No Ordinary Heroes (ABC) Think Heroes if the show were to compress all of the disparate storylines from Heroes into one family. There are also two sidekicks who make the show better with every minute of screen time they get. Romany Malco plays an impassioned district attorney and good friend of the dad (Michael Chilkis) and the other (Autumn Reeser) is an adorably nervous (and easy on the eyes) lab assistant of the mom and she brings an overeagerness to live out her comic book fantasies through her. The show can get a little corny, but it has impressive special effects and an arc that’s just now starting to considerably deepen.
#@$*( My Dad Says (CBS):
The Hook: This show comes from a unique source in the form of a guy on Twitter who started blogging funny things his old-fashioned dad was saying. That doesn’t necessarily mean the show will be good, but it gets my attention because if the show is created by an outsider, I’ll probably get a fresh perspective. Also, it is a perspective that is pretty relatable: Most of us have at least one elderly relative who casually says things in the privacy of their own home that would get us in a lot of trouble if those words came out of our mouths.
How it delivers: William Shatner, who can be easily pigeonholed in our heads as that caricature of his Captain Kirk character he’s been doing for years, is delightfully fresh here. Thanks to the writing, his character is a relatively unique comic creation. The show has heart as well. When the father and son are dancing at the end of the pilot, it’s an earned moment. The best indication, however, that I wanted to see more is simply that the show made me laugh. Numerous times.
The Hook: Outsourcing is interesting. An article on what life is like for an American middle manager transplanted to India would be intriguing so a TV show set in that world would naturally be intriguing as well. It’s not just because I was a geography major in college but because it’s relevant and has affected people I know.
How it delivers: Outsourcing has a natural go-to place for its humor in the form of culture clash jokes and the writing seems competent enough that they know how to mine it. Culture clash humor is going to rely more on the relationships between the characters than the “Hey, you guys are wearing funny hats” type of observational shtick. In that category, potential is developing in the network of relationships that’s being established. The protagonist has an American colleague (Diedrich Baker) who’s kind of boorish, a passive-aggressive assistant manager and a team of subordinates with whom he’s having several awkward Michael-Scott-like moments. There’s also an flirty Australian love interest but she’s been kept in the background so far.
Running Wilde (Fox)
The Hook: Creator Mitch Hurwitz practically reinvented comedy with Arrested Development and Will Arnett and David Cross both excelled under his tutelage. The premise of a rich man who is absurdly out of touch with reality being brought down to Earth by the only woman he’s ever had any contact with is certainly unique. On top of that, add in the two obstacles that she’s: 1) Already engaged to someone and 2) Is voluntarily on the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum than him
How the show delivers: The pilot was sluggish but by just the second episode we saw the kind of intricately absurd plotting that made Arrested Development so great. We also saw the complexities of the love triangle once David Cross entered the picture. Also, this show has the same chemistry between Cross and Arnett with a much better framework that pits the two against each other in a way that Arrested Development never did: Cross’s character was an asexual outsider without any business accumen, so he never competed with Arnett’s the way Arnett and Bateman would compete over girls and status.