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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

    Thursday, April 25

    Young Sheldon - "A Fancy Article and a Scholarship for a Baby" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Sheldon’s published paper leads to a frenzy of grad school recruiting, and Georgie tries to speak more properly in front of his daughter.

    Ghosts - "The Traveling Agent" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Pete discovers a power that he never knew he had – one that brings him closer to his buddy Jay (and further apart).

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

    Thursday, April 25

    • Rob McElhenney (Mythic Quest/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Catch Rob on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Carol Burnett (Palm Royale/Mad About You/Mama's Family) - Carol appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Tim Robinson (Digman!/Detroiters) - Tim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Wendell Pierce (The Odd Couple/The Michael J. Fox Show/The Weber/The Brian Benben Show/The Gregory Hines Show) - Wendell appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred sits in with The 8G Band on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - E! News has an interview with Jerry at 11pm on E!. He also talks about Unfrosted on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
    • Ronny Chieng (Young Rock/Ronny Chieng: International Student) - Ronny guest co-hosts Comedy Central's The Daily Show at 11pm.
    • Jason Ritter (The Class) - Jason is a guest on After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/The Ellen Show/Welcome to New York) - Jim talks about Unfrosted on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am. NBC's Today catches up with Jim in the 9am hour.
    • Vivica A. Fox (Mr. Box Office/Getting Personal/Arsenio/Out All Night) - Vivica talks about Not Another Church Movie in the 10am hour.
    • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie talks about her new book Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share on a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Pam Grier (Bless This Mess) - Pam talks about Prime Video's Them: The Scare on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
    • Luenell (Lopez) - Luenell stops by before her performance at the famous Apollo Theater in New York City on Sherri, so check your local listings.
    • Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tichina guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray

    Father Knows Best - The Complete Series Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series

    12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
    12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
    12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
    12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
    12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
    12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
    12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
    01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
    01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
    02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
    03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
    03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
    03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
    04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)

    The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

    More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    04/24 - Apple TV+ Comedy Trying Season 4; Shoresy Returns to Hulu in June
    04/23 - Bob Hearts Abishola Coming to Syndication This Fall; Off Script With The Hollywood Reporter Returns in May
    04/22 - Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head Comedy Tour Expands Into June & July, Including at NJPAC; Comedy Central Orders Golden Axe
    04/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 22, 2024)
    04/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Cancels Two Series and Picks Up New Soap Opera; Potential New Buyer Interested in Paramount
    04/19 - Nikki Glaser Gets HBO Special; Peacock and UK Channel 4's We Are Lady Parts Season 2
    04/18 - Acapulco Returns May 1; Iliza Shlesinger Heads to Prime Video
    04/17 - 31st SAG Awards Airs on Netflix Next February; Prime Video Orders Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Spinoff with Host Travis Kelce
    04/16 - ABC Renews The Rookie for Season 7; CBS Orders New Soap Opera The Gates
    04/15 - Paramount+ Announces Final Season of Animated Star Trek Comedy; Lifetime May 2024 Movies
    04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2024)
    04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Talk Coming to an End at CBS; CBS Renews The Neighborhood
    04/12 - Netflix Orders Tom Segura Comedy Series; Surprise! S.W.A.T. Gets Uncanceled...Again
    04/11 - Max's Velma Returns April 25; Eva Longoria Apple TV+ Series Premieres in June
    04/10 - CBS Renews NCIS and The Neighborhood; Max's Pretty Little Liars Returns May 9
    04/09 - CBS 2023-24 Season Finale Dates; Hacks Star Gets Max Comedy Special
    04/08 - Letterman's My Next Guest Returns April 30; Jack McBrayer HGTV Series Premieres May 3
    04/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 8, 2024)
    04/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Cancels Quantum Leap; Airdate Set for Final Pat Sajak Wheel of Fortune Episode
    04/05 - Hulu Spring and Summer 2024 Slate; Netflix Orders Tyler Perry Drama; Remembering Joe Flaherty
    04/04 - Apple TV+ The Big Door Prize Returns April 24; ABC Renews Will Trent for Season 3
    04/03 - Sony Pictures and Game Show Network Upfront; ABC Renews Grey's Anatomy and 9-1-1 for 2024-25
    04/02 - Adult Swim's Smiling Friends Returns May 12; Stallone Drama Returning for Season 2
    04/01 - Selena Gomez Gets New Food Network Series; Orphan Black Gets New Series
    03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2024)
    03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Patricia Richardson on Potential Home Improvement Reboot; Paramount+ Removes Several Nickelodeon Series
    03/29 - Hulu Launches on Disney+; Under the Bridge Premieres April 17
    03/28 - Netflix's Good Times Animated Comedy Trailer; Too Close for Comfort and Check It Out! Complete Series on DVD
    03/27 - The Upshaws Part 5 This April; Max Orders Noah Wyle Medical Drama
    03/26 - Apple TV+ Orders Star-Studded Comedy; Elizabeth Banks Joins New Peacock Series
    03/25 - Disney Channel Orders Wizards of Waverly Place Revival; Paramount+ Animated Comedy Ark: The Animated Series
    03/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 25, 2024)