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

    Wednesday, January 22

    The Goldbergs - "Game Night" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Geoff struggles to keep his living arrangement with Erica and Barry a secret from Beverly during game night, while Adam goes to his guidance teacher for a lesson in being cool so he can get closer to a new girl in chemistry class.

    Schooled - "FeMellor" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Principal Glascott and Lainey struggle to agree on what is an appropriate dress code, while Coach Mellor struggles with his relationship with Julie as she does not enjoy sports like he does.

    Modern Family - "Dead on a Rival" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Mitchell learns a valuable life lesson when Murray (Paul Dooley), a former resident of the house, shows up unexpectedly. Meanwhile, the Dunphy’s old neighbor-turned-tech-titan, Kenneth (Josh Gad), comes to visit with a big surprise for Phil. Then, Manny’s dad, Javier (Benjamin Bratt), shows up with a big opportunity for his son.

    Single Parents - "Chunkies" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    After Angie decides it’s finally time for Graham to meet his dad, Derek (Adam Brody), sickness overtakes the household. Derek is forced to either step in and help or head back out to his van. Meanwhile, when Sophie overhears some big news about Will and Tracy, she takes it upon herself to intervene; and the twins face their first professional failure.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 20)

    Wednesday, January 22

    • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - Watch John on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Fortune Feimster (Bless the Harts/Life in Pieces/Champions) - Fortune visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on Watch What Happens: Live at 9pm on Bravo.
    • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on the BUILD Series at 12pm.
    • Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared) - Charlie is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Steve Buscemi (Miracle Workers) - Steve appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk) - Patrick chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He also talks about Star Trek: Picard on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
    • Ashley Tisdale (Carol's Second Act/Merry Happy Whatever/Clipped/The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) - Ashley appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Finesse Mitchell (Outmatched/A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Ilana Glazer (Broad City) - Ilana drops by The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jackée Harry (Tyler Perry's The Paynes/The First Family/Sister, Sister/227) - Jackée appears on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Boris Kodjoe (The Last Man on Earth/Second Time Around) - Boris gives the hosts a workout on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
    • Erinn Hayes (Medical Police/Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • BD Wong (Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens/All-American Girl) and Lori Tann Chinn (Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens) - BD and Lori will be on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
    • Abby Elliott (Indebted/Odd Mom Out) and Jessy Hodges (Indebted) - Abby and Jessy are guests on the BUILD Series at 5pm.


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

    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 My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One

    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) (Blu-ray)
    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
    12/06 - 9JKL - The Complete Series
    12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
    12/17 - Atlanta - Season 2 - Robbin' Season
    12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
    12/17 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (2019 Release)
    12/17 - The Other Two - Season 1
    01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
    01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
    01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season ((Blu-ray)
    01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
    01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
    01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
    01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
    01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    01/21 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: Hulu - a Comedy with Steve Martin and Martin Short, the Renewal of Dollface
    01/20 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: More Cable; 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® Winners
    01/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 20, 2020)
    01/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Punky Brewster Reboot Officially a Go; Freeform Renews Pair of Series
    01/17 - Fri-Yay: Sitcoms in 2020; Peacock Streaming Services Programming Update
    01/16 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: Cable Day 2 - American Dad! 2 Season Renewal, Tacoma FD Season 2 Premiere Date
    01/15 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: Cable Day 1 - Comedy Central, Amazon, Paramount Network and More!
    01/14 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: Showtime and Pop; Will Smith & Martin Lawrence Talk Hit Sitcoms
    01/13 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: NBC and CBS Includes The Rock Comedy at NBC and The Price Is Right at Night on CBS
    01/12 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 13, 2020)
    01/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Gets More of Original Cast; ABC Expanding Game Show Empire
    01/10 - Fri-Yay: Top Sitcoms of the Decade, Part 2; PIX11 Celebrates 45th Anniversaries of The Jeffersons and Barney Miller
    01/09 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: ABC Includes Modern Family Finale, The Conners Live and Return of Millionaire
    01/08 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: Fox; 13 Series Renewed for 2020-21 on The CW
    01/07 - E! News Gets 3rd Host for Midday Show; Freeform Schedules Valentine's Day Comedy TV Movie
    01/06 - 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards Winners; Fox Animated Comedies to Air After NFL Divisional Playoff
    01/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 6, 2020)
    01/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Loses Streaming Rights to Friends; Networks Prepare for Midseason
    01/03 - Fri-Yay: Top Sitcoms of the Decade, Part 1; Modern Family Heads to Paris for Episode
    01/02 - Fox Orders New Animated Comedy; Netflix Leslie Jones Comedy Special Premieres Jan. 14
    01/01 - Happy New Year! Binge on Merry Happy Whatever, A New Holiday Sitcom
    12/31 - New Year's Eve 2019 and New Year's Day 2020 TV Marathons
    12/30 - In Memoriam: Remembering the Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2019
    12/29 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 30, 2019)
    12/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The On-Going Feud Between Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy; Writer of Friends Theme Song Dies
    12/27 - Freeform January 2020 Schedule with The Simpsons, Superstore, Family Guy; WarnerMedia and Xandr Upfront Now Combined in 2020
    12/26 - SNL with Eddie Murphy Scores in Ratings; REELZ and Alex Trebek Explore Game Shows
    12/25 - Merry Christmas from Sitcoms Online
    12/24 - 2019 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day TV Marathons & Movies
    12/23 - South Park Closes Season 23 With Bang; Zoë Kravitz Hulu Series Trailer
    12/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 23, 2019)
    12/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Reboot of The Game in the Works; New Programming for Classic TV Digital Nets in January