After years of fielding comedies that only fit loosely into that category - laughter while watching them was a somewhat rare occurrence - Fox clearly sat up and paid attention last year when ABC blew everyone out of the water with Modern Family. Now, as well as a Greg Garcia comedy, they've rolled out a second single camera show, this time from the team that brought us Fox's previous good comedy - Arrested Development.
Starring Will Arnett (Arrested Development, 30 Rock) and Keri Russell (Felicity), this sees aimless rich boy Steve Wilde (Arnett) reunited with his childhood love Emmy Kadubic (Russell) who's been trying to saving some Amazon natives from the terrible oil workers his father has hired. How are they reunited? Her daughter feigns mutism for six months since she wants to have a normal life back in the States.
With guest appearances by David Cross and Peter Serafinowicz, this pilot episode is actually pretty funny, but is it Arrested Development funny? Not quite. All the same, it shows enough sparks of life to make me think Fox is no longer the comedy wasteland of yesteryear.
Here, enjoy a lovely trailer for the first ep, featuring footage from the slightly different pilot, complete with alternative guest cast. It's pretty much the same though:
Greg Garcia has made something of a career for himself with a very peculiar writing specialty: he writes sweet, not especially funny sitcoms, filled with stupid but well meaning members of America's underclass. As much laughing with the underclass as at them, his shows are a useful antidote to the middle class and upper class shows that dominate the airwaves, but you're always left feeling after a given episode that it should have been a whole lot more - and that you have a slightly nasty taste in your mouth, as though you've somehow ended up bullying one of the stupid kids in the class, despite your best intentions.
After the demise of My Name is Earl on NBC, Garcia has made the trek over to a network whose comedies ('Til Death, Brothers, Happy Hour) are more commonly associated with feelings of violation and misery: Fox. His new topic of amusement? A young underachiever, who just as he's decided to make something of his otherwise dead-end existence, finds out he's a father and has to bring up the baby with his gormless family. The baby's name? Princess Beyonce.
No. Hang on. That's not right. It's Hope. So here's a trailer for Raising Hope.
In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, NBC In the UK:Channel 4. Starting in October
Remember Flash Forward (maybe you had a flashback as soon as I asked that)? Brace yourself, because here's something that at first looks quite similar but hopefully won't prove to be so frustrating.
The Event is a complex bit of weirdness. You can't be sure exactly what The Event is. The entire pilot episode is told in multiple flashback. You know that a regular guy (Jason Ritter - The Class, Parenthood), taking his fiancée on a cruise, ends up hijacking a plane. You know that the President of the United States (Blair Underwood - LA Law, In Treatment) is going to shut down a weird facility in Alaska that does research on what seems like people. You know he's going to call a press conference to announce something that the CIA et al don't want him to.
But after that and the first episode, it's all a mystery filled with a whole load of questions. And it's surprisingly engrossing, even if you do have the feeling that just like with FlashForward you are going to be strung along for a while - but, fingers crossed, only for a while.
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A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.