Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fox Mid-Season Pilot Review: Sons of Tucson - Premieres March 14

We will preempt our weekly blog DVD review for a special pilot review for Fox's upcoming sitcom Sons of Tucson, which launches tomorrow night. See if it is worth watching or not by reading our review by skees53:

Sons of Tucson

Sons of Tucson - Sundays 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 9:30PM ET/PT

What do you get when three out-of-control kids have a father who suddenly ends up in prison and the kids want to do everything possible to avoid living with a crazy cat lady under foster care? You get Sons of Tucson, Fox's latest sitcom about an unsuspecting sporting goods store employee who is down on his luck in life, getting the opportunity to suddenly become a father.

Ron Snuffkin (Tyler Labine) is just out of a relationship gone wrong and trying to make it in Tucson, living in his Ford Taurus station wagon and working at a sporting goods store. Life isn’t going all that great, but it is all about to change.

Enter the Gunderson kids: Gary (Frank Dolce), Brandon (Matthew Levy), and Robby (Benjamin Stockham). They come from a well-off family, but the only problem is that their mother left home some time ago and their father is off to prison for 25 years--or until he can escape. Seeing Ron as the perfect patsy, they recruit him to play the role of father for a while, and that role keeps taking on more and more responsibilities in this series.

Cast Details:

* Tyler Labine as Ron Snuffkin
* Frank Dolce as Gary Gunderson
* Matthew Levy as Brandon Gunderson
* Benjamin Stockham as Robby Gunderson

Tyler Labine (Ron) is a Canadian-born actor best known from his role as Bert 'Sock' Wysocki in the series Reaper. He also has television credits from smaller roles in the series Invasion and Boston Legal, as well as several other series.

The remainder of the cast is even less familiar to viewers than Labine. Frank Dolce (Gary) appeared in the original Broadway production of Billy Elliot as Michael. Matthew Levy (Brandon) also has extensive experience on the stage in productions such as MacBeth, The Full Monty, A Christmas Story, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Benjamin Stockham (Robby) appeared in the film Quarantine and also had a single appearance on the series Criminal Minds.

Plot:

For the review, we saw the first and second episode of the series. The series is scheduled to air 13 episodes and will run into the summer (ratings pending).

In the pilot episode (airing March 14 at 9:30pm), the Gunderson kids, having just been orphaned by their father who was sent to prison, find the perfect person to play the role of their father until he is released (or escapes): Ron Snuffkin, an employee at the sporting goods store. Ron accepts this role without any hesitation at all and now has to take on all of the roles of father, beginning with enrolling the kids in school, introduce his new family to his old family, and trying to keep a tight lid on these out-of control kids. Meanwhile, the kids have to help him try to avoid a thug who just wants his money.

In the second episode, "The Break In," (airing March 21 at 9:30pm) there is a series of burglaries in the neighborhood and Ron sees this as a perfect opportunity to exploit the kids. Since they are making him live in the shed, he decides to stage a burglary in the home where he can come in to "save" the kids... and hopefully convince them to allow him to move in to the house.

Analysis:

The series is a single-camera sitcom with no laugh track at all, which is a common characteristic of most sitcoms these days. It might be a good thing that there is no laugh track, as there really isn't anything funny about the series.

The entire premise of this series makes no sense, at all. The only part that makes any sense at all is three boys having a father go to prison, but beyond that, nothing about the series is even remotely realistic or even of any artistic value to embellish. The series fails to explain why the kids are not in foster care (where they would be in the real world), why they randomly picked this one guy to be his dad, why he would even agree to it after a brief 30-second discussion.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the series isn't even funny. In watching both of the first two episodes, I didn't laugh even one time, and at best only found a few small moments even mildly amusing. Even in the worst sitcoms that I've ever seen, I have found a few moments where I couldn't help but to laugh, but that wasn't the case in this series.

One slightly redeeming factor, though, is the actors who play the kids on the series. Despite their lack of television experience, I thought that they did well in their roles, but at the same time, their acting style is not quite the style that works on a sitcom. They would be perfect for a family drama, but are out of place on a sitcom, especially a sitcom of this style.

Conclusion:

So, let's take bets on how long this show will last. Fox has committed to 13 episodes. I couldn't imagine all 13 of them actually airing. This is an awful show that has been placed in a timeslot that it just can't win. It doesn't fit in at all on the Sunday night lineup and is going to have a detrimental effect on the ratings of the other Sunday night programs. So not only do we have an awful show, but we also have an awful show that is going to weaken the rest of the lineup (which could be much stronger if they'd keep it more stable), even if it is at the end of the night in the lineup. I can see the series lasting for maybe a month, although you never quite know what Fox will do.

Fox has to come up with something good in the live-action/half-hour sitcom segment, but this series is not it, at all. A plot full of holes and missing explanations and not a funny moment to be found is a recipe for disaster. The sun will set on Tucson before you know it.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 2/5
Funniness: 1/5
Overall: 1.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 03/13/10

Discuss the show after you watch it on Sunday, March 14 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Sons of Tucson Photo Gallery

  • Preview:


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, February 21

    The Goldbergs - "Hogan Is My Grandfather" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Adam is assigned a term paper on a great person in history, and he decides to make a movie about his grandfather but finds all of Pop’s war stories mundane. Pops takes matters into his own hands and decides to tell more exciting stories based on an old television series. Meanwhile, Erica returns home to confront Beverly for over-mothering her. Murray insists Beverly teach Erica and Barry basic life skills, but she worries Erica and Barry will be too independent.

    Speechless - "B-I-- BIKINI U-N-- UNIVERSITY " (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    JJ convinces his parents to take him on a college visit but hides an ulterior motive. As his plan unravels, JJ enlists the help of new friend Tyson (guest star, Nick Viall of ABC’s “The Bachelor”), an actor who gives the performance of his life to keep JJ out of hot water. Meanwhile, Ray goes wild when he’s left home alone for the first time.

    Modern Family - "Dear Beloved Family" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Gloria has to rush Phil to the hospital for an emergency surgery after he experiences some intense stomach pains and rallies the entire family to be by his side.

    American Housewife - "Blondetourage" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Taylor enlists Oliver to help her carry out a scheme so she can ditch her less cool friend Ellen and go to a concert with her “blondetourage.” Meanwhile, Katie is devastated when Anna-Kat doesn’t need her as much anymore, which causes Katie to make some poor and desperate parenting decisions.

    Schitt's Creek - "RIP Moira Rose" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    A rumour that Moira died appears online; Roland asks Johnny to be the godfather of his child.

    Let's Get Physical - "Paybacks a Bitch" (Pop, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    At the regional competition, the Fitness by Force and The Metrix teams deliver great performances, but the judge announces neither team will advance; the teams put aside their differences to discover the truth behind this injustice.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 19)

    Wednesday, February 21

    • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move/Silver Spoons) - Watch Jason on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Sam stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She will also be on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS. He will also be on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.
    • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - Brooke drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She also talks about Mr. Pickles on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am, on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne/The Big Bang Theory/The McCarthys) - Laurie chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Katy Mixon (American Housewife/Mike & Molly/Eastbound & Down) - Katy is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. She will also be on the BUILD Series at 11am.
    • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show/Tyler Perry's House of Payne) - Keshia appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Dylan McDermott (LA to Vegas) - Dylan is a guest on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.
    • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly will be on the BUILD Series at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains/Kirk) - Kirk talks about his documentary Kirk Cameron: Connect on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • The Cast of Andi Mack - Peyton Lee, Lilan Bowden, Joshua Rush and Sofia Wylie talk about the new season of Andi Mack on the BUILD Series at 1pm.


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