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, January 21

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 17)

    Friday, January 21

    • Dan Aykroyd (Soul Man) - Watch Dan on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Ernie Hudson (Grace and Frankie/The Last Precinct/Highcliffe Manor) - Ernie is a guest on a repeat ofLate Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy talks about Hotel Transylvania: Transformania on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Edi Patterson (The Righteous Gemstones/Vice Principals/Partners) - Edi talks about The Righteous Gemstones on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam guest hosts The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Nina Dobrev (Fam) - Nina will be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat/Veep) and Ed Helms (Rutherford Falls/The Office) - Randall and Ed are guests on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew dishes on The Drew Barrymore Show on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie talks about her new book Enough Already The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jacob Bertrand (Kirby Buckets/Marvin Marvin) - Jacob talks about the new season of Cobra Kai on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary/Instant Mom/Moesha/It's a Living) - Sheryl talks about Abbott Elementary on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Jim Belushi (According to Jim) - NBC's Today catches up with Jim in the 9am hour.
    • Joshua Malina (Sports Night) - Joshua talks about the podcast Chutzpod! on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-January)

    Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
    11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
    11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
    11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
    11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
    11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
    11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
    11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
    12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
    12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
    12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
    01/04 - Work in Progress - Season 2
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    01/20 - REELZ Announces I Love Lucy, Gilligan's Island Unknown Story Specials; The Proud Family Revival Premieres Feb. 23 on Disney+
    01/19 - South Park Season 25 Premieres Feb. 2; Netflix Orders Animated Comedy Procedural
    01/18 - Tim Allen to Star in The Santa Clause TV Series; Lifetime Reunites with Jenna Dewan
    01/17 - Celebrating Betty White: America's Golden Girl Airs Jan. 31 on NBC; Netflix Premieres Murderville on Feb. 3
    01/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 17, 2022)
    01/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Quantum Leap and Life Goes On Reboots in the Works at NBC; Weekend of Tributes for Betty White and Bob Saget
    01/14 - Fri-Yay: Cobra Kai Continues to Be a Delight; Fox Announces Premiere Date for Welcome to Flatch, Hulu to Release First 7 Episodes on Same Day
    01/13 - MeTV Acquires Full House, Launches with Bob Saget Tribute; Dickinson Gets Documentary Retrospective
    01/12 - TCA Winter 2022 Press Tour: ABC; Hulu Orders More of The Great
    01/11 - Hulu Orders Reboot, Sitcom About a Sitcom Being Rebooted; Emily in Paris Renewed for Season 3...and Season 4!
    01/10 - Remembering Bob Saget of Full House and Dwayne Hickman of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; Betty White's 100th Birthday Tribute on BUZZR & GSN
    01/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 10, 2022)
    01/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Reboot of The Honeymooners in the Works; Remembering Marilyn Bergman
    01/07 - Fri-Yay: ABC's Abbott Elementary Is a Solid and Promising New Sitcom; Fast Foodies Brings More Comedic Guests for Season 2
    01/06 - More Betty White Tributes Scheduled; Growing Belushi Returns Jan. 19 for New Season, Includes Guest Appearance by According to Jim Co-Star
    01/05 - Peacock Unveils Wolf Like Me; Freeform's New Comedy Single Drunk Female
    01/04 - USA Network Acquires 9-1-1; Space Force Season 2 Drops Feb. 18 on Netflix
    01/03 - Fri-Yay: Networks Have a Few Promising Comedies for 2022; Betty White Tribute Marathons on CMT, MeTV, TV Land, Decades, Hallmark, etc.
    01/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 3, 2022)>
    01/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Remembering Betty White; Lost in Space a Hit for Netflix
    12/31 - In Memoriam: Remembering TV Legend Betty White and the Other Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2021
    12/30 - New Year's Eve 2021 and New Year's Day 2022 TV Marathons
    12/29 - Celebrate the End of 2021 with Snoop Dogg & Kevin Hart; UPtv's Binge Week Continues with Reba, Gilmore Girls
    12/28 - HBO Max Announces January Slate; New Campaign for 2022 Includes Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and The Flight Attendant Season 2
    12/27 - Atlanta Returns for Third Season on March 24 on FX After 3 Year Break; Bridgerton Returns for Second Season on March 25 on Netflix
    12/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 27, 2021)
    12/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Grey's Anatomy Potentially Headed Toward Another Season; Lorne Michaels Looking to Retire
    12/24 - 2021 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day TV Marathons & Movies
    12/23 - Hallmark Channel January 2022 Schedule; Search Party Final Season on Jan. 7
    12/22 - Hallmark Channel and MeTV Celebrate Betty White's 100th Birthday; Ben Savage to Star in Lifetime Movie
    12/21 - Showtime Announces We Need to Talk About Cosby; Nick Announces Warped!
    12/20 - COZI TV Columbo Toast on New Year's Day, Brings Back McMillan and Wife, Banacek and McCloud; Better Things Final Season Premieres Feb. 28