Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Another Hour in Which I Could Have Been Reading a Book Reallocated
2007-01-03 22:28
by Jon Weisman

First of all, speaking as a happily married man, it has to be said that ABC could have done a lot worse than have back-to-back half-hours with Sofia Vergara and Kelly Hu.

With that out of the way ...

The Knights of Prosperity: Kooky, silly, completely unessential but cringeless, strangely charming and surprisingly clever in parts. I'm on board for another episode.

In Case of Emergency: Better than the reviews suggested, better than that other high-school reunion sitcom this year. Also completely unessential, but I was surprised to find I didn't hate it - especially when Jonathan Silverman kept reminding me of The Single Guy. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm gonna give it another shot as well. I really can't believe I'm saying this.

This level of tolerance is yet another reminder of how awful The Class is.

The quality of Friday Night Lights dominated Wednesday night television viewing, so it's fairly remarkable that these two shows could make any kind of positive impression. I think Knights and ICR had an appealing level of humility and enough of an ability not to insult my intelligence by pretending to be cleverer than they really were. They were, for the most part (Knights more so), sincere.

Update: I meant to add that given the upcoming season premiere of American Idol, neither of these shows has great long-term hope.

Having slept on things, I'm not predicting that ICR will hold me beyond episode two.

2007-01-03 23:57:25
1.   Greg Brock
I've always been kind of bummed that Donal Logue hasn't found the right movie/television show. He's a pretty funny guy and a good actor.

I hope that his new show works out for him.

2007-01-04 10:53:33
2.   Linkmeister
The local TV station whose news (can that possessive pronoun be used for a corporate entity?) I was watching last night was plumping for whichever show has Kelly Hu, mostly because she's a local girl.
2007-01-04 11:20:30
3.   Bob Timmermann
I enjoyed "Knights" but the second series was eliminated because of the presence of David Arquette.
2007-01-04 12:25:27
4.   Humma Kavula
I enjoyed The Tao of Steve.

That is all.

2007-01-04 13:49:16
5.   bhsportsguy
Howie rolls over two more sitcoms. Greed wins out again.
2007-01-04 15:18:43
6.   Sam DC
Feminist take on these two sitcomes.

2007-01-05 01:13:17
7.   CanuckDodger
A friend of mine called The Knights of Prosperity the worst half hour of television he has seen in his life, and while that may be over-kill, the show was pretty bad. In Case of Emergency was a tad better, but still wasn't good enough to make me bother watching another episode.

My trying out two new shows and not liking them isn't significant, or unusual, in itself, but this is a different scenario, and I think I can best sum up my feelings now by saying that I am disappointed I was disappointed. You see, I WANTED to like the two shows in question. I wanted to like them because they are continuations of a trend I want to see becoming a big success, and that is half-hour comedies being made on US network TV that are filmed single-camera style and don't have laugh tracks.

I think the first of the single-camera, laugh-track-free network comedies to come along in the 21st century was Malcolm In The Middle on Fox, and that did well enough to stick around for seven seasons. Then NBC got in the game with Scrubs, and that is in its 6th season now. A bit of a lull and then NBC came out with the Americanized version of The Office, followed by NBC's My Name Is Earl, and this season saw the birth of 30 Rock on NBC. Notice the common factor here: NBC. Of course it's all NBC, America's BEST network, even if it isn't the highest rated.

CBS is too backward and beholden to 60-year-olds to do anything cool like a replace the old sitcom format with an improved version, so I never expected them to join in, but ABC has really given it their best shot to keep up with NBC in this area. The problem is that while NBC does the job properly, ABC is proving itself completely incompetent to work with this new form of comedy. Scrubs, The Office, My Name Is Earl, and 30 Rock all have something in common beside the fact that they are on NBC and are shot single camera without a laugh track. They are funny. They are all very funny. Within the last calendar year, ABC has tried FIVE times to duplicate NBC's knack for making a non-traditional sitcom work: Sons & Daughters, Help Me Help You, Big Day, The Knights of Prosperity, and In Case Of Emergency. ABC gets an "A" for effort. They just keep falling on their faces. This shouldn't be brain surgery. It's getting painful watching ABC struggle with this, and of course very soon they are going to give up trying and they will go back to churning out the same old multi-camera, laugh track crap they no doubt feel more comfortable producing. But that will be bad for television in general. NBC cannot do everything by themselves.

2007-01-05 13:02:17
8.   MadMonk
I like Knights of Prosperity. It was funny and like John said, not taking itself too seriously or trying to be cool by adding twists. I especially enjoy Mick in it.

The second show, however, was not good despite the appearance of the lovely Kelly Hu. The rest of the cast, I didn't care for.

Didn't like 30 Rock and still don't like it after seeing about 10 minutes of it last week.

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