Joshua Hudson: Fox likes DADS, but that doesn’t mean you have to

by Joshua Hudson

Dads-TV-tvwriter.comDecent cast, below average script. Expected greatness from known producer, sour delivery of unoriginal premise.

That about sums up FOX’s Dads. Giovanni Ribsi deserves so much better. Still not sure that Seth Green does.

Dads centers on Eli (Green) and Warner (Ribsi) who own a video game development company. They clearly have “interesting” relationships with their dads. Warner’s dad (played by the always affable Martin Mull) has just moved in and immediately cements his presence by spoiling a huge business deal that the guys were trying to close with investors from China. Warner has a hard time standing up to his dad because he’s a “Golden Retriever with a briefcase.”

Eli’s dad (Peter Riegert) shows up to attend Eli’s surprise birthday, whom he actually thinks is for Warner, thus spoiling the surprise. Eli has no problem standing up to his dad, but like all kids, still has a soft spot for the love he has never obtained. By the end of the episode, Eli reluctantly agrees to allow his dad to move in with him since his life has completely unraveled.

There you go. Dull, boring, and a little too much on the racist humor. Brenda Song, who plays Eli and Warner’s assistant Veronica, should ask for a huge raise to put up with this. They dress her up as a character from Sailor Moon to entice the Chinese businessmen because, according to Eli and Warner, it will seal the deal. I’m all for stereotypes in sitcoms – hell, that’s the meat and potatoes OF sitcoms – but let’s be real: Sailor Moon was created in Japan. At least get the cultures right.

Sure, there were a few decent jokes – every sitcom has at least one – but it fails to provide much substance. As an executive producer, Seth MacFarlane should just walk away. I never really liked Family Guy or American Dad myself, so my expectations were extremely low. Temper yours similarly.

EDITOR’S UPDATE: This just in. On November 21, 2013, Fox announced that DADS was being removed from the schedule, even though several of the episodes shot for the initial order haven’t been shown. Nothing was said about whether or not the series will return. Guess Fox isn’t so crazy about the series after all. So it goes.

Joshua Hudson: FOX has Nine-Nine Problems, but This isn’t One

by Joshua Hudson

brooklyn-nine-nine-tvwriter.comMany cop shows are heavy on the drama, action, and surprise twist endings. They are also very light on the comedic elements to lighten the mood to avert from the travesties they love to portray to hook you in.

FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine says it is time for a change.

Nine-Nine is the latest comedy to attempt to build a strong following on FOX’s Tuesday night schedule. Last season, none of FOX’s comedies hit – I’m including The Mindy Project in that statement even though it was picked up for a second season – so it was time to regroup.

Nine-Nine comes from Parks & Recreations’ Michael Schur and his co-creator Dan Goor. The cast is impressive, featuring SNL’s Andy Samberg, the always stellar Andre Braugher, and Everybody Hates Chris star Terry Crews, among others, and it plays right into FOX’s brand of single camera comedy ensemble. While New Girl and Mindy seeks to keep the attention of the females, Nine-Nine is geared more towards the male audience.

The 99th precinct of Brooklyn is about to gain a new Captain for their unit. Sandberg’s Peralta is a stand out detective, but is averse to rules and has the maturity of a third grader. His partner, Amy Santiago – played by Melissa Fumero – is determined to work her way up the ranks and hopes the new captain is someone that can serve as a “rabbi” for her. Their new captain is Ray Holt – played by Braugher. He is stern, unflappable, and expects everyone to adhere to his new way of command – including wearing a tie as part of the dress code. Naturally, Santiago loves him, while Peralta blurs the lines and manipulates the rules, landing him in the records room.

The Pilot seeks to show the type of camaraderie that lies in a police precinct. There is the detective – Charles Boyle, played by Jo Lo Trujilo – who wants to ask out another – Rose Diaz, played by Stephanie Beatriz – but is scared because she is a badass and can be overly scary; shenanigans from Peralta that outline the comedic nature, fully in tune with Sandberg’s signature brand of humor; the office goosip – Gina Linetti, played by Chelsea Peretti – who sets everyone on their path and gives the captain the ammo he needs to evaluate his crew; and the deadpan nature provided by Captain Holt to counter-balance Peralta’s immaturity.

The trailer introduced in May did this show little justice; I almost passed on the offering because of it. I am glad I succumbed, as this could easily be a bright spot on the 2013-2014 TV season, not just for FOX but as a whole. If The Lonely Island makes a cameo, all the better.

Joshua Hudson Reviews HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS

1248x139The full title wouldn’t fit into the headline spot, so here it is: HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE).

And that title is precisely what this show is about. Shocking right? But in addition to being a description it’s kind of a prescription as well, pigeonholing the series. Allow me to explain.

Polly leaves her husband, takes her daughter with her as she moves in with her parents because she has nowhere else to go. Six months later, she’s still living with her parents, working at a smoothie place in a grocery store, yet determined to be the most successful single mother role model for her daughter.

Sure.

The ex, Julian, won’t seem to leave the family alone, despite Max’s best efforts to shun him and make him feel unwelcomed. He’s an idiot, with terrible credit, and who used rent money to adopt a highway, and failed to keep up with it. Oh, and he uses a brick as a brake for his truck. Yes, you read that correctly.

2248x139

Polly ends up going on her first date since the divorce, and is reluctant to leave her daughter with her crazy, whacked out parents. They have no filter, thus are flush with inappropriate remarks that should remain out of earshot of young children.

Predictably, the date goes anything but smoothly, and Max and Julian team up to save the evening.Polly realizes that Julian does still care, he just really is that stupid. Her parents love her and their granddaughter, they’re just from different generations where their type of behavior was once a much more acceptable form of parenting. Polly just needs to figure out – and stop me if you’ve heard this before – how to live with her parents for the rest of her life.

The cast is great. Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett play the parents, Elaine and Max, Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke plays Polly, the single mom, and Jon Dore plays Julian, Polly’s ex-husband. Again, great cast, just too many comedians thrown into one pot. When the improv becomes too noticeable and forced, you lose what the show is. That’s what I took away from this. Parents has its moments, but the premise will wear thin in the long run. Though, Two and a Half Men has proved that a similar premise has legs and can win over audiences.

3248x139Unless Garrett or Perkins launch a comedy tour across America touting the slogan “Winning!” I’m afraid I just don’t see that happening for Chalke and Parents.

EDITED TO ADD: It’s no longer about whether the premise of this series “will wear thin” but about the fact that it has run thin. HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS was cancelled last Friday, May 10th. So much for trying to stockpile relevant reviews! 

Joshua Hudson Reviews THE CARRIE DIARIES

the-carrie-diaries tvwriter.com

Quietly, The CW has been churning out a few under the radar hits that won’t have Emmy voters going crazy, but provide audiences with solid entertainment.

If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you know I’m a huge fan of The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, and Nikita. Add The Carrie Diaries to the list.

Best known as the prequel to HBO’s Sex and the City, TCD focuses on high school Carrie and her journey towards losing her virginity to the city of her dreams and gaining steam as an aspiring writer. Yes, I’m aware I just wrote that sentence.

Set in 1984 in Castlebury, CT, Carrie starts her junior year just three months after losing her mother. Her sister Dorrit has taken the passing the hardest though. She’s turned rebellious, and become one with the “emo look,” the dark clothing and eyeliner to make herself seem edgy.

Carrie is, just as in SITC, one of a quartet of friends – Maggie, Mouse and Walt – each resembling in their own way shades of Carrie’s friends from the future. Maggie is the promiscuous one, takes life one day at a time and is driven by her sexual prowess. She’s dating Walt, but he’s not as sexually active so Maggie fulfills her needs elsewhere. Why? Well, Walt’s gay, he just doesn’t know it yet. Mouse is the classic overachiever, never settling for anything less than perfect, a la Charlotte.

The Pilot covers Carrie’s first journey to Manhattan. Her father gets her an internship at his friend’s law firm because he feels the distraction will help take her mind off the death of her mother. She runs into Larissa, an editor with Interview Magazine, who falls in love with her style and “recruits” her to become part of her posse as the finest young individuals in the greater New York area. Larissa has no idea that Carrie is still in high school, but finds her innocence to be quite the endearing quality.

But what would a high school tale of females be without gossip of their male counterparts? Enter Sebastian Kydd, the new kid who was kicked out of his last school, so he has the “bad boy” image at his disposal. He’s Carrie’s crush, after spending much of the summer at the local swimming pool together. When Carrie ditches the school dance for a night with Larissa in NYC, Sebastian finds comfort with Donna LaDonna, the high school bitch that everyone hates.

TCD has become my new guilty pleasure. If not for the holes it plugs and links to SITC, then definitely for the groovy 80s music. I was a fan of SITC and TCD carries on the tradition quite nicely. It’s appropriately toned down – nowhere near as risqué as its HBO counterpart – and fits well with The CW’s brand.

Do Not be One with THE FOLLOWING

So spaketh The Hudsonian! Here’s why:

The-Following-Castby The Hudsonian

I heart Kevin Williamson.

Williamson is the brain behind my favorite “horror” movie (Scream); everyone’s favorite rural town near a river (Dawson’s Creek); and one of my favorite shows currently on television (The Vampire Diaries).

He’s also the brainchild behind the mind-numbingly monotonous plague on FOX titled The Following.

This review could be as simple as one repetitive letter: Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Yes, a snooze fest. For something that is supposed to be a member of this newfound television “horror” genre, it pales in comparison to everything. (I’ve never actually seen American Horror Story, and I know reviews are mixed, but I can’t imagine it’s any worse than this.)

A captured serial killer with an obsession for all things Edgar Allen Poe escapes from jail. He was put there after a string of artistic murders and was caught as his attempt at a fifteenth failed. His capturer, Detective Ryan Hardy – played by Kevin Bacon, who has been separated by six degrees of emotional reactions – is a retired FBI agent with a drinking problem. He’s brought back into the fold when Joe Carroll, the serial killer, escapes from prison.

They spend much of the episode trying to track him down, put together the puzzle pieces, blah, blah, blah. He finishes his failed kill (poor Sarah Fuller), and is promptly captured. The twist? He’s kind of a prophet of sorts to a large Internet following – Does the name make sense now? – who now do his dirty work for him while he sits in jail and toys with the emotions of Detective Hardy.

I feel like I’ve seen this before. There was a similar storyline written into an old CBS show, Moonlight, but instead of a few episodes, Williamson made a whole series about it. The scary moments aren’t scary; the drama isn’t dramatic; and the score fails to provide the necessary feel to extract any meaningful emotion.

I want this lost hour of my life back.

Oh, and I want the real Kevin Williamson to make a good horror show. Thanks.