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-


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, February 22

The Big Bang Theory - "The Proton Regeneration" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon goes head-to-head with Wil Wheaton for the role of the new Professor Proton. Also, Penny steps in to take care of Halley when Bernadette and Wolowitz both wind up on bed rest.

Young Sheldon - "An Eagle Feather, A String Bean, and an Eskimo" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Sheldon moves to Dallas to attend a school for gifted children, the family struggles to cope with his absence.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Geology Methodology" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon and Bert collaborate on a research project, despite Sheldon’s embarrassment. Also, Penny and Bernadette coach Koothrappali on how to navigate his relationship with Ruchi (Swati Kapila).

Mom - "Fish Town and Too Many Thank You's" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bonnie is suspicious when her brother, Ray (Leonard Roberts), returns from rehab and strikes up a friendship with Adam, and Christy and Bonnie have a brush with the law when they take Ray’s fancy car for a joy ride.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 19)

Thursday, February 22

  • Christine Baranski (Cybill/Welcome to New York/Happy Family) - Catch Christine on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Constance Zimmer (Entourage/Good Morning, Miami) - Constance appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mo'Nique (The Parkers) - Mo'Nique discusses her headline-making fight for pay equality on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce/Sex and the City/Square Pegs) - Sarah stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Shiri Appleby (Girls/Sunday Dinner) - Shiri talks about UnREAL on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - David drops by ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He opens up about marriage and fatherhood and gives a sneak peek at his new documentary Survivors Guide to Prison on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings. He will also be on the BUILD Series at 11am.
  • The Cast of Andi Mack - Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Sofia Wylie, Joshua Rush and Lilan Bowden discuss their special one-hour episode Cyrus' Bash-Mitzvah! on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori appears on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel dishes on his new Netflix show on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James talks about Hallmark Channel's Royal Hearts on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Saffron Burrows (Mozart in the Jungle) - Saffron talks about Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest