Monday, April 15, 2019

ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Bless This Mess - Premieres Tuesday (April 16); Hallmark Picks Up 7th Season of When Calls the Heart

Bless This Mess

Bless This Mess - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Bless This Mess follows newlyweds Rio and Mike as they make the decision to move from big city New York to rural Nebraska. After dropping everything (including their jobs and overbearing mother-in-law) to make the move from skyscrapers to farmhouses, they soon realize that the simpler life isn't as easy as they planned. Rio and Mike must now learn how to weather the storm as they are faced with unexpected challenges in their new life as farmers.

Cast Details:

Dax Shepard as Mike
Lake Bell as Rio
Ed Begley, Jr. as Rudy
Pam Grier as Constance Terry

Dax Shephard (Mike) is an actor known for his work in the feature films such as Without a Paddle, Let's Go to Prison, Employee of the Month and CHiPS. He is also known for playing Crosby Braverman in the hit NBC drama series Parenthood.

Lake Bell (Rio) is an actress known for her roles in TV series such as Boston Legal, How to Make it in America and Children's Hospital, and in films such as Million Dollar Arm and No Strings Attached.

Ed Begley, Jr. (Rudy) is an actor recognized for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere, as well as in films such as Pineapple Express, Batman Forever and For Your Consideration.

Pam Grier (Constance) is an actress known for her roles in films such as The Big Bird Cage, Coffy and Jackie Brown, and for TV series such as This Is Us, The L Word and Law & Order: SVU.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30PM ET)

In the pilot episode of Bless This Mess, newlyweds Rio and Mike decide to finally make the transition to small town living to escape the rat race of NYC. However, they quickly find that things are a bit more complicated than planned when they meet an interesting cast of characters, and find adjusting to Nebraska life may be different and more difficult than they thought.

Analysis:

Frankly, Bless This Mess is a series I have fairly low expectations about going in. Considering it was thrown onto the ABC schedule in late spring with only a 6 episode order, and given the show's hokey-seeming presence (seems an awful lot like Green Acres), I was expecting a show that would get a hard pass from me, personally. And yet, I found myself surprisingly charmed by Bless This Mess' aura. The show isn't hilarious yet, but it has a solid cast of characters and a lovable central couple, along with snappy writing and a true sense of heart that could make this a comedy to keep an eye on.

In a year that has been frankly low on worthwhile network sitcoms, Bless This Mess is the first show in a while I can say I think has a real, out-of-the-gate shot to be something worthwhile. This show, along with Abby's on NBC, has a scrappy charm that's been missing in new network comedies over the past year or so. For a while, network comedies were beginning to feel too focused on premise - I love The Good Place, but not every show needs to have as heavy-handed of a concept. Bless This Mess, though, is a show that could succeed based on its characters, not its (admittedly not very interesting) premise. This isn't too surprising. The show is partially produced by Liz Meriwether - aka, the mind behind New Girl. New Girl was another series with a not-so-great premise that wound up succeeding because of its focus on its excellent cast of characters. If Bless This Mess has a similar laser focus on its characters and focuses less on its somewhat silly premise, I wouldn't be surprised to see it taking a similar turn of events. The cast is giving it their all, and while the writing isn't quite there yet in these six episodes, I certainly see potential of what could be to come.

Conclusion:

Bless This Mess has a tired premise that threatens to sink it, but the show’s lovable cast of characters and snappy (if not yet great) writing makes it a show to keep an eye on. If ABC can give it a chance beyond its initial 6 episode order, this show has the potential to become a sweet and charming sitcom that could fit very nicely into ABC's sitcom landscape, and could make a worthwhile addition to the network comedy vault. Let's hope it's given the chance it needs to succeed, because it's been quite a while since a new network comedy took off and had a high level of quality.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Bless This Mess Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • When Calls the Heart

    Hallmark Channel has ordered a seventh season of the network's original, primetime drama series When Calls the Heart, it was announced by series star Erin Krakow during the premiere of the network's Spring Fever movie, Bottled with Love. The series of course features Lori Loughlin, but with her recent legal trouble, she will not be on the series anymore. Hallmark made no mention of the actress in their release to the press for this seventh season.

    Currently in its sixth season, the frontier drama When Calls the Heart's ratings momentum continues, with this season's debut episode ranking as the highest-rated premiere in the series' history. The program ranked as the #2 original scripted series of the week, only behind AMC's The Walking Dead, and marks the #3 original scripted series on cable in 2019-to-date. On a Live +3 basis, the program delivered a 2.9 Household rating, 3.1 million Total Viewers, and 449,000 Women 25-54. The episode reached over 3.6 million unduplicated total viewers.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, June 18

    The Conners - "Tangled Up in Blue" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Darlene is in for one surprise after another when David introduces his girlfriend, Blue (Juliette Lewis), at a parent-teacher conference and mentions that Mark and Harris will be spending the weekend with them. Dan hires Becky to help out at work, but they both come to learn that she might need more help than she can offer.

    American Housewife - "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    After coming to terms with the fact that she must share her work bonus with Greg, Katie encourages him to live a little and the two decide to splurge on an overnight getaway. Meanwhile, Oliver’s attempt at a rebellious streak ends in disaster; and after letting Anna-Kat down, Taylor comes to the realization that she needs to step up and be a better big sister.

    Modern Family - "I Love a Family" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    The Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan are going to be setting off more than a few fireworks when they get together at the annual Fourth of July parade where Jay will be acting as the grand marshal. Meanwhile, Haley’s goodbye with Arvin before his trip to Switzerland doesn’t go as well as she pictured it and is distracted by the return of an old flame.

    The Goldbergs - "8-Bit Goldbergs" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Adam is thrilled when he has to design his own video game for school, so he turns to his family for inspiration. Meanwhile, Beverly is worried about Pops’ gambling and ropes Bill Lewis into her latest scheme.

    Modern Family - "Kiss and Tell" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Haley needs a little help deciding whether or not to tell Arvin about her kiss with Dylan and goes to Mitch and Cam for their advice. Meanwhile, Gloria suspects Manny’s Canadian girlfriend is made up and wants to find out the real truth.

    black-ish - "Purple Rain" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    The family is shocked to learn that Jack and Diane are not familiar with the iconic music of Prince. One by one, each member of the family works to explain Prince’s tremendous impact on their lives through his music.

    The Detour - "The Search" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    The Parkers embark on a world-wide search to find their runaway daughter, Delilah.

    Sydney to the Max - "As Bad As She Gets" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Sydney surprises Max for his birthday by inviting adult Leo to visit from San Francisco; young Leo is worried that his parents will send him to a different school.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 17)

    Tuesday, June 18

    • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Catch Joel on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Betty Gilpin (GLOW/Nurse Jackie) - Betty drops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jacki Weaver (Blunt Talk) - Jacki is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Dax chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Rocky Carroll (Roc) - Rocky visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Robin Givens (Head of the Class) - Robin talks about Ambitions on NBC's Today in the 10am hour, on the BUILD Series at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College/Playing House/Gary Unmarried) - Keegan-Michael talks about Toy Story 4 on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Rev Run (All About the Washingtons) - Rev Run talks about his new health mission to stop diabetes on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jason Jones (The Detour) - Jason talks about The Detour on the BUILD Series at 3pm.


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

    Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two

    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 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 2
    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 (WBShop.com)
    05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
    06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
    06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    06/17 - Netflix Gets Funny with Pranks with Stranger Things Star; Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba Series Gets 2nd Season
    06/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 17, 2019)
    06/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fall Premiere Dates for CBS; CBS and Viacom in Merger Talks Yet Again
    06/14 - Fri-Yay: Reaction to The Good Place Ending; Antenna TV Brings Back Webster, What's Happening!! and What's Happening Now!!
    06/13 - New Chip 'n' Dale Coming to Disney+ in 2020; Inside the Actors Studio Moves to Ovation and Starts with Sitcom-Themed Show
    06/12 - TBS Celebrates Seinfeld's 30th Anniversary; Netflix Renews Russian Doll for Season 2
    06/11 - Netflix Series Adds Rising Star to New Series; Corporate Gets 3rd and Final Season
    06/10 - Comedy Central Schedules Lights Out with David Spade; NBC's The Good Place to End After Season 4
    06/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 10, 2019)
    06/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: A Sequel for Punky Brewster?; The Good Place Coming to an End After Fourth Season
    06/07 - Fri-Yay: 2019 New Sitcoms; Hulu Acquires Popular Comedy Letterkenny
    06/06 - Comedy Central to Roast Alec Baldwin; Christmas in July on Hallmark
    06/05 - CBS All Access Sets Aug. 15 for Why Women Kill; Dead to Me Gets Second Season

    06/04 - The CW's Late Summer 2019 Schedule; Tracy Morgan Hosts the 2019 ESPYs on ABC
    06/03 - Comedy Central Summer Stunts Include The Cleveland Show; Netflix's GLOW Returns August 9
    06/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 3, 2019)

    06/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Gives Greenlight to Nate Bargatze Comedy Pilot; NBC Cancels Pair of Sitcoms
    05/31 - Fri-Yay: NBC Cancels AP Bio Just As It Was Finding Its Stride; Showtime Orders Work in Progress
    05/30 - Final Space Returns for Season 2 But on Adult Swim; Cast Set for All That Revival on Nickelodeon
    05/29 - HBO's Divorce Starring Sarah Jessica Parker Returns July 1; Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Specials Return for 12th Straight Year Before NBA Finals Games
    05/28 - 2019 The Summer of MeTV Schedule; Disney Gets 2nd Season of Sydney to the Max
    05/27 - Memorial Day 2019 TV Marathons
    05/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 27, 2019)
    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