Monday, April 15, 2019

ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Bless This Mess - Premieres Tuesday (April 16); Hallmark Picks Up 7th Season of When Calls the Heart

Bless This Mess

Bless This Mess - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Bless This Mess 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.

Cast Details:

Dax Shepard as Mike
Lake Bell as Rio
Ed Begley, Jr. as Rudy
Pam Grier as Constance Terry

Dax Shephard (Mike) is an actor known for his work in the feature films such as Without a Paddle, Let's Go to Prison, Employee of the Month and CHiPS. He is also known for playing Crosby Braverman in the hit NBC drama series Parenthood.

Lake Bell (Rio) is an actress known for her roles in TV series such as Boston Legal, How to Make it in America and Children's Hospital, and in films such as Million Dollar Arm and No Strings Attached.

Ed Begley, Jr. (Rudy) is an actor recognized for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere, as well as in films such as Pineapple Express, Batman Forever and For Your Consideration.

Pam Grier (Constance) is an actress known for her roles in films such as The Big Bird Cage, Coffy and Jackie Brown, and for TV series such as This Is Us, The L Word and Law & Order: SVU.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30PM ET)

In the pilot episode of Bless This Mess, newlyweds Rio and Mike decide to finally make the transition to small town living to escape the rat race of NYC. However, they quickly find that things are a bit more complicated than planned when they meet an interesting cast of characters, and find adjusting to Nebraska life may be different and more difficult than they thought.

Analysis:

Frankly, Bless This Mess is a series I have fairly low expectations about going in. Considering it was thrown onto the ABC schedule in late spring with only a 6 episode order, and given the show's hokey-seeming presence (seems an awful lot like Green Acres), I was expecting a show that would get a hard pass from me, personally. And yet, I found myself surprisingly charmed by Bless This Mess' aura. The show isn't hilarious yet, but it has a solid cast of characters and a lovable central couple, along with snappy writing and a true sense of heart that could make this a comedy to keep an eye on.

In a year that has been frankly low on worthwhile network sitcoms, Bless This Mess is the first show in a while I can say I think has a real, out-of-the-gate shot to be something worthwhile. This show, along with Abby's on NBC, has a scrappy charm that's been missing in new network comedies over the past year or so. For a while, network comedies were beginning to feel too focused on premise - I love The Good Place, but not every show needs to have as heavy-handed of a concept. Bless This Mess, though, is a show that could succeed based on its characters, not its (admittedly not very interesting) premise. This isn't too surprising. The show is partially produced by Liz Meriwether - aka, the mind behind New Girl. New Girl was another series with a not-so-great premise that wound up succeeding because of its focus on its excellent cast of characters. If Bless This Mess has a similar laser focus on its characters and focuses less on its somewhat silly premise, I wouldn't be surprised to see it taking a similar turn of events. The cast is giving it their all, and while the writing isn't quite there yet in these six episodes, I certainly see potential of what could be to come.

Conclusion:

Bless This Mess has a tired premise that threatens to sink it, but the show’s lovable cast of characters and snappy (if not yet great) writing makes it a show to keep an eye on. If ABC can give it a chance beyond its initial 6 episode order, this show has the potential to become a sweet and charming sitcom that could fit very nicely into ABC's sitcom landscape, and could make a worthwhile addition to the network comedy vault. Let's hope it's given the chance it needs to succeed, because it's been quite a while since a new network comedy took off and had a high level of quality.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Bless This Mess Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • When Calls the Heart

    Hallmark Channel has ordered a seventh season of the network's original, primetime drama series When Calls the Heart, it was announced by series star Erin Krakow during the premiere of the network's Spring Fever movie, Bottled with Love. The series of course features Lori Loughlin, but with her recent legal trouble, she will not be on the series anymore. Hallmark made no mention of the actress in their release to the press for this seventh season.

    Currently in its sixth season, the frontier drama When Calls the Heart's ratings momentum continues, with this season's debut episode ranking as the highest-rated premiere in the series' history. The program ranked as the #2 original scripted series of the week, only behind AMC's The Walking Dead, and marks the #3 original scripted series on cable in 2019-to-date. On a Live +3 basis, the program delivered a 2.9 Household rating, 3.1 million Total Viewers, and 449,000 Women 25-54. The episode reached over 3.6 million unduplicated total viewers.


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