Monday, February 26, 2018

CBS Mid-Season Pilot Review: Living Biblically - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 26); NBC Switches Timeslots for Two New Comedies

Living Biblically

Living Biblically - Mondays at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, February 26, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

Chip Curry is a modern day man at a crossroads in his life, who decides to live strictly in accordance with the Bible. A film critic for a New York Newspaper and a soon-to-be father, Chip wants to be a better man following the loss of his best friend. He decides to put his slightly obsessive temperament to use and start living his life 100% by the Bible to find direction. His smart, pregnant wife, Leslie, while both skeptical and entertained by her husband’s new passion, supports him completely. Knowing he'll need some practical advice, Chip forms a “God Squad” with Father Gene, a Catholic Priest who helps Chip translate the rules of the Bible to a modern world; and Father Gene's best friend, easygoing Rabbi Gil Abelman, who respects Chip's chutzpah and is glad to serve as a sounding board when they meet at their local bar. At Chip's newspaper, he finds support from his no-nonsense boss, Ms. Meadows, who knows Chip’s self-penned story will sell newspapers, and his co-worker and friend, Vince, who is quick with a reality check and likes to wind Chip up for his own amusement. As he begins his sincere spiritual journey toward a more moral life with the help of his wife and friends, Chip wonders if he'll be able to take a page – or every page – out of the Good Book, and if the effect will be of Biblical proportions.

Cast Details:

Jay R. Ferguson as Chip Curry
Lindsey Kraft as Leslie Curry
Ian Gomez as Father Gene
David Krumholtz as Rabbi Gil Abelman
Tony Rock as Vince
Camryn Manheim as Ms. Meadows

Jay R. Ferguson (Chip Curry) recently starred in The Real O'Neals. His first sitcom starring role was as Taylor Newton in Evening Shade. Some of his other television credits include The Outsiders, Glory Days, Judging Amy, Surface, Easy Money, Mad Men and Twin Peaks.

Lindsey Kraft (Leslie Curry) has appeared in the recurring role of Allison in Grace and Frankie. Some of her other television credits include NCIS, 2 Broke Girls, Getting On, Veep, Modern Family, Suits, The Newsroom, The Ranch, Lethal Weapon, Childrens Hospital and Bones.

Ian Gomez (Father Gane) starred as Courteney Cox's lovable neighbor Andy in Cougar Town. Some of his other starring credits include The Drew Carey Show, Felicity, The Norm Show, Jake in Progress and Rita Rocks.

David Krumholtz (Rabbi Gil Abelman) is best known for his role as Charlie Eppes in Numb3rs. Some of his other credits include Chicago Sons, The Trouble with Normal, The Lyon's Den, Partners and The Deuce.

Tony Rock (Vince) starred as Dirk Black in All of Us. Some of his other credits include Everybody Hates Chris and Mann and Wife. He is the younger brother of Chris Rock.

Camryn Manheim (Ms. Meadows) is best known for her roles as attorney Ellenor Frutt in The Practice and as Delia Banks in Ghost Whisperer. Some of her other television credits include The L Word, Harry's Law, Criminal Minds, Person of Interest and Extant.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs February 26 at 9:30PM ET)

Chip Curry (Jay R. Ferguson) is a modern-day man at a crossroads in his life who decides to live strictly in accordance with the Bible.

Directed by Andy Ackerman
Written by Patrick Walsh
Guest stars: Sara Gilbert as Cheryl, Joe DeRosa as Gary, June Squibb as Mrs. Murphy, Carla Renata as Gracie, Tiffany Panhilason as Josie

"False Idols" (Airs March 5 at 9:30PM ET)

When Father Gene and Rabbi Gil (the “God Squad”) point out to Chip that his addiction to his smartphone is the same as worshiping a false idol, Chip decides to stop using it, causing his wife, Leslie, and his officemates to worry about his whereabouts.

Directed by Andy Ackerman
Written by Sophia Lear
Guest stars: Sara Gilbert as Cheryl, Lateefa Holder as Ticket Clerk, Gary Kraus as Rick, A.J. Rivera as Florist, Forte Rodriguez as Police Officer

Analysis:

Living Biblically is a multi-camera sitcom from Alcide Bava Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios. The series is created by Patrick Walsh. It's based on the The New York Times bestselling book The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. Patrick Walsh, Johnny Galecki, Andrew Haas and Spencer Medoff are the executive producers.

In the "Pilot" episode, Chip goes to a confessional booth to talk to a priest (Father Gene). He's a lapsed Catholic who is not there to confess. Chip tells him that he wants to live his life 100% by the Bible to the letter, which causes Father Gene to laugh uncontrollably. In some flashback scenes, Chip tells a long story on how he came to his decision. His best friend of 30 years, Ray, died recently. He talks to Ray's mother, Mrs. Murphy. Chip reviews movies for a newspaper in Manhattan. He talks to his co-workers Gary and Vince. He talks to Ms. Meadows who has fired an employee. His wife, Leslie, drops a bombshell that she is pregnant. He later goes to the bookstore and talks to an employee there named Gracie. A copy of the Bible is in his basket and he receives a sign. He tells Leslie that he wants to live his life according to the Bible until they have their baby. Father Gene gives him his card. Chips wears some new threads to work and brings donuts. Chip later talks to Father Gene and his friend, Rabbi Gil, at a bar. Leslie calls them Chip's answer guys or "God Squad". Chip and Leslie have dinner and the restaurant where they see Gary with his mistress, Josie. Ms. Meadows later offers Chip 3 more articles per week and more money to write about his journey. The episode closes with a scene of Chip remembering his departed friend Ray.

The "Pilot" episode is very good overall. Sitcom veteran Andy Ackerman (Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine) does a fine job directing. It's fast-paced, funny and enjoyable. They do a good job of introducing the characters in a short amount of time. There's a nice mix of workplace, bar and home comedy. It feels a little bit like The Office, Cheers and How I Met Your Mother. It will be interesting to see these characters further developed in future episodes.

Living Biblically boasts a talented and experienced cast. Jay R. Ferguson was recently in The Real O'Neals and brings plenty of comedy experience. Lindsey Kraft is a relative newcomer compared to the rest of cast, but she has plenty of television credits. The "God Squad", Ian Gomez and David Krumholtz, are both comedy veterans. The workplace group of Tony Rock, Camryn Manheim and Sara Gilbert bring some funny laughs and one-liners. Sara Gilbert is listed as a special guest star, but she has a good-sized role in the first two episodes. Her Roseanne co-star Johnny Galecki is one of the executive producers of the series. JoBeth Williams guest stars as Leslie’s mother, Diana, a scientist who spars with Chip about the power of prayer in an upcoming episode.

Conclusion:

Living Biblically has some good potential. It features a likable and veteran cast. There are many familiar faces to television audiences. This is Lindsey Kraft's first major starring role. She has some good chemistry already with Jay R. Ferguson. They are an appealing couple. It has a good amount of laughs mixed in with some poignant moments. There's a nice blend of workplace, bar and home comedy. I'm not familiar with the book the series is inspired by, but it makes for an interesting premise for a weekly sitcom.

The show should fit in well on CBS' Monday night schedule of multi-camera sitcoms. CBS tried a religion-based comedy with Angel from Hell a few years ago, but it didn't have much success and was cancelled quickly. This one should have more of a chance to catch on because it's a more traditional sitcom filmed in front of a studio audience. There haven't been any really successful religion-themed sitcoms since Amen, so this seems like a fresh and interesting concept. It should be entertaining to follow Chip's journey in future episodes. I'm a believer in Living Biblically. Tune in on Monday nights on CBS at 9:30PM ET/PT.



Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Living Biblically Photo Gallery

    Preview:

  • Champions

    NBC is switching the time periods for two new comedies starting next Thursday (March 8). The time periods for A.P. Bio and Champions will switch starting Thursday, March 8, the day of the series premiere of Champions. The timeslot premiere of A.P. Bio will air at 8:30pm ET/PT through May 17, while the series premiere of Champions will air at 9:30pm ET/PT through May 3. In Champions, Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition, lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya (Mindy Kaling), one of his old high school flings. The cast includes Anders Holm, Andy Favreau, J.J. Totah, Mouzam Makkar, Nina Wadia and guest star Mindy Kaling.

    A.P. Bio

    In A.P. Bio, when disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton) loses out on his dream job, he is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher. As he comes crashing in to Whitlock High School, Jack makes it absolutely clear he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack decides instead to use the kids for his own benefit. Eager to prove that he is still king of the castle, Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt) struggles to control the force of nature that is Jack Griffin. Mary Sohn, Lyric Lewis, Jean Villepique, Jacob McCarthy and Tom Bennett also star.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, October 23

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 19)

    Friday, October 23

    • Emma Roberts (Scream Queens/Unfaboulus) - Watch Emma on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsa appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle (Pen15) - Maya and Anna are guests on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony talks about black-ish on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Annie Potts (Young Sheldon/Love & War/Designing Women) - Annie is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy/American Dad!/The Cleveland Show) and Liz Gillies (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/Victorious) - Seth and Liz talk about their new album Liz Gillies and Seth MacFarlane: Songs From Home on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Malin Akerman (Trophy Wife/Sin City Saints) and Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls/Raising Dad) - Malin and Kat talk about Friendsgiving on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie) - Peter talks about his latest projects, including becoming certified in hypnotherapy, and watch as he tries to hypnotize one of the hosts LIVE on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
    • Tommy Davidson (Between Brothers) - Tommy will be on The Doctors, so check your local listings.
    • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena talks about Bad Hair on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay talks about Bad Hair on Couch Surfing at 8am.


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

    Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season

    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 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
    09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
    09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
    09/15 - South Side - Season 1
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
    09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
    10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
    10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
    10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    10/23 - Fri-Yay: Archer Goes Back to Its Roots for Season 11; Everybody Loves Raymond Cast Reunion Tonight
    10/22 - CBS Announces More Fall Premieres; REELZ Books Jennifer Aniston Special
    10/21 - MeTV Network Acquires Looney Tunes and More Classic Cartoons; Kaley Cuoco HBO Max Series Announces Nov. 26 Premiere
    10/20 - Antenna TV Officially Announces Returns of The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time; Holiday Movie Reunites Family Matters Siblings
    10/19 - Disney+ Says "Simpsons Forever"; TBS Orders 4th Season of The Last O.G.
    10/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 19, 2020)
    10/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fried Green Tomatoes Series Starring Reba McEntire in the Works at NBC; Last Man Standing to End After Nine Seasons
    10/16 - Fri-Yay: COVID-19 Storylines on TV, Will Viewers Watch?; Antenna TV's 70 Episode Jack Benny Marathon for 70th Anniversary
    10/15 - Last Man Standing to Conclude After Season 9 in 2021; CBS Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Dates
    10/14 - TBS Brings Out Halloween Sitcom Episodes on Halloween; Remembering Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men
    10/13 - Freeform's 'Kickoff to Christmas' Schedule; Celebrate 20 Years of Curb on HBO Max
    10/12 - TNT Airing The West Wing Reruns on Fridays; Kate Mulgrew Joins Star Trek Animated Comedy
    10/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 12, 2020)
    10/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Seinfeld's Newman Returns in PSA to Encourage Mail-In Voting; Showtime Cancels On Becoming a God in Central Florida
    10/09 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Makes Broadcast Debut As a Continuation of the Series' Unlikely Journey; Dickinson Season 2 Premiere Date and Renewal for Season 3
    10/08 - Hallmark Drama Adding Cheers, Happy Days and The Brady Bunch; Chelsea Handler HBO Max Special Gets Date
    10/07 - NBC Fall Pilot Review: Connecting... - Premieres Thursday (Oct. 8); Supernatural Gets Marathons on TNT as Series Finale Airs Nov. 19 on The CW
    10/06 - Cobra Kai Season 3 Premiere Date, 4th Season Renewal; Busy Philipps Joins Peacock Comedy Girls5eva
    10/05 - Apple TV+ Launches The Snoopy Show in 2021; Antenna TV Celebrates 70th Anniversary of The Burns and Allen Show
    10/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 5, 2020)
    10/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Debut Date Set; South Park Pandemic Special a Ratings Hit
    10/02 - Fri-Yay: The Return of Sitcoms: black-ish & Superstore; Bounce Acquires Everybody Hates Chris & Greenleaf
    10/01 - NBC's Young Rock Announces Cast; OWN Gets Digital Comedy
    09/30 - Saved by the Bell Reboot Launching November 25; HBO Orders Weekly Talk Show with Sam Jay
    09/29 - The Addams Family Coming to FETV; Netflix Developing Korean Sitcom
    09/28 - 2002-2007 Sitcom George Lopez Coming to TBS; Guests Announced for black-ish Election Special
    09/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 28, 2020)
    09/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Peacock to Launch All 45 Seasons of Saturday Night Live; Renewal for Family Guy and Bob's Burgers
    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