Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ABC Midseason Pilot Review: Mixology - Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 26; USA Network's Benched Adds Another Cast Member

Mixology

Mixology - Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Pavan

One bar. One night. This high-concept comedy from the writers of The Hangover chronicles the misadventures of 10 people in search of love. Or sex. But mostly love. Okay fine, sex. Recently dumped by his fiancée, Tom (Blake Lee) hasn't been out on the town in a decade. His best friends, the handsome, confident Cal (Craig Frank) and wise-ass Bruce (Andrew Santino), are throwing Tom back into the dating pool whether he likes it or not. Tom's first encounter is with Maya (Ginger Gonzaga), an attorney who's as beautiful as she is brutal. Before long, Tom is in tears. But the night is still young and the boys have plenty of people to meet in Mix's chic crowd, including Maya's engaged friend, Liv (Kate Simses), aggressive and sexy single mom Jessica (Alexis Carra), Jessica's gorgeous yet catty frenemy Fabienne (Frankie Shaw), bubbly cocktail waitress Kacey (Vanessa Lengies), hot and mysterious bartender Dominic (Adan Canto), and failed internet entrepreneur Ron (Adam Campbell). As the night unfolds and closing time approaches, some people may get lucky while others are destined to spend the night alone. The question of the season is...who's going home with whom?

Cast Details:
Blake Lee as Tom
Craig Frank as Cal
Andrew Santino as Bruce
Ginger Gonzaga as Maya
Kate Simses as Liv
Alexis Carra as Jessica
Frankie Shaw as Fabienne
Vanessa Lengies as Kacey
Adan Canto as Dominic
Adam Campbell as Ron

Blake Lee (Tom) got his start on the hit series Parks and Recreation where he recurred as a guest star as Derek, April's oddball "boyfriend." His work on the show gave him exposure and led to various other roles in both film and TV. In addition to acting, Blake is currently writing a comedic screenplay with his friend and former Parks and Recreation co-star, Aubrey Plaza.

Craig Frank (Cal) has been pretty blessed to have worked in the industry, working in commercial ads for Nike, McDonalds, Samsung, Lexus, and Coke -- just to name a few. Now, Frank has his big break on this TV series.

Andrew Santino (Bruce) has guest starred on Family Tree on HBO, Children's Hospital on Adult Swim, Arrested Development on Netflix & The Office on NBC. Santino was named Comedy Central's Top 10 Comics to Watch and was most recently seen on Adam Devine's House Party, which aired on Comedy Central. Santino began his career by writing and starring on MTV's final season of PUNK'D.

Ginger Gonzaga (Maya) has guest starred in numerous television shows including CBS's The Millers, Fox's The Finder, and Family Guy, but is most recently known for her recurring role as Jim Jefferies's frustrated girlfriend on FX's critically acclaimed dark comedy Legit. In features, Ginger was seen in the Seth Macfarlane hit summer comedy Ted for Universal, and will next be seen in the indie Someone Marry Barry opposite Ed Helms and Tyler Labine. She has leant her comedy writing skills to Comedy Central for a live touring show starring David Koechner, Abby Elliott and Owen Benjamin, as well as Hulu for their daily series, The Morning After, which she also hosted.

Kate Simses (Liv) began her career with guest spots on shows such as Comedy Central's Important Things with Demetri Martin, and NBC's 30 Rock, Law and Order: SVU, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Her most recent film work includes roles in What's Your Number with Ana Farris and the upcoming That Awkward Moment. Kate has voiced characters on cartoons for Nickelodeon, CBS, and many incredibly angst-y books on tape for teens. She also co-produced and starred in the original web series Sylvia Plath: Girl Detective.

Alexis Carra (Jessica) has been on top Broadway shows including Wicked, Sweet Charity, and Fame on 42nd St. After closing the Broadway show The Pirate Queen, she guest starred on TV series such as Grey's Anatomy, Castle, The Mentalist, and Bones.

Frankie Shaw (Fabienne) most recently appeared on HBO's Hello Ladies, opposite Stephen Merchant, Christine Woods and Kevin Weisman. She recently guest starred on CBS' 2 Broke Girls, opposite Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. She previously starred in the Spike TV/Lionsgate half-hour series, Blue Mountain State. Shaw will next be seen in the independent film, The Pretty One, for director Jenée LaMarque, opposite Jake Johnson and Zoe Kazan, as well as Andrew Levitas' Lullaby, opposite Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, Jessica Brow-Findlay, Amy Adams, and Terrence Howard, which screened at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. She recently shot Rob Pearlstein's Someone Marry Barry, opposite her Mixology co-star Ginger Gonzaga, Tyler Labine and Hayes MacArthur. Shaw was also seen in the Wrekin Hill Entertainment film, The End of Love, directed by Mark Webber, opposite Mark Webber, Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried, and Jason Ritter, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. She also voiced the role of Victoria Primm on the animated PBS show Nate the Great, and has appeared on Law & Order and One Life to Live.

Vanessa Lengies (Kacey) was last seen as Sugar Motta on the hit Fox series Glee. She previously starred opposite Jada Pinkett Smith on the popular TNT series HawthoRNe. Acting professionally since childhood, Lengies began her career working on several popular Canadian TV series such as Are You Afraid of the Dark and Radio Active. Canadian audiences will also remember her as co-host with Elisha Cuthbert on the hugely successful Popular Mechanics for Kids. She made her American series regular debut when she was cast as Roxanne Bojarski on the NBC drama series American Dreams, which portrayed Philadelphia in the era of "American Bandstand." Lengies work on the show won the hearts of audiences across America, made her a household name and earned her a Teen Choice Award nomination. Lengies has also made a name for herself on the big screen with lead roles in audience favorites like Stick It, Waiting and The Perfect Man. She co-starred in My Suicide, which won several best film awards including the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for Best Feature Film- Generation 14plus.

Adan Canto (Dominic) is an established actor in his native Mexico and has recently made his mark in the U.S. This past January, he made his stateside debut as series regular in the Kevin Williamson drama, The Following, alongside Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. Additionally, Adan stars in Fox's upcoming X-MEN: Days of Future Past where he plays Sunspot, one of the new mutants.

Adam Campbell (Ron) most recently had a recurring role on the last season of Fox's Touch, playing the corrupt Tony Rigby opposite Lukas Hass and Kiefer Sutherland. Adam's work has included other series regular roles such as CBS's cult-favorite Harper's Island, as well as recurring and guest starring appearances on a number of noteworthy television shows such as 2 Broke Girls, Best Friends Forever, Parenthood, and Up All Night. On the big screen, his credits include The Five Year Engagement and he was the male lead in Fox's spoof films Epic Movie and Date Movie.

Pilot Plot:

We got to watch the first three episodes, so this review will be based on that.

#1. "Tom & Maya" (airs Wednesday, February 26 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

In the premiere episode for the series, recently dumped by his fiancée, Tom hasn't been out on the town in a decade. His best friends, the handsome, confident Cal and wise-ass Bruce, are throwing Tom back into the dating pool whether he likes it or not. Tom's first encounter is with Maya, an attorney who's as beautiful as she is brutal -- before long, Tom is in tears. But the night is still young and the boys have plenty of people to meet in Mix's chic crowd, including Maya's engaged friend, Liv, aggressive and sexy single mom Jessica, Jessica's gorgeous yet catty frenemy Fabienne, bubbly cocktail waitress Kacey, hot and mysterious bartender Dominic and failed internet entrepreneur Ron. As the night unfolds and closing time approaches, some people may get lucky while others are destined to spend the night alone.

"Tom & Maya" was written by written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and directed by Larry Charles.

#2. "Liv & Ron" (airs Wednesday, March 5 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

After a chance meeting outside of the bar, the sweet and innocent Liv is charmed by the sophisticated Brit, Ron, and the two have instant chemistry. Meanwhile, Jessica and her frenemy Fab, start a friendly competition to win the affections of Dominic, the very hot bartender. Tom, Bruce and Cal are still on the hunt for some ladies, and even though Tom is smitten over Maya, he shockingly comes through and takes one for the team.

"Liv & Ron" was written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and directed by Michael McDonald.

#3. "Bruce & Jessica" (airs Wednesday, March 12 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

Bruce is as abrasive as they come and when he sets his eyes on Jessica, a single mom from New Jersey, he thinks she's easy prey. He's very quickly rejected, but he ignores Tom and Cal's advice to abort the mission and he continues to pursue her. Meanwhile, Liv decides to indulge her curiosity with Ron, but that leads to some unexpected trouble.

"Bruce & Jessica" was written by Ira Ungerleider and directed by Adam Davidson.

Analysis:

This is a very unique show. It's something different and out of the box and having watched the first three episodes, I'm hooked. Each episode focuses on two characters and we get to learn quite a lot. I really like character-driven shows and this is a solid one. We have 10 characters on this show and while we don't know much about some of them yet after three episodes, we care enough to stick around. I really like how they focus on a "couple" for each episode but not exclusively to that couple. We get to see how the relationship folds (or unfolds). Like the couples, we enter the night as strangers and are in for the ride. The most funniest characters so far have been the three guy friends - Tom, Bruce and Cal. They bring the funny and so far have been heavily featured in each episode (maybe because 2 of the 3 episodes are theirs so far). They might be the bread and butter of the show because you root for them and laugh with them. You have the classic wimp, the classic goofball and the classic wiseguy.

The rest of the cast is good, too. Vanessa Lengies as Kacey and Ginger Gonzaga as Maya bring the sex appeal, while Kate Simses as Liv brings the innocence. Kate's character reminds me of Soleil Moon-Frye. Gotta love that voice. And for you gals out there, I'm sure you'll love Dominic and Ron. This is a young and hip show, for sure. Without giving away any of the plotlines, some might find unlikely love, some might find true love and some might not find anything...yet. This is a ride you'll want to be a part of, because it's one night and you never know what might happen at the end of the night. You'll be invested and intrigued. And there may or may not be a kiss in episode three. If so, you'll want to see which couple that is!

Conclusion:

This is a solid show. It's not perfect yet, but it is very watchable. There are clever lines that you'll certainly laugh at. There are no pratfalls or gimmicky laughs, so it might not be laugh-out-loud like the typical sitcom, but that's fine. Following Emmy-award winning Modern Family, which is a classic character-driven series, I can see why they would want to air it after that series. Hopefully fans of good writing and good characters will stick around because they might be pleasantly surprised. This series might be finally the hit following that mega sitcom. It's better than the hit or miss Super Fun Night, which relied on gimmicks most of the time. Fans of The Hangover will certainly love this comedy since it comes from the people who made that funny movie.

I watched the pilot and wanted to see more. That's always a good sign of audience engagement. I think it is the characters that made me want to keep watching. Once you watch one, you have to watch the rest. I mean, the show takes place on one night. Don't be a party-pooper and leave the party early after just one sampling. Or don't be late to the party, so tune in tomorrow night at 9:30|8:30c. This is certainly better than the other recent mid-season comedy premieres this month (About a Boy, Growing Up Fisher), so tune in America and see what we mean. Mixology is fun, fresh and will be a new favorite for many. It's like eating potato chips, you can't just have one.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Mixology Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • Jolene Purdy

    Jolene Purdy has been tapped as a series regular on USA Network's upcoming courtroom comedy Benched. Purdy will play Micah, an intern in the public defender's office. She joins previously announced Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted) and Oscar Nunez (The Office). This comedy is from ABC Signature and The Mark Gordon Company. The sitcom is a single-camera half-hour courtroom comedy that focuses on Nina (Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion, and finds herself working as a public defender. Her personal and professional worlds are turned upside down when she joins the ranks of the legal world's underdogs and very quickly realizes that the law isn't quite as fair as she once thought. Jay Harrington stars as Nina's new colleague, Phil, a tall, dark and handsome, if not a little scruffy, public defender and avid gambler. We still do not have a premiere date yet, but as a reminder USA Network will launch new comedy Sirens next Thursday (March 6) at 10pm


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, May 28

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

    Friday, May 27

    • Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Watch Josh on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jenna Fischer (The Office/Splitting Up Together) and Angela Kinsey (The Office/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Jenna and Angela talk about their new book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There, on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - David appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Courteney Cox (Shining Vale/Cougar Town/Friends/Family Ties) - Courteney is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Mayim Bialik (Call Me Kat/The Big Bang Theory/Blossom/Molloy) - Mayim appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric is a guest on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jennifer Grey (Red Oaks/It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer talks about her new memoir, Out of the Corner: A Memoir, on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Glen Powell (Scream Queens) - Glen talks about Top Gun: Maverick on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (February-May)

    ALT= Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release) Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)

    02/08 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Ninth Season
    02/22 - Everybody Hates Chris - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    02/22 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Eight
    03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    03/15 - Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season
    03/15 - The Proud Family - The Complete Original Series - Anniversary Collection
    03/22 - The Honeymooners Specials - The Complete Collection
    03/29 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    03/29 - Young Rock - Season One
    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
    05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    05/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: First Look at Night Court Reboot Cast; Ellen Comes to an End After 19 Seasons
    05/27 - Birdgirl Returns June 19 on Adult Swim; Eureka! Gets All-Star Cast
    05/26 - Seinfeld Joins Nick at Nite on Memorial Day; New Netflix Series Tops Weekly Chart
    05/25 - Black Comedy Revolution Doc to Air on A&E; MTV Movie & TV Awards to Air on Multiple Nets
    05/24 - Abbott Elementary Star to Host ABC Game Show; Amazon Orders The Hospital
    05/23 - Seth MacFarlane's Peacock Comedy Series Ted Rounds Out Cast; Twisted Metal Comedy Series in the Works
    05/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 23, 2022)
    05/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fall Broadcast Network Lineups Out; The CW Looking to Get Back Into Sitcom Business
    05/20 - HBO Renews Barry for Season 4; Apple TV+ Comedy Trying Returns in July; Remembering Maggie Peterson of The Andy Griffith Show
    05/19 - The CW Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Rick and Morty Returns as Anime on Adult Swim
    05/18 - CBS Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Turner Upfront Updates
    05/17 - ABC Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Pete Davidson Comedy Adds Edie Falco
    05/16 - NBC Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Fox Upfront 2022-23: Call Me Kat and Welcome to Flatch Renewed, Adds Two New Animated Comedies and Three New Dramas
    05/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 16, 2022)
    05/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Fall Renewals and Cancellations; Married... with Children Animated Reboot in the Works
    05/13 - NBC Renews 3 Sitcoms, Cancels 2; CBS and The CW Hand Out Orders & Pink Slips; Remembering Mike Hagerty and Sitcom Producer/Writer George Yanok
    05/12 - NBC Orders Lopez vs. Lopez Sitcom for 2022-23 Season; Amazon Renews Upload for Season 3
    05/11 - Disney's Bunk'd Returns June 10 for Season 6; Paramount+ to Be Exclusive SVOD Home of Ghosts
    05/10 - MeTV Network Adds The A-Team for The Summer of Me; HBO Max Renews Two Comedies for Season 2
    05/09 - Never Have I Ever Season 3 Premieres August 12; Netflix's The Upshaws Return in June
    05/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 9, 2022)
    05/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Canceled; Quantum Leap Reboot Picked Up at NBC
    05/06 - Hulu Comedy Maggie Gets Premiere Date; Chad Returns July 11 on TBS, While HBO Max Series Get Second Runs on TBS and TNT; Remembering David Birney of Bridget Loves Bernie
    05/05 - Freeform Summer 2022 Schedule; The Waltons Return to The CW This Holiday Season
    05/04 - Netflix Orders No Good Deed, from Dead to Me Creator; Cristela Alonzo Returns for New Comedy Special
    05/03 - That '70s Show Cast to Reunite on That '90s Show; Teri Hatcher and James Denton Reunite Again
    05/02 - Antenna TV's Always Mother's Day Marathon; The Real Celebrates Mother's Day with Classic TV Guests
    05/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 2, 2022)
    04/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Conners Close to Season Five Renewal; James Corden Leaving The Late Late Show
    04/29 - Fri-Yay: Netflix's Struggles Create Question for the Future of Television; Hulu Acquires Schitt's Creek
    04/28 - Starz Comedy Run the World Returns with More Stars; HBO Max Orders Spin-off of Harley Quinn Animated Comedy Series