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

Monday, December 11

Kevin Can Wait - "Trainer Wreck" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Vanessa asks Kevin to help her get a date with a handsome personal trainer, Alejandro (Eduardo Verastegui), she gets frustrated when Kevin starts training with him instead. Also, Chale reluctantly takes advice from Kyle when the health inspector stops by Enzo’s.

Man with a Plan - "Battle of the Sexists" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Adam needs to hire a new project manager, Andi accuses Adam of unconscious bias after he only interviews men for the job. Also, Andi helps Kate fight for a spot on the boys’ soccer team at school. Lilah Richcreek guest stars as Zara, a qualified candidate for the available job in the Burns Brothers construction company.

Superior Donuts - "Homeless for the Holidays" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
In the spirit of the season, Franco convinces Arthur and the rest of the gang to help John (guest star Keith David), a homeless man who falls ill at the donut shop, get back on his feet. Also, Tush and Sweatpants compete to be the more popular Santa.

9JKL - "Set Visit" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After Harry and Judy visit Josh on the set of his new movie, he is horrified when the director, Walter Michaelson (Michael Showalter), casts them in background roles in Josh’s most important scene. Also, Nick tries to teach Andrew how to dance.

Tarantula - "Macaroni Salad" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Echo must retrieve a melodramatic friend from the edge of oblivion when romantic foibles lead him to the brink.

Tarantula - "The Shade" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Echo ventures to the fabled Weird River to retrieve a man whose life is derailed by Echo's egg-frying antics.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 11)

Monday, December 11

  • Zendaya (K.C. Undercover/Shake It Up) - Watch Zendaya on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She also talks about The Greatest Showman on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Amanda Seales (Insecure/My Brother and Me) - Amanda is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Dave visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Chris Meloni (Happy!/Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Chris stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ed Helms (The Office) - Ed appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Andrea Barber, Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Full House) - Andrea, Candace and Jodie are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette talks about the Broadway music Hello, Dolly! on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey/Blossom/Brotherly Love/Gimme a Break!) - Joey appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Monty/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry talks about NBC's Better Late Than Never on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on People Now at 8:30am. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia shares her secret to balancing motherhood and Hollywood on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jodie Foster (Paper Moon/The Courtship of Eddie's Father) - Jodie talks about Black Mirror on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the BUILD Series at 4pm.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunsine) - Allison will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.


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

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
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