Tag: dream team

ABC 2016/2017 Comedy Pilots ranked

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ABC has a lot to do in the drama department to improve from this terrible year, but comedy-wise they are more than okay. Modern Family is not the hit it once was, but its performances are still pretty solid. The Goldbergs is strong enough now to anchor the 8pm slot on wednesdays. Blackish is doing okay, but could/should do better. And The Middle is aging –on the demo– but aging well. It should live at least two more years. Fresh Off The Boat is doing okay-ish on tuesdays and on a dead night for ABC helps keeping the lights on. The Real O’Neals has a good retention behind Fresh Off The Boat and is worth a renewal based on the quality of the first episodes. Plus, it’s produced in-house. They should give it a chance to grow. Last Man Standing is fine on fridays while Dr Ken is, as expected, a perfect match and should continue. The Muppets is DEAD. There’s no way this once promising show gets renewed. And Uncle Buck is still waiting for an airdate… About Galavant, it’s pretty much dead. And it’s a pity. But ABC has been patient with this one. It will never become something, let’s be real.

If ABC renews Modern Family, The Middle, The Goldbergs, Blackish, Fresh Off The Boat, The Real O’Neals, Last Man Standing & Dr Ken, there’s litteraly no slot for any new comedy next year. Which is unaceptable. They need fresh blood. And they won’t wait for midseason to launch something new. It means there’s only three solutions: 1/ The Real O’Neals is cancelled after all. One slot will be available then. 2/ They bench one of those shows for a midseason premiere. But none of them deserve such a treatment. 3/ They open a new hour of comedy, either on Tuesdays or somewhere else on the schedule. And this last solution is my favorite honestly. I’d like something like this:

TUESDAY – The Middle / NEW / Fresh Off The Boat / The Real O’Neals

WEDNESDAY – The Goldbergs / NEW / Modern Family / Blackish

Let’s see what they have in store! And contrary to last pilot season, they have a handful of solid projects… The choice will be hard to make!

 

 

  1. DREAM TEAM (Warner Bros. Television)

rate rate rate rate  Marty Schumacher coached his last Club soccer team for ten years, ultimately taking them to the National Championships. While his longtime girlfriend just dumped him, he now has to start from scratch with a new diverse group of eight-year-olds and their disparate parents, who are not all happy to be there every damn weekend… With Justin Long, Wanda Sykes, Wynn Everett, Michael Mosley…

Dream Team has success written all over its pilot script. It could score BIG. ABC couldn’t pass on the opportunity to finally have what looks like the next Modern Family (sports edition).

Read the full preview

 


2. SPEECHLESS (20th Century FOX Television & ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate  The story of the DiMeo family, a gang who’s pretty good at dealing with the challenges it faces, and absolutely fantastic at creating new ones. At the heart of the action are Maya, a mom on a mission who will do anything for her family, and JJ, her whip-smart teen son with special needs… With Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Mason Cook…

GREAT comedy pilot script! It’s exactly in ABC’s wheelhouse. It’s a mix between Malcolm & TheMiddle, where the adult and the children characters are treated the exact same way. Very funny. Tender. And talking about handicapped persons feels important. It’s about time. I really really want ABC to give it a chance.

 

3. THE SECOND FATTEST HOUSEWIFE IN WESTPORT (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate Until recently, opinionated, confident, unapologetic, plump Katie Otto has been the third fattest housewife in Westport, Connecticut. This is exactly where she wants to be. So when her chubbier neighbor moves away and she becomes the second fattest housewife, Katie becomes determined to regain her title. On a mission, she tries to orchestrate a suitable buyer for her neighbor’s house. But things don’t go according to her plans... With Katy Mixon, Diedrich Bader, Carly Hughes, Ali Wong…

A lot of people are already furious with the title of this show. Not because it’s too long –but it’s too long– because they find it offensive. Which I can understand. BUT the show is not offensive. It’s irreverent, yes. And we need that. It’s kinda cool too. Not saying that I loved it but I kinda did. There’s a little girl with PTSD in there and it’s a beautiful, moving, adorable character.

 


4. PEARL (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate  After she finds out she has cancer, Pearl Foxton, a larger-than-life family matriarch becomes intent on controlling and orchestrating every aspect of her family’s life before she dies. After all, she knows what’s best for them way better than they know themselves, and good luck convincing her otherwise… With Candice Bergen, Zachary Knighton, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Richard Mazur…

WANT. Anything with Episodes‘ Kathleen Rose Perkins is a winner for me. But still. Candice Bergen will kill in this. Zachary Knighton too. It’s a really funny pilot script with heart. If they can manage to take the Mom route, it’ll be perfect. But is ABC ready to bet on a family comedy with a 70 year-old heroine –who’s not very nice– and mostly adult characters, with cancer involved? I’m not sure, and that makes me sad a little bit.

 

5.  CHUNK & BEAN (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate  The unlikely friendship of two misfits, Chunk and Bean, who benefit from having two very different sets of parents living next door to each other. Connie, Chunk’s controlling mother, and Jim, Bean’s single father, instantly butt heads over their conflicting styles of parenting. While Connie believes in structure and discipline, Jim believes in high fives and cake for breakfast. With Simon Belz, Adam Rodriguez, Anna Gunn, Andy Daly…

And it’s another comedy script winner for ABC! Smart, funny & cute. Solid cast. Kids are very important in it, the way Eddie is in Fresh Off The Boat. I’m curious to see Anna Gunn in a comedy and I’d be happy to watch Adam Rodriguez with no shirt-on once again. Make it happen, ABC!

 

6. DOWNWARD DOG (Legendary Television & ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate Suddenly Martin, Nan’s loyal mutt has begun acting out -and she’s confused, frazzled and angry. So Nan hauls herself off to a canine academy, initially hoping for a quick fix, but finding out, eventually, that training a dog might be work but the payoff is priceless, proving once again that a dog is a woman’s bestfriend… With Allison Tolman, Lucas Neff, Samm Hodges…

A TV show with a talking dog… in 2015? My initial reaction to Downward Dog‘s pitch was “What the fuck are they thinking?“. But this is a brilliant piece of writing, actually. I totally get why there was a bidding war among multiples networks to acquire the project. It’s bold and different. But it’s not an easy sell and the talking dog could quickly has nothing interesting to say.

Read the full preview

 

7. IMAGINARY MARY (Sony Pictures Television & ABC Studios)

rate rate rate  A fortysomething bachelorette’s life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced dad with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single lady to family woman… With Jenna ElfmanStephen Schneider, Erica Tremblay, Nicholas Coombe…

Really funny & original script, sweet & sour. Jenna Elfman can thrive in this. Not sure about the longtime perspective though, or even making 22-24 episodes a year. It’s something worth trying at midseason, like a Galavant, but it’s probably too risky and adult to slot on wednesday nights.

 

8. SQUARE ROOTS (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate Meet the Desais, a family who sees the world from a unique point of view. While others look to comic book superheroes to save the world, the Desais know who the real superheroes are: engineers. From creating Pyramids to iPads, they’ll tell you the world would be nothing without them. Coincidentally, all the Desais are engineers, so they have some pretty big brains… which they may occasionally remind you of… With Adhir Kalyan, Katie Walder, Noureen DeWulf, Bernard White…

It’s like The Big Bang Theory as a family comedy. It got on my nerves more than it should have and gave me a headache at some point. But honestly, it’s fine. ABC misses an Indian comedy –and it would be the first one ever.

 

9. TOAST (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate Over their wedding rehearsal dinner, engaged couple Max and Paige have their eclectic family and friends give toasts recalling anecdotes about the couple — but flashbacks reveal that the toasts don’t always get it right, as we watch the true story of their complicated, funny and relatable road to marriage… With Jerrika Hinton, Jono Kenyon, Tessa Ferrer, Punam Patel…

Toast is not the funniest thing I’ve read this year (…) But if ABC wants something different than the regular family comedies they’re renown for on their schedule next year, maybe it’s the right way to go. The concept looks stronger than expected and branding it as “the first Shondaland comedy” –which it is– already makes half the work for the marketing department.

Read the full preview

 

10. RANDALL & HILDA ARE NOT A COUPLE (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate   Hilda, an unapologetic lesbian and Randall, her best friend, a neurotic straight male, navigate their enviable, yet dysfunctional, co-dependent friendship, growing up and the world of dating. With Andy Ridings, Tattiawna Jones, Julie Goldman, Christine Horn

This title has to change. Badly. But well, as cool as this pilot script is, it’s totally off-brand for ABC. No family in there. And we remember what happened with Selfie, Manhattan Love Story, Mixology… But it’s modern and fresh. It speaks the truth. Or a truth. Both heroes are different from what we are used to see. It’s something I probably would have watched and loved. So long, Randall & Hilda. So long.

 

11. HAIL MARY (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate   a young small-town mayor named Mary Wolf has dysfunctional siblings, a dying father, disgruntled citizens, a nearly bankrupt town and the mafia breathing down her neck. Only a miracle can help her. So … she fakes one… With Casey Wilson, Sarah Baker, Retta, Gareth Reynolds…

This is a disappointment. It’s not bad at all, the script is pretty good overall but it’s a bit too hysterical for my taste and it misses something. FOX already tried to remake the Austrian series Braunschlag last year but it was not ordered. I have a feeling it’s not on-brand enough for ABC. It’s a pass for me. But if they pick it up, I’ll definitely check it out, just in case.

 

12. THE FLUFFY SHOP (ABC Studios)

rate rate Gabe, a touring standup comic, a stepfather and boss to his family and friends navigates his home life during the few days he spends off the road each week… With Gabriel Iglesias, Richard Gant, Gloria Garayua, Tommy Savas…

This is the only multicamera comedy pilot ABC ordered this yes, maybe just in case Dr Ken suddenly collapsed, so they have a solution to replace it next year. But Dr Ken is fine and The Fuffly Shop really is not! It’s just funny. It’s not appealing. It’s a definitive “No”.

 

SEE ALSO CBS 2016/2017 PILOTS RANKED

Dream Team (ABC) pilot preview: Has ABC finally found the next Modern Family?

Tribeca Film Festival 2013 Portrait Studio - Day 4

Created and executive produced by Kari Lizer (Will & Grace, Old Christine) & Bill Wrubel (Modern Family, Will & Grace, Ugly Betty). Directed by Marc Buckland (My Name is Earl, Better Off Ted, Grimm, Scrubs). For ABC, Warner Bros. Television, Logo Here & Here Comes Scrappy. 36 pages.

Description: Marty Schumacher coached his last Club soccer team for ten years, ultimately taking them to the National Championships. While his longtime girlfriend just dumped him, he now has to start from scratch with a new diverse group of eight-year-olds and their disparate parents, who are not all happy to be there every damn weekend…

With Justin Long (New Girl, Mom, Die Hard 4), Wanda Sykes (Blackish, Old Christine, Curb Your Enthousiasm), Michael Mosley (Sirens, Scrubs, Pan Am), Lindsey Kraft (Getting On), Michelle Buteau (Enlisted, Key & Peels), Wynn Everett (Agent Carter, The Newsroom), Carlos Leal (El Internado, The Last Ship), Betty Gilpin (Nurse Jackie), Addison Osta

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Everybody knows that sports draw huge ratings on american television, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, with the Superbowl as the jewel crown of all live events with more than 100 million viewers tuning in that night of the year. So have you ever asked why there are not more scripted series about sports, as comedies or dramas? Maybe because for some reasons, most of those who went to series didn’t last long. Do you have one example of a big success in that department? The sitcom Coach did good back in the 90s. Arliss too. One Tree Hill was not really about basketball. But how many ratings failures? I can name you plenty: Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night, Friday Night Lights -5 seasons but 5 miracles-, Lights Out, Clubhouse, Blue Mountain State… Every now and then, a network tries it again. ABC already did in 2013 with Back In The Game, sandwiched between The Middle & Modern Family. Expectations were high. It didn’t do that terrible but it was not enough. 13 episodes and cancelled. 3 years later, ABC is… hum back in the game with pilot Dream Team. And I have a good feeling about this one.

Dream Team wants to be the Modern Family of sports and mostly is. It’s a mockumentary-style comedy, filmed as such, with interview scenes and weird looks at the camera. And it’s not really about sports, which is a good thing obviously. Co-creator Bill Wrubel was one of Modern Family‘s top writers and producers for the first five seasons. He knows what he is doing. Kari Lizer is a soccer mom on the weekends. She knows the story she’s telling. And both already worked together on one of the best sitcoms of the 2000s: Will & Grace. All of this means one thing: it was meant to be at least good, possibly great. And it is good on paper. With the potential to become great once filmed. The cast looks pretty solid. Justin Long & Wanda Sykes are the perfect choices for their respective roles. Dunno much about the others, but if the group has chemistry: bingo!

So no, it’s not really about sports. It’s about families who have no other choice but to spend time together while their brilliant children are touching the ball. And that’s where I have a tiny problem with Dream Team. What makes most of ABC comedies so good and successful is the importance given to the children characters and the talent of their portrayers. But here, at least in the pilot, we don’t see much of them. We meet them and then they do their things without us, off camera. But I’m not really worried. If it’s ordered to series they will have to use the kids to fuel the stories. They are the reasons why the parents are here. Without the kids, there is no show. The one other character the show can’t do without is, of course, coach Marty Schumacher (Justin Long). He’s a funny and charming little guy, slightly nerdy, way too confident sometimes but really appealing. He’s a bit of a loser in the pilot but the loser who keeps on believing instead of whining. I really like him. You probably will.

About the families, we have first our latino couple, Carlos & Olga, and their shy daughter Vanessa. They’re fighting like… all the time. With each others but also with the other parents. For a parking spot. And other things. Olga is very competitive. Think Gloria in Modern Family. Rick & Denise, and their soccer superstar daughter Tiffnee, is the traditional white couple, with Rick being a sexist ass. Think Jay Pritchett, but younger. Then there’s Leslie (Wanda Sykes) and Michaela, and their strong daughter Miley, an interracial lesbian couple. Leslie is competitive, crazy for sports. Michaela, not so much. They are cute. Think Mitchell & Cameron. And finally, we have recently divorced single mom Robin and her daughter Olivia. As you can imagine, there’s a real spark between her and Marty. Those two are meant to be together but not now. So Dream Team, like Modern Family, has a wide range of characters whom you can relate to. You can choose you team. And it goes without saying: there are a lot of fun when they all interact with each others.

Dream Team has success written all over its pilot script. It could score BIG. ABC couldn’t pass on the opportunity to finally have what looks like the next Modern Family. But we all know better, right? Nothing’s ever a sure thing, especially with comedies where it’s the cast who does the heavy-lifting. If for some reason they don’t deliver, it’s screwed. So let’s not get too excited for now…