Vital Signs…DVR or DNR?: THE NEW FOX TUESDAY
It is official. Fall television is back full force. But amidst favorite returning shows we have new series that must struggle to survive their first season. Two such shows premiere tonight on FOX as part of their new Tuesday night comedy block (AKA the reason my beloved Glee was moved to Thursdays to contend with all of the other shows I watch). Joining hits New Girl and Raising Hope we have newbies Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project.
BEN AND KATE
Tuesdays 8:30 EST, Fox
Premieres September 25th
A girl who had to grow up too fast deals with a brother who never grew up at all. Kate has been raising her young child Maddie on her own; her brother Ben, on the other hand, has been living his own crazy life and only periodically checking in on his family. This changes when Ben returns home to visit an ex-girlfriend and finds out that she is getting married. Brother and sister concoct an elaborate (and ultimately unsuccessful) plan to stop the wedding, and being together again shows them how much they are missing in their lives. Ben decides to stick around and help his sister get her act together. And thus a show is born.
Familiar Faces: Lucy Punch (evil stepsister in Ella Enchanted), Maggie Elizabeth Jones (the little girl in We Bought a Zoo).
This Reminds Me: Of regular lead-in Raising Hope. A slightly unconventional family bands together to raise a small child and many hijinks ensue because the adults are sometimes less mature than the child they are watching. Yes, the comparison is slim, but I have never understood the appeal of Raising Hope, and Ben & Kate made me feel just as confused. But I have been proven wrong before, and comedy is extremely subjective. Maybe I just don’t like shows about kids.
Other Aspects to Consider: We Bought a Zoo was a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed, largely in part due to the adorable Maggie Elizabeth Jones. And yet I did not recognize her immediately in this pilot, largely because she was just kind of… there. If the show can capitalize on her adorability it may go somewhere.
The success of a show depends largely upon the likeability of its lead. Dakota Johnson as Kate Fox was not strong enough a lead to get me to root for her. In fact, I felt more drawn to the brash, cliché best friend BJ. The cutest moment of the pilot might have been when she was babysitting little Maddie and had put way too much makeup on her.
Remaining Questions: I find I do not care enough to ask questions about this show. That says it all, doesn’t it?
The Verdict: DNR. Frankly, the many ads made the show seemed rather insipid. The few jokes on display were not funny to begin with, so I had little hope that the full show would be worth watching. The full pilot surprised me with a few laughs, but the episode as a whole left me cold. And by the length of this review, you can just see that I find this show extremely uninspiring. I am sure many of you will disagree on me with this one, and I hope that you do, but this is not one of the shows that will make it onto my DVR rotation.
Now on to the other new show of the night, The Mindy Project…