If you’ve ever asked yourself “What would it be like if He-Man relocated to Southern California and had an illegitimate son?,” then by golly, does Fox have the sitcom for you.
Son of Zorn, which got off to an early start on Sunday following the Giants/Cowboys game, is a semi-animated comedy about a swashbuckling warrior (voiced by Last Man on Earth‘s Jason Sudeikis) modeled after the Most Powerful Man in the Universe. After 10 years defending the faraway, fully animated island of Zephyria, Zorn moves back to Orange County to be closer to 17-year-old son Alangulon (Superstore‘s Johnny Pemberton) and ex-wife Edie (Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Cheryl Hines), who is now engaged to online college professor Craig (SNL‘s Tim Meadows).
Much of Zorn‘s humor is drawn from the central character’s inability to see past his barbaric, antiquated views on gender and masculinity. The pilot gets plenty of mileage out of this, from his refusal to accept that new boss Linda (Scandal‘s Artemis Pebdani) is a woman to thinking that Craig is less of a man for working from home. This also plagues his efforts to connect with Alangulon, who is already reluctant to build a relationship with his egomaniacal, deadbeat dad.
Zorn makes no effort to learn about his son’s likes and dislikes, taking him out for a day at the batting cages and a ribeye dinner despite the fact that he is both disinterested in sports and maintains a vegetarian diet. Zorn also manages to scare away a waitress crushing on Alangulon by revealing that he still takes the bus to school. He later attempts to apologize for the embarrassment by gifting him a deathhawk as an alternate mode of transportation, but Edie makes him get rid of it immediately. (R.I.P., bird!) It’s still enough of an effort, though, to convince Edie that her ex really wants to do right by their son, and she later tells Alangulon that his father is doing his best. At the end of their conversation, it is revealed that the teenager is more like his dad than we’ve been led to believe as the camera pans down and exposes that his legs are animated.
Son of Zorn is weird, you guys. Like, really weird. With that being said, the show is ultimately telling two stories we’ve all seen before: the age-old fish-out-of-water tale, and the story of a father completely out of his element. Whether or not these components can help ground the show for viewers weary of its semi-animated gimmick will be key to any potential longevity.
So here’s our question: Will you come back for Episode 2 (when the show officially debuts on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8:30/7:30c)? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review.