A Geek and his PVR

Fighting an uphill battle against my PVRs diminishing freespace

Midseason Series Premieres Reviews

ABC

Emily’s Reasons Why Not
(Monday at 9:00)
Grade: D+

So, I just read that ERWN’s production has been halted by ABC. This could mean any number of things, like they want to retool the show, but most likely it means that it will be canceled.

In short, Emily (Heather Graham) is an editor for a publishing house, and if she can think of 5 reasons why a guy is not right, she’ll dump him. She has a female friend and a gay friend. They assist her in this quest. She also has an office rival. In the premiere, she has just broken up with her boyfriend, who is also who’s book she’s publishing. She then dates the new marketing guy. He is reluctant to get physical, and has “weird? habits, thus leading to the “Reasons Why Not? and subsequent dumping. Most of the reasons are fairly shallow, except for the biggy, she thinks he’s gay and her friends gaydar concurs, while the truth is, he’s a Mormon virgin. (What?) Thus is the first episode.

In homage to the show, let me review it with Mike’s Reasons Why Not to Watch.

  1. Annoying, annoying (yes, 2 times annoying) voice over and goofy-ass graphics for the “Reasons Why Not?
  2. Only one reasonably likable character and one incredibly, horribly annoying character
  3. Writing is, in a word, dull
  4. Compared to Sex and the City in way too many reviews, usually disparagingly
  5. Just not funny or remotely original

It’s not that a show needs to be original, but if it’s a sitcom, it should at least elicit some laughter. This show just did not. It also seemed to suffer somewhat from schizophrenia, jumping from a surrealistic chick-com (ala Ally McBeal) to more standard sit-com-y conventions and many other points in between and farther out. Let me give some suggestions to the producers, such as, tone down the “reasons why not?, get rid of the rival co-worker, and give her friends something to do, other than bitch about Emily’s boyfriend du jour.

Crumbs
(Thursday at 9:30)
Grade: C+

Mitch (Fred Savage; The Wonder Years) is a “famous? screenwriter who had escaped his family after the traumatic death of his older brother. He returns home to help out after his mom (Jane Curtin) is released from the mental hospital for attempting to run down their father (William Devane) with a car. His father has left his mother and is having a baby with his new girlfriend. His brother still resents him for running away. Did I mention his family runs a restaurant? Mitch is in the closet, his brother Jody (the Chef) is a player, and his father secretly does the books for the restaurant when not at his new job as a new-agey massage therapist. And his mother is still crazy.

As far as sitcoms go, Crumbs is pretty decent. There were some good laughs, and the cast seems to work as a dysfunctional family should. The show was based on the creator’s actual family and events that happened to them, so at least the premise has a smidge of truth to it. It remains to be seen whether it will fall into typical sitcom plots and jokes, or will it rise above and be truly a show for the ages. (My money’s on the first one)

One more note about this show, the laughtrack was unbearably loud and intrusive.

CBS

Love Monkey
(Tuesday at 10:00)
Grade : A-

Tom Farrell(Tom Cavanaugh; Ed) is a sucessful A&R rep at a large music corporation. He lives music, literally, music is his life, and he has a “golden ear? for what is good. In the process of trying to get a talented singer/songwriter to sign with the label, he speaks his mind about what he thinks the label should be, and is fired for it. His girlfriend at the same time comes to the realization that Tom is not who she’s looking for and dumps him. He then tries to start his own label and continues to pursue the talent. Eventually he realizes he should be letting the talent do what’s best for them and not what’s best for him. Tom then gets offered a job at a small label run by a friend, who’s happened to have signed the guy he was after.

I really like this show. I never watched Ed much, but apparently Tom’s character is similar in many respects to Ed. Which if true, it’s too bad I never watched Ed. The supporting cast is excellent, it’s good to see Judy Greer and Jason Priestley. The writing seems good, and the music is excellent. It seems as though no reviewer can write about this show without making a comparison to High Fidelity, which for better or for worse, it does seem to draw some inspiration from, most especially the music snob slant of Tom’s tastes. I guess because I’m a bit of a music snob myself, I can relate to many of Tom’s observations about the “biz.? Maybe I just hope that there is someone out there like Tom, looking for the next great sound, not just the next Big Thing.

NBC

The Book of Daniel
(Friday at 10:00)
Grade: B

There’s so much stuff jammed into the season premiere, it took 2 hours to tell it, so, here’s the shortish version. Daniel Webster (Aidan Quinn; Desperately Seeking Susan [ha!]) is an Episcopal priest, with a borderline alchoholic wife, a daughter just caught for dealing pot, a gay son, and a horny adopted asian son. His sister-in-law is a burgeoning lesbian, her dead husband ran off with $3.2 million of the church’s money and is found dead with the money still missing. Oh, and Daniel talks to Jesus, in a he’s invisible but in the room kind of way. Daniel’s boss, the bishop (Ellen Burstyn) is hassling him, and his father, another bishop, doesn’t think much of him. There’s actual even more things going on, but if this has interested you enough already, maybe you should check out the show.

I like this show. Not love it, but it’s definitely interesting. What I like best is when Daniel talks to Jesus, because, it’s pretty funny usually. Jesus is a bit mysterious, and a bit cryptic. The daughter is also pretty good. What I don’t like about the show is the fact that every time they talk to or about the gay son, it has to be mentioned that he’s gay and they seem to make a huge deal of it. There’s actually a lot of different plot threads going on, and it’s a bit confusing. Though to be honest, when I watched the second episode, I was playing a videogame and not really concentrating on the TV. Anyways, I think it’s interesting enough to keep watching.

Four Kings
(Thursday at 8:30)
Grade: C+

Ben’s (Josh Cooke; Committed) grandma has died and left him a gigantic NY apartment, into which he invites his 3 best friends to live with him. Barry (Seth Green; BtVS, Austin Powers) is a music producer, Jason (Todd Grinnell) is a real estate developer working for a Trump-type mogul, and Bobby (Shane McRae) is a slacker. Ben is the serial monogamist of the group, where Barry is the perpetually put-upon loser in the love game. This is a situation that would only be found in the sitcom.

Once you get past the very Friends-like setup of the show, you find a show that’s struggling a bit to find its feet. There have been a few very funny moments and quite a few more where the jokes fell flat. You can see that there is a long friendship and familiarity between the characters though, especially in the in-jokes and strange rituals that always seems to manifest in groups that have been friends for a long time. The show is not bad, but is just so uneven, that sometimes even the good laughs are dragged down by lame setups and unnecessary selling of the joke. I really want to like this show, as Seth Green definitely has the comedic abilities, and is especially funny when playing indignant or angry, but the Jason and Bobby characters I find not really that funny. I don’t know if the writers just haven’t found good material for them, or what, but I hope that they can make a better contribution to the show soon.

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