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Tag: TV React (1-10 of 25)

'Cristela' premiere react: Pretty funny in two languages

The non-CBS laugh-tracked multi-cam sitcom might not be having the comeback many had hoped for (sorry, Mulaney), but tonight’s premiere of ABC’s Cristela is certainly a good argument for the format.

At its core, the series is traditional family comedy, set in a Cowboys-loving Texas household. The Hispanic family is made up of the three generations, trading quips in English and, occasionally, in Spanish. Luckily, it’s pretty funny in both languages. The show’s star quip-trader is Cristela, played by the talented comic Cristela Alonzo. She’s magnetic, and a lot of the show’s charms come directly from her strengths as a performer. READ FULL STORY

'Manzo'd with Children' premiere react: Caroline and her Jersey gang return to TV

Caroline Manzo left The Real Housewives of New Jersey after five seasons of extended family drama, backstabs, and betrayal. So naturally, the next logical move would be her own Bravo spin-off—aptly and cleverly titled Manzo’d with Children.

The format of the docuseries conveniently has the makings of a classic network sitcom. With three kids in their mid-20s, Caroline and husband Al don’t suffer from empty nest because sons Albie and Chris have moved back home to save money for their growing black water empire BLK and daughter Lauren has taken the traditional route of staying under her parent’s roof until she gets married to longtime boyfriend Vito… next summer. Sister-in-law Jacqueline appears as the wise-cracking neighbor brought in for added color commentary and laugh-track-ready one liners. READ FULL STORY

'Mulaney' premiere react: A pilot with potential

Former Saturday Night Live writer John Mulaney’s maiden voyage into the sitcom world took quite a beating even before Sunday night’s premiere. The idea was sound: Mulaney’s stand-up demeanor reminds more than a few observers of Jerry Seinfeld (who had a big TV show once upon a time), and Mulaney himself has often referenced how influenced and inspired he was by The Cosby Show. The comic was also one of the brains behind Bill Hader’s character Stefon, one of the best recurring characters in SNL‘s history.

Why wouldn’t NBC assume that Mulaney would be a slam dunk? But then the show actually got made, and suddenly panic set in. The pilot was not to NBC’s liking, and even after some re-tooling, the network passed on it. The first episode was completely re-done, and that version of the kickoff is what aired on Fox, the network that rescued the show from developmental purgatory. READ FULL STORY

'On the Menu' premiere react: A new recipe for a staling genre

There are a couple of ingredients you need to make any good cooking competition show on TV. But it seems if you aren’t a part of the Food Network or named Gordon Ramsay or Tom Colicchio, you may struggle to find them in your pantry.

The first is a twist that makes you different from the rest, and On the Menu, TNT’s first foray into the food world, has got a pretty good one. Each episode, four home cooks battle out in three rounds of competition for a $25,000 prize, but their dish is immediately featured on the menu of some of the country’s biggest chain restaurants. The day after their episode airs, the chef’s winning dish will be available for viewers to actually taste. Though it claims to be the first show to let the audience interact this way, that’s not really true. NBC unsuccessfully tried a similar idea with America’s Next Great Restaurant, but the three start-up locations for the winning idea closed within two months of opening. TNT is smart to align itself with some big names in the food industry like Chili’s, Denny’s and Outback Steakhouse to legitimize the entire show and end results.

The second ingredient is a great host who knows what they are talking about. Ty Pennington has left the home makeovers to focus solely on the kitchen and though he does a serviceable job, he definitely has a love-him-or-hate-him type of personality. Luckily, TNT has also racked up legendary Chef Emeril Lagasse to serve as a mentor-like figure for the home cooks. Not only did Lagasse arguably help create the idea of the celebrity chef (without which a show like this would never really exists) but one of his own restaurants is one of the 10 taking on a new menu item.

The problem is, the premise is a lot more promising than the show itself. If you squint your eyes just enough, it’ll look like you’re just watching another episode of Chopped or Cutthroat Kitchen on the Food Network. The three rounds begin with the cooks being challenged to recreate a famous item already on the menu for that week’s respective restaurant executives. In the Chili’s premiere, it was guacamole. Restaurant executives choose which three move on to the next round, where they each get their first chance to make their personal menu item within some sort of small guideline (they are tasked with making a burger for Chili’s). Another unique angle On the Menu has against some of the other cooking shows is how the next round is judged, bringing in everyday patrons and customers to taste and pick their favorite dish. You still get a lot of the forced “I’m on TV so it must be good” answers and reactions, but additional hidden cameras add both a comedic and informative level of observation for the executives, who don’t actually get to eat the item just yet. They have to wait to the third round, where the final two cooks take the customer’s comments and refine their dish before one final taste.

On the Menu adds some unique flavor to the food competition genre of reality TV with a prize that really can’t be won anywhere else. Will it entice you enough to actually get off your couch and into one of these restaurants to taste the winning dish? Probably not. I’m not sure how anyone will even be able to find the wining dish from The Cheesecake Factory episode in that massive encyclopedia of a menu. But the show freshens up an otherwise staling genre of TV, and for foodies and others who naturally like to eat with their eyes, On the Menu is definitely one to put on the DVR at least.

'A to Z' premiere react: Feldman, Milioti elevate lackluster love story

A to Z lays out its hand in the opening minutes of the pilot. Narrator Katey Sagal explains that lead characters Andrew and Zelda “will date for 8 months, 3 weeks, 5 days, and 1 hour. This television program is the comprehensive account of their relationship, from A to Z.” The show has an endgame in mind from the start and seems overly aware of its existence as a romantic comedy—those frequent (500) Days of Summer comparisons in recent months are more than apt.

While the show can’t quite live up to its predecessors in the initial outing, the first episode, “A is for Acquaintances,” is an incredible example of how the chemistry between two leads can carry a show that stumbles more often than not.

READ FULL STORY

'Bad Judge' premiere react: Pilot lives up to its name in quality, not in spirit

The pilot to Bad Judge feels off. That’s not unexpected for a show that’s already had two showrunners, a heavily revised first episode, and major cast alterations before the pilot has even premiered. Out of all of the behind-the-scenes calamity, though, comes a pilot that looks more like Frankenstein’s Monster than a half-hour comedy. It’s an episode that stitches together parts of completely different concepts in the hopes of making something cohesive, but instead delivers an episode nothing short of erratic.

In the patchwork of a pilot, Bad Judge is missing just about every key ingredient—coherent plotting, concrete characterization, and, most importantly, actual jokes.

READ FULL STORY

'Manhattan Love Story' premiere react: Rom-com pilot offers little to love

The opening act of a TV show needs to grab the audience, give them a reason to stay after the opening credits roll. Even more so with a pilot, the first scene can set the tone for the entire show—and help a viewer decide whether a show is right or wrong.

Manhattan Love Story’s first scene is disappointing—on the verge of offensive—as it introduces two leads who will likely fall in love, and who the show hopes viewers will fall in love with, too. The problem is from minute one, the familiar Love Story makes it a chore to feel anything but disgust or pity for the two leads.

READ FULL STORY

'Selfie' premiere react: It's not just Eliza who needs help

You’ve seen the basic story of Selfie before—it’s the modern-day My Fair Lady. Karen Gillan plays an updated, self-absorbed, Instagram-obsessed Eliza while John Cho serves as the titular Henry. Along with Selfie, fall’s TV lineup has seen a surge in the rom-com sitcom, including NBC’s A to Z and ABC’s other romantic endeavor, Manhattan Love Story. It would seem love is in the air… just not about Selfie. EW’s Esther Zuckerman and Kat Ward discuss whether the show can be saved from itself. READ FULL STORY

'The Simpsons'/'Family Guy' crossover is one of the most fascinatingly weird things to ever happen to television

The first thing to remember when you watch the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover is that it is an episode of Family Guy. This is when you groan, because Family Guy is an unoriginal rip-off of The Simpsons that retells tired old gags with an ironic approach. Or maybe you cheer, because you’re over The Simpsons: It hasn’t even been good in 13 years. Those aren’t my opinions. Those are the implicit opinions of the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover–or at least, those explicit self-mocking assertions are how “The Simpsons Guy” portrays every possible critique you could have about the two shows. “It’s just a lousy rip-off!” screams Homer Simpson. “I think I speak for all of us when I say I am over the Simpsons!” screams Peter Griffin back at him. READ FULL STORY

'Chicago PD' season 2 premiere react: The evolution of Hank Voight

[This post contains plot details from the Chicago PD season 2 premiere, which aired on Sept. 24]

The Intelligence Unit of the Chicago PD is run by Hank Voight, a man who was originally introduced as a criminal who had very little respect for doing things by the book. And considering his past with Chicago Fire‘s lovable Lieutenant Casey, it was difficult to see a day when fans could stand behind Voight. In fact, the entirety of Chicago PD‘s first season was about how far one man would go to put the right people behind bars, and how far he would go if he were betrayed. And when season 1 ended with the questionable death of Chicago PD‘s own Sheldon Jin, Voight’s decision-making was once again thrust into the spotlight.

But thanks to a solid season 2 opener in which Voight seemed to come clean—without losing his edge, of course—it finally feels like rooting for Voight might be rooting for the good guy. That’s not to say that fans haven’t been rooting for Voight in the past, and it’s not to say that Voight is the good guy, but now more than ever, the dynamic of the show has come into its own. And that doesn’t only have to do with Voight. Now that we’ve spent a season getting to know these people, the show’s many relationships carry more weight than they used to, and in a show with an ensemble cast, it’s able to transition smoothly from one partnership to the next. READ FULL STORY

'Modern Family' season 6 premiere react: Love is in the air

[This post contains plot details from the Modern Family season 6 premiere, which aired on Sept. 24]

The last we saw the Dunphy/Pritchett clan, they were celebrating at a beautiful, fourth-time’s-a-charm wedding for Cam and Mitchell. Over the summer break, the newlyweds went on a honeymoon. Cut to three months later, where we pick up: Cam is still very much in that lovey-dovey frame of mind. There are endless flowers, backrubs, at-work drop-ins, shared chairs, dancing, etc. Mitchell is tired of it, but his wise sister tells him to keep that thought to himself. But one can only handle so much love in the form of balloons and life-size cardboard cutouts, and when even Lily grows weary, Mitchell finally says something. In the end, we learn this is all overcompensation; Cam is worried their relationship will lose the romance. READ FULL STORY

'The Goldbergs' season 2 premiere react: Same love, new mixtape

Some comedies attempt to launch their second season with some grandiose celebrity cameo or high-concept hook, but that’s not the MO of The Goldbergs, which returned for a sophomore cycle in its cushy new Wednesday time slot. To be completely fair, EW’s fall TV preview suggests that the show will still have its grabby zeitgeisty episodes this season, and on the celebrity cameo front, David Spade does guest star in a throwaway role in the premiere, but that’s far from the reason why Wednesday’s premiere marked a triumphant return for the ’80s-set sitcom.

The premiere of The Goldbergs doesn’t just mark the reappearance of fabulous chunky patterned sweaters or off-hand nostalgia bait remarks about familiar pop culture (in this episode, Boo Berry and Die Hard were the topics du jour). There’s a much better reason to tune in to The Goldbergs, and that’s because the show is the best of any family comedy on TV in the way it eschews dysfunction for its more appropriate, real-world term: love. READ FULL STORY

'The Middle' season 6 premiere react: The Year of Sue

[This post contains plot details from The Middle season 6 premiere episode, which aired on Sept. 24]

The Middle‘s greatest skill has always been balancing the absurd with the relatable. Is it likely that someone would wear braces for eight years, then have her teeth shift only a day after they come off? No. But how many families have searched through a restaurant Dumpster for a lost retainer? (I lost mine at a Piccadilly.) This ridiculous/mundane split is what makes watching a family in middle America so fun—even after six seasons.

Luckily, we get all of that in “Unbraceable You.” After their trip to Disneyland—or was it World?—the Hecks have spent their summer the way everyone should: by being lazy. The only problem comes when their Friday pool time is interrupted by a neighbor who tells them that school started Monday. They rush to get to their last 47 minutes of the first week of school, and the kid-focused episode kicks off. READ FULL STORY

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