Wednesday, October 07, 2020

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Connecting... - Premieres Thursday (Oct. 8); Supernatural Gets Marathons on TNT as Series Finale Airs Nov. 19 on The CW

Connecting...


Connecting... - Thursdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 8:00PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Connecting... is a new socially distanced comedy about a group of friends staying connected through video chats, much as many groups of friends were doing (and in some cases, still are doing) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The show is unique in that it is shot entirely remotely on iPhones, reflecting the extraordinary times that we live in.

Cast Details:

Ely Henry as Rufus
Jill Knox as Michelle
Keith Powell as Garrett
Otmara Marrero as Annie
Parvesh Cheena as Pradeep
Preacher Lawson as Ben
Shakina Nayfack as Ellis

Ely Henry (Rufus) is an actor best known for his supporting roles in films such as Mean Girls and Cheaper By the Dozen 2 and in TV series such as Suburgatory and Good Luck Charlie.

Jill Knox (Michelle) is an up and coming actress. She has previously appeared in shorts. Connecting... will be her first major starring role.

Keith Powell (Garrett) is an American actor best known for his role as Toofer on 30 Rock. He has also appeared in many other TV shows as a guest star, including Superstore, NCIS: Los Angeles and Grace and Frankie.

Otmarra Marreo (Annie) is an American actress known for her role on ABC's New York Undercover and Crackle's original series Start Up. She has also appeared on shows such as Ballers and Graceland.

Parvesh Cheena (Pradeep) is an American actor best known for his roles as Gupta in NBC's Outsourced and as Sunil Odhav on The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Preacher Lawson (Ben) is an American comedian best known as a contestant on America's Got Talent. He has his own BET+ comedy special.

Shakina Nayfack (Ellis) is an American actress and comedy writer best known for her work on the Hulu original comedy Difficult People, which she both wrote for and starred in as Lola.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Thursday, October at 8:00PM ET)

As the friend group gathers at the start of quarantine for their new-normal virtual hang, Annie contemplates opening up to Ben about her feelings for him. Meanwhile, everyone worries about Jazmin, who's been MIA.

Analysis:

Connecting... is the type of show that we will look back on in 20 years and be immediately taken back into this moment in time. There have always been sitcoms tied to their time, but I don't think there's ever one that will be as tied to the time it aired as Connecting... The idea of a group of friends staying together over video chat due to a global pandemic is certainly the most 2020 concept for a show you could come up with, and in a few years when this pandemic is thankfully behind us, it’s all going to feel a little odd and certainly dated. In fact, since the lockdown measures of the spring have mostly been lifted, you could argue the concept already feels just slightly dated, as Zoom happy hours aren’t quite as needed as they were back in March or April. There are also references to things that are no longer true (a sports-obsessed character laments the lack of sports, which obviously is no longer the case, and it treats New York City as the COVID epicenter it was in April but no longer is.) And that sort of lies the problem with Connecting. It's more of an 8-part “special” than a sitcom, in a lot of ways, specifically designed for this current moment. As soon as this moment ends, it’s unlikely anyone will be reaching back for the show. And yet, for this moment in time, it’s a pretty solid and likable show, for what it is.

I’m not going to argue that Connecting... is necessarily a great show, but it is oddly appealing in some ways. It reminds me a lot of the “hangout” sitcoms that were popular in the early 2010s, along the lines of something like Cougar Town or Happy Endings. It’s not nearly as funny or well-made as those shows (and I did find myself comparing it unfavorably to the virtual Happy Endings reunion episode that had a similar premise), but watching characters and likable actors express some of the struggles we’ve been going through was oddly cathartic. I also have to give a lot of props to the actors. Acting and forming a character in a video chat is something that can’t be easy, but the actors do a really good job with it. I was particularly impressed with Shakina Nayfack, who gives her all into her character and really made her character come alive. (I also really related to her line that “sports give me something to constantly think about in the background, which is very therapeutic.” I have to say I had some identical thoughts during the sports drought of the spring.) It’s also impressive that the entire show was shot remotely on iPhones - the editing and production quality is impressive considering that. Additionally, the show does a good job of making light of our odd reality while not belittling it. A main character who is a healthcare worker goes on a heartwrenching but all too real rant, showing that the show is willing to deal with the pandemic seriously. Overall, Connecting... isn’t a show that I really expect to last beyond its initial episode order just because of the novelty of its premise, nor is it a show I expect to make the “best sitcoms ever” list anytime soon. But it’s a funny and likable time capsule, and in a world where we’re short on new content, it does the trick.

Conclusion:

Connecting... isn’t a great show, but it’s a pleasant and likable one that’s actually pretty impressive in the scope of its production. The cast of mostly generally green performers is likable and they do a good job doing the difficult task of forming a sitcom character without the benefit of being able to interact in person or play off each other in any physical way. It’s not a show you’ll be itching to watch for years to come, but it’s a likable enough capsule of this moment in time.



Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 8:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

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

    Preview:

  • Supernatural

    WarnerMedia comes together to celebrate the final season of The CW and Warner Bros. Television's Supernatural with two special marathons on TNT.

    On October 6-8, TNT will air the first 13 episodes of Season 15, providing fans with the opportunity to catch up on the final season.

    Additionally, on November 19 from 5:00am to 8:00pm ET/PT, TNT will host a 15-hour Supernatural marathon as a countdown to the two-hour series finale event, airing later that evening on The CW. This “best of” marathon will include one episode from each season along with interstitials featuring unique behind-the-scenes clips and anecdotes from the cast.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, May 27

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

    Friday, May 27

    • Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Watch Josh on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jenna Fischer (The Office/Splitting Up Together) and Angela Kinsey (The Office/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Jenna and Angela talk about their new book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There, on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - David appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Courteney Cox (Shining Vale/Cougar Town/Friends/Family Ties) - Courteney is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Mayim Bialik (Call Me Kat/The Big Bang Theory/Blossom/Molloy) - Mayim appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric is a guest on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jennifer Grey (Red Oaks/It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer talks about her new memoir, Out of the Corner: A Memoir, on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Glen Powell (Scream Queens) - Glen talks about Top Gun: Maverick on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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

    ALT= Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release) Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)

    02/08 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Ninth Season
    02/22 - Everybody Hates Chris - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    02/22 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Eight
    03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    03/15 - Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season
    03/15 - The Proud Family - The Complete Original Series - Anniversary Collection
    03/22 - The Honeymooners Specials - The Complete Collection
    03/29 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    03/29 - Young Rock - Season One
    04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
    04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
    05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
    05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    05/26 - Seinfeld Joins Nick at Nite on Memorial Day; New Netflix Series Tops Weekly Chart
    05/25 - Black Comedy Revolution Doc to Air on A&E; MTV Movie & TV Awards to Air on Multiple Nets
    05/24 - Abbott Elementary Star to Host ABC Game Show; Amazon Orders The Hospital
    05/23 - Seth MacFarlane's Peacock Comedy Series Ted Rounds Out Cast; Twisted Metal Comedy Series in the Works
    05/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 23, 2022)
    05/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fall Broadcast Network Lineups Out; The CW Looking to Get Back Into Sitcom Business
    05/20 - HBO Renews Barry for Season 4; Apple TV+ Comedy Trying Returns in July; Remembering Maggie Peterson of The Andy Griffith Show
    05/19 - The CW Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Rick and Morty Returns as Anime on Adult Swim
    05/18 - CBS Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Turner Upfront Updates
    05/17 - ABC Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Pete Davidson Comedy Adds Edie Falco
    05/16 - NBC Upfront 2022-23: Fall 2022 Schedule; Fox Upfront 2022-23: Call Me Kat and Welcome to Flatch Renewed, Adds Two New Animated Comedies and Three New Dramas
    05/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 16, 2022)
    05/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Fall Renewals and Cancellations; Married... with Children Animated Reboot in the Works
    05/13 - NBC Renews 3 Sitcoms, Cancels 2; CBS and The CW Hand Out Orders & Pink Slips; Remembering Mike Hagerty and Sitcom Producer/Writer George Yanok
    05/12 - NBC Orders Lopez vs. Lopez Sitcom for 2022-23 Season; Amazon Renews Upload for Season 3
    05/11 - Disney's Bunk'd Returns June 10 for Season 6; Paramount+ to Be Exclusive SVOD Home of Ghosts
    05/10 - MeTV Network Adds The A-Team for The Summer of Me; HBO Max Renews Two Comedies for Season 2
    05/09 - Never Have I Ever Season 3 Premieres August 12; Netflix's The Upshaws Return in June
    05/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 9, 2022)
    05/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Canceled; Quantum Leap Reboot Picked Up at NBC
    05/06 - Hulu Comedy Maggie Gets Premiere Date; Chad Returns July 11 on TBS, While HBO Max Series Get Second Runs on TBS and TNT; Remembering David Birney of Bridget Loves Bernie
    05/05 - Freeform Summer 2022 Schedule; The Waltons Return to The CW This Holiday Season
    05/04 - Netflix Orders No Good Deed, from Dead to Me Creator; Cristela Alonzo Returns for New Comedy Special
    05/03 - That '70s Show Cast to Reunite on That '90s Show; Teri Hatcher and James Denton Reunite Again
    05/02 - Antenna TV's Always Mother's Day Marathon; The Real Celebrates Mother's Day with Classic TV Guests
    05/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 2, 2022)
    04/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Conners Close to Season Five Renewal; James Corden Leaving The Late Late Show
    04/29 - Fri-Yay: Netflix's Struggles Create Question for the Future of Television; Hulu Acquires Schitt's Creek
    04/28 - Starz Comedy Run the World Returns with More Stars; HBO Max Orders Spin-off of Harley Quinn Animated Comedy Series
    04/27 - Freeform Orders Single Drunk Female Season 2 & New Series While You Were Breeding; Peacock Brings Back Wolf Like Me
    04/26 - The Orville Returns for Season 3 After 3 Year Hiatus; Fox Announces More Stars for Fantasy Island Season 2