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

    Monday, January 25

    The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Property" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Calvin discovers a member of the community plans to sell to greedy developers, he vows to find a buyer closer to home instead. However, the Butlers and Johnsons soon realize that the dilapidated property will require more work than they expected.

    Bob Hearts Abishola - "Honest Yak Prices" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    With Abishola’s husband adamant that he’ll never agree to a divorce, Bob and Abishola grow disheartened that they will never be able to get married.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 25)

    Monday, January 25

    • Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Watch Dax on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Kate Flannery (The Office) - Kate is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Nicole Byer (Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole will be on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Yara Shahidi (grown-ish/black-ish) and Trevor Jackson (grown-ish) - Yara and Trevor talk about grown-ish on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Dakota discusses growing up in the spotlight, how she's spent her quarantine and reveals the famous person's name she uses to get reservations on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation - Rob talks about his hit show 9-1-1: Lone Star, and even shares some behind-the-scenes scoop on what it’s like working with his son who is a writer on the show on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Stanley Tucci (Central Park) - Stanley talks about Supernova on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell/mixed-ish/Truth Be Told) and Tika Sumper (mixed-ish/The Game) - Mark-Paul and Tika talk about mixed-ish on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. Mark-Paul will also be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Daveed Diggs (Central Park/black-ish) - Daveed talks about TNT's Snowpiercer on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) - Lily talks about Radium Girls on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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

    Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
    09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
    09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
    09/15 - South Side - Season 1
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
    09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
    10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
    10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
    10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
    10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
    11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
    11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
    11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
    11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
    11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
    11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
    12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
    12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season

    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    01/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 25, 2021)
    01/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: America's Most Wanted to Return; John Krasinski and Regina King Among Upcoming SNL Hosts
    01/22 - Fri-Yay: The Network Sitcom Is In Crisis - Can It Be Saved?; TBS Announces Dates for New Series Chad and Return of American Dad!
    01/21 - The CW Creates Super Tuesday Event on Feb. 23; More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story Arrives Feb. 5
    01/20 - Saved by the Bell Renewed for Season 2 on Peacock; The Muppet Show Coming to Disney+ in February
    01/19 - TheGrio.TV Launches with 2 Sitcoms; 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards Nominations
    01/18 - NBC Schedules Young Rock and Kenan on Tuesdays; Remembering Peter Mark Richman of Three's Company and Dynasty
    01/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 18, 2021)
    01/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: More Jeopardy! Guest Hosts Announced; NBC Sets Premiere Date for Kenan
    01/15 - Fri-Yay: What Does the Future Hold for Sitcoms on Streaming Services?; Disney+ Has Its Teenage Doogie Howser
    01/14 - HBO's Insecure Gets 5th and Final Season; Disney's Big City Greens Returns for 3rd Season
    01/13 - NBC Orders 3 New Series for 2021-22 Season; Lifetime Slates Winter 2021 Original Movie Slate, Including 400th Original Movie
    01/12 - Netflix Gives Us More Bonding Time; Lifetime Movie Club Gets First Original Movie
    01/11 - And Just Like That...We Get a Sex and the City Revival Series on HBO Max; Are You Afraid of the Dark? Season 2 Date Revealed
    01/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 11, 2021)
    01/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Roku to Acquire Much of Quibi Library; ABC Sees Success in Thursday Night Game Shows
    01/08 - Fri-Yay: Why One Day at a Time Cancelation Is a Mistake; COZI TV Remembers Tanya Roberts with Charlie's Angels Special
    01/07 - New Punky Brewster Series Drops Feb. 25 on Peacock; Solar Opposites Returns for 2nd Season on Hulu March 26
    01/06 - NBC Midseason Pilot Review: Mr. Mayor - Premieres Thursday (Jan. 7); One Tree Hill Duo Return for Comedy Series on Hulu
    01/05 - MeTV Network Pays Tribute to Dawn Wells; The Waltons Cast Reunite This Thursday
    01/04 - Lifetime January 2021 Schedule with Rizzoli & Isles; Remembering Tanya Roberts of Charlie's Angels and That '70s Show

    01/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 4, 2021)
    01/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: COVID-19 Shuts Down Production of Several Series; Busy Week of New Premieres
    01/01 - Happy New Year!; Murphy Brown Star Heads to The Conners
    12/31 - In Memoriam: Remembering Dawn Wells and the Other Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2020
    12/30 - New Year's Eve 2020 and New Year's Day 2021 TV Marathons
    12/29 - getTV January 2021 Schedule Adds 4 New Series; The Netflix Afterparty Premieres Jan. 2
    12/28 - HBO Max Adds More Library Titles in January; The Great North Gets Special Preview This Sunday on Fox
    12/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 28, 2020)
    12/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Most-Watched Network of 2020; B Positive Gets Full Season Pickup
    12/25 - Merry Christmas from SitcomsOnline; Cobra Kai Season 3 Premiere Moved Up!
    12/24 - 2020 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day TV Marathons & Movies