Third-episode verdict: Son of Zorn (US: Fox)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 2

In the US: Sundays, 8.30/7.30c, Fox

As I said when I previewed the first episode of Son of Zorn, Fox’s live action/animation hybrid in which a cartoon He-Man/Conan the Barbarian type returns to California to help raise his now teenage son, it’s less about the format and more about the detail with Son of Zorn. Over its three episodes, it’s now demonstrated that it can be genuinely funny as both a parody of the likes of He-Man and fantasy in general as well as of modern manners and workplaces.

The show can excel, such as in its third-episode when Zorn declares war with a neighbouring office over one worker’s persistent theft of relishes from the communal fridge. That had consistently laugh out loud moments, such as Zorn disguising himself as ‘an old man’ to venture into the office or the ballard played over the end titles. Genuinely top comedy.

And not just from Zorn. Cheryl Hines as Zorn’s ex- got some great moments, too, as did Tim Meadows as her fiancé.

When Son of Zorn is working well, it can be funny both about fantasy and about real-life. But as we saw with episode two, that’s a delicate balance and hard to pull off. Zorn, after all, is a dick and an episode filled with him being a dick towards his son and women isn’t as enjoyable, which is what we got when he used his ‘Stone of Sight’ essentially to help his son stalk a woman.

Not without laughs for sure, but it’s clear that Son of Zorn works best as a show when it’s being downright silly and outlandish, rather than turning its acute observations too closely at its characters and their worst traits.

Those caveats aside, Son of Zorn has passed Mark Kermode’s Six Laugh Test with every episode with flying colours. While nerdy son is a bit of a waste of time, the rest of the cast, including Zorn (Jason Sudeikis in case you were wondering), are excellent and all get lots to do. As long as the writing holds up, this is going to be regular viewing for me and a quick add to the recommended list.

Barrometer rating: 2
Would it be better with a female lead? No
TMINE’s prediction: Has the potential to run for a good number of seasons


  • 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.

    View all posts