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.
STARRING AND CREATED BY: This was NBC's budget-cutting comedy—there aren't any big stars on the roster—but you'll know Mike O'Malley from Glee and stand-up comedy (and depending on your age, Nickelodeon GUTS), and Mary McCormack from In Plain Sight and The West Wing. The cast also includes Ella Rae Peck, Joey Haro, Ricardo Chavira, and Justina Machado. Mike Sikowitz of Rules of Engagement infamy created the program, and sitcom veteran Jamie Tarses will executive-produce.
THE GIST: It's high-school graduation and Caucasian Molly barely got her diploma, while Latino Junior is headed to Stanford; he's the school's valedictorian. But when it comes out that Junior got Molly pregnant, RUH-ROH! Molly's parents and Junior's parents—and by the way, the dads just plain don't like each other—find their families smashed together, along with conflicting parenting styles and cultures. Yup, another one of those.
SNAP JUDGMENT: When NBC embarked on its "broad comedy" initiative and started moving away from more intelligent fare like Community and The Office, Welcome to the Family was exactly what the network had in mind. Full of dialogue that isn't very funny and bland characters with no discernible voice, this sitcom is so light on charm that you'll barely know it's there. It is not a fun watch. But it's not offensively bad like the season's worst new comedies, it doesn't try to take the easy route and by simply focusing on white people versus brown people... at least in the pilot; I'm sure that will be huge moving forward. Instead, it portrays Latinos in the same light as white people. with the same problems, and the thing that really separates the families is that the two dads hate each other, race be damned. However, none of that makes up for the show's complete lack of creativity or wit, and it comes off as a multi-camera sitcom that was turned into a single-camera comedy. This is as plain as vanilla flan.
PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: This is a very forward-moving pilot; backstory isn't a concern and exposition is practically absent. But you'll still know it's a pilot because it moves from "I'm pregnant" to "We're getting married" in no time, skipping any actual discussion of the reality of the situation in favor of shoving the premise in your face.
FACES TO LOOK OUT FOR: It's hard for anyone to give a great performance with the talent-draining writing they're chained to. So the only face to watch is yours, in a mirror, while you're watching this.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Who texts the father of their child that they're pregnant during the middle of the father's valedictorian speech? Sitcom people, that's who.
EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Not very high at all. Let's call it a 3 out of 10.
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. The 100 - Teens have fun (and die) on post-apocalyptic Earth while the adults fight each other in a big tin can orbiting the planet
3. Intelligence - Josh Holloway stars as a Cyber Command agent who has Wi-Fi in his brain
4. Sleepy Hollow - Ichabod Crane zaps to the future to help a detective stop the Headless Horseman
5. The Tomorrow People - Young people, including Stephen Amell's cousin, get superpowers.
6. The Blacklist - James Spader is a master criminal who turns himself in to the FBI on one condition: He only works with the pretty new FBI agent
7. Hostages - Toni Collette is a doctor whose family is taken hostage and will be killed by Dylan McDermott's character unless she kills the president in surgery
8. Dracula - Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the fanged one in this re-imagining of the classic story of an undead guy chasing his old girlfriend
9. Lucky 7 - A group of gas-station employees win the lottery, for better or worse
1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andy Samberg and a bunch of buffoons are cops in Brooklyn
2. The Michael J. Fox Show - MJF returns to TV as a man with Parkinson's who goes back to work, much to the delight of his family
3. Back in the Game - Maggie Lawson returns home and winds up coaching her son's Little League team while her drunk dad heckles her
4. Trophy Wife - Malin Akerman marries into a big family and ends up with two ex-wives and three stepchildren in the process
5. The Crazy Ones - Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are a father-daughter team in the advertising business
6. Mom - Anna Faris and Allison Janney play a mother and daughter with life problems
7. Enlisted - Geoff Stults goes to army reject camp with his two brothers
8. About a Boy - Jason Katims' TV adaptation of the film adaption of Nick Hornby's novel about a man-boy friendship
9. Welcome to the Family - A White family and a Latino family are forged together when their teen kids decide to get married after a pregnancy
10. Super Fun Night - Rebel Wilson and her loser friends hit the social scene
AIRED ON 11/21/2013
Season 1 : Episode 8