Oh the Things We Have Seen: First Impressions of ABC's Apartment 23
Just after fall schedules are determined at networks' upfront presentations in late May, major networks send the pilots of their new programs to the media. These previews are not for in-depth review, because many pilots are retooled, recast, and reshot before they officially debut, and the final product might be much different. But that doesn't mean we can't share some basic ideas of what to expect!
The Show: Apartment 23 on ABC; the series is still searching for a home on the network's schedule. In the UK it's already been acquired by freeview channel E4.
ABC's official logline: "After a naïve Midwestern girl's big city dreams are dashed her first week in New York, she finds herself living with her worst nightmare in this hilarious, contemporary comedy about a female odd couple who are surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters."
Early Intel: The series was originally set up at Fox with the much better name of Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23. But then ABC took over and sanitized/shortened the show's title to plain 'ol Apartment 23. Executive producer and creator Nahnatchka Khan previously worked on American Dad!.
First Thoughts: Apartment 23 is simultaneously goofy and edgy, assaulting viewers with a flurry of sophomoric sight gags, bizarre cutaways, and pop-culture jokes. Khan's past work with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is pretty obvious.
What the series has going for it: The comedy has its own appetizing look and feel, and no one is going to complain about it being slow. It also takes full advantage of the single-camera format, hopping from location to location like a hobo on speed. Van Der Beek plays a pretty funny-and-depressing version of himself, and Walker is fine as country girl June who moves into the urban jungle. But the real star here is Ritter, who plays the devilish Chloe with a refreshing cloud of convincing bitchiness. Look out for Eric Andre as the understated Mark; he's great. And in case you were wondering, the show itself can be funny, too.
Room for Improvement: It's hard to tell where the series will go from here here; its raunchy-comedy-movie-plot pilot could easily grow into a show full of the obvious sitcom tropes we're used to. Plus, the budding friendship between Chloe and June is a bit hard to swallow, and the pilot relied too heavily on silly cutaways.
The Coolest Part of the Early Version: Actually, the early version looked pretty polished. I wouldn't be surprised if the version I saw is the one that goes to air.
Last Word: Given the absolute wasteland of quality comedy pilots this season, this one rises near the top by default. At least it has eyeball-magnet Krysten Ritter!
Here's ABC's official trailer for the series:
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom
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