Wednesday, February 01, 2017

CBS Mid-Season Pilot Review: Superior Donuts - Premieres Thursday (Feb. 2); NBC Renews The Good Place for Season 2

Superior Donuts

Superior Donuts - Special Preview Thursday, February 2 at 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Moves to Mondays Starting February 6 at 9:00PM ET/PT


by Todd

Superior Donuts is a comedy about the owner of a small donut shop that's located in a quickly gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. Arthur is a gruff, to-the-point Chicagoan who refuses to sell newfangled cronuts and macchiatos or renovate his dated shop that hasn't changed since it opened in 1969. That all changes when enterprising go-getter Franco fast-talks his way into Arthur's life as his new (and only) employee, and convinces him that he can bring the shop – and Arthur – into the 21st century. Arthur's supportive regulars include loyal patron Randy, a cop whose late father was Arthur's best friend; her overeager rookie partner, James; Tush, a colorful customer who uses the shop counter as a makeshift office, where he keeps tabs on a variety of odd jobs via fax machine; Maya, a privileged grad-school student working on her Ph. D; and Sweatpants, Franco's longtime friend who's willing to dress as a donut to help drum up more business. Looking to cash in on the urban renewal is Arthur's over-caffeinated neighbor, aspiring real estate capitalist Fawz, who pushes Arthur on a daily basis to sell the building to him. With his business in jeopardy, Arthur grudgingly realizes that he had better embrace the change around him and that Franco could be exactly what he – and the donut shop – need to thrive.

Cast Details:

Judd Hirsch as Arthur Przybyszewski
Jermaine Fowler as Franco Wicks
Katey Sagal as Randy DeLuca
David Koechner as Carl "Tush" Tushinski
Maz Jobrani as Fawz
Anna Baryshnikov as Maya
Darien Sills-Evans as James Jordan
Rell Battle as Sweatpants

Judd Hirsch (Arthur) is best known to television audiences for his Emmy-winning role as Alex Rieger in Taxi. He won a Golden Globe for his role as John Lacey in Dear John. In 1997-1998, he co-starred with Bob Newhart in George & Leo. He played Alan Eppes for six seasons in the CBS drama Numbers.

Jermaine Fowler (Franco) is a stand-up comedian who co-created and starred in the truTV sketch-comedy series Friends of the People. His voice credits include BoJack Horesman and Robot Chicken. He will recur in the HBO comedy Crashing.

Katey Sagal (Randy) is best known for her role as the outrageous Peg Bundy in the groundbreaking, long-running series Married with Children, for which she earned three Golden Globe and two American Comedy Award nominations. She co-starred with the later John Ritter in 8 Simple Rules. She played Gemma Teller Morrow in the FX drama Sons of Anarchy.

David Koechner (Carl "Tush") is best known for his roles as Todd Packer in The Office and as Champ Kind in the Anchorman films. His other current roles include Another Period as Commodore Bellacourt and The Goldbergs as Bill Lewis.

Maz Jobrani (Fawz) starred as Gourishankar 'Gary' Subramaniam in The Knights of Prosperity and as Dr. Bhama in Better Off Ted. Some of his other credits include Life on a Stick, Rita Rocks, We Are Men and The Detour.

Anna Baryshnikov (Maya) has guest starred in The Mysteries of Laura, Doll & Em, Blue Bloods and Good Girls Revolt. Her breakout role was as Sandy in the 2016 film Manchester by the Sea.

Darien Sills-Evans (James) played Darien Hall in the sitcom Cosby. He has had recurring roles in Third Watch, Person of Interest and Treme. He has guest starred in Blue Bloods, Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU.

Rell Battle (Sweatpants) is a stand-up comedian who is the creator and an executive producer of Roast Battle, an energetic live show that was subsequently adapted as a television series for Comedy Central. He has guest starred in Outlands and Key and Peele.




Pilot Plot:

The first three episodes were available for review.

"Pilot" (Airs February 2 at 8:30PM ET)
Emmy Award winner Judd Hirsch and comedian Jermaine Fowler star in a new comedy about the relationship between Arthur, the gruff owner of a small donut shop, his enterprising new young employee, Franco, and their loyal patrons in a quickly gentrifying Chicago neighborhood.
Directed by James Burrows
Written by Bob Daily, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan

"What's the Big Idea?" (Airs February 6 at 9:00PM ET)
When Franco’s creative new donut flavors become bestsellers, Arthur tries to prove he’s still relevant by coming up with a unique one of his own. Also, Fawz works to dream up an inventive password in order to keep Maya and James from stealing his store’s WiFi.
Directed by James Burrows
Written by Betsy Thomas

"Crime Time" (Airs Februry 13 at 9:00PM ET)
Franco encourages Arthur to increase his security when Fawz’s dry-cleaning store is robbed, but becomes concerned when Arthur buys a gun. Also, Tush offers Maya his personal approach to protecting herself.
Directed by James Burrows
Written by Peter Murrieta




Analysis:

Superior Donuts is a multi-camera sitcom produced by CBS Television Studios and 3 Arts Entertainment. Bob Daily, Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan, Mark Teitelbaum, John Montgomery, Michael Rotenberg, Josh Lieberman and Jermaine Fowler serve as executive producers. The series is based on the play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning writer Tracy Lett.

In the "Pilot" episode, Arthur greets Randy and asks her about her new partner, James. James asks if he has any cronuts, but Randy tells him he sells only donuts. Grad-school student Maya then talks to Arthur. Franco walks in and tells him he's interested in a job. Franco gives him some ideas for improving the business. Fawz offers to buy Arthur's store, but Arthur wants nothing to do with it. Franco wants to bring the business into the 20th century. When Arthur corrects him to the 21st century, Franco tells him "no, I don't." Carl asks Arthur if he is being robbed by Franco. A Starbucks open up across the street, so Franco has an idea of having his friend Sweatpants dress in a donut costume and pass out flyers. Some customers walk in after reading Yelp reviews and ask for soy-based donuts and fancy drinks. After Franco's ideas don't work, Arthur considers selling to Fawz. Somebody does some graffiti on the Starbucks sign. Randy brings in a brown backpack, which belongs to Franco. They try to take Franco in for questioning before somebody covers the damages for him.

Overall, these episodes were very funny and enjoyable. The legendary James Burrows directs the first three episodes. The "Pilot" episode is fast-paced with the jokes flying fast and furious. Many of the jokes are race related, but they are light-hearted. There are also many older vs. younger generation type jokes, so the show should appeal to many demographics. We are introduced to the regular shop patrons. The second and third episodes feature the regulars interacting more. All of the scenes in the first two episodes are at the main shop set, with a couple scenes in the kitchen or outside the store. It's set up like a stage play. The show is set in Chicago. Carl ("Tush") is shown wearing some Cubs t-shirts and Franco is shown wearing the glorious Blackhawks red jersey, the best jersey in all of professional sports, in an upcoming episode. It would be nice to see them at real Chicago locations in future episodes.

Sitcom veterans and television newcomers form a talented cast. Judd Hirsch has starred in several sitcoms earlier in his career, but this is his first regular sitcom role since George & Leo in 1998. Jermaine Fowler is a fresh face who will probably be new to most viewers. He should have a promising future with his comedy skills. The regular shop patrons include Katey Sagal, David Koechner, Maz Jobrani and Darien Sills-Evans. They bring plenty of comedic experience. Newcomers Anna Baryshnikov and Rell Battle fit in well with the cast. The cast just seems to have some good chemistry and working together early on in the first three episodes.



Conclusion:

Superior Donuts is a promising new sitcom with a strong cast and plenty of fresh and funny jokes. The pairing of a comedy legend like Judd Hirsch with a rising young star in Jermaine Fowler is a good one. It's been some years since Judd Hirsch has appeared in a starring role in a sitcom, so it will be nice to see him on a weekly basis. Jermaine Fowler is new to me. He reminds me a little of a young Kevin Hart. He brings a lot of charisma to the character. Fowler is also an executive producer of the series, so he has a lot on his plate. Katey Sagal also makes a welcome return to a sitcom role. The rest of the supporting cast is filled with solid comedy veterans in David Koechner, Maz Jobrani and Darien Sills-Evans with the younger cast members in Anna Baryshnikov and Rell Battle. The series reminds me of 2 Broke Girls with the food theme, Mike & Molly because of the police officers and Cheers because of the regular shop patrons. Chicago is my kind of town, and this is the kind of throwback multi-camera sitcom which I enjoy.

CBS has ordered a baker's dozen amount of episodes of Superior Donuts. It will premiere with a special taste preview after a new episode of The Big Bang Theory. They should receive a nice sampling of viewers. It will then move to its regular time slot on Mondays where it will be sandwiched between Man with a Plan and 2 Broke Girls. Superior Donuts has some good potential. It's one of their stronger efforts this season. It may take a little time for things to completely gel, but there are some good old-fashioned laughs here. Go nuts for Superior Donuts on Thursday night before it moves to its regular time slot on Mondays at 9:00PM ET/PT.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, February 2 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Superior Donuts Photo Gallery



  • Preview:

    The Good Place

    Frozen yogurts for everyone! NBC's The Good Place, the critically beloved otherworldly comedy from executive producer and creator Michael Schur, has been renewed for a full-season order of 13 episodes. The show's Jan. 19 first season finale delivered 5.2 million viewers after three days of time-shifted and video-on-demand viewing, for the show's biggest L+3 audience since Oct. 27. The series follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, House of Lies, Veronica Mars), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realize that she hasn't been a very good person. With the help of her wise newfound afterlife mentor (Ted Danson, CSI, Cheers), she's determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or at least the pretty good) person within. The comedy stars Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D'Arcy Carden.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, October 22

    Sydney to the Max - "Honey, You Shrunk the Fit" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Sydney is asked to represent a popular clothing line on social media but struggles with its "one size fits all" mold; in the '90s, Max enlists Leo to help him get buff to impress Alisha.

    Gabby Duran & the Unsittables - "Adventures in Alien House-Sitting" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Gabby gets FOMO while babysitting an alien smart home, but when she uses the cool alien tech to lure a party to the house, the situation goes dangerously interstellar.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 18)

    Friday, October 22

    • Martin Short (Only Murders in the Building/Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Watch Martin on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso/Son of Zorn/The Cleveland Show) and Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso) - Jason, Brendan and Joe Kelly are guests on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Broad City/Baby Boom) - Susie chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Montana Jordan (Young Sheldon) - Montana appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky talks about his new podcast, Absolutely Mental, on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany guest hosts The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens) - Abigail appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary) - Quinta is a guest on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Laura Benanti (Younger/The Detour/Go On) - Laura will be on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Issa Rae (Insecure) - Issa appears on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
    • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl is a guest on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (June-October)

    Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

    06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
    06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
    06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
    07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
    07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
    07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
    08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
    08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Standard Edition (50 Episodes) (Time Life)
    08/24 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season 2
    09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
    10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    10/21 - Butch Patrick Hosts Halloween Monster Bash on Classic Reruns TV; Harlem Starring Meagan Good Premieres Dec. 3
    10/20 - Fox Announces Special Post NFL January Premieres; TBS Comedy Wipeout Returns in January for Season 2
    10/19 - One Final Family Reunion on Netflix; Apple TV+ Announces Premiere Date for Harriet the Spy
    10/18 - GAC Family Acquires Classic Sony Sitcoms; Remembering Betty Lynn from The Andy Griffith Show
    10/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 18, 2021)
    10/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could a Looming Strike Shut Down TV Production?; GAC Family Acquires Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Silver Spoons, and More
    10/15 - Dickinson Final Season Date Announced; Superstar: Robin Williams to Air Next Week (Oct. 20)
    10/14 - Antenna TV's Bewitched 24-Hour Halloween Marathon; Rewind TV's Sabrina Witch-O-Ween Marathon
    10/13 - Head of the Class Reboot Premieres Nov. 4, Guest Stars Robin Givens; The Bear Coming to FX
    10/12 - CBS Picks Up First 2 New Series for Full Seasons; On My Block Spinoff Series Cast Set
    10/11 - Netflix Orders That '90s Show Featuring Red and Kitty; Nash Bridges Movie Premieres Nov. 27 on USA Network
    10/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 11, 2021)
    10/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders That '70s Show Spinoff Featuring Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith; Nash Bridges Revival Movie Premiere Date Set
    10/08 - Fri-Yay: CBS’s Ghosts Is the Most Interesting New Comedy of the Year; Insecure to Hold Festival for Final Season
    10/07 - Mini Desperate Housewives Reunion on Hallmark Christmas Movie; The Kids Tonight Show Premieres Oct. 14
    10/06 - And Just Like That... We Get a Premiere Date; The CW Holiday Specials Schedule
    10/05 - New Peanuts Holiday Special on Apple TV+, PBS to Air Classic Holiday Specials; COZI TV Acquires Heartland
    10/04 - Disney Channel Orders Season 5 of Raven's Home; Freeform Picks Up Phoebe Robinson Comedy
    10/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 4, 2021)
    10/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11 Premiere Date Set; Lori Loughlin Returns to TV Role
    10/01 - Fri-Yay: The Fall 2021 Sitcom Line-up Is Pretty Bare; Bounce Renews Johnson for Season 2
    09/30 - It's a Wonderful Lifetime Expands with 35 New Movies; Hulu & Lifetime Acquire Castle
    09/29 - Curb Your Enthusiasm Returns Yet Again; Archer Returning for Lucky Season 13 on FXX
    09/28 - Nick at Nite Acquires Mike & Molly; NBC Orders Night Court to Series
    09/27 - MeTV Network Halloween Schedule; HBO Max Renews The Other Two for Third Season
    09/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 27, 2021)
    09/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Gets Series Order; Season Premiere Date Set for The Orville
    09/24 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso Wins Big at The Emmys; CBS Expands Ghosts Premiere to One-Hour; Remembering Willie Garson of Sex and the City, Director Jay Sandrich
    09/23 - TBS, TNT and truTV Launch Fall-O-Ween, a Programming Block of Halloween Classics; HBO Max Comedy from Mindy Kaling Debuts November 18
    09/22 - Paramount+ Renews Rugrats for 2nd Season; Eva Longoria Producing Disney Sci-Fi Comedy
    09/21 - Family Guy, King of the Hill, The Cleveland Show and Futurama Joining FXX; HBO Max's Ten Year Old Tom Details