Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NBC Summer Pilot Review - 100 Questions - Premieres May 27; ABC Family Acquires Friday Night Lights

100 Questions

100 Questions - Thursdays 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:30PM ET/PT

100 Questions is a new comedy series written and executive produced by Christopher Moynihan (For Your Consideration) that provides hilarious answers to 100 questions about love.

Charlotte Payne (Sophie Winkleman, Peep Show) is looking for love and has rejected multiple marriage proposals -- but she has yet to meet Mr. Right. When she joins a popular online dating site, she gets a little help from her dating counselor Andrew (Michael Benjamin Washington, Mamma Mia) - who requires her to take a 100-question compatibility test. The questions aren't easy for Charlotte to answer, and each one requires her to recount a poignant and humorous time in her life with friends Leslie (Smith Cho, Fired Up!), Jill (Collette Wolfe, 17 Again), Mike (Christopher Moynihan, For Your Consideration) and Wayne (David Walton, Quarterlife). The test becomes a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte who begins to realize what she truly wants in a relationship. Ron West (Psych), Kelly Kulchak (Psych) and Michelle Nader (King of Queens) join Moynihan as executive producers. The series is produced by Universal Media Studios and Tagline.

Cast Details:

* Sophie Winkleman as Charlotte Payne
* Smith Cho as Leslie
* Christopher Moynihan as Mike Poole
* Collette Wolfe as Jill
* David Walton as Wayne Rutherford
* Michael Benjamin Washington as Andrew

Sophie Winkleman stars in NBC's new comedy series 100 Questions as Charlotte Payne, a young woman who is looking for love through a popular online dating site. Winkleman is most commonly known in Britain for her role as "Big Suze" in the comedy series Peep Show. She also starred as "Princess Eleanor" in Tom Grieves' drama series The Palace and as "Joely" in White Teeth. In addition, she has guest starred on other television series, such as Lewis, Keen Eddie, Waking the Dead and Ultimate Force. Her film credits include The Chronicles of Narnia, Suzie Gold and Galileo's Daughter.

A Bay Area native, Smith Cho has made incredible strides as an actor in a very short time. Perhaps best known for her comedic talent, Cho turned in humorous performances on the big screen in 2007's Norbit and Blades of Glory. Her 2008 releases include Eddie Murphy's Meet Dave, Broken Lizard's The Slammin' Salmon, The Last Lullaby and Ping Pong Playa - the latter written and directed by Academy Award-winning director Jessica Yu, in which she played the female lead and love interest. Ping Pong Playa opened to rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival in the Fall 2007. Most recently, Cho wrapped up Will Gluck's cheerleader camp comedy Fired Up. Among her other feature film credits are lead roles in David Von Allmen's Say Goodnight and Columbia Pictures' Bad Boys 2. Cho's television credits include a series regular role on Emily's Reasons Why Not starring Heather Graham, as well as guest-starring appearances on Entourage, Six Feet Under, ER, House, Boston Public and The Gilmore Girls, among others. She has also appeared in over 30 national network television commercials.

Christopher Moynihan is creator, writer and executive producer of NBC's new comedy series 100 Questions, where he also stars as Mike Poole, a close friend of Charlotte Payne (Sophie Winkleman). Moynihan can be seen as one of the stars of Christopher Guest's feature film For Your Consideration. Previously, Moynihan starred with Parker Posey as one of The New Main Street Singers in the feature film A Mighty Wind, also for Guest. After starring in the series Coupling, Moynihan wrote and starred in the pilot Foster Hall. Some of his other television credits include The Fighting Fitzgeralds, House, Boston Legal and Psych.

Actress Collette Wolfe will headline a comedy double-bill this spring, starring in both a film and network television series. The film is MGM's Hot Tub Time Machine, with John Cusack and Rob Corddry. The series is NBC's 100 Questions, written and executive produced by Christopher Moynihan, with an ensemble that includes Sophie Winkleman, Moynihan, Smith Cho and David Walton. Wolfe's very first film audition led to her first film job: Danny McBride and Jody Hill's cult hit karate comedy, The Foot Fist Way. Her comedic talent next led to roles in Will Ferrell's Semi Pro, the Reese Witherspoon/Vince Vaughn film Four Christmases, last year's scene-stealing turn opposite Seth Rogen in Observe and Report, and the girl who steals the job from Matthew Perry in 17 Again. Other acting credits for Wolfe include the film The Great World of Sound (Sundance Film Festival), and guest-starring roles last year on the television series Greek and Reaper.

David Walton stars in NBC's new comedy series 100 Questions as Wayne Rutherford, the son of a millionaire who was cut off by his father and has since been sleeping on his friend's couch. Most recently, Walton appeared in the Sony Pictures film Fired Up as the overly cocky yet hilarious Dr. Rick. His television credits include FOX's The Loop, as well as NBC's Heist and Quarterlife. Additionally, Walton starred in the sitcom Cracking Up, opposite Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon. On stage he appeared in the off-Broadway production of One Day on Wall Street.

Michael Benjamin Washington has appeared on shows such as Hope & Faith, Law & Order, 30 Rock, 10 Things I Hate About You and Glee. He also has a number of Broadway credits.

Pilot Plot:

#1 "What Brought You Here?" (Airs May 27 at 8:30-9:00 p.m. ET)
Charlotte Payne is looking for love and has rejected multiple marriage proposals -- but she has yet to meet Mr. Right. When she joins a popular online dating site, she gets a little help from her dating counselor Andrew - who requires her to take a 100-question compatibility test. The questions aren’t easy for Charlotte to answer, and each one requires her to recount a poignant and humorous time in her life with friends Leslie, Jill, Mike and Wayne. The test becomes a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte who begins to realize what she truly wants in a relationship.
Directed by Christopher Moynihan
Written by Alex Hardcastle
Guest Starring: Joe Manganiello as Rick, Caleb Moody as Painted Guy, Cesili Williams as Receptionist, Morgan Hewitt as Angelique, Alex Enriquez as Bartender

Analysis:

100 Questions will finally debut on Thursday, May 27. The show was originally going to premiere in March following the Winter Olympics. It was pushed back to May. They had their episode order cut from 13 to 6 episodes. The original pilot had different actors playing Leslie, Jill and Andrew and was directed by James Burrows. Smith Cho, Collette Wolfe and David Walton were cast for the re-shot pilot that was directed by Alex Hardcastle.

The pilot opens with Charlotte meeting dating counselor Andrew at Soulmate Specialists, Inc. His first question is what brought her there. She talks about a really bad date with her boyfriend Rick at a Yankees game and there is a flashback with her friends also at the game. Rick asks her to marry him after they have dated for only 3 months. Leslie meets a guy wearing face paint at the game and later goes out on a date with him and finds out that he is an albino. Charlotte (known online as The Yankee Bitch) goes with Jill to Rick's office to bring him back his ring. She discovers that this isn't the ring that he gave her and there are some flashbacks to the night before where Mike and Wayne are playing with the ring. Mike and Wayne compete to see who has the best pick-up line.

This is a multi-camera comedy that is filmed in front of a studio audience, so they have a laugh track. They have a nice little theme song and opening credits sequence that runs for about 20 seconds, which is quite long these days. The show is similar to Romantically Challenged with the romantic comedy and dating set up. It also reminds me of How I Met Your Mother with how they cut to flashbacks quite often. There are also some pop culture references to Lord of the Rings, Gollum, Yoda, the Cookie Monster, Mary Poppins, Die Hard and The Sixth Sense. The show is set in New York City.

Conclusion:

100 Questions is a pretty funny and likeable sitcom. Sophie Winkleman is quite lovely as Charlotte and who wouldn't love her British accent? She reminds me of a young Jane Leeves. She's mostly known for her roles in Britain, so hopefully we will be seeing more of her on American television in the future. The rest of the ensemble cast may not be household names to some people, but you've probably seen them in various movies and other tv series. There are some funny one-liners and flashback scenes, but it may be a little too predictable for some viewers. There will also be comparisons to Friends, but you can't really blame NBC for trying to recapture that successful formula again.

NBC hasn't had many multi-camera comedies in recent years, so it's nice that they gave this one an opportunity even if it's just a summer burn-off. I think their original plan was to air it on Tuesday nights in March after the Olympics. It really doesn't fit in with the rest of their single camera comedies like The Office or 30 Rock, so it probably needed to be paired with another multi-camera comedy. There used to be a time when the networks aired nothing but repeats in the summer. This will provide some fresh entertainment for the next 6 weeks. If you liked the short-lived Romantically Challenged or if you are a fan of the hit How I Met Your Mother, you might want to give this new comedy series a shot on Thursday nights.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 5/26/10

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, May 27 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • 100 Questions Photo Gallery


  • Preview:



    Moving back to news, ABC Family Channel hads acquired drama Friday Night Lights. ABC Family has acquired the basic cable television rights to Friday Night Lights, in a deal with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. The deal gives ABC Family the rights to five seasons of the critically acclaimed series. ABC Family is tentatively set to begin airing the series' first season in September 2010. The fourth season of Friday Night Lights is currently airing on NBC (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET/PT.) The series premiered on October 3, 2006 on NBC, but then beginning in October 2008, the third and fourth season of the drama began airing on satellite provider DirecTV's The 101 Network and rebroadcast on NBC. The fifth season will also air on DirecTV, but is unclear if NBC will rebroadcast it.
    Stay with us for further information on this in the coming months when we give you updates on all of the Fall schedules for cable networks!

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    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 21) (All times ET unless noted)

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    • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Watch Eric on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He will be on SI Now at 1pm. He stops by PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:35am.
    • Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Josh appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents/Herman's Head) - Hank talks about the Showtime series Ray Donovan on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show/Cosby) - Phylicia appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.