Thursday, May 01, 2014

2014 Upfronts: Hulu and Crackle; Episodic Review: Surviving Jack - "She Drives Me Crazy" Airing Tonight on Fox

Hulu

Well, it's actually called a "NewFront" for Hulu and Crackle, but both had their annual presentations yesterday. For Hulu, among the new series is The Hotwives of Orlando, a Hulu Original Series, that will premiere on Tuesday, July 15. From Paramount Digital Entertainment, Hotwives is produced by Emmy© award-winning producer Jonathan Stern and Emmy© nominated producer Paul Scheer. Paramount Digital Entertainment is the studio behind the outrageous Emmy© nominated comedy Burning Love. All episodes will be available on Hulu Plus on July 15; the first two episodes will be available on Hulu.com, with a new episode releasing each week after that. The series is a laugh-out-loud parody of the phenomenon that is reality housewives shows. With an all-star cast that includes the Hotwives Casey Wilson as The Trophy Wife (Happy Endings), Angela Kinsey as The Religious Zealot (The Office), Kristen Schaal as The Drug Addled Former Child Star (Flight of the Conchords), Tymberlee Hill as The Entrepreneur (Drunk History), Danielle Schneider as The Bankrupt Overspender (Upright Citizens Brigade) and Andrea Savage as The Cougar (Step Brothers). With special guest stars including Kate Walsh, Weird Al Yankovic, Joey McIntyre, Stephen Tobolowsky, Paul Scheer and Paul Scheer (The League) who plays the Enthusiastic TV producer Matty Green.

Crackle

Crackle, the multi-platform digital entertainment network, released an exciting line-up of new original programming and returning series yesterday at the Digital Content NewFronts in New York City. Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle, Breaking Bad), Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), and sportscaster Dan Patrick were all on hand alongside Sony Pictures Television executives for Crackle's second year at the annual NewFronts presentations. The new line-up features more than 100 episodes of original programming including exciting new productions and returning hits across a variety of genres such as sports, comedy, thrillers, and music involving some of Hollywood's most sought-after talent including Jerry Seinfeld, Robert Downey Jr. Bryan Cranston, Jeremy Renner and Dan Patrick. New series includes a comedy titled Tightrope. Emmy(R)-Award winner Bryan Cranston returns to his comedic roots to executive produce this series that will replace a character from a classic detective series with a modern-day actor. The show juxtaposes the modern character, with irreverent comic sensibilities and also with older characters from another era to reshape the stories into contemporary comedy. A new drama Sequestered was also announced for a 12 episode run scheduled to premiere on Crackle in August. A sophisticated, intense thriller, starring Jesse Bradford, Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagemen), and Bruce Davison about a jury sequestered in a hotel while deliberating a court case with massive implications. Series is produced by Lifeboat Productions and created by Aaron Tracy.




On the next...Surviving Jack (Fox, Thursday 9:30pm):
By: Vincent

Fox's new comedy starring Christopher Meloni airs Thursdays at 9:30pm and we have just watched the next episode that airs tonight (May 1). In the episode airing tonight, "She Drives Me Crazy," Jack (Christopher Meloni) gets Rachel (Claudia Lee) a spot on the wrestling team, much to the chagrin of the wrestling coach (guest star Neil Flynn, The Middle, Scrubs). Meanwhile, Joanne (Rachael Harris) realizes that Frankie (Connor Buckley) is now too embarrassed to be seen with her during their annual mother-son trip.

When I watch Surviving Jack, the best word I can come up with is "competent." This is a show that knows what it's doing and does it pretty well. It's a nostalgia-based family sitcom (although the '90s references are increasingly becoming less prevalent) that wants to get some decent laughs out of you while getting you invested in some fairly well drawn, if slightly stereotypical, characters. It wants to make you think of your own childhood or adolescence with a smile, and it wants you to go "aww" at its sweet message of family togetherness it brings through at the end. And it does all of this quite well! In fact, unlike many family sitcoms, the "aww" moments feel genuinely earned here, because the characters feel like more than just archetypes. It's good, solid family sitcom stuff.



The problem is that we've had many "good, solid family sitcoms" over the years, and there's not much that makes Surviving Jack stand out in the crowd. The show is funny enough, but there are far funnier shows on television. The characters are pretty well-drawn, but they're not unique in the way that, say, the Heck kids (from The Middle) are unique. The shows' genuine sweetness is perhaps its best selling point, but it's not groundbreaking enough to really make Surviving Jack worth going out of your way for. This is probably why the show has sort of failed to gather traction – as good as everything here is, it's just good, and there isn't much of an effort to be anything more than "just good." There are elements here that could eventually make a genuinely great family sitcom, but the show may be taking too long to properly utilize them. Surviving Jack is not a bad way to spend a half hour, but with so many great comedies on TV, "not a bad way to spend a half hour" just isn't enough. B-


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, July 23

Bob's Burgers - "Ex Mach Tina" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Tina hurts her ankle, she is left with no choice but to telecommute to school. After enrolling in a program that allows her to send a robot version of herself to class, Tina finds herself having an unexpected breakthrough with Jimmy Jr. Will technology be the thing that finally unites Tina with her biggest crush of all time.

Bob's Burgers - "Bob Actually" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
With Valentine’s Day approaching, Tina, Gene and Louise each find themselves wrapped up in love-caused chaos. Meanwhile, Bob decides on a romantic gesture in order to impress Linda.

The Simpsons - "Friends and Family" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mr. Burns hires the Simpsons to play his live-in virtual reality family, but excludes Homer so that he may play dad. Now alone, Homer finds a new best friend in girl-next-door Julia, who eats, drinks and thinks like him.

Family Guy - "Cop and a Half-wit" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Peter helps Joe out with several crime cases, but when Joe tries to take all the credit, Peter gets extremely angry. Meanwhile, Brian convinces Stewie to join a football team and panics when he gets a concussion.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 17)

Friday, July 21

  • Kevin Bacon (I Love Dick) - Watch Kevin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He talks about Lifetime's Story of a Girl on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World), Queen Latifah (Living Single), Regina Hall (Grandfathered) and Tiffany Haddish (The Carmichael Show) - Jada, Queen Latifah, Regina and Tiffany chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Tiffany will also be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. Jada will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate discusses her new movie Girls Trip on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Kaley appears on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) - Drake is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie) - Dove appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Jake is a guest on a repeat of Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.