Thursday, February 20, 2014

Three's Company, Too Close for Comfort Returning to Antenna TV; NBC Midseason Pilot Review: About a Boy - Premieres Saturday After the Olympics

Three's Company Too Close for Comfort

Come and knock on our door! Three's Company and Too Close for Comfort will re-join Antenna TV's schedule beginning Monday, April 7, 2014. The sitcoms have not aired on the network since the end of December 2012 and have been reacquired from DLT Entertainment. The new multi-year year deal includes rights to the Three's Company spin-offs The Ropers and Three's a Crowd, which will be placed in the Three's Company rotation like before. Antenna TV, Tribune Broadcasting's multicast network, which airs on 84 affiliates across the U.S. reaching 70% of TV households, will add Too Close for Comfort to the lineup weekdays 9-10am ET and 1-2am ET, being paired with Three's Company airing 10-11am ET and 12-1am ET. On weekends, Three's Company will air Saturday 7-8pm ET and Sunday nights from 12-1am ET.

Three's Company and Too Close for Comfort join Antenna TV's lineup of classic favorites such as I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, Father Knows Best, Bachelor Father, Hazel, The Partridge Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Diff'rent Strokes, WKRP in Cincinnati, All in the Family, Good Times, The Three Stooges, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Jack Benny Program, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Gidget, The Flying Nun, It Takes a Thief and Antenna TV Theater, a movie block featuring MGM and Sony movies. We will have the full Antenna TV line-up starting April 7 once the network makes it official! Stay tuned!


About a Boy

About a Boy - Tuesdays at 9:00PM ET/PT on NBC
Special Premiere Saturday, February 22, 2014 following The Olympics at approx. 11:05PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Based on a film of the same name, About a Boy follows Will Freeman (David Walton) after being granted a life of free tie, free love, and freedom from financial woes after he writes a hit song. But when single mom Fiona (Minnie Driver) and her 11-year-old son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) move next door, his life is turned upside down.

Cast Details:


David Walton as Will Freeman
Minnie Driver as Fiona Brewer
Benjamin Stockham as Marcus Brewer
Al Madrigal as Andy

David Walton (Will Freeman) starred in two past NBC comedies, Perfect Couples and Bent. He is also well-known as a recurring character on New Girl and for his guest appearances on shows such as The Loop and Happy Endings.

Minnie Driver (Fiona Brewer) is an Oscar-nominated film actress. She has an extensive list of film credits, including Good Will Hunting, which earned her the nomination. Other credits include Sleepers, Tarzan, Ella Enchanted, Hope Springs, The Phantom of the Opera, The Simpsons Movie, and Barney's Version.

Benjamin Stockham (Marcus Brewer) most recently starred in the NBC sitcom 1600 Penn. He also has appeared in shows such as Criminal Minds, CSI: NY, and Once Upon a Time.

Al Madrigal (Andy) is a stand-up comedian who has released several stand-up specials and has appeared on talk shows such as Conan, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He also starred in two CBS comedies – Welcome to the Captain and Gary Unmarried.


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Saturday, February 22 at approx. 11:05PM ET/PT)

Will Freeman lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He's single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus, move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will's not so sure about being a kid's new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will's son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will's house.

Analysis:

The word I can best use to describe About a Boy is "competent." This is a good thing – there's a surprising amount of times I'll watch a pilot and wonder if the people who made it have ever watched television before. But About a Boy comes from seasoned TV creator Jason Katims (creator of both Friday Night Lights and Parenthood), and his experience is clear. Everything in the About a Boy pilot is very well-calculated. The characters are clear in their intentions and personas, and the events flow smoothly and understandably. The dialogue is well-written, witty and natural in the way it often is on Katims' shows. Each character makes the journey you'd expect them to make in a pilot episode, and by the end of the episode, you have a pretty good sense of what this show is going to be from here on out, to the point where you could probably take a wild guess for what the next three episode summaries are going to be and not be all that far off. The show has a very clear sense of what it is and what it wants to be, which is often times not at all the case, even with a good pilot.

The question is whether it's all a bit too calculated. I think it's probably too soon to tell, but I'm getting a similar vibe from this show as I have from just about every other NBC comedy that's premiered in the past 3 years. The show is clearly trying to appeal to that magical "broad" demographic that NBC so desperately dreams about, from the accessible premise to the overly pleasing aesthetics to the fact that it all ends to the beat of a One Direction song. What tripped up potentially promising but similarly "broad audience" aimed shows like Up All Night, Go On and The Michael J. Fox Show was that they became so watered down that they stopped appealing to anyone and just became incredibly boring. The real "broad" comedies of television are many things, but they are very much not boring, and they usually have some distinguishable traits that make them appeal to strongly to broad audiences. NBC's newer comedies are just pure vanilla paste – they're fine and mostly enjoyable, but they're the kind of shows you watch and then never think about again. That's the worst thing a TV show can be.

It's not clear yet that About a Boy is going to go down this route, but it's hard to shake the feeling that it will given NBC's recent history, and given the show itself, which is...fine. It's not really funny at all, and at times it makes you wonder if this show wouldn't have worked better as a drama (a genre that Katims has mastered twice now), but it's enjoyable, it has a great cast that's doing predictably great work, and there's hints of potential there. But it's also not a show I can see myself thinking about again after I finish this review. That could change, but I wouldn't place any bets on it.

Conclusion:

About a Boy is a decent show with strong acting and dialogue and a potentially interesting premise. But there's nothing particularly special about it, and given NBC's recent history, it's hard to see the show overcoming its less interesting aspects and turning into something great. As of now, it's far from a must-watch, but there is some undeniable potential, and it would be nice to see the show overcome the NBC of it all and make use of its great cast.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Saturday, February 20, 2014 at approx. 11:05PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • About a Boy Photo Gallery

    Preview:


  • New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)

    American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

    12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
    12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
    12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
    01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
    01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
    01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
    01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
    01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
    01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
    01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
    01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Monday, January 16

    Kevin Can Wait - "Kevin vs. the Dutch Elm" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    As Kevin tries to charm his neighbor into giving him permission to cut down one of her trees, he becomes intimidated by her imposing son, Rutger (retired MMA Fighter and UFC Heavyweight Champion Bas Rutten), and invites them over for a non-existent party.

    Man with a Plan - "A Dinner Gone Wrong" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When Andi and Marcy realize they were rivals in high school, Adam and Don are dragged into the feud and forced to take sides.

    2 Broke Girls - "And the Stalking Dead" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Max and Caroline get their big break when they’re cast as zombie extras after they finally arrive at the movie set in Texas where Randy is working. Back at home, Han and Oleg try their hand at construction after they fire the contractor working on the dessert bar. Beth Littleford guest stars as Bonnie, the assistant director of the zombie movie.

    The Odd Couple - "Batman vs. The Penguin" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Murph gets Oscar to agree to participate in a regular TV segment where he competes with a penguin at the zoo to predict the winners of hockey games. Also, Emily and Felix take their first steps to becoming just friends. Former professional hockey player Luc Robitaille guest stars as himself.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 16)

    Monday, January 16

    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Watch Michael on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • B.J. Novak (The Office) - B.J. visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • John Hodgman (Married) - John is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Eugene Mirman (Bob's Burgers) - Eugene appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Mark Consuelos (Hope & Faith) - Mark guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Tituss will be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
    • Margo Martindale (The Millers) - Margo chats on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Craig Robinson (Mr. Robinson/The Office) - Craig is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
    • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael talks about The Founder on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Mario appears on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Kaitlin Olson (The Mick/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Kaitlin is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.