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:


  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, April 26

    The Big Bang Theory - "The Monetary Insufficiency" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Sheldon goes to Vegas to win money for science. Also, Penny and Bernadette take Amy wedding dress shopping, but her terrible choice entangles them in a web of lies.

    Young Sheldon - "A Dog, A Squirrel, and a Fish Named Fish" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    A battle erupts between the Coopers and Sparks when the Sparks’ new dog terrorizes Sheldon.

    Mom - "A Taco Bowl and a Tubby Seamstress" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Christy is concerned that she and Bonnie might lose their apartment when Bonnie locks horns with the tough new building owner, Rita (Patti Lupone).

    Life in Pieces - "#TBT: House Destiny Introduction Retirement" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    The Short family’s quirky history is revealed with stories of when Tim met Heather’s family for the first time; when Jen and Greg bought their dream home; when Matt got sidetracked after he saw Colleen while waiting for a blind date; and John’s last flight before retiring.

    Superstore - "Aftermath" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) deal with the consequences of their recent interactions. Meanwhile Glenn (Mark McKinney) and Dina (Lauren Ash) enlist Garrett's (Colton Dunn) help to win the store a visit from Cloud 9's CEO.

    A.P. Bio - "Walleye" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Jack (Glenn Howerton) successfully convinces Miles (Tom Bennett) that Devin (Jacob McCarthy) is his illegitimate son. Durbin (Patton Oswalt), Mary (Mary Sohn), Stef (Lyric Lewis) and Michelle (Jean Villepique) clash on the Sadie Hawkins dance theme.

    Will & Grace - "Staten Island Fairy" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Jack's (Sean Hayes) intimacy issues are challenged by a closeted boyfriend. Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) sell their new line of bedding on TV.

    Champions - "Nepotism" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    As Michael waits to hear if the musical he wrote will be picked for the freshman show, Vince is accused of treating some staff members better than others.

    Nobodies - "Kristen's Wiig" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Rachel and Larry attempt to convince Kristen Wiig to play Jen in the pilot for "Open Dorf Policy"; Hugh gets put in an uncomfortable position when an accident lands Sam in the hospital.

    Atlanta - "North of the Border" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    The possibility arises to make a move; it is believed Paper Boi will be at a pajama party.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 23)

    Thursday, April 26

    • Don Cheadle (House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Catch Don on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Method Man (Method & Red) - Method Mani s a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Adam Pally (Making History/Happy Endings/The Mindy Project) - Adam appears on The Opposition with Jordan Klepper at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
    • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Jason Biggs (Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason and his wife Jenny Mollen are guests on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Dylan McDermott (LA to Vegas) - Dylan reveals role he lost to Harry Connick, Jr. on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Rob Riggle (Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) - Rob is a guest on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April)

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season

    02/06 - All in the Family - Seasons 1-5
    02/06 - Bosom Buddies - The Complete Series
    02/06 - Women of the House - Complete 12 Episode Series
    02/13 - Broad City - Season 4
    02/13 - Three's Company - The Complete Series - Come and Knock on Our Door Collection
    02/27 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season
    02/27 - Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season
    02/27 - Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season
    03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
    03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
    03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
    03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
    04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
    04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
    04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest