Monday, October 15, 2018

ABC Fall Pilot Review: The Kids Are Alright - Premieres Tuesday (Oct. 16); FX Gets New Comedy for 2020

The Kids Are Alright

The Kids Are Alright - Tuesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America's most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he's quitting the seminary to go off and "save the world." Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves.

Cast Details:

Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary
Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary
Sam Straley as Lawrence Cleary
Caleb Martin Foote as Eddie Cleary
Sawyer Barth as Frank Cleary
Christopher Paul Richards as Joey Cleary

Michael Cuditz (Mike) is an American actor, known for portraying John Cooper on the TNT drama series Southland, Sergeant Denver "Bull" Randleman on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, and Sergeant Abraham Ford on the AMC horror series The Walking Dead.

Mary McCormack (Peggy) is American actress who has had leading roles as Justine Appleton in the series Murder One as Deputy National Security Adviser Kate Harper in The West Wing, as Mary Shannon in In Plain Sight, and as Casey in the British comedy/drama series Loaded by Channel 4.

Sam Straley (Lawrence) is a young actor. Aside from a few guest appearances on Chicago PD, The Kids Are Alright will be his first major role.

Caleb Foore (Eddie) an actor, known for American Horror Story, Grey's Anatomy, and S Is for Revenge. This will be his first major starring role.

Sawyer Barth (Frank) is an actor known for films such as Super Dark Time, Bridge of Spies, and And Then I Go.

Christopher Paul Richards (Joey) is a young actor who has appeared in shows such as Me Myself and I, Billions, and Law & Order: SVU.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8:30PM ET)

Lawrence, the prodigal eldest Cleary son, returns home from the seminary and breaks the news to his family that he's dropping out for good, leaving Mike and Peggy upset and wondering why. Meanwhile, Timmy decides he wants to audition for a children's theatre production but when Peggy finds out where it's being held she forbids him from participating. Elsewhere, Eddie tries to keep his girlfriend a secret after Frank finds out and tries to blackmail him.

Analysis:

The Kids Are Alright is a perfectly fine show. It's the kind of show that anyone who tunes into the hyped Roseanne spin-off The Conners could leave on without finding much to complain about. These ABC family single-cams have achieved a base level of consistency at this point that you can't complain too much. They are a well-oiled machine, and they can comfortably rise to the level of "pretty good" without breaking a sweat. I could watch hours of these shows, even a lower-middle fare like The Kids Are Alright, and be happy, but with a show like The Kids Are Alright, I wouldn’t be taking much away from the time I spent with it, either. Unlike other ABC sitcoms like black-ish, Speechless, Fresh Off the Boat or even early seasons of Modern Family, there's not much here that feels like it's trying to be or say something of note. That's fine - not every show needs to. Shows like The Goldbergs and American Housewife aren't really, either, and they're doing perfectly fine, adequate work, and bringing in big audiences. But unlike those shows, The Kids Are Alright isn't particularly unique or have a "style" about it that distinguishes it from the rest of television. And that may be the series' greatest misstep.

The Kids Are Alright's success will likely live or die by the success of the rest of the ABC line-up. If the rest of the line-up holds up and The Conners is even a quarter as popular as the rebooted season of Roseanne last year, it will do fine - this is not a show that you feel the need to turn off if you are watching the rest of the line-up. However, it's also not one you would go out of your way to watch. And that may prove to be a problem. ABC's line-up is still doing well, but there are starting to be some cogs in the machine. Modern Family is slowly fading (though still doing well), The Goldbergs and black-ish are solid anchors but aren't quite the forces they were a few years ago, and obviously there is still a lot of doubt and uncertainty about the future of The Conners and the Roseanne brand name. Speechless and Fresh Off the Boat aren't doing so hot in the new TGIF slot (at least in live numbers), and American Housewife doesn't look to be "anchor show" material, at least not yet. ABC really needs to start building a future, and The Kids Are Alright isn't the type of show you do that with. It's...well, alright. The cast is alright, the jokes are alright, but it's hard to see too much to get excited about here.

Conclusion:

The Kids Are Alright is...alright. It's watchable, the cast is likable, and there are some funny jokes scattered about. But it's not particularly memorable, and the show's ho-hum concept may prevent it from ever becoming something to the likes of ABC's strongest family sitcoms. It's not a bad addition to the line-up, but it's also nothing to write home about.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Kids Are Alright Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • FX

    Breeders, a new comedy series starring Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard, has been ordered to series at FX. The 10-episode first season will premiere on FX in 2020 and is being produced by FX Productions, Avalon Television and Sky Original Productions. Breeders exposes the parental-paradox that it is possible, in the very same moment, to love your child to the horizon of the universe, while being apoplectically angry enough to want to send them there. Martin Freeman stars as a caring father discovering he's not quite the man he thought he was.

    Academy Award(R)-nominee and double Emmy(R) Award-winner Simon Blackwell (Veep, Back, Peep Show) is Showrunner. Breeders is created by Blackwell, double Emmy Award and Directors Guild of America-winner Chris Addison (Veep, The Thick of It, The Hustle) and Emmy and Bafta(R)-winning Martin Freeman (Fargo, Sherlock, Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, The Hobbit, Cargo, Ghost Stories), who stars along with Daisy Haggard (Hang Ups, Episodes, Black Mirror). Executive producers are Blackwell, Addison, Freeman, Richard Allen-Turner, Rob Aslett, David Martin, Jon Thoday and Michael Wiggs. Breeders was commissioned for Sky by Zai Bennett, director of programmes, and Jon Mountague, head of comedy, with Josh Cole set to be the commissioning editor.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, November 20

    The Conners - "Miracles" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Life-changing news lands in the Conner household when a member of the family makes an announcement that no one saw coming. Meanwhile, Dan is suspicious that Becky isn’t sticking to her end of the deal when it comes to her drinking. Darlene continues her job search, and Jackie offers English lessons to a Casita Bonita busboy in need.

    The Kids Are Alright - "Boxing" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Frank announces that he has decided to compete in the church boxing tournament, making it obvious that he’s playing for Mike’s affections. When Frank can’t cut it, Timmy steps in and takes up boxing in order to bond with his dad and get his approval. Ultimately, he has to choose between his dad’s dreams for him and his own dreams of showbiz glory. Elsewhere, feeling rusty after being at the seminary for so long, Lawrence asks Eddie to help prepare him for a date by taking him on a “practice date”.

    black-ish - "Good Grief" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Bow’s mom, Alicia, visits the family for the first time since the loss of Bow’s dad, and she is still heavily grieving. Bow decides to throw a big luau-themed party for what would have been her dad’s next birthday. Meanwhile, Mason has an extra ticket to an MMA fight and invites Diane on the same night as the party.

    Splitting Up Together - "Yes, Deer" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Vlad, the new contractor for the house, arrives with his crew and Lena immediately begins to clash with him over his methods of repairing the house. Martin, on the other hand, feels that Lena should let them do what they were hired to do. After overhearing that she’s too uptight, Lena calls up an old friend to help her let out her frustrations. Elsewhere, Martin takes Mason camping to help him get over his breakup with Hazel and to teach him how to be a man, only to learn from him that it is okay to express his emotions.

    The Guest Book - "Invisible Son" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    Clem asks a stripper to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to convince his vacationing family that he is normal; once they get to Barefeet Retreat, it is discovered that Clem's fake girlfriend isn't the only thing he's been lying about.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 19)

    Tuesday, November 20

    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Catch Michael on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method) - Michael visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Judy Greer (Kidding/Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • D'Arcy Carden (The Good Place) - D'Arcy stops by E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
    • Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) - Candice chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish/The PJs) - Jenifer is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti talks about Christmas Everlasting on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan (check your listings) and on People Now at 12pm.
    • Mario Cantone (Sex and the City) - Mario stops by The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Second Generation Wayans) - Tatyana talks about Christmas Everlasting on People Now at 12pm.
    • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo will be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tisha and Tichina talk about BET Presents: 2018 Soul Train Awards on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm. They also talk about The Neighborhood on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
    • Alicia Witt (Cybill) and Colin Ferguson (Then Came You) - Alicia and Colin talk about their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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

    The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

    10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
    10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
    10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
    10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
    10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
    10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
    10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
    10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
    10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
    11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
    11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
    11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
    11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
    11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest