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

Thursday, December 12

Young Sheldon - "Teenager Soup and a Little Ball of Fib" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon fakes being sick to avoid a swim test at school. Also, Dr. Sturgis spies on Meemaw’s new boyfriend.

The Unicorn - "Anna and the Unicorn" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Wade is giddy, his daughters are amused and his friends are excited when he has his first crush since becoming single again. Also, Grace and Natalie take advantage of their dad going on dates by having friends over and it starts to get out of hand.

Mom - "Higgledy-Piggledy and a Cat Show" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie is forced to relive painful Christmas memories when Christy recounts tales from her childhood to Bonnie’s sponsee, Patty (Kate Micucci).

Carol's Second Act - "Merry December 19th" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Carol excitedly plans an early Christmas celebration for Jenny, but Jenny’s preoccupied with her secret first date with Daniel. Also, the doctors investigate a case of food poisoning at an office holiday party.

Superstore - "Negotiations" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jonah and Sandra represent the Cloud 9 employees at union contract negotiations with corporate. Worried about the union’s fate, Amy, Dina and Cheyenne distract themselves by looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Mateo, Garrett and Glenn compete to see who can sell an unsellable item.

Perfect Harmony - "Merry Jaxmas" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Reverend Jax is visited by his charismatic parents, Arthur helps him overcome his lifelong feelings of living in their shadow, and encourages him to embrace his way of ministering in time for their Christmas performance. Meanwhile, Ginny and Wayne decide to have a secret fling.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 9)

Thursday, December 12

  • Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys and a Girl) - Catch Ryan on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He also talks about 6 Underground on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Keri stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Sam visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet) - Mary Lynn is a panelist on Lights Out with David Spade at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • John Lithgow (Trial and Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • The Cast of The Brady Bunch - The Cast of The Brady Bunch are guests on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Kathy appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace stops by The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Patricia Heaton (Carol's Second Act/The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - The Heaton is on – Patricia is back and Rach has a surprise in store for her on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Guys with Kids/Entourage) - Jamie-Lynn talks about Mob Town on NBC's Today in the 9am hour, on the BUILD Series at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Madison Iseman (Still the King) - Madison talks about Jumanji: The Next Level on People Now at 12pm and on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana performs on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

Life with Lucy - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season

10/08 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series
10/08 - Life with Lucy - The Complete Series
10/15 - Mom - The Complete Sixth Season
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 1
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 2
11/05 - The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang - The Complete Animated Series
11/05 - Laverne & Shirley in the Army (Animated Series) - The DVD Edition
11/05 - Letterkenny - Seasons 1 & 2
11/05 - Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season (Blu-ray)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Series (Blu-ray Limited Edition)
11/18 - The Guest Book - Season Two
11/19 - The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/19 - The Kominsky Method - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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