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

    Saturday, January 23

    Danger Force - "Vidja Games" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Danger Force and Captain Man get hooked making celebrity greeting videos to start raking in cash, but when making celebrity videos turns into a popularity contest, they accidentally send out a video that reveals their secret identities.

    Side Hustle - "KidDING! Dongs" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The Dance Dance Altoonisburg competition is coming up, and Lex, Presley and Munchy are excited to take part, but when an old friend from Lex and Presley's past surfaces, friendships are put to the test.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 18)

    Friday, January 22

    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Watch Bryan on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Daveed Diggs (Central Park/black-ish) - Daveed is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • George Lopez (Lopez/Saint George/George Lopez) - George chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Resident on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Jason talks about Our Friend on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Isaiah Crews (Side Hustle) - Isaiah talks about Side Hustle on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


    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

    01/22 - 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
    12/23 - COZI TV January 2021 Schedule; FX Orders Reservation Dogs
    12/22 - COZI TV's New Year's Eve and New Year's Day Marathons; CBS Orders More B Positive Episodes