Monday, November 2, 2009

Pilot Review: The League

The League (FX)
Premiered October 29 at 10:30pm

I’m not a member of the target audience for this show. I don’t like sports and I’ve never participated in a fantasy sports league of any kind. Furthermore, I’m not a fan of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” a series which is exceedingly well-paired with this show. This series, about five buddies who devote most of their time to participating in a fantasy football league, is tailored perfectly to anyone who fits into those three aforementioned categories. For those not interested in any of them, it will likely be mind-numbingly boring and pretty much unbearable. It’s almost not worth it for me to dive into an analysis of this show since those same fans of “Testees” and “Archer” who disagreed with my reviews of their respective pilots will likely take issue with my thoughts once again. Still, I’m committed to watching every pilot and giving each show a fair chance. I found the story incredibly uninteresting and not terribly worthwhile. The characters, hardly worth differentiating from one another, seem to possess the maturity of a one-year-old and can’t sustain an adult conversation. That’s part of what’s supposed to be funny, but it’s just not clever enough to sustain any sort of character interactions. Among the cast, Stephen Rannazzisi is probably the best fit for his role, after playing Todd’s Andrea-courting buddy Seth on “Samantha Who” last season. That of course means that he’s incredibly obnoxious, but that’s what the part (and the show, for that matter) calls for. Paul Scheer (“30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation”) is nerdy and irritating as ever, and Leslie Bibb doesn’t add much to the show. The other faces are entirely unfamiliar to me, and I couldn’t hope to pinpoint which roles each other plays because none of the characters were interesting to me at all. There’s not much else to say – if you like sports, fantasy sports, or “It’s Always Sunny,” you’ll probably like this show. Otherwise, don’t count on it.

How will it work as a series? The fantasy football season can only last so long, but all that means is that the show will go on hiatus in the off-season or explore other plotlines involving the characters. The draw of keeping up with the players in the fantasy league may be intriguing for some, though the pilot doesn’t delve far into exactly who is one whose team, and that may not be as good of a hook as it’s supposed to be.
How long will it last? FX was marketing this one pretty extensively, and as previously mentioned, it fits very well with FX’s current successful comedy, now in its fifth season. Some reviewers like this show better than I do, but not overwhelmingly, and I think this show may go the way of “Testees” and get benched after its first season. It’s possible that a renewal could be in the cards based on the success of “My Boys,” but this one can’t even compare to that mediocre show.

Pilot grade: F

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