Tuesday, February 16, 2021

NBC Midseason Pilot Review: Young Rock - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 16); TBS Version of Wipeout Premieres April 1

Young Rock


Young Rock - Tuesdays at 8:00PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 8:00PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Young Rock focuses on different chapters of Dwayne Johnson's life. From growing up in a strong and resilient family, to being surrounded by the wild characters of his professional wrestling family, to playing football at the University of Miami, the show will explore the crazy rollercoaster that has shaped Dwayne into the man he is today and the larger-than-life characters he's met along the way.

Cast Details:

Adrian Groulx as Dwayne Johnson, Age 10
Ana Tuisila as Lia Maivia
Bradley Constant as Dwayne Johnson, Age 15
Dwayne Johnson as Dwayne Johnson
Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson
Stacey Leilua as Ata Johnson
Uli Latukefu as Dwayne Johnson, Age 18-20

Adrian Groulx (Dwayne Johnson, Age 10) is a young actor. Young Rock will be his first major starring role.

Ana Tuilsala (Lia Maivia) is an actress, known for Outrageous Fortune (2005), Samoan Wedding (2006) and now Young Rock (2021).

Bradley Constant (Dwayne Johnson, Age 15) is a young actor. Young Rock will be his first major starring role.

Dwayne Johnson (Dwyane Johnson) is a wrestler-turned actor who the show is based on, known for his many prolific roles in films such as the Fast & Furious movies, Jumanji, GI Joe, and many others.

Joseph Lee Anderson (Rocky Johnson) is an an actor known for his role on TV shows such as S.W.A.T., American Soul, and Timeless.

Stacey Leiula (Ata Johnson) is an actress from New Zealand. Young Rock will be her first US starring role. She is previously known for her role on the popular New Zealand TV series Shortland Street.

Uli Latukefu (Dwayne Johnson, Age 18-20) is an actor, best known for role in the film Alien: Covenant and the Netflix series Marco Polo.

Pilot Plot:

"Working the Gimmick" (Airs Tuesday, February 16 at 8:00PM ET)

As Dwayne Johnson runs for president in 2032, he reflects on his surreal life that's helped shape him into the man he is today. From growing up in a resilient family surrounded by wrestling icons, navigating rebellious teen years, to playing NCAA football at the U. This is how the boy became the man.

Analysis:

For a series that NBC is banking on appealing to wide, mainstream audiences starring a highly popular actor, Young Rock is a pretty odd show. It takes place between 4 entirely separate timelines, and also features an oddball sense of humor that you might not expect from a network sitcom starring The Rock, yet the show's cast (Johnson included) handles it well. The series is created by Nahnatchka Khan, who previously created Fresh Off the Boat and Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23. Fresh Off the Boat was another series that snuck in a lot of offball, off-the-wall humor into its family sitcom friendly premiere, so it doesn't surprise me to see Khan continuing that here. (Don't Trust the B was just a beautifully odd show all around, which is probably why it only lasted for two seasons). There are a lot of things about Young Rock that seemingly shouldn't work - there's just a lot going on here, and The Rock could ultimately prove to be a distraction, a way for a show to coast on its laurels and live off of its star power. Yet, there's some genuinely funny jokes here, and also some really interesting character work.

One of Young Rock's greatest assets is The Rock himself, as The Rock's likable presence translates well into a single-camera sitcom. He's a guy you want to root for, and that translates into all aged versions of The Rock. The actors playing Young Rock do a good job of capturing his energy. Additionally, the show does a really good job of painting its ensemble cast and turning Young Rock into a show that - underneath all the bells and whistles - is a family comedy. Khan continues her strong work on Fresh Off the Boat, creating a family dynamic that is relatable yet entertaining, filled with big and likable characters. The biggest question is if the "gimmick" (to borrow a word used often in Young Rock) of the show will ultimately distract from the solid family sitcom going on during the Young Rock days. The show's meat and potatoes is in its depiction of The Rock's younger days, and as good as The Rock is, the presence of "future" Rock in 2032 ultimately doesn't measure up to the really good stories being told about his childhood. If Young Rock wants to be as good as it can be, it'll spend as much time as it can in the past, only visiting the future when absolutely necessary.

Conclusion:

Young Rock is a lot of shows in one, but the best version of the show is the one that most heavily focuses on the sweet and well-drawn family dynamic of Young Rock's childhood. Granted, a show that doesn't star one of the most liked actors of our generation would likely not have a chance at being a hit, so it makes sense that the show wants to keep The Rock around and continue covering his "future" presidential run. However, if the show wants to be as good as it can, it'll use those not particularly interesting parts sparingly and focus on the strong family sitcom dynamics instead.



Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 8:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

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

    Preview:

  • Wipeout

    TBS announced that its newly re-imagined format of the iconic extreme obstacle course series, Wipeout will premiere on Thursday, April 1 at 9pm/8c. Hosted by multifaceted megastar John Cena (Fast & Furious, The Suicide Squad) and Nicole Byer (Nailed It!, Girl Code), with Camille Kostek (Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Model 2019) serving as field host, the all-new 20-hour series takes viewers on a white-knuckle ride, featuring new course elements that will push contestants' athleticism, endurance and determination to even greater extremes as they fight to win the grand cash prize. The new season of Wipeout will feature new format twists and elements that will push the athleticism and willpower of each contestant pairing to even greater extremes, all while delivering more than a few epic fails. Each game has been designed into three rounds and now features a jaw-dropping, three-stage, obstacle course consisting of multiple strategy and decision points designed to test the stamina of the competitors. The series' iconic big balls also make a return, bringing many laughs and surprises along the way for fans.

    Following its debut as the #1 new series of the summer in 2008, Wipeout amassed an impressive following throughout its seven seasons on-air on ABC. The series has been formatted globally in 30+ territories including Argentina, Australia and the UK, and has inspired numerous spin-offs and specials.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, October 20

    The Goldbergs - "An Itch Like No Other" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    With Beverly’s encouragement, Mr. Glascott moves in next door to the Goldbergs and slowly goes from friendly neighbor to cluelessly intrusive. Adam and Murray become increasingly disgruntled while Beverly comes up with a plan to occupy Mr. Glascott’s time with a new friend, Mr. Woodburn. Meanwhile, Barry lands in urgent care with a case of poison ivy in a compromising area – his rear end. Erica and Geoff are called to task to take care of Barry and his ridiculous demands – inadvertently testing their parenting skills and patience with one another.

    The Wonder Years - "The Lock In" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Dean is reluctant to attend the annual church lock-in until Kim tells him it’s where she got her first kiss. He enlists his friends to help him pair up with Keisa, but his plans are thwarted when he instead gets paired up with the pastor’s daughter, Charlene.

    The Conners - "Trucking Live in Front of a Fully Vaccinated Studio Audience -- East Coast" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Lights, Camera, Action: “The Conners” is going live for both the East and West Coast broadcasts of the season four premiere episode. This iconic TV family continues to deal with the current pandemic while navigating breakups and newfound sobriety, all while planning an upcoming wedding.

    Home Economics - "Giant Jenga, $120" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Tom spirals when Connor dates a woman who broke his heart at summer camp. Then, family game night becomes an all-or-nothing competition between Marina and Denise.

    Superstar - "Robin Williams" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    The new episode recounts his life through Robin Williams’ own voice, describing “the spark of madness” which defined his life. From his early days in the San Francisco Bay Area comedy scene to his meteoric rise on “Mork & Mindy,” the one-hour special explores the experiences that made Williams into a one-of-a-kind talent and reveals what gave voice to the characters in his mind. It also chronicles the creative force driving critically acclaimed films like “Good Will Hunting” and “Dead Poets Society,” as well as fan favorites such as “Aladdin.” The special explores his personal struggles, including substance abuse and depression, and his battle with Lewy Body Dementia before his tragic death in 2014. “Superstar: Robin Williams” features interviews with famous comedians and actors who knew and admired Williams, including Margaret Cho, Howie Mandel, Lewis Black, Jimmie Walker, Paula Poundstone, Gina Hecht and Pauly Shore, as well as Barry Levinson, director of multiple films starring Williams including “Good Morning, Vietnam.” The program also contains interviews with Williams from the ABC News archives, in which he opens up about his life and the highs and lows of his distinguished career.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 18)

    Wednesday, October 20

    • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Watch Rami on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Issa Rae (Insecure) - Issa appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Billy Bob Thornton (Hearts Afire) - Billy Bob is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jamie Foxx (Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!/The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick is a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
    • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Debra Messing (Will & Grace/Ned & Stacey) - Debra talks about her latest project: how self-care can change the world on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Ron Howard (Arrested Development/Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) and Clint Howard (Gung Ho) - Ron and Clint discuss their new book, The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family, on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Amy Sedaris (No Activity/BoJack Horseman/Strangers with Candy) - It's a TV exclusive with sister and brother duo Amy and David Sedaris appearing together for the first time on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory) - Jeremy talks about FBI on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • David Eigenberg (Sex and the City) - David talks about NBC's Chicago Fire on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick talks about Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


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

    Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

    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)
    07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
    07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
    07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
    07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
    08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
    08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Standard Edition (50 Episodes) (Time Life)
    08/24 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season 2
    09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
    10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    10/20 - Fox Announces Special Post NFL January Premieres; TBS Comedy Wipeout Returns in January for Season 2
    10/19 - One Final Family Reunion on Netflix; Apple TV+ Announces Premiere Date for Harriet the Spy
    10/18 - GAC Family Acquires Classic Sony Sitcoms; Remembering Betty Lynn from The Andy Griffith Show
    10/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 18, 2021)
    10/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could a Looming Strike Shut Down TV Production?; GAC Family Acquires Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Silver Spoons, and More
    10/15 - Dickinson Final Season Date Announced; Superstar: Robin Williams to Air Next Week (Oct. 20)
    10/14 - Antenna TV's Bewitched 24-Hour Halloween Marathon; Rewind TV's Sabrina Witch-O-Ween Marathon
    10/13 - Head of the Class Reboot Premieres Nov. 4, Guest Stars Robin Givens; The Bear Coming to FX
    10/12 - CBS Picks Up First 2 New Series for Full Seasons; On My Block Spinoff Series Cast Set
    10/11 - Netflix Orders That '90s Show Featuring Red and Kitty; Nash Bridges Movie Premieres Nov. 27 on USA Network
    10/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 11, 2021)
    10/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders That '70s Show Spinoff Featuring Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith; Nash Bridges Revival Movie Premiere Date Set
    10/08 - Fri-Yay: CBS’s Ghosts Is the Most Interesting New Comedy of the Year; Insecure to Hold Festival for Final Season
    10/07 - Mini Desperate Housewives Reunion on Hallmark Christmas Movie; The Kids Tonight Show Premieres Oct. 14
    10/06 - And Just Like That... We Get a Premiere Date; The CW Holiday Specials Schedule
    10/05 - New Peanuts Holiday Special on Apple TV+, PBS to Air Classic Holiday Specials; COZI TV Acquires Heartland
    10/04 - Disney Channel Orders Season 5 of Raven's Home; Freeform Picks Up Phoebe Robinson Comedy
    10/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 4, 2021)
    10/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11 Premiere Date Set; Lori Loughlin Returns to TV Role
    10/01 - Fri-Yay: The Fall 2021 Sitcom Line-up Is Pretty Bare; Bounce Renews Johnson for Season 2
    09/30 - It's a Wonderful Lifetime Expands with 35 New Movies; Hulu & Lifetime Acquire Castle
    09/29 - Curb Your Enthusiasm Returns Yet Again; Archer Returning for Lucky Season 13 on FXX
    09/28 - Nick at Nite Acquires Mike & Molly; NBC Orders Night Court to Series
    09/27 - MeTV Network Halloween Schedule; HBO Max Renews The Other Two for Third Season
    09/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 27, 2021)
    09/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Gets Series Order; Season Premiere Date Set for The Orville
    09/24 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso Wins Big at The Emmys; CBS Expands Ghosts Premiere to One-Hour; Remembering Willie Garson of Sex and the City, Director Jay Sandrich
    09/23 - TBS, TNT and truTV Launch Fall-O-Ween, a Programming Block of Halloween Classics; HBO Max Comedy from Mindy Kaling Debuts November 18
    09/22 - Paramount+ Renews Rugrats for 2nd Season; Eva Longoria Producing Disney Sci-Fi Comedy
    09/21 - Family Guy, King of the Hill, The Cleveland Show and Futurama Joining FXX; HBO Max's Ten Year Old Tom Details
    09/20 - 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards Winners; Turner Celebrates Latinx Heritage Month with George Lopez, Tacoma FD and More