Wednesday, January 09, 2019

CBS Mid-Season Pilot Review: Fam - Premieres Thursday (Jan. 10); ABC Schedules Bless This Mess for April 16 Premiere

Fam

Fam - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Skees

Nick has just proposed to Clem, and everything is going to go just as planned, since she doesn't even have to worry about her family ruining the wedding. Or does she? As Nick is about to find out, not only does she have a family that she would rather he not know about, but he's about to get a lot closer to this family as Clem's 16 year old half-sister, a high school dropout who needs a mother, finds a mother in her own sister.

Cast Details:

Nina Dobrev as Clem
Tone Bell as Nick
Odessa Adlon as Shannon
Sheryl Lee Ralph as Rose
Brian Stokes Mitchell as Walt

Nina Dobrev (Clem) is known for her role on The Vampire Diaries, as well as Degrassi: The Next Generation. She has had guest roles in Workaholics, Family Guy, and other series.

Tone Bell (Nick) is making his fifth attempt in a regular role on a sitcom, having previously had regular roles on Whitney, Bad Judge, Truth Be Told, and Disjointed. He is also a standup comedian, and has had guest roles on series such as Key & Peele and 9JKL.

Odessa Adlon (Shannon) is the daughter of actress Pamela Adlon, and has appeared in episodes of Nashville.

Sheryl Lee Ralph (Rose) has a long career in television that goes back to an episode of Good Times, but she has had regular roles in It's a Living, Moesha, and Instant Mom. She also played Anthony's wife Etienne on Designing Women and is known for her role in Dreamgirls.

Brian Stokes Mitchell (Walt) is mostly known for a career on Broadway and in cartoon voices, but he was also a regular on Trapper John, MD, and known for his short recurring role of Trevor on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs January 10 at 9:30PM ET)

Nick has just proposed to Clem, and they're looking forward to a life of marital bliss. But they aren't going to be alone, as they deal with parents, in-laws, and one big unexpected surprise: Clem's 16 year old sister.

"Freddy Returns" (Airs January 17 at 9:30PM ET)

Nick and Clem are putting together the wedding invitations when Rose notices that Clem doesn't plan to invite her own father, and Rose wants to see to it that he is included in the wedding. Meanwhile, back at home, Clem wants to teach Shannon about responsibility.

Analysis:

A 16 year old girl moves in with her older sister. Where have I seen this before? Oh yes, the 80s sitcom My Sister Sam. But if you liked (or even remember, it's become fairly obscure) that show, don't get too excited. This isn't My Sister Sam by any means. I don't necessarily mean that in a good or bad way, though. It's just much different from that show. This isn't just about two sisters living together, as the older sister has a fiancé who takes more of a starring role. We've also got parents and in-laws here, although it's not clear how often we'll see Gary Cole's character. And of course, it's got that whole CBS "laugh track on steroids" vibe going on, which I can deal with, even if it is annoying.

I think my biggest problem with this series is that it's just too bland. The writing is OK, but it's not enough to make great storylines. It's not particularly funny at all, as I was waiting for one--just one!-- laugh out loud moment, yet I didn't quite find it. I'm fine with sitcoms not being particularly funny, but solid writing is needed to make up for that. Another problem that this show suffers from is that it is yet another "couples" type of series. Sometimes, these series work very well, particularly with The Carmichael Show (a show that had way too short of a life, even at three seasons), but usually they come up lacking in some way or another.

On one positive note, like seemingly every relationship comedy out there, the casting of the Nick's parents seems to be done very well and there seems to be some potential with these characters. It'll be interesting to see how these characters play out as the series progresses, even if it's only a one season wonder.

From what I've seen in these first few episodes, the aspect of the interracial relationship seems to be completely ignored. Of course, this isn't like the days of Tom and Helen Willis on The Jeffersons, and the idea is much more common and not even remotely controversial anymore. It's surprising that there isn't really any mention of it, but at the same time, perhaps that being ignored is a sign of positive progress.

Conclusion:

This series definitely qualifies as what one would call mid-season filler. It's not completely unwatchable and it is better than a third airing of an episode of one of the bigger "hits." However, at the same time, it's a show that strikes me as one that will quietly make it through however many episodes were produced, disappear, and nobody will even remember that it existed. It's a sort of dull and uneventful sitcom that you would watch because you're watching Mom (on linear TV, for those who still watch primetime shows that way), and this comes on immediately afterward. I don't see this as something that'll be back next season, but if you want to see something different for a few months, then sure, watch this.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

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

    Preview:





  • Bless This Mess - Lake Bell and Dax Shepard

    The ABC Television Network will premiere the new single-camera comedy Bless This Mess on Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30 p.m. EDT. Please note, the season finale of Splitting Up Together airs the week prior on Tuesday, April 9 at 9:30 p.m. EDT. This new single-camera comedy follows newlyweds Rio and Mike as they make the decision to move from big city New York to rural Nebraska. After dropping everything (including their jobs and overbearing mother-in-law) to make the move from skyscrapers to farmhouses, they soon realize that the simpler life isn't as easy as they planned. Rio and Mike must now learn how to weather the storm as they are faced with unexpected challenges in their new life as farmers. The series stars Lake Bell as Rio, Dax Shepard as Mike, Ed Begley Jr. as Rudy, Pam Grier as Constance and JT Neal as Jacob. The series is from 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Lake Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether are co-creators and executive producers. Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar, Erin O'Malley, Katherine Pope and Dax Shepard serve as executive producers.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, July 4

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 29)

    Friday, July 3

    • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Watch Kevin on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:35am on ABC.
    • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Tina appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Laura Dern (Enlightened) - Laura is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Mark Duplass (Togetherness/The Mindy Project/The League) - Mark appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Melissa guest hosts a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Brett Gelman (Camping/Fleabag/Love/Married/Go On) - Brett appears on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Tika Sumpter (mixed-ish/The Game) - Tika talks about the season finale of mixed-ish and her latest project helping new moms on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Peter Gallagher (Grace and Frankie/The Secret Lives of Men) - Peter talks about Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and Grace and Frankie on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.


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

    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
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    07/03 - Fri-Yay: Streaming Services Remove Episodes of Sitcoms Due to Racial Jokes; The Kominsky Method Final Season Announced
    07/02 - Netflix Renews Never Have I Ever for Season 2; Comedy Central Reviving Beavis and Butt-Head
    07/01 - Remembering Comedy Legend Carl Reiner, MeTV and Decades to Air Tributes; HBO Orders Season 11 of Curb
    06/30 - Decades 3rd Annual Rod, White & Blue: A Twilight Zone Celebration; Love in the Time of Corona Announces Cast
    06/29 - BET Picks Up 2nd Season of Twenties; Vivica A. Fox Teams Up with Krista Allen, Jackée & More for More Wrong TV Movies
    06/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 29, 2020)
    06/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Sitcoms Present and Past Deal with Current Racial Issues; Binge Watch Past Favorites on Roku Channel
    06/26 - Fri-Yay: Search Party Season 3 Thoughts; HBO Max Teams Up with Marlon Wayans
    06/25 - CNN and HLN Announce Slate, with History of Sitcom; Lil Rel Set to Host NBC Game Show
    06/24 - REELZ Announces New Specials on John Ritter, Bernie Mac, David Cassidy, Larry Hagman & More; Netflix Releases Unsolved Mysteries Trailer
    06/23 - Fox Renews Animated Comedy for 2nd Season Before Series Premiere; Cobra Kai Moving to Netflix
    06/22 - Antenna TV Summer 2020 Schedule; USA Network's Cannonball to Sneak Peek on NBC
    06/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 22, 2020)
    06/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Comedy Central Picks Up Daria Spinoff; Networks Finally Set Fall Lineup
    06/19 - Fri-Yay: Expectations on 30 Rock Remote Special; ABC Schedules Sitcom United We Fall for Summer
    06/18 - ABC Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Debra Messing Heads to the East Wing on Starz
    06/17 - NBC Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; 30 Rock Returns for Upfront Special on July 16
    06/16 - NBC Cancels Indebted, Picks Up Manifest; ABC's For Life Gets 2nd Season, The Baker and The Beauty Doesn't
    06/15 - truTV Announces Tacoma FD Return and More; NBC Brings Back Freshman Drama, Cancels Two Others
    06/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 15, 2020)
    06/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Renewed for Season 2; Cops and Live PD Cancelled
    06/12 - Fri-Yay: Rick and Morty Season 4; HBO Max Orders 2nd Season of Love Life
    06/11 - Hulu Changes Premiere Dates of Two Series; ABC Encores Powerful Documentary Next Tuesday
    06/10 - Lifetime Moves Variety's Power of Women Special to June 25; Remembering Mary Pat Gleason and Peggy Pope
    06/09 - COZI TV's Leslie Jordan After Dark Week; TBS Slates Celeb Game Show with Mayim Bialik
    06/08 - TBS Presents Tournament of Laughs; More on HBO's Perry Mason Launch
    06/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 8, 2020)
    06/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Roku Adds Over 100 Linear Channels; Remembering Mary Pat Gleason and Peggy Pope
    06/05 - Fri-Yay: Space Force on Netflix Thoughts; BET+ Comedy Gets Binge Premiere
    06/04 - Antenna TV's Coach Father's Day Marathon; The CW Acquires Patrick Dempsey Thriller for Fall 2020
    06/03 - HBO Max Comedy Starts Strong; Alexa & Katie Returns in June for Final Episodes