Third-episode verdict: Go On (NBC)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Tuesdays, 9pm Eastern/8pm Central, NBC. Starts September 11
In the UK: Not yet acquired

So far, if there’s one new comedy acquitting itself on NBC, it’s Go On. Although the idea of a support group for the traumatised – in particular, Matthew Perry channelling Joel McHale in Community as a talk radio sports commentator who lose his wife in a car accident – sounds like a sad idea for a sitcom (and you’d be right), the show is just about managing to find some laughs.

Just about.

Trouble is, we’re still talking about a guy who has lost his wife. And as the first episode demonstrated, that’s not that funny. Even if you can somehow turn adjustment to bereavement into something wacky – Perry not wanting to return home at night so he keeps making his assistant work late and gatecrashing her social occasions, as per episode two, or his gardener erecting a tribute fountain to his dead wife in episode three – we’re still talking about a show that makes you want to cry more than laugh.

And partly, that’s because the writers aren’t writing many jokes, partly because the supporting characters are woefully underdeveloped and partly because 90% of the cast are rubbish. Of the good portion of the cast, John Cho now has something to do but isn’t being given great material, Laura Benanti now has less to do and is getting less material, leaving Perry to get most of the good material and resultingly having to shoulder virtually the entire burden of the show, something that’s seeping into his performance.

Nevertheless, the show is just about treading the right side of the funny-unfunny/watchable-unwatchable line. I’m not recommending it, but I’m going to stick with it for a while, since there is some promise in it, and Perry, Cho and Benanti all deserve a successful TV show after all their previous flops. And given NBC’s ratings, I think it’s likely to get picked up for a full season very soon so it might actually have a chance to find its feet.

And lo and behold, look! Here’s The Carusometer’s replacement The Barrometer to pass verdict on it!

Barrometer rating: 3
Rob predicts: Will get a full season, maybe even 2



  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; 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. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.