Mini-review: Surviving Jack 1×1 (Fox)

Major Dad for the 21st century. Although set in 1991

Surviving Jack

In the US: Thursdays, 9.30/8.30c, Fox

Forget 60s nostalgia. Forget 70s nostalgia. Forget even 80s nostalgia. Apparently, 1991 nostalgia is where it’s at.

Based on Justin Halpern’s autobiography, I Suck At Girls, Surviving Jack sees a 1991 family getting to grips with changing parenting roles when mom (Rachael Harris) goes to law school, forcing the ex-military doctor father (Christopher Meloni) to have to deal with being more nurturing with his two kids (Connor Buckley, Claudia Lee).

Strangely, Surviving Jack’s 1991 is pretty identical to 2014, the only difference being a lack of Internet, apparently, so I’m not quite sure what the nostalgia is for. But if you ignore that supposed hook, the show’s actually surprisingly good. While a lot of the first episode revolves around Buckley’s trying to deal with the fact that girls now seem to like him but he has no idea what to do about that, it’s quite a nuanced piece. Harris is as reliable as always but Meloni does surprisingly well as a slightly more sensitive Major Dad (see? That’s the kind of 1991 nostalgia we should be getting). It’s all a very male-centric piece, but for once, the men aren’t total dicks, and there’s plenty of laughs in the show.

Definitely one to try.

Author

  • 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.