It's almost late May, so you know what that means: time to debut a new short-run sitcom! Wait, what? Yep, Fox is about to debut The Goodwin Games, a show that the network ordered to series over a year ago. The series has already traveled a rocky road, getting pushed back and back and back and having its episode order cut from 13 to 7 before it was even a glimmer in the schedule. But it's finally here, and I've seen the pilot episode (you can, too). So should you watch it? That's what we're all here to find out in another edition of "We tell you if it's good or not!"
The Goodwin Games? Is that like the Pan-Am Games?
No! It's a television show, or more specifically, a sitcom about three siblings (played by Scott Foley, Becki Newton, and T.J. Miller) fighting for their father's inheritance of $23 million. But since their dad is a goofy lunatic, he has his kids compete for his cash through a series of games, like a customized version of Trivial Pursuit about their lives. Sitcom as all heck!
Who's behind the show?
How I Met Your Mother's Carter Bays and Craig Thomas created the series with Chris Harris.
When are the opening ceremonies for The Goodwin Games?
The family fun starts Monday, May 20 at 8:30pm. The show only has a seven-episode order, and the late start is not a good sign. But if everyone in the world watches it, The Goodwin Games could get a second season, said the optimist.
Who's going to like The Goodwin Games?
Probably people who have fought their siblings for their parents' inheritance. Other than those people, it's a lighthearted, breezy sitcom with a crazy premise that doesn't target a single audience, and that may be why Fox is dumping it late. Not that that should prevent you from watching it; it just doesn't have the same family feeling of family sitcoms because it's limited to siblings competing against each other, it isn't a workplace comedy, and it isn't a rom-com. If anything, it shares DNA with the recently deceased Ben & Kate, detailing a quirky relationship between brothers and sisters, and every once in a while there's a Wes Anderson vibe, specifically The Royal Tenenbaums.
What works for The Goodwin Games?
It's unique on the surface, which is fresh and exciting... for a bit, at least. Beau Bridges is pretty good as the eccentric father, who appears in a series of videos and comes off as a combo of, like, if someone put Colonel Sanders and Willy Wonka in a Hadron Collider and smashed them together. And there's some "aww shucks" heart to it as the squabbling siblings realize that they're better together, obviously.
What doesn't work for The Goodwin Games?
Hmmm, how can I say this in a nice way... it's just sort of there. And even by the end of the pilot, you don't have a real idea of where the series is going or what to expect from it each week. Not all the humor lands, and the zaniness of the entire situation (weird game tie-ins, kooky family stories, and T.J. Miller's absurd character) are going to be a matter of taste. All this adds up to a very mediocre sitcom.
Well, should I watch it or not?
Given its chances for renewal (which are nil to super-nil) and its very average quality, you're better off spending the half-hour catching up on a book or telling your dog you love him. But if you're really bored or a huge Becki Newton fan (which I wouldn't blame you for), then go ahead and check it out.
Can I see a trailer?
You can actually watch the whole pilot right now, but here's a more digestible trailer anyway:
What's a good drink to sip have while watching The Goodwin Games?
Sheesh, just about anything really. There's a mention of a Bordeaux-and-lemonade mix in the pilot, so add your favorite wine to your favorite juice and get slurred.
The Goodwin Games premieres Monday, May 20 at 8:30pm on Fox.