The Olympics will be over soon (they have to end at some point, right?) which means another influx of new midseason shows is right around the corner. And NBC's new comedy About a Boy is one of them! Will it be the series that saves the ailing network? Will it be a total flop? That's what we're here to tell you this latest round of Hey, TV.com, What's This Deal With This Television Program?
About a Boy, so this show is about... a boy?
Hah! Yes. For those who haven't read Nick Hornby's 1998 novel of the same name or seen the subsequent movie starring Hugh Grant, About a Boy centers on Will, an emotionally stunted man who wrote one famous song and is now living on the revenue from it while pretending he's a functioning adult. He's your typical immature, lazy horndog who only cares about getting laid and having fun. But everything changes when a kid named Marcus and his high-strung single mother Fiona move in next door. Will eventually—albeit begrudgingly—builds a friendship with Marcus, and both characters begin to grow as a result.
Who's the boy in About a Boy?
That depends on which male character you think the show title is referring to! David Walton (the short-lived Bent; Dr. Sam on New Girl) stars as Will, the man-boy. Benjamin Stockham (1600 Penn) stars as Marcus, the literal boy. And Minnie Driver (The Riches) stars as Fiona, Marcus's mother. Al Madrigal (The Daily Show With Jon Stewart) plays Will's BFF Andy, and Leslie Bibb (Burning Love) makes an appearance in the pilot as Dakota, a potential love interest for will. About a Boy was adapted for television by Jason Katims, the man behind Friday Night Lights, Parenthood.
When does About a Boy premiere?
About a Boy premieres on Saturday, February 22 at 11pm, as a "special preview" after that night's Olympics coverage. It'll move to its regular Tuesdays-at-9pm time slot on February 25, where it'll face competition from The Goldbergs on ABC, NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS, New Girl on Fox, and Supernatural on The CW. But when it debuts on Saturday, it'll be up against playing darts with drunk frats bros at the local dive bar and Googling the distance to the nearest Taco Bell.
Who might enjoy About a Boy?
The series focuses heavily on Will's immaturity and irresponsible tendencies; anyone who isn't yet tired of the ol' "grown man finally grows up after being taught an important life lesson" plot will certainly find About a Boy enjoyable. Fans of Jason Katims' past work might not recognize his handiwork at first, but About a Boy does seem to be intent on finding the right mix of humor and heart, which adds potential.
What's to like about About a Boy?
In addition to being helmed by a strong showrunner, About a Boy has a very solid cast. If you missed David Walton on Bent or as Dr. Sam on New Girl, he's a very funny guy, and it's nice to see him in a starring role. He's able to slip into Will's douchey—but ultimately charming—shoes and sell the character's emotional immaturity, while Minnie Driver brings a confident presence to Fiona. But the real standout here is Benjamin Stockham as Marcus. Kid actors/characters can be the worst, but Stockham is actually really great. He's believable when he's laying the smackdown on Will for the latest irresponsible thing Will's done, but he's also believable as the impressionable young child who just wants to be friends with his cool neighbor.
And what maybe isn't so great about About a Boy?
The series certainly isn't breaking new ground, and I'm not just saying that because it's an adaptation of a book that's already been adapted into a movie. About a Boy's plot is 100 percent predictable. Each week, Will learns a lesson about being a functional adult after screwing something up with Marcus, and while that'll be all well and good in the first few episodes as the series tries to find its voice and grows its audience, it's a format that risks getting stale very quickly.
Gimme a final verdict: Should I watch it?
Yes. Despite being rather predictable at the outset, the show is funny and full of potential. Plus, I trust the creative team.
Can I see a trailer anyway?
About a Boy premieres Saturday, February 22 at 11pm after the Olympics on NBC.