Alert! This is not a review. I repeat, this is not a review. Throw a "p" on that, please, 'cause this is a preview of the early version of a pilot, a pilot that will almost certainly undergo some form of change before it airs in its final form. Consider this a first impression of a work-in-progress.
STARRING: Matthew Perry (Mr. Sunshine, Friends), Laura Benanti (The Playboy Club, Eli Stone), John Cho (FlashForward, Harold of the Harold & Kumar franchise) Brett Gelman (Eagleheart, The Life & Times of Tim), Suzy Nakamura (10 Things I Hate About You), Julie White (Law & Order: SVU, Grace Under Fire), Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris).
THE GIST: Ryan (Perry) is a mouthy sports radio host whose life crashes into a wall after his wife suddenly dies. The mourning process isn't easy for him, and all he wants to do is get back on the job. But before that can happen, Ryan's producer (Cho) insists he go to therapy to work things out. Through his therapy sessions, Ryan meets a group of other eccentric grievers and a therapist (Benanti) who may need some help herself.
SNAP JUDGMENT: There's a lot of Community's early tone here, with Ryan serving as Jeff Winger: a man who thinks he's above everyone else and can't wait to get these mandated therapy sessions/college credits out of the way. However, there's an additional aspect to Go On, as Ryan has a second world (his workplace) and group of characters to explore. The early word was that the series, whose characters are dealing with various forms of grief, was going to be heavier than your average sitcom, and that's definitely the case with this pilot. Even though that weightiness is probably going to be the element that keeps people away (who wants to watch a sitcom that requires having Kleenex on hand?), the show's duality is its strong point and the sad moments instantly give the characters depth. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but you'll feel, and that's a tough and rare thing to pull off in a pilot, especially a comedy.
PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: Go On gets to the series' point pretty quickly without a lot of unnecessary exposition, and thankfully takes things slow with the show's characters for a more organic approach to character building. There's some hit-you-over-the-head stuff, but nothing egregious. It's a good, clean, solid pilot script.
FACE(S) TO LOOK OUT FOR: Brett Gelman as the resident weirdo in Ryan's theraphy group. The Eagleheart star is a taller, balder Zach Galifianakis and it's about time the world gets to know him because he's damn funny. Also: sports cameos!
RANDOM THOUGHT(S): NBC scheduling executive: "Hey we've got this show about people dealing with the sudden deaths of loved ones. When should we debut it? How about September 11!?"
EXCITEMENT LEVEL: High! Like, 8 on a scale of 1 of 10. Go On could be seriously good!
Go On will debut early with a special post-Olympics sneak preview on August 8 before settling into its normal Tuesday-night time slot at 9pm on September 11.