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.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, June 12

    Henry Danger - "Captain Man Strikes Out" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    After Captain Man goes on strike because he declines to pay for artwork that he destroyed while on a mission, the vice mayor appoints a new hero, Monsieur Man, to defend Swellview.

    Tyler Perry's Young Dylan - "Food for the Soul" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Dylan gets ready to return to Chicago with his mother, but a change in plans has him questioning their relationship; the rest of the family is trying to help Dylan through this latest crisis.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 7)

    Friday, June 11

    • Kathryn Hahn (Central Park/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Catch Kathryn on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Jean Smart (Hacks/Samantha Who?/Designing Women) - Jean appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Michelle Buteau (Bless the Harts/Enlisted) - Michelle chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey talks about The Celebrity Dating Game on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Ellen Burstyn (The Ellen Burstyn Show) - Ellen will be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am. She also talks about Queen Bees in the 10am hour.
    • Jasmine Cephas-Jones (Blindspotting) - Jasmine talks about Blindspotting on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
    • Rob Riggle (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) and David Koechner (Superior Donuts/F Is for Family/The Golbergs/Hank/The Office) - Rob and David talk about The Big Slick Benefit on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Jane Curtin (United We Fall/Crumbs/3rd Rock from the Sun/Kate & Allie) and Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Jane and Loretta talk about Queen Bees on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (February-June)

    Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series 'Til Death - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series

    02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
    02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
    02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
    05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
    06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
    06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
    06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    06/12 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Valerie Bertinelli Cast in Comedy Pilot with Demi Lovato; Broadway Version of The Nanny in the Works
    06/11 - Fri-Yay: Kim's Convenience Is An Underrated Streaming Sitcom; Ted Revived as Series for Peacock
    06/10 - CNN's History of the Sitcom Premieres July 11; Miracle Workers Returns to TBS for 3rd Season This Summer
    06/09 - Antenna TV's Bewitched Double the Darrins Father's Day Marathon; HBO Max Renews Hacks for 2nd Season
    06/08 - COZI TV Father's Day Marathon: Herman Munster vs. Dan Conner; Paramount+ Bolsters Offerings This Summer
    06/07 - Who Are You, Charlie Brown? Debuts June 25 on Apple TV+; FX, FXX and FX on Hulu Announce 8 Premieres for Summer/Early Fall
    06/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 7, 2021)
    06/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Warner Bros. and Discovery Merger Moving Forward; Saturday Night Live Ends Season 46 on Top
    06/04 - Fri-Yay: Happy Endings Now on Netflix, a Perfect New Comedy Binge; Remembering Arlene Golonka of Mayberry R.F.D.
    06/03 - Leah Remini GSN Game Show Receives 2nd Season; Helen Mirren to Narrate ABC's When Nature Calls
    06/02 - black-ish Coming to Freeform in July; TBS Sets Cast for Comedy Pilot Called Space
    06/01 - Remembering Gavin MacLeod of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Love Boat; Mr. Big Returns in New Sex and the City Chapter
    05/31 - Memorial Day 2021 TV Marathons
    05/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 31, 2021)
    05/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at the Fall 2021 Lineup; Amazon to Buy MGM
    05/28 - Fri-Yay: Friends Reunion Special Thoughts; Breeders Renewed for Season 3 on FX
    05/27 - NBC Launches NBC Summer Games, Schedules Family Game Fight; Modern Love Returns Aug. 13 on Amazon Prime Video
    05/26 - The CW Gets Nostalgic with The Waltons & Scooby-Doo; A Black Lady Sketch Show Coming Back for Season 3
    05/25 - The CW Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Former Grey's Star Joins Sex and the City New Chapter
    05/24 - TBS Launches Best of Friends Awards; AMC Networks Adds to All-Star Cast of Ultra City Smiths
    05/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 24, 2021)
    05/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: First Look at Reboot of The Wonder Years; Kaley Cuoco Signs Development Deal with Warner
    05/21 - Fri-Yay: First Look at the 2021-2022 Sitcom Slate; NBC Books Eighth and Final Season Premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine for August 12
    05/20 - TNets Upfront: Chad and Wipeout Renewed for Second Seasons in 2022; The Dick Van Dyke Show in Color on CBS Friday (May 21)
    05/19 - CBS Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; HBO's Betty Returns June 11
    05/18 - ABC Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Paramount+ Orders The Game Revival
    05/17 - Fox Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Friends Reunion on HBO Max, Every Episode Marathon on TBS
    05/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 17, 2021)
    05/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Cancels Several Series; Quibi Returns Via Roku
    05/14 - NBC Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Fri-Yay: ABC and CBS Comedy Renewal Decisions
    05/13 - Billy Porter and More Join The Proud Family Revival; HBO Max Orders Gordita Chronicles
    05/12 - FXX Orders Animated Comedy Little Demon; The CW to Revive Legends of the Hidden Temple