Wednesday, March 07, 2018

NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Champions - Premieres March 8; Former TV Land Sitcom Moves to Paramount Network

Champions

Champions - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Skees

Vince (Anders Holm) would love to be living "the dream," but when his father died, his dream was pushed aside when he and his brother, Matthew (Andy Favreau), take over the gym that his father owned. Now, he has the opportunity to sell the gym and move to Florida... until an ex (special guest star Mindy Kaling) from about a dozen years ago arrives at the front door with the son (J.J. Totah) that he never knew he had.

Cast Details:

Anders Holm as Vince
Andy Favreau as Matthew
J.J. Totah as Michael
Mouzam Makkar as Britney
Fortune Feimster as Ruby
Yassir Lester as Shabaz

Anders Holm (Vince) came to fame from the Comedy Central series Workaholics, where he was both a creator and a star. He also had a recurring role on The Mindy Project.

Andy Favreau (Matthew) has had guest roles in series including Will & Grace, The Mick, and 2 Broke Girls, among others. He is also the brother of Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama.

J.J. Totah (Michael) made his debut on Kroll Show and also was among the regular cast in the short-lived ABC series, Back in the Game. He also appeared in four episodes of the final season of Glee.

Mouzzam Makkar (Britney) comes from working on the stage, but she has appeared in episodes of The Vampire Diaries, 9JKL, Bones, among many other series.

Fortune Feimster (Ruby) made her debut on Last Comic Standing, but has also co-starred on The Mindy Project and had a recurring role on Life in Pieces. She also appeared on many Chelsea Lately episodes.

Yassir Lester (Shabaz) is an improv comic who has been seen on TV on The Carmichael Show and Key and Peele.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs March 8 at 9:30PM ET)

Vince and Matthew are brothers who've been running the gym that their father ran for the past several years, and Vince is ready to move on. In fact, he even decides to sell he gym. But meanwhile, a woman, Priya, is in New York, trying to get her drama loving son Michael enrolled in a special school for talented young kids. And before Vince knows it, Priya and Michael are knocking on the door with a surprise that is going to change his life forever.

"I Think I'm Gonna Tolerate it Here" (Airs March 15 at 9:30PM ET)

With Michael now living with Vince and Matthew full-time, it seems they've got a big problem: he has no bedroom to call his own. Even worse, it turns out he is absolutely insufferable to live with, and a major slob. Meanwhile, Vince needs to come up with $5000 in just a few days or else he is going to lose the gym. They're going to have to solve both of these problems, perhaps with a single solution?

"Lumps" (Airs March 22 at 9:30PM ET)

There's a new gym in town and they're taking all of the ladies from Champions gym. And it's going to take an all out battle to bring them back, with Michael helping Vince and Matthew know what the ladies want.

Analysis:

This is definitely one of those series where the name of the doesn't really tell viewers anything about the series, and from what I've seen, the advertising doesn't really do too great of a job of that either. So that may make it a little difficult to bring in viewers for the first time. But to be clear, the premise is rather simple: two guys are raising a kid and running a gym.

This is far from the first time that there has been a series about a guy (or two guys) raising estranged kids. Even though this is a much different series, the premise of two guys raising a children was the entire basis of My Two Dads. And the premise of a father raising an older child that he wasn't even aware that he had was the entire basis of Silver Spoons. So the series definitely has elements of both of those, even though the main twist here is that the kid isn't your typical kid, he's a gay half-Indian who wants to make it big in showbiz, and can be difficult to live with at times. That's what makes the series stand out. If he was just another boring cookie cutter Ricky Stratton or Nicole Bradford, it would be a tired plot at this point.

The home life, of course, is not all the series is about. There is also what goes on at work in the gym, and honestly, that too could almost make a series by itself. Those scenes become a lot like workplace comedies such as The Office or Superstore, although those series seem to have an eclectic group of coworkers with some actually being level-headed and normal. It seems that the gym has nobody who is truly like that, and that everybody is dysfunctional. But why not? There's no need to be another cookie cutter office comedy.

It's definitely a unique premise for a TV series, and while the first few episodes do have a few rough edges to work out, it definitely has some potential.

Conclusion:

This certainly wasn't a bad pilot, although I can't say it is the best one that I've ever seen either. I think the real question when it comes to whether or not this show can succeed is whether or not it can fit into the NBC lineup appropriately, and it's really tough to answer that question one way or the other. It really feels like it fits more into the mold of the single camera sitcoms that have aired on Fox in recent years, such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mindy Project (that probably shouldn't be too surprising since Mindy Kaling also serves as executive producer here), The Mick, etc. But at the same time, it's probably fair to say that any sitcom could fit into the NBC lineup, as their entire roster of current successful sitcoms consists of just Superstore (not exactly a runaway hit, but it has an audience and lasting power) and Will & Grace (not at all a fresh series).

Ultimately, it's a fun series that's worth giving a chance. The first three episodes give me hope that it could be a good series, but I'll be watching to see where it goes from there, and it's at least worth giving the series a fair shot.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Champions Photo Gallery

    Preview:




  • Nobodies

    A former TV Land comedy is getting a new home. And soon. Original scripted comedy Nobodies starring Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, and Rachel Ramras premieres Thursday, March 29 at 10pm ET/PT now on the Paramount Network. Series executive produced by Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy and Michael Macdonald adds Mark-Paul Gosselaar as recurring role. Second Season features appearances by Kristin Wiig, Sia, Leslie Bibb, Cedric The Entertainer, Michael MacDonald, Ben Falcone, and Melissa McCarthy.

    Nobodies follows Groundlings alums Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, and Rachel Ramras as they navigate life on the outskirts of fame and try - again - to "make it" in Hollywood; with help from their more-famous friends. The season 2 trailer showcases appearances from the stars' real-life friends including Kristin Wiig, Sia, Leslie Bibb, Cedric The Entertainer, and executive producers Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy. Gosselaar will appear in all 12 episodes. The 12-episode half-hour comedy series is executive produced by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone (through their On the Day productions) with Michael MacDonald (MADtv) serving as Executive Producer, Director, and Showrunner, and is written and executive produced by stars Davidson, Dorf, and Ramras.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, August 10

    The Conners - "Messy Situation, Miscommunication and Academic Probation" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Becky inadvertently outs her relationship with Professor Davis, he’s forced to reevaluate his career, but his erratic behavior sends Becky down a path to reevaluate their relationship. Meanwhile, Dan and Darlene check in on Chuck, only to learn heartbreaking news about his family.

    The Goldbergs - "Hip-Shaking and Booty-Quaking" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Erica and Geoff decide to throw a party to prove to others and themselves that they can still have fun as a young, engaged couple. Meanwhile, Beverly assumes control of William Penn Academy as “acting principal” and presses the school faculty to put together a “Fame”-themed send-off for the senior class.

    Abbott Elementary - "Open House" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    It’s Open House night at Abbott Elementary, and while Janine prepares to meet her struggling student’s mother, the rest of the faculty uses the time to relax. Gregory is taken aback when he learns how Ava got the principal job, and later, Barbara’s daughter’s visit creates a commotion in more ways than one.

    Home Economics - "Keg of Light Beer, $180" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    While Tom and Marina attempt to relive their youth at a college party, Connor and Denise deal with JoJo (Tetona Jackson) potentially leaving when she gets an offer to go on a reality show. Meanwhile, Sarah considers casting her niece in the school musical.

    Wellington Paranormal - "A Civil War" (The CW, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    In the wake of a shocking blindside, players scramble for power; a pair of underdogs must choose between creating chaos and playing it safe.

    grown-ish - "Look What U Started" (Freeform, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Eager to impress Gamma Psi Delta while pledging, Junior faces a moral dilemma when he books a controversial comic to perform at a fundraiser; Aaron struggles to fit in with his colleagues, and receives advice from Zoey about how to cope.

    Everything's Trash - "Family Is Trash" (Freeform, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    Jayden's obsessive need to fix Phoebe creates a rift between them; Jessie, Malika and Michael attempt to mend the relationship and reunite the siblings.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 8)

    Wednesday, August 10

    • Jamie Foxx (Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!/The Jamie Foxx Show) - Watch Jamie on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • David Alan Grier (Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!/The Cool Kids/The Carmichael Show/Bad Teacher/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Kieran Culkin (Go Fish) - Kieran is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Jeff Foxworthy (The Jeff Foxworthy Show) - Jeff appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Vanessa Bayer (I Love That for You) - Vanessa is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Julie Andrews (Julie) - Julie chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Michaela JaĆ© Rodriguez (Loot) - Michaela discusses Loot on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Gabriel Iglesias (Mr. Iglesias/Cristela) - Gabriel is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Mariska Hargitay (Can't Hurry Love) - Mariska appears on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jason Biggs (Outmatched/Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason and his wife Jenny Mollen are guests on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • D'Arcy Carden (Barry/The Good Place) - NBC's Today catches up with D'Arcy in the 9am hour.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/The Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Sofia is a guest on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
    • Howie Mandel (Good Grief) - Howie will be on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
    • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
    • Megan Suri (Never Have I Ever) - Megan appears on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 9:40am.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

    Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release) The Neighborhood - Season Four The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three

    04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
    04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
    05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
    05/13 - The Donna Reed Show - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Time Life)
    05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
    06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / Season Two
    07/19 - The Neighborhood - Season Four
    07/19 - Reno 911! - The Hunt for QAnon (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    07/26 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three / Season Four
    08/16 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season (Warner Bros. - Canada)
    08/16 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    More Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    08/09 - COZI TV Celebrates Emergency! 50th Anniversary with Documentary; Kaley Cuoco Heads to Peacock for Comedic Thriller Series
    08/08 - FETV Acquires Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Disney+ Orders 2nd Season of Robin Roberts Talk Show
    08/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 8, 2022)
    08/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Everybody Still Hates Chris Animated Series in the Works; HBO Max and Discovery+ Merging Into One
    08/05 - Disney+ Series Premiere Dates, Includes Dancing with the Stars; Hallmark Orders New Original Drama
    08/04 - NBC Moving Days of Our Lives to Peacock, Replacing with News Show; Selena + Chef Returns on HBO Max
    08/03 - FX's Atlanta Final Season Launches Sept. 15; Elisabeth Moss Gets New Hulu Series
    08/02 - Showtime Orders Comedy Pilot Titled Mason; NBC Renews Weakest Link Revival for Season 3
    08/01 - HBO's Los Espookys Returns in September; Good Grief Is Back on IFC
    07/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 1, 2022)
    07/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Max Headroom Reboot in Works at AMC Networks; Jeopardy! to Continue Dual Host Plan
    07/29 - HBO Max and Hulu to Share Streaming Rights to Abbott Elementary; Reboot Gets Premiere Date
    07/28 - ABC to Present Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter; Remembering Tony Dow of Leave it to Beaver and Paul Sorvino
    07/27 - The Orville Coming to Disney+ and Continues on Hulu; Retta Continues Partnership with HGTV
    07/26 - Mythic Quest Returns for 10 Episodes in Fall; Patton Oswalt's Netflix Comedy Special We All Scream Premieres September 20
    07/25 - American Dad! Returns Labor Day on TBS; Krapopolis Gets Special Nov. 27 Preview on Fox
    07/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 25, 2022)
    07/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Abbott Elementary Given Full Second Season; Preview of New Beavis and Butt-Head Episode
    07/22 - Ghosts Dives Into the Metaverse with a Game; Jo Koy Gets 4th Netflix Special; Remembering Rebecca Balding of Soap
    07/21 - South Park's 25th Anniversary Concert Event; FETV's Historic June Numbers
    07/20 - Hulu's This Fool Premieres August 12; Mo'Nique Gets Netflix Comedy Special
    07/19 - Apple TV+ Comedy Central Park Returns in September; Leah Remini Game Show Is Back on Aug. 1
    07/18 - Paramount+ Revives Criminal Minds; AMC Network Sizzling in August with Hot Originals
    07/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 18, 2022)
    07/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Beavis and Butt-Head Premiere Date Set; TBS Abruptly Cancels Chad Hours Before Season Premiere
    07/15 - Alfonso Ribeiro Joins Dancing with the Stars as Co-Host; Archer Returns for Season 13 in August
    07/14 - Reboot Premieres Fall 2022 on Hulu; Abbott Elementary Fan Experience in San Diego
    07/13 - 74th Emmy Awards Nominations; Apple TV+ Renews Loot For Season 2
    07/12 - Hulu Orders Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building; Pluto Announces New 24/7 Channels Including Let's Make a Deal
    07/11 - Disney's Hamster & Gretel Premieres Aug. 12; Remembering Larry Storch of F Troop, James Caan and Gregory Itzin
    07/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 11, 2022)
    07/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Preparing for Beauty and the Beast Live Musical; F Troop Actor Dies