Pilot Preview: The Return of Robin Williams in CBS's Single-camera Comedy The Crazy Ones
Hey you! This isn't a review, it's a PREview. Huge difference. Most notably, the "P." Also, these PREviews are based on early cuts of pilots that might change drastically by the time they officially hit the air, so we can't properly review them. But we CAN give you an idea of what to expect. In this series of early looks at the new shows of fall 2013, there's no contemplating, no deep analysis; just super-duper quick thoughts on what we just watched that we're passing on to you. We'll revisit each previewed show in the fall with the hyper-intellectual breakdowns and fart jokes you're used to from us goons here at TV.com.
The Crazy Ones – Thursdays starting September 26 at 9pm on CBS
STARRING AND CREATED BY: Welcome to the Sarah Michelle Gellar's return to television! It's been over a year since Gellar last held a lead role in primetime. Oh, it's also the return of some guy named Robin Williams who hasn't been a television regular in 31 years. Meanwhile, Lone Star's James Wolk is giving the small screen another shot (won't someone help find the guy an established role already?), accompanied by Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine) and Amanda Setton (The Mindy Project) to round out the main cast. The Crazy Ones is a David E. Kelley's creations, making this the 1,045,837th show he's brought to television so far. However, I think this is his first half-hour comedy.
THE GIST: A father (Williams) and his daughter (Gellar) are partners at a big advertising firm. He's old and zany, she's driven and practical. Clash! Clash! Clash! But together they figure out a way to get the deal done and keep the clients happy.
SNAP JUDGMENT: Classic David E. Kelley, minus 22 to 24 minutes and lawyers or teachers. This time around, he's taking on the world of advertising, which kind of sucks the soul out of his previous works. I mean, at least the lawyers of Ally McBeal were often defending the little guy, and the teachers of Boston Public were dealing with the harsh reality of the public-school system. What irks me about The Crazy Ones is that the advertising industry, with its habit of bending over for corporations while chasing the all-mighty dollar, can be pretty disgusting (oh, here I go editorializing), but here it's portrayed as being full of mad creative geniuses who we're supposed to root for. Now, Kelley knows how to go after the heart, which gives this thing more weight than your typical sitcom, and Williams' more dramatic moments land well. But his tired, kooky goofball routine and the rest of the shlock are tough to sit through. Ultimately, people will probably like this. I'm just not one of them.
PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: The first episode does a dandy job showing us exactly what to expect from the series without botching the introduction of the main characters. There's no crazy concept to lay out; this is a show about people working in the ad industry. The Crazy Ones uses that to its advantage. It's almost as if this guy has written a lot of television before. The pilot gets a clean bill of health.
FACES TO LOOK OUT FOR: James Wolk's singing face. And not in a good way!
RANDOM THOUGHTS: There's a post-credits gag reel showing Williams and Wolk riffing on an improvised jingle and it's even worse than the first cut. Make it stop! Also, this is a SINGLE-CAMERA COMEDY ON CBS! What is going on with the world!? Also also, the opportunities for product placement on The Crazy Ones just write themselves.
EXCITEMENT LEVEL: I'm going to look at this from a general perspective and put it just over the hump on the 1 to 10 scale with a 6. But I will be watching exactly zero more episodes.
PILOT PREVIEW POWER RANKINGS:
(Where we rank the fall season's pilots based on very early impressions)
1. Almost Human - J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman's robotic buddy-cop drama
2. Intelligence - Josh Holloway stars as a Cyber Command agent who has Wi-Fi in his brain
3. Dracula - Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the fanged one in this re-imagining of the classic story of an undead guy chasing his old girlfriend
1. Trophy Wife - Malin Akerman marries into a big family and ends up with two ex-wives and three stepchildren in the process
2. The Crazy Ones - Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are a father-daughter team in the advertising business
3. Enlisted - Geoff Stults goes to army reject camp with his two brothers
4. About a Boy - Jason Katims' TV adaptation of the film adaption of Nick Hornby's novel about a man-boy friendship
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