CBS renews: All Rise, Bob ♥ Abishola, Blue Bloods, Bull, FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, MacGyver, Magnum P.I., NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, The Neighborhood, SEAL Team, S.W.A.T. and The Unicorn…
Every Friday, TMINE lets you know when the latest TV shows from around the world will air in the UK
Another week of zero acquisitions, but a bunch of new premiere dates at least:
The Twilight Zone (US: CBS All Access; UK: Syfy)
Run (US: HBO; UK: Sky Comedy)
The Gulf (New Zealand: TV3; UK: Alibi)
Man With A Plan (US: CBS; UK: E4)
Oops, I missed it
Hånd i Hånd (Couple Trouble) (Denmark: TV3; UK: Sundance Now)
Anders and Lise are married, in their 30s, love each other and have a wonderful daughter. They’ve been together for seven years now and the struggles of everyday life have started to affect them so much they end up on the verge of divorce. Anders and Lise aren’t prepared to give up on each other though and together start seeing a counsellor.
NBC green lights: series of newly widowed dad comedy The Kenan Show, with Kenan Thompson and Andy Garcia…
…Jeffery Deaver’s Bone Collector adaptation Lincoln, with Russell Hornsby and Arielle Kebbel; church choir comedy Perfect Harmony, with Bradley Whitford, Anna Camp, Tymberlee Hill et al; and live-in grandparents comedy Indebted, with Adam Pally, Abby Elliott, Steven Weber and Fran Drescher
See that? As you’re probably a trained scientist, you probably know that’s a chart of the evolution of US TV sitcom man. Unfortunately, TV time is non-linear, so despite the fact we’re normally constantly evolving, lots of US sitcoms see men devolving into lower forms of life. Sometimes within a single show or even episode of a show.
Now, CBS TV sitcom man usually sits fourth on the chart. He has a stick for doing manual work, you’ll notice, but the ability to articulate complicated ideas and to avoid defecating in his own pants, assuming he’s wearing any, is still a good few years of natural selection away.
Of course, sometimes we see even lower forms of life, such as Kevin James in Kevin Can Wait, who would be that bloke with the knife in the middle were it not that carrying it’s a bit too much like hard work.
But for all of five minutes in Man With A Plan, Matt Leblanc’s new sitcom in which he takes over the childcare when his wife (Liza Snyder) returns to work after 13 years looking after the kids, it seemed like we’d spotted a fully evolved CBS TV sitcom man – number five on the chart. He seemed smart, he seemed willing to understand complex ideas and make intelligent life choices, he accepted his wife as an equal, he organised parties. He was almost a credit to his sex.
Unfortunately, rapid devolution soon occurred. Despite the fact that any sane parent – even a father! – knows that kids take a certain amount of maintenance, we’re back at the rudimentary tools stage for Leblanc as he’s demanding after just a day that his wife give up her job and that they resume their former roles. That makes sense, doesn’t it, men? You’d just quit, rather than ask your wife for some hints, while potentially wondering why you didn’t communicate better with your wife and get her parenting schedule off her before you took over, wouldn’t you?
By the end of the episode, of course, Leblanc has been outsmarted by his wife, knows he’s been outsmarted by his wife, but since he doesn’t have a fully formed cerebral cortex, can’t quite work out how. Still, at least he’s still smarter than his kids, whom he can just tranquillise by giving an iPad. Roll on Idiocracy, hey?
Compared to Kevin Can Wait and other less evolved sitcoms, Man With A Plan isn’t hugely toxic. Leblanc is amiable enough and can do most of this in his sleep, as you can tell from his recent sleep-walking performances on Top Gear. Snyder, who replaced The Office‘s Jenna Fischer after the pilot episode, dips into US TV sitcom woman’s never-ending jar of ‘long suffering’ to act as a foil to Leblanc’s ineptitude and occasional descents into neanderthalism. The kids could have been copied and pasted from any other family sitcom. There’s a little bit of interest at the kids school, with some parents and a teacher that aren’t totally cookie cutter. There’s even occasionally interesting lines, most of which are in the trailer below.
But given this is the pilot so they’re going to be hitting us with their best stuff, I’d firmly recommend not watching any of Man With A Plan, if only because I very much doubt they have a plan.
Here’s that trailer I just mentioned – it still has Jenna Fischer in it, but everything’s otherwise the same.