Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Manhattan Love Story - Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 30; ABC Family Picks Up Young & Hungry for 2nd Season, and New Drama

Manhattan Love Story

Manhattan Love Story - Tuesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

Manhattan Love Story is an innovative new romantic comedy based on a simple premise: the way to maintain relationships – with a lover, a spouse, a co-worker, a friend or a family – is by keeping a majority of thoughts to one’s self. Dana (Analeigh Tipton, Crazy, Stupid, Love) and Peter (Jake McDorman, Greek, Shameless), who navigate the complicated terrain of building and maintaining a relationship, are the heart of the story. Throughout the series, the audience will hear Dana and Peter’s inner thoughts, offering a fun and revealing look at the differences of men and women as this couple traverse the highs and lows of dating.

Cast Details:

Analeigh Tipton as Dana
Jake McDorman as Peter
Nicolas Wright as David
Jada Catta-Preta as Amy
Chloe Wepper as Chloe
Kurt Fuller as William

Analeigh Tipton (Dana) is known for her roles in the films Crazy, Stupid, Love and Warm Bodies. Her other recent and upcoming film credits include Damsels in Distress, Two Night Stand, Lucy, 4 Minute Mile and Mississippi Grind. She had a recurring role in the final season of Hung.

Jake McDorman (Peter) is best known for his role as Evan Chambers in Greek and as Mike Pratt in Shameless. He had regular roles in the sitcoms Quintuplets and Are You There, Chelsea?. His film credits include Aquamarine, Bring It On: All or Nothing and Live Free or Die Hard.

Nicolas Wright (David) co-starred in the Jenna Elfman sitcom Accidentally on Purpose in 2009. His film credits include Hatley High, Afghan Luke and White House Down.

Jada Catta-Preta (Amy) is a writer, actress and stand-up comedian. She is best known for her recurring role in Californication. Her other guest starring roles include 2 Broke Girls and Sullivan & Son.

Chloe Wepper (Chloe) makes her debut as a series regular in Manhattan Love Story. Her credits include the TV movie Counseling Crazy and a guest appearance in Criminal Minds.

Kurt Fuller (William) had lead roles in ABC's Better with You and Big Day. Some of his many television credits include Glee, Ugly Betty, CSI, Men of a Certain Age, Grey's Anatomy, House, My Name Is Earl, Monk and Drop Dead Diva. His film credits include Wayne's World, Anger Management, Midnight in Paris, Scary Movie, Ghostbusters II and Auto Focus.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 8:30PM ET/PT)

The audience is introduced to Dana and Peter: young, single and attractive making their way in the big city. Dana grew up in a small town with her sights set on New York romanticizing about the life and love it had to offer while Peter, by contrast, grew up there and feels like he has been there and done that when it comes to life in Manhattan. Dana is determined to succeed in New York in both business and love, while Peter is perfectly content to go on dating his way through it. While it is the streets of New York that offers this duo a first glimpse of each other, it’s family and friends who conspire to set them up. The audience will go along for the ride as they venture on their first date and hear exactly what they really think of each other.

Analysis:

Manhattan Love Story is a single-camera comedy produced by ABC Studios. The series was created and is written by Jeff Lowell (The Drew Carey Show, Spin City). Peter Traugott, Jeff Lowell, Robin Schwartz, Rachel Kaplan and Jon Liebman are executive producers. Michael Fresco directed the pilot.

In the "Pilot" episode, we are introduced to Peter checking out women on the streets of New York. Meanwhile, Dana looks at the purses of various women. They first catch a quick glimpse of each other. Dana talks to her college roommate Amy and her husband Peter about going to her first day of work. They want to set her up on a date with Peter, who is David's brother. After Dana and Peter check out each other's profile pictures, Dana meets her boss and co-workers. Dana and Peter text each other and talk on the phone. Their blind date gets off to a bit of a rough start. Dana mentions that she has a bucket list of locations she wants to visit and things she wants to do in New York City. After hearing about the problems of the date, Amy and David try to convince Peter to try again. Peter later helps Dana cross two items off her bucket list.

The "Pilot" episode provides a good introduction to the characters and sets up the basic premise of the show. They did a nice job of squeezing in many different locations and about 15 scenes into the episode. It's a decent episode and has a few funny moments, but there were no outrageously funny lines or moments. There is a good mix of comedy and heart, but they could definitely use more comedic situations.

They have put together a cast of relative newcomers with some experienced veterans. Analeigh Tipton is a fresh face who I remember from her scene-stealing role as the babysitter in Crazy, Stupid, Love.. She certainly could be one of the breakout stars of the fall season. Jake McDorman has appeared in a variety of television series. He does a good job of playing "the dude" and player here. The other actors really don't stand out in the pilot. Their characters need to be further developed and become more likable. The family set up is a bit complicated. The father has been married three times. The children all have different mothers. A disappointment is that Kurt Fuller, the father and the owner of the business, has only a brief scene. He was very funny in Better with You and brings a veteran comedy presence to the show. The series would benefit greatly by expanding his role in future episodes.

One of the storytelling devices of the series is that we can hear the inner thoughts of Dana and Peter. Narration in shows isn't rare these days, but they have put a unique spin on it here. I thought it was too gimmicky and overdone in the pilot episode. Tipton and McDorman have expressive faces, so I think it would work better in moderation. They did tone it down a bit in the second episode. I wouldn't want to see them eliminate it entirely, but they need to find the right balance and situations in which to use it. If they overuse it, then it could become annoying to viewers.

The series is filmed in New York. It would have been easy for them to shoot a few exterior shots in New York City and the rest in Los Angeles, but filming on the real streets and locations adds to the flavor and authenticity. It's one of the most iconic romantic cities. New York City is really like the 7th character of the show. Dana's bucket list of locations she wants to visit will allow them to go to various locations around the city. Dana and Peter visit one of the most famous tourist attractions at the end of the episode.

Conclusion:

Manhattan Love Story has a simple premise of a small-town woman dating and eventually falling in love with a New York City native. Although the pilot is watchable and has a few funny moments, there are really no laugh-out-loud lines or scenes. It's supposed to be fun to watch people fall in love. Hopefully they show more of that in future episodes. The show does have some potential and good things working in its favor. Analeigh Tipton is cute and has a fresh face. Her Dana character is very likable and somebody you want to see succeed. Tipton and McDorman have some good chemistry already in the first two episodes. Another plus is that the show is filmed in New York. If you want to film a romantic comedy, there are few better places.

The show would benefit from a few tweaks. The inner thoughts storytelling technique is too gimmicky and overused in the pilot. It gets old and annoying fairly quickly. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. The inner thoughts technique could be an immediate turn-off to some viewers. Thankfully they did tone it down a bit in the second episode airing next week. Another issue is that the talented and funny Kurt Fuller is way underutilized. The show needs more funny lines and situations. He can help deliver them.

This looks to be the year of the romantic comedy series on television. ABC has paired it with Selfie on Tuesday nights. They appear to be good matches because of their references to social media, texting and internet speak. There haven't been any successful and long-running romantic comedies in recent years other than Mike & Molly and New Girl. I think they generally work better as 90-minute films. They really don't stretch well into full series. Manhattan Love Story is airing in a challenging timeslot, so it will be difficult for them to attract a large audience. They have a good cast in place, but they will just need more time to develop the supporting characters and funnier storylines.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 2.5/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Manhattan Love Story Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Young & Hungry

    ABC Family announced the network has picked up its first procedural drama Stitchers to series and has ordered a second season of new comedy series Young & Hungry. But in some sad news, the sitcom Mystery Girls has been canceled. Stitchers is a procedural drama series written by Jeffrey A. Schechter. Stitchers follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be ‘stitched’ into the minds of the recently deceased using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. The pilot was written by Jeffrey A. Schechter, who will executive produce alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken.

    Young & Hungry is an original comedy series where two worlds collide when Josh, a wealthy young entrepreneur, hires feisty Gabi to be his personal chef. Young & Hungry is produced by David Holden, Ashley Tisdale, Jessica Rhoades, Caryn Lucas and Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum in association with CBS Television Studios. Gabi Moskowitz, a San Francisco based food blogger, of BrokeAssGourmet.com, contributed to the development of this project. The show stars Emily Osment, Jonathan Sadowski, Aimee Carrero, Kym Whitley, and Rex Lee. Young & Hungry ranks as basic cable's #1 telecast in its time period in Adults 18-34, and Women 18-34, as well as other key demos. The show was nominated for two Teen Choice Awards for Choice Summer TV Show, and Choice Summer TV Star – Female for Emily Osment.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, May 25

    Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Kerry Washington joins “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” the live sitcom special coming from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and television icon Norman Lear. Washington is set to play Helen Willis in the special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. This historic event will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy® Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows and produced by Sony Pictures Television.

    Previously announced stars include Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson), Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson), Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Justina Machado (Florence Johnston), Ike Barinholtz (Meathead), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Amber Stevens West (Jenny Willis Jefferson), Jovan Adepo (Lionel Jefferson), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley) and Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell).

    All About "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    After the star-studded live sitcom special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” “Nightline” will take a special look at the cultural and historical significance of the two iconic series. Participants in the live sitcom special along with modern-day comedians, television stars and journalists reminisce about each show’s groundbreaking impact and legacy.“Nightline” Presents “All About ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” airs WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (9:31–10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.

    The prime-time special features interviews with “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” creator Norman Lear; host and executive producer Jimmy Kimmel and stars Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Jackée Harry, Ellie Kemper and Kerry Washington; comedians and actors Raven-Symoné, David Alan Grier, Lil’ Rel and John Amos; original “The Jeffersons” cast member Marla Gibbs; and journalists Deborah Roberts, Chris Connelly, Marc Lamont Hill and Joe Levy.

    Game Shakers - "Bug Tussle" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    After Dub goes to Vegas and leaves Trip behind, the Game Shakers take Trip to Dub's awesome apartment to show him a good time.

    Game Shakers - "Why Tonya" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The Game Shakers are approached by a fan who demands that they make changes to one of their games.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 20)

    Friday, May 24

    • Dana Carvey (One of the Boys) - Watch Dana on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He talks about The Secret Life of Pets 2 on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • The Cast of The Big Bang Theory - Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch are guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Kathryn Newton (Gary Unmarried) - Kathryn is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Adam Scott - Adam appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - John and his daughter Ella Bleu are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Logan Browning (Dear White People/Meet the Browns) - Logan stops by The Real, so check your local listings. She will also be on the BUILD Series at 5:30pm
    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about Broadway's Network on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jackée Harry (Tyler Perry's The Paynes/The First Family/Sister, Sister/227) - Jackée talks about Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm and on People Now at 12pm.
    • Justin Long (F Is for Family/Ed) - Justin talks about Life is Short with Justin Long on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • Beanie Feldstein (What We Do in the Shadows) and Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) - Beanie and Kaitlyn talk about Booksmart on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell) - Tiffani is in the kitchen on Pickler & Ben, so check your local listings.


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

    Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons

    03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
    03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
    03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
    04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
    04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
    04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
    05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
    05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
    05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
    05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
    05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons
    05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    05/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Late Night Tops Ratings for the Season; FXX Announces Archer After Hours
    05/24 - Fri-Yay: Live in Front of a Studio Audience Recap; Mario Lopez Produced Sitcom Coming to Netflix
    05/23 - Orange Is the New Black Returns for Final Season in July; Lifetime Gets More Book to Screen Movies This Summer
    05/22 - Los Espookys Premieres June 14 on HBO; NBC's 5th Annual Red Nose Day Special Brings Out the Stars
    05/21 - Nightline Primetime Special Profiles All in the Family & The Jeffersons; Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Premieres June 10 on Nick
    05/20 - Comedy Central Heads to the South Side This July; Catch the Big Bang Finale Again Tonight
    05/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 20, 2019)
    05/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Broadcast Network Fall Lineup at a Glance; Rick & Morty Returns in November
    05/17 - Fri-Yay: Big Bang Ends With No Hype?; ABC to Air Farrah Fawcett Documentary
    05/16 - The CW Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Notes from TBS and TNT Upfront
    05/15 - CBS Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Remembering Doris Day and Tim Conway
    05/14 - ABC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Disney Channel Sets Premiere Dates for Raven's Home and Bunk'd
    05/13 - Fox Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Antenna TV's Father Knows Best Father's Day Marathon
    05/12 - NBC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 13, 2019)
    05/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Sitcom Cancellations Ahead of Upfronts; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Returning for Interactive Special
    05/10 - Fri-Yay: Upfronts 2019: Questions for Sitcoms; getTV Celebrates All in the Family Ahead of ABC Live Special
    05/09 - More Pre-Upfront Pick Ups from NBC, ABC and The CW; Fox Schedules BH90210
    05/08 - NBC Picks Up 2 Series Before Upfront; FX Gets 2nd Season of What We Do in the Shadows
    05/07 - AXS TV's The Very VERY Best of the 70s; Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to NBC with More Celebs
    05/06 - Kevin Hart Bounce Series Debuts Tonight; Set Sail with Kimmy Schmidt
    05/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 6, 2019)
    05/04 - Pluto TV Adds Special Versions of Popular Viacom Channels; Perfect Strangers to Finish on DVD
    05/03 - Fri-Yay: Ramy Gets 2nd Season on Hulu; ABC Orders black-ish and Spinoff mixed-ish for 2019-20
    05/02 - Hulu 2019 Upfront; Suits and Spinoff to Air Back-to-Back
    05/01 - Fox Gets Unique Fred Savage Series; BH90210 Gets Shannen Doherty for Revival
    04/30 - CBS Announces Big Bang Special on Finale Night; Showtime Gets 2nd Season of Black Monday with Don Cheadle
    04/29 - Disney Channel's Just Roll With It Premieres in June; Alyssa Milano Launches Podcast
    04/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 29, 2019)
    04/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Santa Clarita Diet and Wrecked Both Cancelled; Remembering Dallas Actor Ken Kercheval
    04/26 - Fri-Yay: Status of Sitcoms on Disney+; Gabriel Iglesias Sitcom Launches June 21 on Netflix
    04/25 - Lifetime's Book to Screen Titles in June; The CW Renews Four More for 2019-20