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 (January/February)

    I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete First 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 / Review
    01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
    01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
    02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
    02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
    02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
    02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
    02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
    02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
    02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, February 28

    Fresh Off the Boat - "Living While Eddie" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    After her precious morning papaya goes missing and the dishwasher was used for its actual purpose rather than just a drying rack, Jessica automatically accuses Eddie as the culprit. Yet when a record store manager accuses him of stealing a CD, she realizes he has other motives for his actions. Meanwhile, Louis and Emery are bursting with excitement when a TV crew comes to shoot an infomercial at Cattleman’s Ranch.

    The Real O'Neals - "The Real Heartbreak" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Devastated by his break-up with Brett, Kenny tags along with Pat and Jimmy to a Lonely Hearts happy hour, but when they try to use Kenny’s sadness to get attention from single ladies, Kenny inadvertently steals the show. Meanwhile, Eileen shuns the usual Valentine’s Day traditions until a chance encounter changes her mind.

    American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.

    New Girl - "Young Adult" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Jess worries that she may not be a cool enough principal, she recruits Nick and “The Pepperwood Chronicles” to help make her popular with the students. Meanwhile, Schmidt hires an eager and overly-aggressive new assistant and Winston realizes that Furguson may be two-timing him.

    The Mick - "The New Girl" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When Mickey believes Ben’s school is discriminating against him, she stands up for her nephew. Meanwhile, Sabrina and Chip spend time with Alba and learn some surprising things about her.

    Kevin Can Wait - "The Power of Positive Drinking" (CBS, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Kevin takes a job as a bartender, he goes too far when he starts dispensing unsolicited advice to his customers.

    The Detour - "The Tub" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    As Nate and Robin contemplate having another child, a neighbor's casual get together turns into a home birth; Delilah learns about being a third wheel.

    Teachers - "Thirty-One and Done" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Ms. Snap struggles with the idea of turning thirty-one and tries to regain her youth. Ms. Bennigan offers to babysit Blake for Hot Dad. The Teachers deal with every teacher’s nightmare when the copier breaks down.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 27)

    Tuesday, February 28

    • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She also talks about Table 19 on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 9am hour.
    • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Natalie Zea (The Detour) - Natalie is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Dan Bucatinsky (Marry Me/The Comeback) - Dan drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Connie Britton (Spin City/The Fighting Fitzgeralds/Lost at Home) - Connie appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings. She also talks about the new season of Nashville on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
    • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David drops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Allison Williams (Girls) - Allison is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Katherine LaNasa (Three Sisters) - Katherine bakes a Mardi Gras king cake on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Craig Robinson (The Office/Mr. Robinson) - Craig talks about Table 19 on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh talks about his The Arrangement on the AOL Build Show at 5pm. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Tiffani Thiessen (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani is a guest on The Doctors, so check your local listings.
    • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate appears on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:50am.