Monday, October 02, 2017

CBS Fall Pilot Review: 9JKL - Premieres Tonight (Oct. 2); Decades TV Starts Lost TV Block for October

9JKL

9JKL - Mondays at 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, October 2, 2017 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

9JKL stars Mark Feuerstein in a family comedy inspired by his real life. Josh Roberts (Feuerstein) is a new divorcé and actor between projects who moves home to New York to regroup, living in an apartment sandwiched between his doting, meddlesome parents on one side and his competitive brother, sister-in-law and their new baby on the other. As Josh's family literally comes at him from both sides, he realizes he desperately needs to establish some personal boundaries, because his loving family is always going to be right there for him. Always.

Cast Details:

Mark Feuerstein as Josh
David Walton as Andrew
Elliott Gould as Harry
Linda Lavin as Judy
Liza Lapira as Eve
Matt Murray as Nick
Albert Tsai as Ian

Mark Feuerstein (Josh) is best known for his lead role as Dr. Henry "Hank" Lawson in USA Network's series Royal Pains. In 2015, he co-starred as arch-villain Jacob Anton Ness in the reboot of Fox's Prison Break. His sitcom starring roles include Fired Up, Conrad Bloom and Good Morning, Miami.

David Walton (Andrew) starred in the NBC comedies 100 Questions, Perfect Couples, Bent and About a Boy. He starred in the drama Heist in 2006. His feature film credits include Fired Up, Think Like a Man Too, Break Point and Bad Moms.

Elliott Gould (Harry) had a recurring role as Jack Geller in Friends from 1994–2003. He starred as Oscar in the 2014-2015 Fox sitcom Mulaney. He played Dr. Howard Sheinfeld in the 1984-1985 CBS sitcom E/R. He had a recurring role as Ezra Goldman in Ray Donovan (2013–2015).

Linda Lavin (Judy) is best known for playing the title character in the sitcom Alice. She won two Golden Globe Awards for her role. She also performed the show's theme song. Her other sitcom starring roles include Conrad Bloom, Room for Two and Sean Saves the World.

Liza Lapira (Eve) has also co-starred in the short-lived sitcoms Traffic Light, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Super Fun Night and Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life. Some of her other credits include Huff, NCIS and Dollhouse.

Matt Murray (Nick) starred as Brian in the short-lived sitcom Kevin from Work. Some of his other credits include The Firm, Suits, Rookie Blue and Eyewitness.

Albert Tsai (Ian) is best known for his roles as Bert Harrison in the ABC comedy series Trophy Wife and as Dave Park in Dr. Ken. He had a recurring role as Phillip Goldstein in Fresh Off the Boat.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs October 2 at 8:30PM ET)

Josh's well-intentioned mom, Judy, is so excited to have her beloved son home after his 12 years in Los Angeles that she bribes their doorman, Nick, to secretly call her every time Josh comes up the elevator, so she can greet him in the hallway. Also thrilled is Josh’s larger-than-life father, Harry, an attorney with no personal boundaries who’s eager to help Josh land his next starring role using his Hollywood “connections.” Teasing Josh about his return home is his competitive brother, Andrew, a successful surgeon who, unlike Josh, doesn’t have a problem saying “no” to their interfering parents; Andrew’s Harvard-educated pediatrician wife, Eve; and 12-year-old neighbor Ian from 5A, who hangs out in the lobby. As Josh’s family literally comes at him from both sides, he realizes he desperately needs to establish some ground rules, because his loving family is always going to be right there for him. Always.

Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Dana Klein and Mark Feuerstein
Guest stars: Paul Feig as Himself, Sally Pressman as Christina, Hana Hayes as Molly, Fernando Martinez as Man

Analysis:

9JKL is a multi-camera sitcom from Kapital Entertainment in association with CBS Television studios. Dana Klein, Mark Feuerstein, Aaron Kaplan, Wendi Trilling, Dana Honor and Pam Fryman are the executive producers. Mark Feuerstein and Dana Klein are married in real life. The show is loosely based on his experiences while shooting the USA Network series Royal Pains. One difference is that Feuerstein and Klein lived together while living next to his own family.

In the "Pilot" episode, Judy and Harry look at their son, Josh, as a baby while he is sleeping in his bed. Josh has returned to New York after 12 years in Los Angeles after his show was cancelled and he divorced. He starred in the TV series Blind Cop, which they have a poster of on his wall. Josh explains to them that is only temporary as he looks to get back into theatre. Josh's brother Andrew, his wife Eve and their baby Wyatt come into the room as the entire family greets him. Josh later talks to the doorman, Nick, and his new neighbor Ian from apartment 5A in the lobby. Judy greets Josh in the lobby and invites him in for cookies and a chat. Harry wants Josh to star in a viral video for his estate planning business.

Josh and Andrew later meet in the park where they meet a man who recognizes Josh from Blind Cop. Josh meets Christina Jones, who went to school with him at Michigan. Josh tells Nick and Ian about his date with Christina. Ian tells him about a role being available in a Paul Feig comedy. Josh tries to sneak past his mother's apartment undetected. Howard tries to set up Josh a meeting with Paul Feig. They shoot the viral video. Josh receives a phone call from Molly, who is babysitting Wyatt. Josh picks up his nephew Wyatt and takes him to the restaurant to meet Christina. Christina suggests they go to Josh's place. Josh learns that Nick has been phoning Judy every time he arrives home. While talking to Christina on the terrace, Howard offers her some honeydew melon. Christina learns that Josh lives next to his family. Josh tells them he needs space. Josh rushes to meet Paul Feig. Although he can't read for the role of the doctor, he is offered another role. His family congratulates him and tells them they will always be there for him.

The "Pilot" episode is fast-paced, funny and enjoyable. There are quite a few characters to introduce, so they do a good job giving everybody some screen time. It will be interesting to learn more about the characters and their backgrounds in future episodes. The cast has some great chemistry already. Surprisingly enough, this isn't the first time that Feuerstein and Lavin have played son and mother. They had previously worked together in the short-lived 1998 sitcom Conrad Bloom. The title of the show is interesting and unique. Josh lives in Apartment 9K. He is sandwiched between his parents' apartment, 9J; and his brother, sister-in-law and their baby's apartment, 9L.

9JKL features a talented and experienced comedy cast. Mark Feuerstein has recently been starring in dramas such as Royal Pains and Prison Break, but he starred in a number of sitcoms earlier in his career. David Walton has appeared in many sitcoms in recent years. Elliott Gould had a recurring role in Friends and recently stared in Mulaney. It's always great to see Linda Lavin return to television. She could be anybody's overly protective mother in this role. Liza Lapira is always funny in her roles. Matt Murray and Albert Tsai form a nice comedic duo and provide some funny lines. Albert Tsai is always a scene stealer in all of his TV appearances. The trend continues here.

Conclusion:

9JKL is a likable and promising new comedy. There's nothing really groundbreaking, but it's just a fun half hour. It's very much an old school sitcom with the laugh track. They have put together a strong and experienced cast. This is a family comedy which many people will be able to relate to. If you've ever moved back in with your parents, it will hit home. There are many funny lines and awkward moments in the series premiere. The cast has some great chemistry, especially Feuerstein and Lavin who have played son and mother before. Elliott Gould is also very funny as the father. They made a good decision adding young Albert Tsai to the regular cast. He's one of the best child actors in the business.

The show couldn't ask for a better lead-in following the highest rated comedy in The Big Bang Theory. They should receive some nice sampling. It will be interesting to see how it does in a few weeks without the big lead-in, but I think it has a reasonable chance of success. There are few sitcoms in recent years which have put together so many familiar faces and comedy veterans. CBS has assembled a solid comedy block on Monday nights. It seems like a very good fit with their other family comedies. Comedy has a new address at 9JKL. Tune in Mondays at 8:30PM ET/PT.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, October 2, 2017 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • 9JKL Photo Gallery

    Preview:





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    Sunday, September 25

    The Simpsons - "Habeas Tortoise" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
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