Wednesday, September 25, 2019

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Sunnyside - Premieres Thursday (Sept. 26); CBS Fall Pilot Review: Carol's Second Act - Premieres Thursday (Sept. 26)

Sunnyside


Sunnyside - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Sunnyside is a sitcom about a city councilman who lost his way amidst the power and glamour of politics. When his downward spiral got him busted for public intoxication (and downright stupidity), it was all caught on tape and ended his career. Now, Garrett's crashing with his sister, Mallory, and wondering where it all went wrong. That is, until he's hired by a diverse group of hopefuls who dream of becoming American citizens and believe he can help - giving him a new sense of purpose and a chance for redemption, as long as he remembers where he came from.

Cast Details:

Kal Penn as Garrett Modi
Diana Maria Riva as Griselda
Joel Kim Booster as Jim Hao
Kiran Deol as Mallory
Poppy Liu as Mei Lin
Moses Storm as Brady
Samba Schutte as Hakim

Kal Penn (Garrett) is known for playing Lawrence Kutner on the television program House, as well as the character Kumar Patel in the Harold & Kumar film series. He is also recognized for his performance in the film The Namesake and the ABC/Netflix drama Designated Survivor.

Diana Maria Riva (Griselda) is an actress known for her guest appearances on Murder One, Party of Five, The X Files, NYPD Blue, The Drew Carey Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, CSI, Less Than Perfect and Castle.

Joel Kim Booster (Jim) is a stand-up comedian known for his Comedy Central Presents special.

Moses Storm (Brady) is an actor known for his guest roles on This Is Us and Arrested Development.

Sambra Schutte, Kiran Duol, and Poppy Lui are new actors. Sunnyside will be their first major roles.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Thursday, Sep. 26 at 9:30PM ET)

A former New York City Councilman finds his calling when he meets a group of immigrants in search of the American dream.

Analysis:

Sunnyside is another one of those shows where I'm more interested in the show's future than with the show's present. What I mean by that is that there is a lot here that I could see myself eventually loving, especially with Mike Schur at the helm and a cast led by Kal Penn and some very promising comic actors. The premise is also one that feels very appropriate for America in 2019, and could provide some moments of genuine meaning, and yet is also fun and light-hearted enough to be, well, a sitcom, and one that makes you laugh a lot. The cast and characters are a lot of fun, and I couldn't wait to see, by the end of the pilot, where this was going, and how it will develop.

The problem, then, is that the pilot is just...okay. Which isn't bad - the amount of comedy pilots that are truly great are far and few between, and most just offer a glimmer of hope, which Sunnyside does. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't hoping to laugh just a bit more at the pilot. The jokes are a little flimsy and feel half-baked - which, again, isn’t uncommon for a comedy pilot. Still, I won't say I wasn't expecting the pilot to be just a bit better than it was. Despite that, the seeds are absolutely there for this to be a great series - I just hope viewers give it a chance to arrive at where it's going, rather than being turned off by a decent-but-not-great pilot.

Conclusion:

I'm very confident that Sunnyside is going to eventually turn into a great, must-watch sitcom. It has very similar DNA and sensibility to shows like The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Recreation, and in about five or six episodes, I'm sure it will be must-watch TV. All of the characters are fun, the premise is great, and the writing shows promise. The pilot isn't necessarily a must-see, and it leaves a lot to be desired in the laughs department, but the foundation is there for a great show. Let's hope it lives up to that potential.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Sunnyside Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Carol's Second Act


    Carol's Second Act - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
    Premieres Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT


    by Todd

    Emmy Award winner Patricia Heaton stars in new a comedy about a woman who embarks on a unique second act after raising her children, getting divorced and retiring from teaching: pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. At age 50, Carol is a medical intern and must sink or swim with peers who are half her age. It’s her enthusiasm, perspective and yes, even her age, that may be exactly what will make her second act a great success.

    Cast Details:

    Patricia Heaton as Carol Kenney
    Ito Aghayere as Dr. Maya Jacobs
    Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Daniel Kutcher
    Sabrina Jalees as Lexie
    Kyle MacLachlan as Dr. Stephen Frost
    Ashley Tisdale as Jenny Kenney

    Patricia Heaton (Carol Kenney) is a three-time Emmy winner who has played not one, but two beloved TV moms. She starred as Debra Barone in the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond from 1996-2005 and as Frances "Frankie" Heck in the ABC sitcom The Middle from 2009-2018. She twice won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Everybody Loves Raymond. Her other sitcom starring roles include the Fox sitcom Back to You and the ABC sitcom Room for Two.

    Ito Aghayere's (Dr. Maya Jacobs) television guest appearances include Orange Is the New Black, The Knick, The Unforgettable, Forever, BrainDead, Elementary, The Blacklist, Master of None and Instinct.

    Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Daniel Kutcher) starred as Ben Wheeler in the ABC Family/Freeform sitcom Baby Daddy. He made his starring debut as Josh Trager in the science fiction drama Kyle XY.

    Sabrina Jalees (Lexie) has made guest appearances on Search Party, Transparent, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Last Comic Standing, Adam Devine’s House Party and Best Week Ever.

    Kyle MacLachlan (Dr. Stephen Frost) is best known for his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. Some of his other television credits include Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, How I Met Your Mother, Portlandia, The Good Wife, Believe and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

    Ashley Tisdale (Jenny Kenney) starred as Maddie Fitzpatrick in the Disney Channel sitcom The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Her other starring credits include Hellcats and Clipped. She will appear in the upcoming Netflix comedy Merry Happy Whatever.

    Pilot Plot:

    "Pilot" (Airs Thursday, Sep. 26 at 9:30PM ET)

    Carol Kenney enthusiastically begins her first day as an internal medicine intern, but has a rocky start when she disregards direct orders from her boss in order to help a patient. Also, Carol meets Dr. Frost, a senior attending physician who may be the ally Carol needs in her second act.

    Carol's Second Act is a multi-camera sitcom from Halpern/Haskins Productions, FourBoys Entertainment, Kapital Entertainment and CBS Television Studios. Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins; Patricia Heaton, Adam Griffin, David Hunt and Rebecca Stay (Four Boys Entertainment); Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor (Kapital Entertainment); and Pamela Fryman (pilot only) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.

    Analysis:

    This is one of the better pilot episodes that I've watched in recent seasons. There has been a lack of quality new multi-camera sitcoms the last few years. Carol's Second Act is an old school sitcom shot in front of a studio audience. The premise of the series is pretty basic. It's basically a sitcom version of Grey's Anatomy with a 50-year-old intern working with some younger interns. There are plenty of jokes and one-liners, with most of them about Carol's age or her short stature. They seem to have an endless supply of jokes about Carol being older, but I think they will eventually want to mix things up a little bit more in the future episodes. There is one good dramatic scene in the premiere episodes. All of the scenes in the first two episodes are at the hospital. It would be nice to see them elsewhere as a change of pace.

    They have assembled a talented cast with a mix of TV veterans and some promising newcomers. This is set up to be very much a vehicle for Patricia Heaton. She's in nearly every scene. They do a nice job of giving the other cast members a good amount of lines and a chance to shine. Newcomer Ito Aghayere plays Dr. Maya Jacobs, the Chief Resident in charge of Carol and the other three interns. The scenes between Maya and Carol are very tense and funny. They are some of the highlights of the episode. Aghayere could be one of the breakout stars of the season.

    The other interns with Carol include Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Daniel Kutcher, Sabrina Jalees as Lexie Gilani and Lucas Neff as Caleb Summers. They all do a solid job and have some good chemistry together. Kyle MacLachlan plays Dr. Steven Frost, the accomplished senior attending physician who finds Carol charming. He's mostly known for his work in dramas, but he shows he has some good comedy skills as well. Ashley Tisdale plays Carol's daughter, Jenny Kenney. She has just one brief scene at the end of the "Pilot" episode. She is a pharmaceutical rep who has an arrangement to have an office at the hospital, so we see more of her in the second episode. Bonnie Dennison was originally cast in the role, but maybe they decided to make it an expanded role. Cedric Yarbrough from Speechless appears in a few scenes of the "Pilot" before being introduced as the nurse Dennis in the second episode.

    Conclusion:

    Patricia Heaton makes a welcome return to CBS. It's a great TV moment when she first appears on screen. The audience gives her a big round of applause. She became a household name and won two Emmy Awards for her role as Debra Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond from 1996 to 2005. She had another good run for eight seasons as Frankie in The Middle. It's interesting that she plays a 50-year-old when she's really a very youthful looking 61 in real life. She has a lot of enthusiasm and energy. Whatever her secret is, she should try to bottle it. It would be pretty easy for her to slow down or retire, but she clearly loves to act and work. It's way too early to say that this sitcom will have a run of nine seasons like her other two major hits, but it's easy to envision her winning another Emmy or two for her hilarious role as Carol Kenney.

    Carol's Second Act is one of the most promising new sitcoms of the season. It wouldn't be surprising if it's the highest rated new sitcom this fall. It has a strong and likable cast, funny writing and a great timeslot on CBS' rebuilt Thursday night lineup. The end of The Big Bang Theory leaves a big hole in their schedule, but they have a solid crop of new comedies. This may not be an immediate blockbuster hit, but it wouldn't be shocking if it's anchoring their comedy lineup in a season or two. They say laughter is the best medicine. This series delivers plenty of good, clean laughs. The doctor is in Thursday nights on CBS!

    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Carol's Second Act Photo Gallery

    Preview:


  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, July 8

    The Goldbergs - "Pickleball" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
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    The Conners - "Throwing a Christian to a Bear" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
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