Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pilot Thoughts: The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show

Premiere week ends tonight with what some critics are calling Dramageddon headlined curiously enough by the series finale of Breaking Bad. Before I wrap my head around tonight though, just some brief thoughts on a couple of pilots from the past week.

Here's the thing about The Crazy Ones. Even if its pilot was the worst thing ever (it's not), I would have loved it for the prominent Kelly Clarkson storyline alone, not to mention the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy!) and Josh Wolk (Benson!) on my TV screen. The show takes place at a Chicago advertising agency where Robin Williams plays executive Simon Roberts. His character is quirky, a little nuts, and has a penchant to do voices so Williams isn't really stretching himself here. Gellar plays his more serious-minded daughter and their different personalities and ways of doing business is part of the DNA of the pilot (and presumably the show). Both do okay work, but are outshone in the first episode by the easy refreshing charm of Wolk and the unassumingly funny Clarkson. These latter two were enough for me to really enjoy the pilot, but I'm very curious how the show holds up in the coming weeks when I'm watching it without my Kelly Clarkson-tinted glasses. Furthermore, how long will it be until Williams' schtick gets old? B

The Michael J. Fox Show is better than its bland title implies. It features the return of Michael J. Fox in a regular TV role since he was diagnosed with Parkinson's (he's appeared in guest roles in the meantime including great work on The Good Wife). Inspired by Fox's real-life experience, the show revolves around his character Mike Henry, a popular local news anchor who had to give up his career when he's diagnosed with Parkinson's, and how his family and friends deal with him going back to work. Fox and his ability to mine comedy from his illness is the show's strength. The supporting characters, however, with the exception of Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt, needs a bit more work, but all of the elements are there for a worthy show. The opening credits are laughably horrible though. B/B+

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