TV Review: NBC Comedy Power Hour - stay Up All Night, trade these Free Agents

TV Review: NBC Comedy Power Hour - stay Up All Night, trade these Free Agents

NBC's bid at extending its comedic dominance from Thursday to Wednesday nights went 1 for 2 tonight with the premieres of Up All Night and Free Agents.  Here are the highlights:

UP ALL NIGHT

Format: single camera sitcom

Premise: new mom Christina Applegate goes back to work for her high maintenance talk show boss (Maya Rudolph), while dad Will Arnett plays Mr. Mom.

Behind the Scenes: SNL's Lorne Michaels is an executive producer, and SNL writer Emily Spivey created the show.

The Good: the pilot had a handful of laugh-out-loud moments.  It strikes just the right tone - mixing the absurd with humor grounded in reality.  The three leads are a sitcom dream team.  Nice to see Arnett rebound from last year's disastrous Running Wilde.  Has some edge to it (parents staying out till 4am doing karaoke - hey, I can relate) - helps wash down all the cliche parenting jokes.

The Bad: the collision of Applegate's work and home lives doesn't really mesh yet - why is Rudolph hanging around so much?  Will take some finesse to make the concept work so that Rudolph isn't always the third wheel.  Didn't overdo it in the pilot but needs to keep baby jokes to a minimum (babies squirm when you want to change them - ha!).  Bleeped out profanity is funnier when we can make out what the characters are actually saying (see, e.g., Arrested Development).

Will it Last?:  I think it'll get picked up for a full season.  May not last on Wednesdays though.  I can see NBC cancelling Whitney in November and moving this one over to Thursdays.

Add a Season Pass?:  Yes.  Given the cast and the comedic tone, this one should find its footing by year's end and be one of those sitcoms you look forward to watching each week.

 

FREE AGENTS

Format: single camera sitcom

Premise: work colleagues (Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn), each equipped with their own heavy personal baggage, fall in and out of bed together.

Behind the Scenes: John Enbom (Party Down) is an executive producer.

The Good: Azaria and Hahn are likeable and deserving of starring roles.  Has a nice trump card in the central romance - may get people to watch to see how it develops.  Nice use of ABBA's "Fernando."

The Bad: this is a sitcom, right?  Where are the laughs?  None to be found in the pilot.  The supporting cast, other than the always reliable Joe Lo Truglio (as building security guard), is annoying.  The two main culprits are preppy douche (Mo Mendel) and bitchy executive assistant (Natasha Leggero).  Can we recast those roles already?

Will It Last?:  Not likely.  Don't get too invested in that romance, folks.  This one won't make it to January.

Add a Season Pass?:  Nope.  No disrespect to Mr. Azaria and Ms. Hahn - please try again.

Filed under: Reviews, TV

Tags: Free Agents, NBC, reviews, TV, Up All Night

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