Thursday, May 01, 2014

2014 Upfronts: Hulu and Crackle; Episodic Review: Surviving Jack - "She Drives Me Crazy" Airing Tonight on Fox

Hulu

Well, it's actually called a "NewFront" for Hulu and Crackle, but both had their annual presentations yesterday. For Hulu, among the new series is The Hotwives of Orlando, a Hulu Original Series, that will premiere on Tuesday, July 15. From Paramount Digital Entertainment, Hotwives is produced by Emmy© award-winning producer Jonathan Stern and Emmy© nominated producer Paul Scheer. Paramount Digital Entertainment is the studio behind the outrageous Emmy© nominated comedy Burning Love. All episodes will be available on Hulu Plus on July 15; the first two episodes will be available on Hulu.com, with a new episode releasing each week after that. The series is a laugh-out-loud parody of the phenomenon that is reality housewives shows. With an all-star cast that includes the Hotwives Casey Wilson as The Trophy Wife (Happy Endings), Angela Kinsey as The Religious Zealot (The Office), Kristen Schaal as The Drug Addled Former Child Star (Flight of the Conchords), Tymberlee Hill as The Entrepreneur (Drunk History), Danielle Schneider as The Bankrupt Overspender (Upright Citizens Brigade) and Andrea Savage as The Cougar (Step Brothers). With special guest stars including Kate Walsh, Weird Al Yankovic, Joey McIntyre, Stephen Tobolowsky, Paul Scheer and Paul Scheer (The League) who plays the Enthusiastic TV producer Matty Green.

Crackle

Crackle, the multi-platform digital entertainment network, released an exciting line-up of new original programming and returning series yesterday at the Digital Content NewFronts in New York City. Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle, Breaking Bad), Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), and sportscaster Dan Patrick were all on hand alongside Sony Pictures Television executives for Crackle's second year at the annual NewFronts presentations. The new line-up features more than 100 episodes of original programming including exciting new productions and returning hits across a variety of genres such as sports, comedy, thrillers, and music involving some of Hollywood's most sought-after talent including Jerry Seinfeld, Robert Downey Jr. Bryan Cranston, Jeremy Renner and Dan Patrick. New series includes a comedy titled Tightrope. Emmy(R)-Award winner Bryan Cranston returns to his comedic roots to executive produce this series that will replace a character from a classic detective series with a modern-day actor. The show juxtaposes the modern character, with irreverent comic sensibilities and also with older characters from another era to reshape the stories into contemporary comedy. A new drama Sequestered was also announced for a 12 episode run scheduled to premiere on Crackle in August. A sophisticated, intense thriller, starring Jesse Bradford, Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagemen), and Bruce Davison about a jury sequestered in a hotel while deliberating a court case with massive implications. Series is produced by Lifeboat Productions and created by Aaron Tracy.




On the next...Surviving Jack (Fox, Thursday 9:30pm):
By: Vincent

Fox's new comedy starring Christopher Meloni airs Thursdays at 9:30pm and we have just watched the next episode that airs tonight (May 1). In the episode airing tonight, "She Drives Me Crazy," Jack (Christopher Meloni) gets Rachel (Claudia Lee) a spot on the wrestling team, much to the chagrin of the wrestling coach (guest star Neil Flynn, The Middle, Scrubs). Meanwhile, Joanne (Rachael Harris) realizes that Frankie (Connor Buckley) is now too embarrassed to be seen with her during their annual mother-son trip.

When I watch Surviving Jack, the best word I can come up with is "competent." This is a show that knows what it's doing and does it pretty well. It's a nostalgia-based family sitcom (although the '90s references are increasingly becoming less prevalent) that wants to get some decent laughs out of you while getting you invested in some fairly well drawn, if slightly stereotypical, characters. It wants to make you think of your own childhood or adolescence with a smile, and it wants you to go "aww" at its sweet message of family togetherness it brings through at the end. And it does all of this quite well! In fact, unlike many family sitcoms, the "aww" moments feel genuinely earned here, because the characters feel like more than just archetypes. It's good, solid family sitcom stuff.



The problem is that we've had many "good, solid family sitcoms" over the years, and there's not much that makes Surviving Jack stand out in the crowd. The show is funny enough, but there are far funnier shows on television. The characters are pretty well-drawn, but they're not unique in the way that, say, the Heck kids (from The Middle) are unique. The shows' genuine sweetness is perhaps its best selling point, but it's not groundbreaking enough to really make Surviving Jack worth going out of your way for. This is probably why the show has sort of failed to gather traction – as good as everything here is, it's just good, and there isn't much of an effort to be anything more than "just good." There are elements here that could eventually make a genuinely great family sitcom, but the show may be taking too long to properly utilize them. Surviving Jack is not a bad way to spend a half hour, but with so many great comedies on TV, "not a bad way to spend a half hour" just isn't enough. B-


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, August 3

The Goldbergs - "Alligator Schwartz" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Erica fears that Geoff has moved on from their breakup and started dating someone else. Meanwhile, Adam decides to find Dave Kim a date to prom, once he remembers his pact with Dave that they won’t go to prom if they both don’t have dates.

Home Economics - "Bounce Hospital Rental, $250" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Connor invites all the cousins over for an epic sleepover to cheer up his daughter, Gretchen. Meanwhile, Tom is determined to prove he can be a fun uncle too.

The Conners - "A Cold Mom, a Brother Daddy and a Prison Baby" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Ben’s mom, Barb, arrives in town after an unexpected death and unveils shocking information from the past. Meanwhile, Becky and Emilio spend more time together.

black-ish - "Snitches Get Boundaries" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After one of Dre’s secrets with Pops is spilled to Ruby, he realizes that his relationships with each of his parents have changed since they got married and he no longer knows in whom to confide. Meanwhile, Bow surprises Jack and Diane with a brand-new car and tries to teach the twins how to drive.

Miracle Workers - "Oregon Trail: What Happens in Branchwater" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
The wagon train stops in the sinful town of Branchwater, luring Ezekiel into a night of debauchery and temptation; Benny finds his favorite saloon has transformed into an inauthentic tourist trap.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 2)

Tuesday, August 3

  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Catch Christian on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen/The Ellen Show) - Ellen is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) and Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Kristen and Dax chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/United States of Tara/Lucky/Sex and the City) - John appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mr. Corman/3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph talks about his role in the new series Mr. Corman on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kat Dennings (Dollface/2 Broke Girls/Raising Dad) - Kat appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Pooch Hall (The Game/Accidentally on Purpose) - Pooch is a guest on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tisha Campell (Outmatched/Dr. Ken/My Wife and Kids/Martin) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - A repeat of Tamron Hall celebrates the power of friendships with actresses and childhood friends Tisha Campell and Tichina Arnold, who co-starred in the classic sitcom Martin and are now working on a new talk show, so check your local lisitngs.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Prepon (Are You There, Chelsea?/That '70s Show) - Laura talks about the joys and challenges of being a new mother of two, and makes a quick and easy Mediterranean salad on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


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

Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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