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

    Friday, August 14

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 10)

    Friday, August 14

    • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Watch Jamie on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Jane Curtin (United We Fall/Crumbs/3rd Rock from the Sun/Kate & Allie) - Jane is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Don appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) - Thomas is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Walton Goggins (The Unicorn/Vice Principals) - Walton appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Laura Dern (Enlightened) - Laura is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Rob appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Bill Engvall (The Bill Engvall Show) - Bill is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso/Son of Zorn/The Cleveland Show) - Jason talks about Ted Lasso on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Zach Braff (Ted Lasso/Alex, Inc./Scrubs) - Zach talks about Ted Lasso on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • Nicole Byer (Mapleworth Murders/Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole talks about Quibi's Mapleworth Murders on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June/July/August)

    Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven

    04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
    04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
    04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
    05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
    05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
    05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
    05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
    05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
    06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
    06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
    06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
    06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
    06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
    06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
    06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
    06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
    06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
    06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
    06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
    06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
    07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
    07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
    07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
    08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    08/14 - Fri-Yay: A.P. Bio Returns in September on Peacock; Two Comedy Central Comedies Moving to HBO Max
    08/13 - NBC Schedules Two Series for Early Fall; Unaired black-ish Episode Now on Hulu
    08/12 - Bounce Brings Back Two Sitcoms and Orders Two New Ones; Disney Television Studios Rebrands Three Divisions
    08/11 - Peacock Bulks Up on New Comedies; New Saved by the Bell Trailer Released
    08/10 - Hulu Announces Upcoming Slate for 2020; AMC Gets Real for Animated Drama
    08/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 10, 2020)
    08/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Who's the Boss? in Line for a Reboot; Love, Victor Renewed for Season Two
    08/07 - Keke Palmer Joins The Proud Family Revival; Amazon to Remake Penny Marshall's A League of Their Own
    08/06 - Tacoma FD Gets Season 3; Stars Come Aboard HBO Pandemic Comedy Event
    08/05 - Quibi Sets Whodunnit Comedy; CW Drops Sketch Comedy After One Airing
    08/04 - Laff TV Acquires How I Met Your Mother; Lifetime Announces Stars for It's a Wonderful Lifetime for 2020
    08/03 - Fox Sets Premiere Date for Monday Fall Dramas; Jim Belushi Gets Discovery Series
    08/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 3, 2020)
    08/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Damon Wayans Jr. Set to Star in Comedy for Peacock; Production to Restart for S.W.A.T.
    07/31 - Fri-Yay: Emmy Nominations Thoughts; Leah Remini to Host Game Show Network Game Show
    07/30 - Netflix Acquires Black Sitcoms from 1990s and 2000s; A 4 Sitcom Crossover Event Coming Soon to Netflix
    07/29 - The 72nd Emmy Awards Nominations; Live with Kelly and Ryan Pays Tribute to Regis
    07/28 - Freeform's Love in the Time of Corona Gets Premiere Date; ABC Remembers Regis with Primetime Special Tonight (July 28)
    07/27 - Archer Gets Season 11 Premiere Date on FXX; The Fugitive Reboot on Quibi Trailer
    07/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 27, 2020)
    07/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Chase Considered for ABC Primetime Lineup; Plex Adds 80 Free Linear Channels
    07/24 - Fri-Yay: Two More COVID-19 Remote Reunions: 30 Rock and Happy Endings; Netflix Renews Top 10 Series Sweet Magnolias for Season 2
    07/23 - Fox Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Date for Animated Comedies; Syfy Acquires John Cena & Kat Dennings Animated Comedy
    07/22 - HBO Orders Bridget Everett Comedy Series; Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Cast to Reunite on YouTube
    07/21 - Happy Endings Cast Reunite, See Episode Here; Jake Johnson Shooting Hoops on Netflix
    07/20 - Netflix Is About to Get Even with Comedy; ABC's United We Fall Gets Encore
    07/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 20, 2020)
    07/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Affiliates Refuse to Air 30 Rock: A One Time Special; Golden Girls House For Sale
    07/17 - Fri-Yay: Peacock Launches, Thoughts So Far; Stay Calm with New Series with A-Listers
    07/16 - Hallmark Channel Announces Renewals and Slate for 2021; Michael Che Coming to HBO Max for Improv Series
    07/15 - ABC Names Tyra Banks as New Dancing with the Stars Host; CBS Fall 2020 Schedule Change for Wednesdays
    07/14 - Emily in Paris Moves to Netflix; Ravi Patel's HBO Max Comedy Docuseries Premieres Aug. 27