Thursday, February 20, 2014

Three's Company, Too Close for Comfort Returning to Antenna TV; NBC Midseason Pilot Review: About a Boy - Premieres Saturday After the Olympics

Three's Company Too Close for Comfort

Come and knock on our door! Three's Company and Too Close for Comfort will re-join Antenna TV's schedule beginning Monday, April 7, 2014. The sitcoms have not aired on the network since the end of December 2012 and have been reacquired from DLT Entertainment. The new multi-year year deal includes rights to the Three's Company spin-offs The Ropers and Three's a Crowd, which will be placed in the Three's Company rotation like before. Antenna TV, Tribune Broadcasting's multicast network, which airs on 84 affiliates across the U.S. reaching 70% of TV households, will add Too Close for Comfort to the lineup weekdays 9-10am ET and 1-2am ET, being paired with Three's Company airing 10-11am ET and 12-1am ET. On weekends, Three's Company will air Saturday 7-8pm ET and Sunday nights from 12-1am ET.

Three's Company and Too Close for Comfort join Antenna TV's lineup of classic favorites such as I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, Father Knows Best, Bachelor Father, Hazel, The Partridge Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Diff'rent Strokes, WKRP in Cincinnati, All in the Family, Good Times, The Three Stooges, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Jack Benny Program, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Gidget, The Flying Nun, It Takes a Thief and Antenna TV Theater, a movie block featuring MGM and Sony movies. We will have the full Antenna TV line-up starting April 7 once the network makes it official! Stay tuned!


About a Boy

About a Boy - Tuesdays at 9:00PM ET/PT on NBC
Special Premiere Saturday, February 22, 2014 following The Olympics at approx. 11:05PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Based on a film of the same name, About a Boy follows Will Freeman (David Walton) after being granted a life of free tie, free love, and freedom from financial woes after he writes a hit song. But when single mom Fiona (Minnie Driver) and her 11-year-old son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) move next door, his life is turned upside down.

Cast Details:


David Walton as Will Freeman
Minnie Driver as Fiona Brewer
Benjamin Stockham as Marcus Brewer
Al Madrigal as Andy

David Walton (Will Freeman) starred in two past NBC comedies, Perfect Couples and Bent. He is also well-known as a recurring character on New Girl and for his guest appearances on shows such as The Loop and Happy Endings.

Minnie Driver (Fiona Brewer) is an Oscar-nominated film actress. She has an extensive list of film credits, including Good Will Hunting, which earned her the nomination. Other credits include Sleepers, Tarzan, Ella Enchanted, Hope Springs, The Phantom of the Opera, The Simpsons Movie, and Barney's Version.

Benjamin Stockham (Marcus Brewer) most recently starred in the NBC sitcom 1600 Penn. He also has appeared in shows such as Criminal Minds, CSI: NY, and Once Upon a Time.

Al Madrigal (Andy) is a stand-up comedian who has released several stand-up specials and has appeared on talk shows such as Conan, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He also starred in two CBS comedies – Welcome to the Captain and Gary Unmarried.


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Saturday, February 22 at approx. 11:05PM ET/PT)

Will Freeman lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He's single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus, move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will's not so sure about being a kid's new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will's son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will's house.

Analysis:

The word I can best use to describe About a Boy is "competent." This is a good thing – there's a surprising amount of times I'll watch a pilot and wonder if the people who made it have ever watched television before. But About a Boy comes from seasoned TV creator Jason Katims (creator of both Friday Night Lights and Parenthood), and his experience is clear. Everything in the About a Boy pilot is very well-calculated. The characters are clear in their intentions and personas, and the events flow smoothly and understandably. The dialogue is well-written, witty and natural in the way it often is on Katims' shows. Each character makes the journey you'd expect them to make in a pilot episode, and by the end of the episode, you have a pretty good sense of what this show is going to be from here on out, to the point where you could probably take a wild guess for what the next three episode summaries are going to be and not be all that far off. The show has a very clear sense of what it is and what it wants to be, which is often times not at all the case, even with a good pilot.

The question is whether it's all a bit too calculated. I think it's probably too soon to tell, but I'm getting a similar vibe from this show as I have from just about every other NBC comedy that's premiered in the past 3 years. The show is clearly trying to appeal to that magical "broad" demographic that NBC so desperately dreams about, from the accessible premise to the overly pleasing aesthetics to the fact that it all ends to the beat of a One Direction song. What tripped up potentially promising but similarly "broad audience" aimed shows like Up All Night, Go On and The Michael J. Fox Show was that they became so watered down that they stopped appealing to anyone and just became incredibly boring. The real "broad" comedies of television are many things, but they are very much not boring, and they usually have some distinguishable traits that make them appeal to strongly to broad audiences. NBC's newer comedies are just pure vanilla paste – they're fine and mostly enjoyable, but they're the kind of shows you watch and then never think about again. That's the worst thing a TV show can be.

It's not clear yet that About a Boy is going to go down this route, but it's hard to shake the feeling that it will given NBC's recent history, and given the show itself, which is...fine. It's not really funny at all, and at times it makes you wonder if this show wouldn't have worked better as a drama (a genre that Katims has mastered twice now), but it's enjoyable, it has a great cast that's doing predictably great work, and there's hints of potential there. But it's also not a show I can see myself thinking about again after I finish this review. That could change, but I wouldn't place any bets on it.

Conclusion:

About a Boy is a decent show with strong acting and dialogue and a potentially interesting premise. But there's nothing particularly special about it, and given NBC's recent history, it's hard to see the show overcoming its less interesting aspects and turning into something great. As of now, it's far from a must-watch, but there is some undeniable potential, and it would be nice to see the show overcome the NBC of it all and make use of its great cast.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Saturday, February 20, 2014 at approx. 11:05PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • About a Boy Photo Gallery

    Preview:


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    • Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time/Happily Divorced/9 to 5) - Rita talks about The Prank on NBC's Today some time between 7-9am and in the 9am hour. She chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Jane Seymour (B Positive/Modern Men) - NBC's Today catches up with Jane in the 9am hour.
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