Tag: katey sagal

CBS 2016/2017 Comedy Pilots ranked

CBS-logo-2011

This past season was, once again, not a great year for CBS’ comedy department with new entries not doing so well. Life In Pieces seems to work only because it follows The Big Bang Theory, and still manage to lose a big chunk of its viewers anyway. A move next year could prove very problematic, but it’s a slot wasted for a show that’s not even produced in-house… Angel From Hell was, as expected, cancelled after a few airings. Mike & Molly was sentenced to death for unknown reasons, even though it was at least a utility player. Second season of The Odd Couple, which should never have been ordered, was kept all season long and will finally start airing on April. Meaning it’s basically already cancelled. Mom is doing fine, thank God. And 2 Broke Girls is okay, despite multiple moves on the schedule.

Whatever they decide to renew or cancel in the end, very few slots are available for new comedies. The race will be tough. But “fortunately”, most of their comedy pilots don’t look promising on paper (and the worst one is a straight-to-series order, ugh). Decisions shouldn’t be that hard to make. They took mostly multicamera comedies -they finally understood!- but there’s still some single-camera left. Let’s take a look!

  1. SUPERIOR DONUTS (CBS Television Studios)

rate rate rate rateFollows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop, his new young employee and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago… With Jermaine FowlerBrian d’Arcy James, David Koechner, Sarah Stiles…

This is the only comedy pilot script at CBS that I liked. A lot. It’s not only very funny, it’s also insightful and it really fits with their actual line-up. I totally see it sandwiched between Mom & 2 Broke Girls, or after The Big Bang Theory. And I feel like Jermaine Fowler can become huge in the next few years. I’m not sure about Brian d’Arcy James though. Didn’t know he could be that funny. For me, it’s a sure bet. Plus, it is directed by sitcom superstar James Burrows.

 


2. MY TIME/YOUR TIME (Sony Pictures Television / CBS Television Studios)

rate rate rate  chronicles the relationship of Marla & Wade, a young couple as they begin dating long distance through Skype. One is in New York, the other in Los Angeles… With Jane Levy, Nicholas Braun, Izzie Steele…

Yet another dramedy about millenials looking for love. Okay, it’s not original but it is something networks have a hard time to find, something that feels true and fresh and fun and melancholic… It’s appealing, honest, really cute…

Read the full preview

 

3. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND (Warner Bros. Television)

rate rate rate two 40-something parents who were wild and reckless teenagers now face their worst nightmare—raising three teenagers of their own… With Jason Lee, Alyssa Milano, Matt Murray, Tia Mowry…

Single-camera comedy. Ouch. If they can only take one, this is the one! It’s a bit too classical to be honest, it doesn’t tell anything new about parenting, but it’s a strong vehicle for Lee & Milano, who already played a married couple in My Name is Earl. They have chemistry. They can do great. The script is a little rough around the edges, but it mostly works and the kid characters really do exist. ABC could have generated this one. It just lacks the thing that would make it really special.

 


4. THE KICKER (Universal Television)

rate rate rate  an oddball athlete drives family, friends and strangers insane after he unexpectedly finds himself cut from his professional football team… With Geoff StultsDavid Spade, Joanna Garcia Swisher…

The Tina Fey / 30 Rock team came up with an efficient, pretty funny pilot, whose only real fault is too rely so much on its star that if Geoff Stults is not the right one after all, it will probably fail miserably. The character is so annonying that if the actor doesn’t have the charm required, the pilot could quickly turn into something unwatchable. I’m pretty condident though. Too bad it’s not produced in-house and it has almost the same pitch as Kevin Can Wait (see below)…

 

5. REAL GOOD PEOPLE (CBS Television Studios)

rate rate rate centers on a conservative, small-town family from Texas who is forced to reconcile their family values when they discover their children’s lives are less than perfect… With Nick Zano, Lenora Chrichlow, David Keith, Julie White…

I am moderately convinced by the script, but I feel like this family has a real potential and the cast is capable of turning it into something better than it is on the page, but it’s certainly not special. Remember The Millers? I fear it gets the same destiny (the creator wrote multiple episodes for it)…

 

6. FURST BORN (CBS Television Studios)

rate rate about a wife and mother who learns she was adopted and that her birth parents are a flamboyant but loving family of drag-racers… With Poppy Montgomery, Katey Sagal, John Carroll Lynch, Swoosie Kurtz…

Stellar cast! Really. But damn, why is it so unfunny most of the time? I didn’t laugh a lot. It’s not complicated: you got a few good characters -the two set of grandparents- and all the others, who are boring as hell. Dunno if Poppy Montgomery can deliver in a comedy -it would be her first- but I feel like it’s meant to be another Life In Pieces (and it’s also a single-cam): good cast wasted in a mediocre comedy. Magic can still happen…

 


7. I’M NOT YOUR FRIEND (CBS Television Studios)

rate rate a contractor learns that raising his kids is more challenging than expected when his wife goes back to work and he has to take care of the little monsters by himself all day long… With Matt Le Blanc, Jenna Fischer, Diana Maria Riva…

Bad vehicle for Matt Le Blanc returning to network comedy. He deserved better after 5 years of the excellent Episodes. Clearly, he’s not our friend Joey anymore.

Read the full preview

 

8. THE GREAT INDOORS (CBS Television Studios)

rate rate an adventure reporter must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine… With Joel McHale, Chris Williams, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Stephen Fry…

I have NO IDEA why Joel McHale accepted this (and why CBS ordered it in the first place). How come a show about millenials can be so cliché and outdated? Didn’t laugh once. It just ends up being unfunny and unrealistic for the most part. From someone who comes from Community, it makes no sense. And I don’t think he will be able to improve the material.

 

9. KEVIN CAN WAIT (Sony Pictures Television) – Ordered to series

rate  a newly retired police officer looks forward to spending more quality time with his wife and three kids… only to discover he faces much tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets. With Kevin JamesErinn Hayes, Taylor Spreitler, Ryan Cartwright…

It’s never funny. Same old jokes that don’t work anymore. No diversity. Kevin Can Wait is more outdated than The King of Queens was at the time! It’s just not possible airing this in 2016. It could have been tacky in a sweet and nostalgic way. But it’s just tacky as… shitty tacky.

Read the full preview

 

The Bastard Executioner (FX) preview: Kurt Sutter is one son of a bitch! Here’s another proof…

bastardexec

Written & produced by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy, The Shield, Southpaw). Co-produced by Paris Barclay, Francie Calfo & Brian Grazer (24, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, Arrested Development). Directed by Paris Barclay (Sons of Anarchy, In Treatment, NYPD Blue, Cold Case). For FX, FX Productions, Fox 21, Imagine Television & Sutter Ink. 65 pages.

Description: In the 14th century in England, the story of Wilkin Brattle, a warrior knight in King Edward I’s charge, who is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when that violence finds him again killing his wife and unborn child, he is forced to pick up the bloodiest sword of all. He infiltrates his old kingdom that betrayed him, determined to destroy it from the inside…

With Lee Jones, Stephen Moyer (True Blood), Flora-Spencer Longhurst, Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy, Married With Children, 8 Simple Rules…), Kurt Sutter, Elen Rhys, Timothy V. Murphy (True Detective, Sons of Anarchy), Sarah Sweeney, Darren Evans (Galavant, My Mad Fat Diary), Sarah White, Danny Sapani (Penny Dreadful, Misfits), Sam Spruell (The Last Ship) & Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters, The Americans) as guest…

PREMIERING SEPTEMBER 15TH ON FX

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Kurt Sutter is one son of a bitch. Ahem. It’s a little scary writing an article about a show penned by Kurt Sutter, I must admit. Because I know he might end up reading it. He’s out there. I mean: he tweets. And when he’s angry, he can become some sort of… bastard executioner. Heads roll. Not that he’s mean or anything. It’s just that he says exactly what he thinks, and we all admire him for that but it can be violent, you know. Since I feel pretty safe hiding behind my computer screen, it’s my turn to say what I really think about this pilot script he wrote. Honesty is more valuable to him than anything else, right? Everything’s gonna be okay. And it’s not gonna hurt. I guess. So where was I? Oh yeah: Kurt Sutter is one son of a bitch!

First things first: I have to confess that I was not a fan of Sons of Anarchy. I watched a few episodes and I abandoned it. Not my thing. No hard feelings though. But somehow I happened to know everything about the show’s every twist and turn over the course of its entire run -sometimes I was impressed- and from what I understood almost everybody died at some point in atrocious circumstances! Which is interesting since in The Bastard Executioner‘s pilot at least three characters we think are important die. Just like that. And the cruel but smart strategy is: here are those characters, this one you will adore, this one you will love to hate and boom they are dead, you will never seem them again. Deal with it! This is a son of a bitch move and it’s brilliant. We’re instantly amazed, sad and intrigued. But, ‘cos there’s a “but” (and many butts but we’ll get to that later), I’m puzzled about one death in particular. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say the one who can be considered as the main antagonist of the show is killed. Meaning, our hero’s quest for revenge is done in the end of the pilot. So what’s next? Other villains can be introduced and some characters already there can become villain (one is on the verge of being one) but it feels like what could have been the main focus of season one has disappeared into thin air for the sake of being original. It also questions Wilkin Brattle’s intentions. Are we moving towards a Breaking Bad-like story, where a simple man slowly turns into a very bad guy? Seems like it. Not sure I want to see that again even if the context is totally different. On the other hand, I don’t want to see Revenge in the middle ages either. God no!

So, about the butts. It’s not what you think. Well, there’s a scene that will certainly be very talked about and remembered whatever happens with the show: while the Baron character is talking about strategy with his right-hand man, he takes a shit in his chair and then a servant comes to wipe his shitty ass. It’s gross but it’s Middle-Age tradition. No more no less. But it’s something most historical movies and series quietly ignore. Not Kurt Sutter. He clearly has a hard on writing it. And we can’t blame him, especially since it’s a detail that strongly tells the audience: forget what you saw of this period, I will tell you the true story without poetry. That’s how he’s making history! The rest of the pilot is less surprising, with an inevitable rape, some Braveheart feels, a LOT OF violent fights… what you can expect from this type of story. Two female characters are really interesting: Lady Love -all is in the name obviously- who’s sexy and bored, a little lesbian maybe, a woman of paradox and mystery, I could watch the show only for her; and Annora, Katey Sagal’s character, some sort of witch who helps our hero but has her own agenda… She’s secretly in love with a disfigured beast, who happens to be played by her own husband… Kurt Sutter himself! That’s exciting in a weird way.

After using Shakespeare’s Hamlet to structure Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter bets on The count of Monte Cristo to build his new show around, meaning it’s another soap hidden behind an historical background, great violence and those WTF? moments he loves so deeply. And it’s working, mostly. The Bastard Executioner can and will be considered as FX’s answer to HBO’s Game of Thrones, probably hoping it gets more attention than The Strain, FX’s answer to AMC’s The Walking Dead.