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:


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June)

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

    04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
    04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
    04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
    05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
    05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
    05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
    05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
    06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
    06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
    06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Sunday, July 23

    Bob's Burgers - "Ex Mach Tina" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Tina hurts her ankle, she is left with no choice but to telecommute to school. After enrolling in a program that allows her to send a robot version of herself to class, Tina finds herself having an unexpected breakthrough with Jimmy Jr. Will technology be the thing that finally unites Tina with her biggest crush of all time.

    Bob's Burgers - "Bob Actually" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    With Valentine’s Day approaching, Tina, Gene and Louise each find themselves wrapped up in love-caused chaos. Meanwhile, Bob decides on a romantic gesture in order to impress Linda.

    The Simpsons - "Friends and Family" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Mr. Burns hires the Simpsons to play his live-in virtual reality family, but excludes Homer so that he may play dad. Now alone, Homer finds a new best friend in girl-next-door Julia, who eats, drinks and thinks like him.

    Family Guy - "Cop and a Half-wit" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Peter helps Joe out with several crime cases, but when Joe tries to take all the credit, Peter gets extremely angry. Meanwhile, Brian convinces Stewie to join a football team and panics when he gets a concussion.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 17)

    Friday, July 21

    • Kevin Bacon (I Love Dick) - Watch Kevin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He talks about Lifetime's Story of a Girl on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
    • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World), Queen Latifah (Living Single), Regina Hall (Grandfathered) and Tiffany Haddish (The Carmichael Show) - Jada, Queen Latifah, Regina and Tiffany chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Tiffany will also be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. Jada will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate discusses her new movie Girls Trip on People Now at 8:30am.
    • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Kaley appears on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) - Drake is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie) - Dove appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Jake is a guest on a repeat of Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.