Friday, February 11, 2011

Pilot Review: Traffic Light

Traffic Light (FOX)
Premiered February 8 at 9:30pm

It’s somewhat of a rarity to have a new comedy series with five leads where four of them are decently recognizable form other TV work. I’m not familiar with Aya Cash, who plays Callie and didn’t stand out to me all that much in the pilot. Arguably the most well-known is David Denman, who played Roy on “The Office,” and we also have another cast mate of his (who was on the show at a different time), and that would be Nelson Franklin, who gave a farewell speech after playing the IT guy despite not really doing anything while he was actually on the show. We also have Liza Lapira, who had second-fiddle roles in “NCIS,” “Dollhouse,” and “Dexter.” One more actor not from television is Kris Marshall, who played the America-bound Brit eager to have plenty of sex in “Love Actually.” Now that we’ve run through all the familiar faces, let’s get to the show itself. There’s nothing inherently interesting or appealing about this show as compared to any other, but it should be separated from the likes of “Perfect Couples” or “Romantically Challenged” because it’s not entirely off-putting. There just isn’t anything particularly funny about it. Denman’s Mike is a straight man, as is Franklin’s Adam, and none of the characters, even Marshall’s wild Ethan, are too out of control or big. Unfortunately, ensuring that they are tempered doesn’t automatically make them endearing or compelling. The storylines in the plotline were fairly by-the-book and uninventive, but some of the gimmicks, such as the police officer pulling Adam over while he had both Mike and Ethan on the phone, do work decently well, to their credit.

How will it work as a series? I’m not sure yet whether there’s enough to work with here to craft an entire show. While Ethan is a serial single man, it does concern me a bit that there are only five regular players as opposed to four or six. It’s always best to have even numbers to be able to pair people up with one another, though maybe this show will be able to break free from the confines of traditional sitcomhood and use its five cast members to the best of their abilities.
How long will it last? The traffic light jokes are far more plentiful than viewers were, as it turns out, since the pilot airing performed considerably less well that lead-ins “Glee” (obviously) and “Raising Hope.” I don’t see this one going the distance, but there’s no reason for FOX to cancel it before it’s had the chance to complete its thirteen-episode run.

Pilot grade: C+

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