Monday, September 28, 2015

Fox Fall Pilot Review: Grandfathered - Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 29; getTV Adds More Westerns

Grandfathered

Grandfathered - Tuesdays at 8:00PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 8:00PM ET/PT


by Vincent

John Stamos stars in a new comedy about the ultimate bachelor who discovers he's not only a father, but a grandfather. Successful restaurateur Jimmy Marino (Stamos) is used to being the most suave, most handsome and most single person in the room. All that changes with the surprise appearance of Jimmy's adult son, Gerald (Josh Peck) and his baby daughter, Edie.

Cast Details:

John Stamos as Jimmy
Josh Peck as Gerald
Paget Brewster as Sara
Kelly Jenrette as Annelise
Ravi Patel as Ken
Christina Milian as Vanessa

John Stamos (Jimmy) is a well-known television star. He is best known for his role as Uncle Jesse on the long-running family sitcom Full House. He has also appeared on shows such as General Hospital, Glee, ER, Jake in Progress and Friends.

Josh Peck (Gerald) is a television and film actor. He is best known for his roles on the popular Nickelodeon comedies The Amanda Show and Drake & Josh. He has also appeared in films such as Snow Day, Red Dawn, and Bukowski.

Paget Brewster (Sara) is a television actress with a long list of credits. She is best known for starring roles on Criminal Minds and Community. She has appeared on shows such as Friends, King of the Hill, Law & Order: SVU, and Modern Family. Recently, she had a starring role on the Comedy Central series Another Period.

Kelly Jenrette (Annelise) is an actress whose credits include a starring role on Frisky Dingo and guest appearances on Happy Endings and Haunted Hathaways.

Ravi Patel (Ken) is an actor whose work includes appearances on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Scrubs.

Christina Millian (Vanessa) is an actress and recording artist. She has released three albums, which spawned hit singles such as "Dip it Low" and "Us Against the World." Her acting work includes roles in films such as American Pie, Love Don't Cost a Thing, and Ghost of Girlfriends Past, as well as television shows such as Christina Milian: Turned Up, Charmed, CSI, and Smallville.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs September 29 at 8:00PM ET)

Jimmy Martino is used to being the most suave, most handsome and most single person in the room. But everything changes with the surprise appearance of Jimmy's adult son, Gerald and his baby daughter, Edie. Now Jimmy has to unlearn a lifetime of blissful selfishness and grapple with the fact that he went straight from single to grandfather in six seconds flat.

Analysis:

My expectations for Grandfathered were, admittedly, fairly low. Despite my love for Paget Brewster, it seemed like a show that was deliberately trying to cash in on nostalgia for the time period in which John Stamos was actually a bankable television star, and the premise (a bachelor's life is flipped upside down when it turns out he has a FAMILY!) is one of the most unoriginal concepts for a sitcom I've seen in quite a while (and this fall is full of unoriginal concepts for sitcoms). Initially, it reminded me a lot of the kind of comedies NBC has been trying to push for the past several years – blind attempts to capture a "broad" audience by rolling out cliché plotlines, uncomplicated characters, and big names that remind us of a time when network television didn't seem like it was getting a little bit less relevant every year. And yet, Grandfathered kind of surprised me. This isn't a great pilot, and the fact that Fox isn't previewing any episodes beyond it is a bit concerning (typically networks will send out the first 2 or 3 episodes for review). And yet, it's not terrible! It's surprisingly slick-looking, it has some well-crafted jokes, and it has a diverse and talented cast that's already showing some chemistry. It also beats its already unappealing premise into the ground, features little actual conflict, and struggles to define its characters outside of their base qualities. But, hey, that's a lot more going for it than I was expecting.

Of course, pilots are always shaky, and the big question (particularly with sitcom pilots) is not how good the pilot itself is, but if there's any suggestion that a good show could possibly come from it. The truth is that Grandfathered has a lot to overcome before I would feel comfortable labeling it a "good show." As I stated before, the premise remains unlikable, and the"“can this guy REALLY be a grandfather?!" concept is repeated ad nauseam through-out the half-hour. What's even stranger is the way the show fails to milk any interesting conflict out of this premise. Sure, the show is constantly asking us if Jimmy has what it takes to be a grandfather, but it weirdly doesn't really give us a lot of examples of why Jimmy wouldn't be a good grandfather. Compared to most sitcom characters that get a "redemption arc," Jimmy seems like a reasonably okay guy, and by the end of the pilot, it seems like he's probably going to be able to figure this out. The show is going to have to reach beyond the rather shallow question of whether or not Jimmy can be a grandfather and start digging deeper into its characters beyond their surface levels if it wants to become more than a "John Stamos and nostalgia" vehicle. Does it have any interest in being more than that? Who knows! But it's probably in its best interest, given the way most "nostalgia vehicles with a throwback star" sitcoms have panned out recently.

Conclusion:

Grandfathered has a lot of problems, but it also has a few key things going for it – generally good and funny writing, a talented cast (especially Paget Brewster, who is as delightful as always), and surprisingly slick production values. It also has some pretty glaring faults, including an unoriginal premise and a severe lack of depth. Still, there's enough here to suggest that it could be more than the lazy, nostalgia-based Stamos vehicle it looked like it was going to be, and that's enough to at least hope it'll get the chance to figure things out and become the quality show it has the potential to be.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 8:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Grandfathered Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Laredo - getTV

    getTV expands its all-new "Saturday Showdown" weekend block of classic Western television series, introducing three more lost favorites to the lineup starting at High Noon on Saturday, October 3. The new additions, which were licensed from NBCUniversal, include Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager in The Tall Man, airing each Saturday at 12 pm ET, followed by Audie Murphy in Whispering Smith at 12:40 pm ET; and Neville Brand, Peter Brown, William Smith, and Philip Carey in back-to-back episodes of Laredo at 2 pm ET and 3:15 pm ET. The "Saturday Showdown" block, which originally premiered on Sept. 12, also features Robert Horton in A Man Called Shenandoah at 1:20 pm ET; Ralph Taeger in Hondo at 4:30 pm ET; and James Garner and Margot Kidder in Nichols, at 5:45 pm ET, as we mentioned.


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