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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Monday, June 24

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the World" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The whole crew heads out to see Toni Braxton live in concert, but just as the show begins, Courtney’s water breaks.

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Foos Box" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Gemma and Dave are adjusting to Grover growing up and becoming a teenager, and Marty and Calvin are struggling with different management styles at work. Also, we meet one of Marty’s new employees, Courtney (Skye Townsend), who might become something more.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 24)

Monday, June 24

  • Martin Short (Only Murders in the Building/Mulaney/I'm a Big Girl Now/The Associates) - Martin guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Steve Martin (Only Murders in the Building) - Watch Steve on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ed O'Neill (Modern Family/Married with Children) - Ed appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Doug Benson (You're the Worst) and Diona Reasonover (Clipped) - Doug and Diona are guests on a repeat of After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Eva Longoria (Only Murders in the Building/Telenovela) and Eddie Murphy (The PJs) - E! News has interviews with Eva and Eddie at 11pm on E!.
  • Alex Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band) - Alex talks about A Quiet Place: Day One on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
  • Jennifer Garner (Party Down/Camping) - Jennifer and her mother Patricia Ann are guests on NBC's Today some time between 7-9am and in the 10am hour.
  • David Duchovny (Californication) - David appears on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Keshia Knight Pulliam (Tyler Perry's House of Payne/The Cosby Show) - Keshia is back with a baby update, plus working with Lifetime on the "Stop Breast Cancer For Life" campaign on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Patton Oswalt (A.P. Bio/The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Patton talks about Fox's The 1% Club on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Seymour (B Positive/Modern Men) - Jane talks about Acorn TV's Harry Wild on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Josh Gad (Wolf Like Me/Avenue 5/The Comedians/1600 Penn/Back to You) - Josh is joining Drew and telling her about getting denied from his college's musical theater program and making his return to Broadway after eleven years with bestie Andrew Rannells on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany can be heard on the Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release) Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One
06/11 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
06/11 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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