Carrey. In 1996 Cox starred in Wes Craven's horror/comedy Scream, which grossed over $100 million at the box office. She went on to reprise her role two additional times for the Scream trilogy. Additional film credits include 3000 Miles to Graceland, Mr. Destiny, Cocoon: The Return, Zoom, November, The Longest Yard and Barnyard. Cox was most recently seen in Disney's family comedy Bedtime Stories, opposite Adam Sandler.

    Busy Philipps (Laurie) had a memorable performance as tough but sympathetic rebel teen Kim Kelly in the critically praised series Freaks and Geeks, from Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, Philipps crafted one of the most compelling young characters in contemporary television. After roles on Dawson's Creek and Undeclared, in 2004 she took a lead in the Shawn and Marlon Wayans comedy, White Chicks. In 2006 she starred in the UPN sitcom Love, Inc., from Friends showrunner Adam Chase. Next, she joined the cast of ER for one season as the devout Christian med-student, Hope Bobeck. Most recently, Philipps has been seen in standout roles in the films Made of Honor and He's Just Not That Into You. While eight months pregnant with her first child in summer of 2008, she filmed a five episode arc on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

    Dan Byrd (Travis) had a memorable arc as Sylar's protégé apprentice, Luke, on NBC's drama Heroes. Last year he starred on the short lived but critically acclaimed CW series Aliens in America. Other television credits include the CBS drama Clubhouse, the lead role in the TNT miniseries Salem's Lot, with Rob Lowe, Sci-Fi Channel's miniseries Firestarter 2: Rekindled, with Dennis Hopper, and the Lifetime Original Movie Just Ask My Children, starring Virginia Madsen. He also made guest appearances on Joan of Arcadia, The Guardian, Boomtown, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Judging Amy and State of Grace. On the film side, he recently began production on Screen Gems' comedic retelling of The Scarlett Letter, Easy A, opposite Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes. Byrd has wrapped production on the independent coming-of-age drama Norman, opposite Emily VanCamp and Adam Goldberg, in the title role. He got his big break starring alongside Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray in the Warner Bros. teen romantic comedy, A Cinderella Story. Additional feature film credits include Universal Pictures' Lonely Hearts, opposite John Travolta, FOX Searchlight's The Hills Have Eyes and 28 Days, opposite Sandra Bullock.

    Christa Miller (Ellie) has her first role on television in Kate & Allie, which starred her real-life aunt, Susan Saint James. n 2001 Miller's husband, writer-producer Bill Lawrence, conceived the comedy-drama Scrubs. Miller was given a guest role as Jordan Sullivan, the bitter ex-wife to Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Originally the character was intended to appear in only one episode, but in Season Two the role became recurring and she has appeared every year since. Miller also had a leading role in the 2008 TV miniseries The Andromeda Strain. She appeared in episodes of Northern Exposure, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Party of Five and Seinfeld. She had a major role on The Drew Carey Show from 1995-2002 as Kate O'Brien, and was the voice of Cleopatra in the short-lived animated show Clone High. Her film credits include Deceived and Love and Happiness. She also starred with Kellie Martin in the acclaimed made-for-television movie, A Friend to Die For.

    Josh Hopkins (Grayson) was most recently seen as Dr. Noah Barnes on the ABC drama Private Practice. He also recently appeared on CSI: Miami and in the film Pretty Ugly People. Prior to that, he appeared in the CBS drama Swingtown. Hopkins made his debut as a season regular on Fox's critically acclaimed series Ally McBeal, portraying Raymond Milberry, a rival lawyer and potential love interest to Calista Flockhart. Additional television credits include Ghost Whisperer, ABC's Brothers & Sisters, with Calista Flockhart once again, the CBS drama Surrender, Dorothy, with Diane Keaton, the CBS mini-series Robert Ludlum's Covert One: The Hades Factor, the TNT original movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, opposite Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall, Fox's New York Undercover, The WB's Jack & Jill and Kate Brasher. In addition Hopkins starred opposite Rebecca Romijn in The WB romantic comedy, Pepper Dennis.

    Ian Gomez (Andy) is a familiar face to film and television audiences. He was most recently seen in the multi-camera Lifetime comedy, Rita Rocks, and in the ABC single-camera sitcom Jake in Progress. He starred as the popular character Javier on the series Felicity, as the shameless self-promoter Larry Almada on The Drew Carey Show, and as Danny Sanchez on The Norm Show. Gomez has also starred in such feature films as My Life in Ruins, I Hate Valentine's Day, Connie and Carla, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Chasing Papi and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He developed his improvisational skills which he showcased when he guest starred on the hit improv series, Whose Line Is It Anyway? Other television credits include guest starring roles on George Lopez, Curb Your Enthusiasm, NYPD Blue, Murphy Brown and the television movie Get a Clue.

    Brian Van Holt (Bobby) starred in the critically-acclaimed HBO series John from Cincinnati, created by David Milch, portraying the lead role of Butchie. Van Holt's many feature film credits include Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, as Task Force Ranger Jeff Struecker, who led the convoy to a fallen soldier in Mogadishu, Somalia; he starred with Nicholas Cage in Windtalkers as a U.S. Marine officer assigned to protect a Navajo code-talker in World War II; he was the enigmatic soldier Dunbar, opposite John Travolta and Sam Jackson, in Basic, directed by John McTiernan; he then segued to Swat, with Colin Farrell and Sam Jackson and many more.


    Pilot Plot:

    #1 "It Takes a Village Idiot" (Airs September 23)
    A recently divorced single mother in her 40s explores the honest truths about dating and aging in a society dominated by youth and beauty, along with her friends, her ex-husband and the cantankerous divorced man living next door.
    Recurring is Carolyn Hennesy as Barbara Coman.
    "Pilot" was directed and written by Bill Lawrence.


    Analysis:

    The hilarious mind of Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) is bringing you this show, so of course there will be laughs. Courtney Cox returns to broadcast television in a very funny and sexy comedy vehicle. I never liked Friends and thought it was vastly overrated. But I'm sure many Friends fans will want to watch Cox return. Who knows there could be some Friends stars popping-up for guest appearances. Anyway, as for the show itself...it is funny, quirky, sexy, and maybe even risque. I first saw the pilot this summer and there were rumors it was very risque. Other than maybe a scene or two, it seemed tame compared to some other shows, particularly on premium cable. If you watched the 2007 movie Cougar Club, then this show is nothing in terms of risque. That was a very wild movie! Cox plays Jules, a divorced mother of a teenage boy (Dan Byrd). She works as a real estate agent with Laurie (Busy Phillips). Laurie is a bit younger than Jules, so Jules I think tries to keep up with her and be "hip." Jules does have a best friend her own age in Ellie (Christa Miller), but with Laurie in the picture...Jules is showing off her bad side by hitting on younger men. Ellie is married to Andy (Ian Gomez). One of Jules' neighbors is the new bachelor Grayson (Josh Hopkins) who just got divorced and now has a different women each night...and they are all young, much to to the dismay of Jules. Jules' ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt) stops in from time to time to take his son.

    The pilot centers around Jules being lonely. She seems attracted to Grayson, but she just doesn't like him with these younger women. Jules and Laurie go to a night club where Jules meets a much younger man...and the funny stuff happens. With her son Travis hanging out with his father, Jules has the house to herself. One of the risque scenes I was talking about earlier happens by the pool...but it doesn't go too far because back comes her son and ex-husband! After that, Travis is just embarrassed and gets even more embarrassed when some kid is stealing real estate signs with a sexy picture of her mother...to well pleasure themselves. Wild stuff...but funny!

    Ellie and Andy don't have much to do in the pilot, but I think their characters will be important to Jules, as she needs someone her own age. The recurring character of Barbara (Carolyn Hennesy) is hilarious! She plays one Jules' co-workers and she seems like a cougar herself, as she was also at the nightclub where Jules and Laurie went to. This show is much more than Jules sleeping around with younger guys, it has substance and it could be a sense of reality with women in their 40s who are divorced. Even if you're not a women in your 40s, you'll like this show!


    Conclusion:

    What a fun show! This has to air at 9:30pm, since it is a bit risque for network TV. That isn't to say it is vulgar or anything, but a few scenes in the pilot might be a bit weird to have in an earlier timeslot. It is going to follow a family comedy in Modern Family, but that show will have more adult viewers than kids, so I think this show was placed correctly. I haven't seen any subsequent episodes yet, so I am not sure if there will be any more risque scenes like that...but from the plotlines, we are still in for some good fun and laughs! If you like Scrubs, then you'll want to watch this since Bill Lawrence created this. And if you're a fan of Friends and Courtney Cox, then for sure you'll want to watch! I have always liked Cox. She was great on Scrubs last season and in many other roles like one of her earlier roles in Family Ties.

    There isn't much more to say, but you need to watch the show. We need sitcoms to make a big comeback and ABC so far is 2 for 2 in the reviews (Hank and The Middle reviews to come next week). If you missed our Modern Family review yesterday, please read it! Tune in to ABC Comedy Wednesday starting tonight! You're going to be in for a fun, sexy, and of course funny ride in Cougar Town, Florida! Meowwwww!!!


    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

    Watchability: 4.5/5
    Funniness: 4.5/5
    Overall: 4.5/5

    -- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/23/09

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 23 on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Cougar Town Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Fox has ordered a full season of the critically acclaimed one-hour comedy Glee after just two episodes this fall. The show hasn't even aired during the actual season yet and Fox has picked-up a full season. Glee, the genre-defying new musical comedy series, follows an optimistic teacher who against all odds and a malicious cheerleading coach attempts to save McKinley High's Glee Club from obscurity while helping a group of aspiring underdogs realize their true star potential. The critically acclaimed series stars Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley and Mark Salling. Guest stars this season include Victor Garber, Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth and Eve.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

    2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
    Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

    10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
    10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
    10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
    10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
    10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
    10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
    10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
    10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
    10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
    10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
    10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
    11/04 - The Exes - Seasons 1 & 2
    11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
    11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
    11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
    11/06 - Kenan & Kel - The Best of Seasons 3 & 4
    11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Dharma & Greg - The Complete Season 2
    11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
    11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
    11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
    11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
    11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
    12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
    12/02 - The Simpsons - The Seventeenth Season (Blu-ray)
    12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
    12/09 - Family Guy - Volume 13
    12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
    12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
    12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
    12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, November 28

    Jessie - "Jessie's Aloha Holidays with Parker and Joey" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Parker and Joey Rooney join Jessie and the Ross kids in planning a tropical Christmas at the clan's Hawaiin villa; Jessie reunites with an old friend.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 24) (All times ET unless noted)

    Friday, November 28

    • Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls) - Watch Kat on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig visits LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your local listings.
    • Shia LaBeouf (Even Stevens) - Shia is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) - Kim shares why she's having the best sex of her life now and being happily single in the city on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
    • Laurence Fisbburne (black-ish) - Laurence is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
    • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny appears on a repeat of the Better Show, so check your local listings.
    • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril gives great ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Norman Lear (Producer of All in the Family/Sanford and Son/The Jeffersons/Good Times) - Norman chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • John Ratzenberger (Cheers) - John will be on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel.