Wednesday, August 08, 2012

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Go On - Sneak Peek Tonight, Premieres Sept. 11; ION Television Acquires NUMB3RS



Go On

Go On - Tuesdays 9:00PM ET/PT on NBC
Sneak Peek Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 11:04PM ET/PT and
Premieres Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 9:00PM ET/PT


By Pavan

Matthew Perry (Friends, Mr. Sunshine) stars as Ryan King, a recent widower and sports talk radio host ready to get back to work after the loss of his wife. Ryan's alpha-male boss, Stephen (John Cho, FLASHFORWARD, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle), has a different plan in store for Ryan, making him attend grief counseling before returning to the air. A reluctant Ryan finds himself in a support group for "life change" where he meets an oddball cast of characters, all with their own backstories filled with varying degrees of loss. On his very first visit, Ryan convinces the group to deviate from their normal session and starts a tournament-style competition (March Sadness!) to find out whose story is the worst. Ryan's total lack of interest in "the healing process" proves distracting, and he soon butts heads with the by-the-books group leader, Lauren, played by Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti (Eli Stone, The Playboy Club). Back at work, Ryan is confronted with the fact that he hasn't really processed his grief and realizes Lauren and the other members of the group might be key in helping him move on. Starring Matthew Perry, Laura Benanti, Julie White, Suzy Nakamura, Tyler James Williams, Brett Gelman, and John Cho.


Cast Details:

* Matthew Perry as Ryan King
* Laura Benanti as Lauren
* Julie White as Anne
* Suzy Nakamura as Yolanda
* Tyler James Williams as Owen
* Brett Gelman as Mr. K
* John Cho as Steven

Matthew Perry (Ryan King) is perhaps best known for his role as Chandler on NBC's critically acclaimed comedy Friends. Since Friends concluded, Perry has continued to captivate worldwide audiences with his diverse talents in a range of projects. His versatility in both television and film makes him one of today's most accomplished and credible actors. Most recently, Perry guest starred in a multi-episode arc on The Good Wife, portraying an extremely charming Chicago lawyer with questionable ethics. He starred and served as executive producer and co-writer of Mr. Sunshine for ABC. The series was based on an idea conceived by Perry, and also starred Allison Janney, Andrea Anders, James Lesure and Nate Torrence. Additional television series include NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in a role written for him by Aaron Sorkin. He made his directorial debut with an episode of Scrubs in 2004, where he also guest starred in the episode alongside his father, John Perry, portraying his fictional father. Perry received an Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Joe Quincy on the long-running NBC drama, The West Wing. Additionally he received Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for his starring role in The Ron Clark Story. And his feature film credits include 17 Again, Birds of America, Numb, The Whole Nine Yards, The Whole Ten Yards, Three to Tango, Almost Heroes, Fools Rush In and Serving Sara.

Laura Benanti (Lauren) has brought her unique abilities to comedies, dramas and musicals since she took Broadway by storm at the age of 18. She received a Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her starring role in the Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Lincoln Center, where she also starred in Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), for which she garnered critical acclaim for her heartbreaking and brave performance. On TV, most recently she starred in NBC's The Playboy Club. Other television roles include recurring roles on The Big C, NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Life on Mars, as well as her heralded portrayal of Billie on Starved, and a recurring role on Eli Stone for ABC.

Julie White (Anne) most recently co-starred in Steven Spielberg's film Office Seekers, opposite Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field. She has been a staple in the indie film market in films such as Hello I Must Be Going, Breaking Upwards, Language of a Broken Heart, Inside Out, My Idiot Brother and Killing Karma. She has also been featured in all-three Transformers films, Michael Clayton opposite George Clooney, The Astronaut Farmer starring Billy Bob Thorton, The Nanny Diaries with Laura Linney, and many more. Her television credits include guest-starring roles on Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Six Feet Under and JAG. White also starred as a series regular in the '90s ABC comedy Grace under Fire.

Suzy Nakamura (Yolanda) began her career in the touring company of The Second City, and later opened the first two shows at The Second City Detroit. After moving to Los Angeles, she began guest starring on television, eventually landing recurring roles on The West Wing and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Nakamura has appeared in over 100 television episodes. She starred opposite Ted Danson in the ABC sitcom Help Me Help You and also on 10 Things I Hate About You. She was also a series regular on sitcoms Daddio and Imagine That. Recent guest star credits include In Plain Sight, How I Met Your Mother, Castle, The Middle, and Bones, as well as recurring roles on 8 Simple Rules, Modern Family and Men of a Certain Age.

Tyler James Williams (Owen) is perhaps best known for his starring role on the Emmy and NAACP Image Award-winning series Everybody Hates Chris for which he won the 2007 NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. He began acting at the age of four on Sesame Street and later co-starred in the animated series Little Bill. Additional television credits include House, Law & Order: SVU and numerous appearances in sketches on Saturday Night Live. Williams can be seen next in Tyler Perry's film, We the Peeples. He also starred in the feature film Unaccompanied Minors.

Brett Gelman (Mr. K) is an Upright Citizens Brigade regular, is currently co-starring in Adult Swim's Eagleheart. He has appeared in The Other Guys, directed by Adam McKay, and both seasons of Funny or Dies Presents. Additional credits include a guest starring role on The League, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Bored to Death.

John Cho (Steven) first came into the spotlight in the 1999 breakthrough hit comedy American Pie, in which he popularized the slang term "MILF," and recently reprised his role in the latest installment, American Reunion. He achieved near-household name status starring as Harold Lee in the cult comedies, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and A Very Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas. He completed shooting the next installment of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek franchise, reprising the role of Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu. He can also be seen in Len Wiseman's upcoming remake of the classic Total Recall, as well as Identity Theft, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy and directed by Seth Gordon, and Get a Job, starring Miles Teller, Nick Braun and Bryan Cranston and directed by Dylan Kidd. On television, Cho co-starred as Agent Demitri Noh in ABC’s drama series FlashForward and the Weitz Bros' Off Centre. In addition to numerous guest-starring roles, he recurred on the final season of Kitchen Confidential.


Pilot Plot:

#1 "Pilot" (Airs Wednesday, August 8, 2012)
After taking some time to deal with the death of his wife, sportscaster Ryan King is ready to push his feelings down and get back to work. However, Ryan's boss Steven, preferring that Ryan work through his grief first, refuses to let him back on air until he gets counseling. Reluctantly, Ryan joins a support group, where his lack of interest in healing not only makes therapy interesting but also may just serve as the breath of fresh air needed to get his fellow group members back on track to health.

Guest starring in "Pilot" are Terrell Owens as himself, Bill Cobbs as George, Tonita Castro as Fausta, Seth Morris as Danny, Sarah Baker as Sonia, Matt Knudsen as Jack Madden, Kimrie Lewis-Davis as Terrell's girlfriend, Allison Miller as Carrie and Khary Payton as Don.
The episode was written by Scott Silveri, and directed by Todd Holland.

Analysis:

Matthew Perry is back on NBC but this time on a single-camera comedy. We know he recently did Mr. Sunshine for ABC, which I found to be OK at best, per our review. It had potential but never found its groove despite the stellar cast. His character on that show was a miserable mess I think. I didn't find that to be unappealing, but apparently many did. On this show, Go On, he is a sports talk radio host, while on Mr. Sunshine he ran a sports arena. The central location for that show was an arena, but on this show it is more set at a group support session with the sports radio talk show mixed in. Perry's character on this show is Ryan King, who is the host of the sports radio talk show The Ryan King Show. The pilot starts off with him returning after a month off because his wife had passed away. He thinks he is ready to go back to work, but his boss Steven is not as convinced so he orders him to take 10 group support sessions. He is of course forced to go and is unwilling to participate but when the group support session leader is running late, he sort of takes over and brings in his sports knowledge and incorporates it into the group and makes it fun. He starts a "whose thing is the worst" bracket style. One of the group members, Owen (aka Chris from Everybody Hates Chris), suggests the game to be called "March Sadness."

This is where the fun and meat of the show begins. There are ten members of the group, now including Ryan. Each member is unique. There are many standouts, like George, Owen, Mr. K, Fausta and Yolanda. There are so many members in the group that they are not all series regulars...so hopefully some of these people like George and Fausta appear in all or most episodes. I think they can do away with a few characters like Don, in fact they did drop the character after the pilot, so you won't see him anymore. Anyway, just as they were having fun with "March Sadness," the group leader, Lauren, walks in and they start their normal session. I started thinking Ryan is kind of like Perry's character on Mr. Sunshine-- a guy with no feelings, as he was unwilling to open up. I was thinking if his character on Mr. Sunshine got married and then his wife died, he would be like Ryan King. But at the end of the pilot you realize that's not true and Ryan King is much a better person than Ben from Mr. Sunshine.

I think the chemistry between Ryan and Laura really works, especially after his second session. They have a really great scene inside her car. This is something to really watch in future episodes. In the pilot, there wasn't much set in the sports talk radio studio. It will be interesting how they incorporate both sides. Right now, the sports side needs a little work while the group support session really worked well. Since his boss Steven (John Cho) was originally intended to be a guest star, maybe in future episodes there will be more at the sports talk show. John Cho is now a series regular. I did like the scene towards the end of the show where Terrell Owens is Ryan's guest on his talk show. It was pretty funny and we realize how Jane, Ryan's deceased wife, died. After that scene, we realize Ryan King is just really heartbroken and he goes back to the support group after leaving after his second session.


Conclusion:

This is not really a sports comedy. In fact it is more of a support group comedy with a lot of heart. Yep, Perry's character actually means well on this show. The title implies that he is trying to "go on" with his life. He will take steps in getting there but he does actually care. This sitcom previews tonight with the pilot episode, airing commercial-free from 11:04-11:30pm. Episode two will not air until another month, though, on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at its regular night and time of Tuesdays at 9 on NBC.

It's going to be in a tough time slot with two other comedies that already have a following (and NCIS: LA on CBS). The difference is this comedy will have a head start not only after tonight but its first two weeks in September, as New Girl returns to Fox on Sept. 25. NBC is banking on this comedy to anchor their Tuesday night, so they have expectations it will do well, especially with former NBC star Matthew Perry headlining the series. The cast on this show is really good, even if they are not as known as the Mr. Sunshine cast. These characters are more relatable and likeable. One of the support group members, Yolanda, played by Suzy Nakamura was on a similar style series called Help Me Help You. That sitcom starred Ted Danson and aired on ABC. I thought that pilot was decent but future episodes didn't really hold up as well. I don't think it had the heart of this series' pilot, though. This pilot mixes it up well between funny and emotional. Let's hope it continues to do that and better incorporates the sports radio side as well. When those two mesh, then we are going to have a great comedy and Matthew Perry will be nominated for an Emmy. Right now it is good, but it has potential to be great. So "go on" and watch Go On because you're in store for a heartwarming comedy (which I was not expecting)!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, August 8 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Go On Photo Gallery

    Preview:






    ION Television has announced the addition of the popular police procedural series Numb3rs to its expanding general entertainment programming lineup. The content deal with CBS Television Distribution includes all six seasons (118 episodes) of the series and bolsters ION's solid programming foundation with another high-quality syndicated series. Numb3rs is set to premiere on ION during the 2012/13 television season. The Numb3rs deal follows another key programming addition for the network, as ION recently announced its first exclusive broadcast partnership with WWE for the original series WWE Main Event. Numb3rs also joins ION's "Positively Entertaining" lineup of hit series, including the original show Flashpoint, Criminal Minds, Cold Case, Psych, Without a Trace, George Lopez and Leverage.
    Currently Numb3rs is airing on cable network TNT in the late nights and in local syndication on weekends. Come this Fall, it will be gone from both as it will air also on MyNetwork TV Primetime, as we announced. We will bring you the TNT Fall 2012 schedule very soon, so stay tuned. We will let you know when exactly Numb3rs will air on ION, so stay with us!


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