Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fox Fall Pilot Review: The Grinder - Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 29; TeenNick Launches The Splat Block with Classic Nick Series

Grandfathered

The Grinder - Tuesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Skees

Stewart Sanderson and his father are the perfect father-son team when it comes to running their law office. They also have the experience and hard work to back them up. But things abruptly change when Stewart's brother Dean (who decided to become an actor instead of a lawyer, though he played one on TV) rolls into town following the cancellation of his hit series. Things change even more when Dean decides that he too wants in on the family business, and that he knows how to be a lawyer because he played one on TV... and he is going to become part of that family business whether Stewart likes it or not.

Cast Details:

Rob Lowe as Dean Sanderson, Jr.
Fred Savage as Stewart Sanderson
Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Debbie Sanderson
William Devane as Dean Sanderson, Sr.
Hana Hayes as Lizzie Sanderson
Connor Kalopsis as Ethan Sanderson

Rob Lowe (Dean Sanderson, Jr.) is an established star with appearances in films such as The Outsiders, St. Elmo's Fire, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, but he has also had plenty of supporting roles in series such as The West Wing, Brothers & Sisters, and Parks and Recreation. He also starred in the short-lived series The Lyon's Den, where he played an attorney.

Fred Savage (Stewart Sanderson) is best known as Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years. He also appeared in the films Little Monsters and The Wizard. In recent years, he hasn't been doing quite as much acting, and has shifted his focus to directing TV series, where he has directed episodes of series such as Modern Family, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 2 Broke Girls, and many other series. However, he did appear in the short-lived sitcom Crumbs.

Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Debbie Sanderson) is best known for her role on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. She also appeared as a regular in the NBC series Perfect Couples.

William Devane (Dean Sanderson, Sr.) is best known for his role of Greg Sumner on the long-running primetime soap opera Knots Landing. After that series ended, he starred alongside Judith Light in the ABC sitcom Phenom. He also appeared in short-lived sitcoms including The Michael Richards Show and Crumbs (another series in which he played the father of a character played by Fred Savage).

Natalie Morales (Claire) is best known for her roles in The Middleman, White Collar, and Parks and Recreation.

Hana Hayes (Lizzie Sanderson) is a 16 year old actress who has appeared in Criminal Minds, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mercy, and Grey's Anatomy.

Connor Kalopsis (Ethan Sanderson) has appeared in several episodes of Days of Our Lives.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs September 29 at 8:30PM ET)

Dean Sanderson Jr. plays the lead role of a powerful attorney in the fictitious series The Grinder, but the series has ended after a long run, and now he finds himself back in his hometown in Idaho. Back home, his father and brother are attorneys, but not necessarily the best, as they prefer to settle cases out of court to avoid having to go to trial. Now, Dean wants in on the family business, and he is convinced that he can get the job done perfectly while aggressively fighting cases in the courtroom... based solely upon his experience from playing an attorney on television.

Analysis:

So many series that are out there these days are just a new look at a series that existed before it. A nice thing about this series is that it is something sort of fresh and new. That can often tend to be risky when developing a series, since there haven't been any similar series with proven success, but fortunately, this series has a cast that will at least garner some attention at the beginning.

The pilot is funny, but the comedy is by no means a fast-paced "big laughs" comedy. There is a lot of subtle humor and things are rather slow-paced, but there is enough comedy in the mix that you know that you're watching a sitcom. The biggest laughs in the pilot came from Dean's action in the courtroom as an attorney... or at least playing his role in real life.

I really like the cast, and the roles are cast perfectly. In particular, Rob Lowe's character of Dean reminds me quite a bit of his role as Chris Traeger on Parks & Recreation, in the sense that he is a sort of cartoonish person living a different reality from everybody else around him. Fred Savage is perfect in his role of Stewart, playing the guy with great book smarts (but not so much street smarts). The remainder of the cast didn't seem to have a chance flourish much in the pilot, which is understandable since the stars are the two brothers, but from what was seen in the pilot, everybody seemed to be well cast.

One thing I have to wonder about, though, is that if this series is a hit, how long will Rob Lowe want to stick around? He has been lucky enough to have roles on three hit series so far, and he has left all of them before they ended. Maybe things will be different here since he is essentially the star of this series (he wasn't on the other three) and since he is executive producer, but of course, the series would first have to prove to be a success before we can even think about this.

Conclusion:

It's hard to make any strong conclusions about this particular series based upon the first episode. I sort of liked the pilot, but it isn't clear yet exactly where the series is headed. In particular, I wonder how the series will deal with the fact that Dean isn't a real lawyer. It seems that in order for the series to proceed and for him to truly play his role, he'll have to become a lawyer, but some of the comedy in the pilot came from the fact that he wasn't a lawyer.

This isn't really a flashy show, but it sort of has the charm that seems like it could work for the Fox lineup. The nice thing about having previously-established cast is that it will at least give the show some attention for the first episode or two and will be given a fair chance by fans before the future is decided.

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 Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

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

    Preview:





  • The Splat

    Millennials who crave the iconic Nickelodeon shows of their childhood, including Kenan & Kel, Rugrats, Hey Arnold! and more, can rejoice. Starting Monday, Oct. 5, Nickelodeon will throw back to the '90s every day with the launch of "The Splat," a new multiscreen content destination spanning television, seven social media platforms and a dedicated web site aggregating the most loved Nick content from the 1990s and beyond. "The Splat" will dive deep to create a retro experience filled with landmark Nickelodeon programs; classic programming stunts like Nick or Treat, U-Pick and Super Toy Run; the recreation of specific days of programming as they aired in the '90s; and original promos and interstitials, including the Doo-wop Dinosaurs and the Opera Lady. "The Splat" will roar to life across all platforms on Monday, Oct. 5, launching that night on television on TeenNick from 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. (ET/PT). The TV block will be an eight-hour rotating TV lineup airing daily on TeenNick from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. (ET/PT). "The Splat's" rotating TV lineup on TeenNick will have weekly themes and monthly programming stunts featuring hit '90s animated and live-action series including All That, Angry Beavers, Are You Afraid of the Dark, CatDog, Clarissa Explains It All, Hey Arnold!, Hey Dude, Kenan & Kel, Ren & Stimpy, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Rocko's Modern Life, Rugrats, Salute Your Shorts and The Wild Thornberrys, with additional series rolling out throughout the year. At launch, "The Splat" will feature themed weeks and stunts like:

    · First Time for Everything (week of Oct. 5) - first two episodes of fan-favorite animated and live-action series and game shows
    · Rugrats Reptar Takeover (week of Oct. 12) - best of Rugrats episodes featuring Reptar
    · Hey Arnold! Live from the Stoop (week of Oct. 19) - Stoop Kid-centric episodes
    · Nick or Treat (week of Oct. 26) - call-in event where lucky callers get 40 seconds to choose from six doors, collecting tricks and treats along the way, plus scary and spooky themed animation episodes.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, September 26

    Tyler Perry's Young Dylan - "The Rap Game" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    The family can't get any peace while Dylan plays the drums all day and night, and everyone tries to convince him that he needs to give up his new instrument for good.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 21)

    Friday, September 25

    • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Watch Drew on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Rob Corddry (The Unicorn/Ballers) - Rob appears on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Kiersey Clemons (Angie Tribeca/Transparent) - Kiersey will be on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • John David Washington (Ballers) - John talks about his new film Tenet, secretly shooting a movie with Zendaya during quarantine and what's next on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - David talks about the Scream reboot, two recent projects — You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Kiss The Ground — and more on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl talks about Fox's I Can See Your Voice on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Tituss talks about Netflix's Sing On on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Tia Mowry (Family Reunion/Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia opens up about her frightening health misdiagnosis on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
    • Queen Latifah) - Queen Latifah is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) - Sabrina appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Eugene Cordero (Tacoma FD/Other Space) - Eugene will be on Couch Surfing at 8am.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August/September)

    Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season

    06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
    06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
    06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
    06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
    06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
    06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
    06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
    06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
    06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
    06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
    06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
    06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
    07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
    07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
    07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
    07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
    07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
    08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
    08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
    08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
    08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
    09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)

    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    09/25 - Fri-Yay: Schitt's Creek Emmy Sweep; HBO Max Orders New Pretty Little Liars
    09/24 - NBC Moves This Is Us, Connecting Premieres; Fox Orders 2 More Seasons for Bob's Burgers & Family Guy
    09/23 - Schitt's Creek Heads to Syndication on Stations and Comedy Central; Apple Orders Patricia Arquette Comedy
    09/22 - Decades Fall 2020 Schedule; CMT Acquires American Housewife
    09/21 - Antenna TV Fall 2020 Schedule, with 2021 Teases; 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards Winners
    09/20 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 21, 2020)
    09/19 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Prepares for More Sunday Night Movies; The Office Arrives on Blu-ray and More Head of the Class DVDs
    09/18 - Fri-Yay: Viewers Discovering Cobra Kai Now on Netflix; ABC Announces Fall 2020 Drama Premiere Dates
    09/17 - ABC Officially Orders Katey Sagal Series, Cancels Stumptown; SNL Goes Live All October
    09/16 - CBS All Access to Rebrand as Paramount+ in 2021; Fox Says Let's Be Real About Election
    09/15 - Netflix Announces Good Times Animated Comedy; More Details on Fresh Prince Reunion on HBO Max
    09/14 - Disney+ Orders Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.; TBS Version of Wipeout Announces Hosts
    09/13 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 14, 2020)
    09/12 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fresh Prince Reunion Brings Unexpected Pair Back Together; Doogie Howser Reboot Officially Picked Up
    09/11 - Fri-Yay: Sister, Sister Soars on Netflix; ABC Comedies Returning October 21 for New Seasons
    09/10 - TBS Celebrates American Dad! 300th Episode with Special Night; NBC Alters Schedule Due to Possible NHL Stanley Cup Finals
    09/09 - COZI TV's The Lone Ranger The Masked Man Marathon; Peacock Gets Fresh Prince Dramatic Series
    09/08 - TNT Salutes 15th Anniversary of Supernatural; Alyssa Milano Says Own the Vote 2020 in Webinar Series
    09/07 - TV Marathons on Labor Day 2020
    09/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 7, 2020)
    09/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Mom Set for New Season Without Star; Chelsea Handler Sells Half Hour Comedies to Peacock and HBO Max
    09/04 - Fri-Yay: Fall Network TV Schedule Is Scarce on Sitcoms; Laff's How I Met Your Mother Labor Day Weekend Launch Marathon
    09/03 - Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween 2020 Schedule; Dancing with the Stars Season 29 Cast
    09/02 - black-ish Returns with Special Episodes on Election; Shout! Factory TV and Pluto TV Launches The Carol Burnett Show Channel
    09/01 - HBO Max Slates The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special; Ayo Edebiri Replaces Jenny Slate as Missy on Big Mouth
    08/31 - Home Improvement Tool Time Reunion on History Series; Bunk'd Adds to Cast
    08/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 31, 2020)
    08/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Series to Begin Production; Fox Eyeing X-Files as Animated Comedy
    08/28 - Fri-Yay: Another Sitcom Lookback - Cheers; ABC and NBC Alter Fall 2020 Schedules
    08/27 - Nick at Nite Acquires Young Sheldon for November 2020; CBS and Fox Alter Fall 2020 Lineup
    08/26 - MeTV Fall 2020 Schedule; REELZ Announces Lucille Ball: We Love Lucy Special
    08/25 - Has America Jumped the Shark? Hollywood TV Writers Join Forces for Special; Kelly Clarkson Show Premieres Season 2 on Sept. 21