Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fox Mid-Season Pilot Review: Sons of Tucson - Premieres March 14

We will preempt our weekly blog DVD review for a special pilot review for Fox's upcoming sitcom Sons of Tucson, which launches tomorrow night. See if it is worth watching or not by reading our review by skees53:

Sons of Tucson

Sons of Tucson - Sundays 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 9:30PM ET/PT

What do you get when three out-of-control kids have a father who suddenly ends up in prison and the kids want to do everything possible to avoid living with a crazy cat lady under foster care? You get Sons of Tucson, Fox's latest sitcom about an unsuspecting sporting goods store employee who is down on his luck in life, getting the opportunity to suddenly become a father.

Ron Snuffkin (Tyler Labine) is just out of a relationship gone wrong and trying to make it in Tucson, living in his Ford Taurus station wagon and working at a sporting goods store. Life isn’t going all that great, but it is all about to change.

Enter the Gunderson kids: Gary (Frank Dolce), Brandon (Matthew Levy), and Robby (Benjamin Stockham). They come from a well-off family, but the only problem is that their mother left home some time ago and their father is off to prison for 25 years--or until he can escape. Seeing Ron as the perfect patsy, they recruit him to play the role of father for a while, and that role keeps taking on more and more responsibilities in this series.

Cast Details:

* Tyler Labine as Ron Snuffkin
* Frank Dolce as Gary Gunderson
* Matthew Levy as Brandon Gunderson
* Benjamin Stockham as Robby Gunderson

Tyler Labine (Ron) is a Canadian-born actor best known from his role as Bert 'Sock' Wysocki in the series Reaper. He also has television credits from smaller roles in the series Invasion and Boston Legal, as well as several other series.

The remainder of the cast is even less familiar to viewers than Labine. Frank Dolce (Gary) appeared in the original Broadway production of Billy Elliot as Michael. Matthew Levy (Brandon) also has extensive experience on the stage in productions such as MacBeth, The Full Monty, A Christmas Story, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Benjamin Stockham (Robby) appeared in the film Quarantine and also had a single appearance on the series Criminal Minds.

Plot:

For the review, we saw the first and second episode of the series. The series is scheduled to air 13 episodes and will run into the summer (ratings pending).

In the pilot episode (airing March 14 at 9:30pm), the Gunderson kids, having just been orphaned by their father who was sent to prison, find the perfect person to play the role of their father until he is released (or escapes): Ron Snuffkin, an employee at the sporting goods store. Ron accepts this role without any hesitation at all and now has to take on all of the roles of father, beginning with enrolling the kids in school, introduce his new family to his old family, and trying to keep a tight lid on these out-of control kids. Meanwhile, the kids have to help him try to avoid a thug who just wants his money.

In the second episode, "The Break In," (airing March 21 at 9:30pm) there is a series of burglaries in the neighborhood and Ron sees this as a perfect opportunity to exploit the kids. Since they are making him live in the shed, he decides to stage a burglary in the home where he can come in to "save" the kids... and hopefully convince them to allow him to move in to the house.

Analysis:

The series is a single-camera sitcom with no laugh track at all, which is a common characteristic of most sitcoms these days. It might be a good thing that there is no laugh track, as there really isn't anything funny about the series.

The entire premise of this series makes no sense, at all. The only part that makes any sense at all is three boys having a father go to prison, but beyond that, nothing about the series is even remotely realistic or even of any artistic value to embellish. The series fails to explain why the kids are not in foster care (where they would be in the real world), why they randomly picked this one guy to be his dad, why he would even agree to it after a brief 30-second discussion.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the series isn't even funny. In watching both of the first two episodes, I didn't laugh even one time, and at best only found a few small moments even mildly amusing. Even in the worst sitcoms that I've ever seen, I have found a few moments where I couldn't help but to laugh, but that wasn't the case in this series.

One slightly redeeming factor, though, is the actors who play the kids on the series. Despite their lack of television experience, I thought that they did well in their roles, but at the same time, their acting style is not quite the style that works on a sitcom. They would be perfect for a family drama, but are out of place on a sitcom, especially a sitcom of this style.

Conclusion:

So, let's take bets on how long this show will last. Fox has committed to 13 episodes. I couldn't imagine all 13 of them actually airing. This is an awful show that has been placed in a timeslot that it just can't win. It doesn't fit in at all on the Sunday night lineup and is going to have a detrimental effect on the ratings of the other Sunday night programs. So not only do we have an awful show, but we also have an awful show that is going to weaken the rest of the lineup (which could be much stronger if they'd keep it more stable), even if it is at the end of the night in the lineup. I can see the series lasting for maybe a month, although you never quite know what Fox will do.

Fox has to come up with something good in the live-action/half-hour sitcom segment, but this series is not it, at all. A plot full of holes and missing explanations and not a funny moment to be found is a recipe for disaster. The sun will set on Tucson before you know it.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 2/5
Funniness: 1/5
Overall: 1.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 03/13/10

Discuss the show after you watch it on Sunday, March 14 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Sons of Tucson Photo Gallery

  • Preview:


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, August 13

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 8)

    Friday, August 12

    • Kumail Nanjiani (Bless the Harts/Silicon Valley) - Watch Kumail on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Charlotte Nicdao (Mythic Quest) - Charlotte appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Star Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil will be on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Jean Smart (Hacks/Samantha Who?/Center of the Universe/In-Laws/Style & Substance/Designing Women) - Jean is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Zazie Beetz (Atlanta) - Zazie chats about the new season of Atlanta on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Portia de Rossi (Better Off Ted/Arrested Development/Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher/Too Something) - Portia is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Dove Cameron (Schmigadoon!/Liv and Maddie) - Dove appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane discusses the Broadway revival of Funny Girl on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Lisa Ann Walter (Abbott Elementary/Life's Work/My Wildest Dreams) - Lisa is a guest on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi talks about A League of Their Own on CBS Mornings sometime between 7-9am.
    • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever) - Mindy and Maitryi talk about Never Have I Ever on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. Mindy will also be on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

    Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release) The Neighborhood - Season Four The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three

    04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
    04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
    05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
    05/13 - The Donna Reed Show - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Time Life)
    05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
    06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / Season Two
    07/19 - The Neighborhood - Season Four
    07/19 - Reno 911! - The Hunt for QAnon (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    07/26 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three / Season Four
    08/16 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season (Warner Bros. - Canada)
    08/16 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    08/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Game Shows Moving to Primetime Emmys; Ring Doorbell Viral Video Show in the Works
    08/12 - Apple TV+ Renews Physical for Season 3; Lifetime Orders It's a Wonderful Lifetime and Ripped from the Headlines Titles for Fall & Winter
    08/11 - Hallmark Original Series Sets Cast; Remembering Pat Carroll, Roger E. Mosley and Vin Scully
    08/10 - Cobra Kai Returns Sept. 9 on Netflix; Marlon Wayans Gets Starz Comedy
    08/09 - COZI TV Celebrates Emergency! 50th Anniversary with Documentary; Kaley Cuoco Heads to Peacock for Comedic Thriller Series
    08/08 - FETV Acquires Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Disney+ Orders 2nd Season of Robin Roberts Talk Show
    08/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 8, 2022)
    08/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Everybody Still Hates Chris Animated Series in the Works; HBO Max and Discovery+ Merging Into One
    08/05 - Disney+ Series Premiere Dates, Includes Dancing with the Stars; Hallmark Orders New Original Drama
    08/04 - NBC Moving Days of Our Lives to Peacock, Replacing with News Show; Selena + Chef Returns on HBO Max
    08/03 - FX's Atlanta Final Season Launches Sept. 15; Elisabeth Moss Gets New Hulu Series
    08/02 - Showtime Orders Comedy Pilot Titled Mason; NBC Renews Weakest Link Revival for Season 3
    08/01 - HBO's Los Espookys Returns in September; Good Grief Is Back on IFC
    07/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 1, 2022)
    07/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Max Headroom Reboot in Works at AMC Networks; Jeopardy! to Continue Dual Host Plan
    07/29 - HBO Max and Hulu to Share Streaming Rights to Abbott Elementary; Reboot Gets Premiere Date
    07/28 - ABC to Present Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter; Remembering Tony Dow of Leave it to Beaver and Paul Sorvino
    07/27 - The Orville Coming to Disney+ and Continues on Hulu; Retta Continues Partnership with HGTV
    07/26 - Mythic Quest Returns for 10 Episodes in Fall; Patton Oswalt's Netflix Comedy Special We All Scream Premieres September 20
    07/25 - American Dad! Returns Labor Day on TBS; Krapopolis Gets Special Nov. 27 Preview on Fox
    07/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 25, 2022)
    07/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Abbott Elementary Given Full Second Season; Preview of New Beavis and Butt-Head Episode
    07/22 - Ghosts Dives Into the Metaverse with a Game; Jo Koy Gets 4th Netflix Special; Remembering Rebecca Balding of Soap
    07/21 - South Park's 25th Anniversary Concert Event; FETV's Historic June Numbers
    07/20 - Hulu's This Fool Premieres August 12; Mo'Nique Gets Netflix Comedy Special
    07/19 - Apple TV+ Comedy Central Park Returns in September; Leah Remini Game Show Is Back on Aug. 1
    07/18 - Paramount+ Revives Criminal Minds; AMC Network Sizzling in August with Hot Originals
    07/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 18, 2022)
    07/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Beavis and Butt-Head Premiere Date Set; TBS Abruptly Cancels Chad Hours Before Season Premiere
    07/15 - Alfonso Ribeiro Joins Dancing with the Stars as Co-Host; Archer Returns for Season 13 in August
    07/14 - Reboot Premieres Fall 2022 on Hulu; Abbott Elementary Fan Experience in San Diego
    07/13 - 74th Emmy Awards Nominations; Apple TV+ Renews Loot For Season 2