Tag: liz meriwether

FOX 2017/2018 Comedy Pilots ranked

FOX had a really rough year, both with their dramas and their comedies. Hybrid entry Son of Zorn started well initially but ended in bad shape; a renewal is not expected. Making History is doing terrible numbers since it started; a renewal is out of reach. Then there’s The Mick that FOX really loved and pushed with airings at special times. It definitely helped though its pairing with New Girl limited its potential on tuesday since the Zooey Deschanel-starrer has outstayed its welcome for quite some time but could defy the odds one more time with a final season; it’s still considered as a cash machine for 20th Century FOX Television. Brooklyn Nine-Nine moved a lot on the schedule once again and miraculously didn’t lose too much strenghth in the process; it should be back. Finally, high-concept comedy Last Man On Earth couldn’t compete on sunday night with depressing ratings; it could go either way for this one but I bet on a renewal. It leaves us animated comedies The Simpsons and Family Guy. They’re both suffering but they’re still stronger than most of FOX slate. Can a miracle happen next year with a breakout comedy hit? With this weak surrounding, it’s gonna be hard, even next to impossible, but you never know… Here’s what they have in store:

 

  1. THIN ICE (20th Century FOX Television)

    A woman reclaims her dreams when she finds herself at the end of the earth – in Antarctica – surrounded by a group of brilliant misfits… With Bridgit Mendler, Ian Harding, Isaiah Whitlock Jr, Jane Curtin…

It’d be easy to describe Thin Ice as New Girl in Antarctica but like it or not, that’s what it initially is. It starts the same way -sad lonely girl entering a new world full of men who are mostly childish- but creator of both shows Liz Meriwether slowly goes into another direction until we end up with something that has more to do with workplace comedies like Parks and Recreation or The Mindy Project. It seems fresh -no pun intended- and those characters are really good at convincing you to stay there a little longer, as the heroine experiences. There are way too many though. It’s not revolutionary but it makes you happy for a while. Now, can a studio lot in Los Angeles really look like Antarctica? I have my doubts. They can’t afford to shoot on location every week I guess…

 


2. TYPE A (20th Century FOX Television)

    A group of consultants are hand-picked to do the dirty work most professionals can’t handle: layoffs, downsizing, generally delivering horrible news. To everyone else, they’re the enemy – to each other, they’re family. With Eva LongoriaDavid Hornsby, Ken Marino, Kyle Bornheimer, Andy Richter…

Type A may be the contrary of Thin Ice: it’s so cynical about today’s world that it doesn’t make you happy. BUT it’s funny. Really funny. The dialogues are just superb. And those actors can’t screw it up. It’s definitely edgier than most network television comedies, it can get pretty vulgar, and I think that’s beautiful! FOX is the best place for it, no questions asked. I can already see it on the schedule, probably next to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Those two would make a great pair. And that’s good news for Eva Longoria: it’s way better than Telenovela. She’s not THE star of the show, she’s one of the stars of the show and it’s better this way. Her character is hilarious. And she’s only asked what she does best: playing a witty bitch. Can’t wait!

 

 

3. LAX > VEGAS (20th Century FOX Television)

   About a group of underdogs trying to find their place in the world who all share the same goal: to come back a winner in the casino of life. Set on the Friday night flight from LAX to Vegas and the returning flight on Sunday. With Dylan McDermott, Ed Weeks, Olivia Macklin, Kim Matula…

Before reading the pilot script, I was 100% sure that it wouldn’t work. Who would want to spend 22 minutes each week in an airplane? Because just so you know, that’s where it’s set let’s say… 95% of the time! Well, the answer is: me. And you too probably. They made a pretty convincing case. Thanks to the principal characters -we want to know more about them- mostly and the promise that we’ll get to meet new passengers every week with their own set of stories and problems. At some point, I told myself: why nobody tried a comedy like this before, it’s a great idea? Well, maybe it has been tried but the projects didn’t see the light of day. Not a huge fan of the cast though. Will they live up to the expectations?

 

4. LINDA FROM HR (20th Century FOX Television)

   All it takes is one bad decision to throw Linda from HR’s monotonous, unfulfilled life into an exciting but dangerous tailspin of balancing work life, home life and a secret that could unravel everything. With Lauren Graham, Michael Landes, Zachary Knighton…

This pilot is batshit crazy, my friends! I’m not surprised the great Lauren Graham wanted to be part of it. It has been described as a comedic version of Mr Robot and I have to admit it’s pretty accurate. You never know where it’s going. It’s getting darker and crazier as the story progresses and you’re left with the sentiment you’ve just read something incredibly weird. And you want to watch more. The problem is:  the script needs a little more work and it’s not a network comedy AT ALL. It can’t work on FOX and it’s heavily serialized. I think FX or TBS should try to get it if FOX passes on. Or maybe a streaming platform? Hulu? Netflix? Those are the places where Linda from HR can be totally herself, without worrying about anything.

 

5. GHOSTED (20th Century FOX Television)

   A cynical skeptic and a genius “true believer” in the paranormal are recruited by The Bureau Underground to look into the rampant “unexplained” activity in Los Angeles – all while uncovering a larger mystery that could threaten the existence of the human race. With Adam Scott, Craig Robinson, Ally Walker…

Maybe it’s just me but this paranormal comedy that wants to be a funny The X-Files is less funny than the funniest episodes of The X-Files. That being said, I didn’t find the script bad or anything, I just didn’t laugh as much as I thought. There is no reason to worry: with this concept, this cast and the fact that it’s produced in-house, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be ordered to series. I’m even surprised they didn’t go for a straight-to-series order. Maybe just in case the Adam Scott/Craig Robinson duet didn’t work. Looking forward to it anyway. It’s very much in FOX alley.

 

6. AMY’S BROTHER (Warner Bros. Television)

   About an unconventional family that is formed when a successful type-A man and his estranged sister, plus her two children, find themselves not only back in one another’s lives but also living under one roof. With Michael Urie, Annie Mumolo

Have you watched The Mick? Haven’t watched myself the entire first season yet but it’s a good one. Sadly for Amy’s Brother. Because the story is pretty much the same in reverse -an uptight guy has to take care of his crazy family suddenly- with different characters and a less irreverent tone. It’s probably the cutest FOX comedy pilot of the year but cute doesn’t always win. The kids don’t have much to do and the principal character played by Michael Urie is too cliché. Not the “gay cliché” but the “uptight guy cliché”. We’ve already seen that a thousand times. Since it’s not produced in house, I’d say it doesn’t stand a chance to get ordered anyway.