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

    Wednesday, February 21

    The Goldbergs - "Hogan Is My Grandfather" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Adam is assigned a term paper on a great person in history, and he decides to make a movie about his grandfather but finds all of Pop’s war stories mundane. Pops takes matters into his own hands and decides to tell more exciting stories based on an old television series. Meanwhile, Erica returns home to confront Beverly for over-mothering her. Murray insists Beverly teach Erica and Barry basic life skills, but she worries Erica and Barry will be too independent.

    Speechless - "B-I-- BIKINI U-N-- UNIVERSITY " (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    JJ convinces his parents to take him on a college visit but hides an ulterior motive. As his plan unravels, JJ enlists the help of new friend Tyson (guest star, Nick Viall of ABC’s “The Bachelor”), an actor who gives the performance of his life to keep JJ out of hot water. Meanwhile, Ray goes wild when he’s left home alone for the first time.

    Modern Family - "Dear Beloved Family" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Gloria has to rush Phil to the hospital for an emergency surgery after he experiences some intense stomach pains and rallies the entire family to be by his side.

    American Housewife - "Blondetourage" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Taylor enlists Oliver to help her carry out a scheme so she can ditch her less cool friend Ellen and go to a concert with her “blondetourage.” Meanwhile, Katie is devastated when Anna-Kat doesn’t need her as much anymore, which causes Katie to make some poor and desperate parenting decisions.

    Schitt's Creek - "RIP Moira Rose" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    A rumour that Moira died appears online; Roland asks Johnny to be the godfather of his child.

    Let's Get Physical - "Paybacks a Bitch" (Pop, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    At the regional competition, the Fitness by Force and The Metrix teams deliver great performances, but the judge announces neither team will advance; the teams put aside their differences to discover the truth behind this injustice.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 19)

    Wednesday, February 21

    • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move/Silver Spoons) - Watch Jason on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Sam stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She will also be on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS. He will also be on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.
    • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - Brooke drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She also talks about Mr. Pickles on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am, on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne/The Big Bang Theory/The McCarthys) - Laurie chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Katy Mixon (American Housewife/Mike & Molly/Eastbound & Down) - Katy is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. She will also be on the BUILD Series at 11am.
    • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show/Tyler Perry's House of Payne) - Keshia appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Dylan McDermott (LA to Vegas) - Dylan is a guest on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.
    • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly will be on the BUILD Series at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains/Kirk) - Kirk talks about his documentary Kirk Cameron: Connect on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • The Cast of Andi Mack - Peyton Lee, Lilan Bowden, Joshua Rush and Sofia Wylie talk about the new season of Andi Mack on the BUILD Series at 1pm.


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

    The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season Living Single - The Complete Third Season Alice - The Complete Sixth Season One Day at a Time - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Second Season

    11/07 - American Dad! - Volume 12
    11/07 - Family Guy - Season Fifteen
    11/07 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season
    11/14 - D.C. Follies - The Complete Series
    11/21 - Living Single - The Complete Third Season
    11/24 - Grandfathered - Season 1
    12/05 - Alice - The Complete Sixth Season
    12/05 - One Day at a Time - The Complete Series
    12/05 - The Simpsons - The Eighteenth Season
    12/05 - South Park - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
    12/12 - Fuller House - The Complete Second Season
    12/19 - South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray) / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11
    01/09 - Girlfriends - The Complete Series
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