The broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a futuristic tale from the Fringe team and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.
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THE SHOW | ABC’s Super Fun Night (Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c)
THE COMPETITION | CBS’ Criminal Minds, Fox’s The X Factor, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and The CW’s The Tomorrow People
THE CAST | Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect), Liza Lapira (Don’t Trust the B—-in Apt. 23), Lauren Ash (Scare Tactics), Kelen Coleman (The Newsroom) and Kevin Bishop (The Kevin Bishop Show)
THE SET-UP | This single-camera comedy stars Wilson (sans Aussie accent), Lapira and Ash as Kimmie, Helen-Alice and Marika, longtime besties who have a tradition of making every Friday night a “super fun night.” Their sad weekly mantra, “Always together, always inside,” is threatened in the pilot when Kimmie’s job promotion scores her an invite to a trendy club populated by beautiful, less loser-y people. Bishop plays Kimmie’s law firm crush Richard, a British bigwig who likes “a bit of chunk” on his ladies, while Coleman is her boss/rival for Richard’s attentions.
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THE FIRST IMPRESSION | I typically don’t give comedy pilots a second viewing — I trust my noggin to retain 22 minutes’ worth of data — but I had to be sure I wasn’t “missing” something here. And… I wasn’t. This is TV’s second stab at making Super Fun Night happen (CBS last year tried/failed with a multi-camera version), and it lands wide of the mark. Most simply said, Happy Endings (and alllll the Modern Family lead-outs that came before/after it) has been replaced with a live-action cartoon, a series with three lead characters that are so off the wall they are not to be believed, let alone rooted for. (Marika uses a tennis racquet bag as a purse, for heaven’s sake, and every line out of her mouth hints at family incest and/or bi-curiosity.) Wilson’s fleeting scenes with Bishop have an undeniable sweetness, but the over-the-top awkward antics surrounding them impede any potential. Maybe a bit more tinkering, ASAP, can give Wilson the TV vehicle that best delivers on her potential.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | As much as ABC’s other new Wednesday comedy, Maggie Lawson’s Back in the Game, is a perfect hammock for the Hecks and the Dunphys, it’d be hard to find a Modern Family/Nashville bridge less apt than Super Fun Night. Best case scenario, ABC promptly swaps its time slot with the superior Back in the Game, trusting that Modern Family is (relatively) lead-in-proof.