Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pilot Review: Mixology

Mixology (ABC)
Premiered February 26 at 9:30pm

ABC’s new midseason comedy was available to watch early on, and therefore I had the opportunity to screen this pilot about two weeks ago. My expectations were not high since I had listed it as one of the least promising pilots of the season in a Shockya article last May after seeing the series trailer, and I didn’t feel all that differently about the first installment. This show is a densely populated, highly unorganized series about different people all fated to be single forever falling in love against all odds. My fiancée excitedly compared it to the short-lived “Love Bites,” an anthology series that didn’t take on NBC a few years ago. The problem with this one is that it’s a claustrophobic effort to imagine so much drama happening on one night in a bar, and we all know how shows like “The Nine” which try to zero in on a short window of time to tell their story over the course of a season pan out. That doesn’t mean this couldn’t feasibly work, but the quality of the writing and plotting here is nothing spectacular. Among the cast, there are some familiar faces, and I was most surprised to see Sarah Bolger, who I still remember as the older sister in “In America,” which I now realize came out eleven years ago and therefore her playing an adult (she is 23) makes sense. More recently-seen TV actors is Adan Canto, who was murderous cult member Paul on “The Following” and now is the ladykiller bartender, who seems to have left an impression on waitress Kacey, portrayed by Vanessa Lengies, who was Sugar Motta on “Glee.” There’s no real standout in the cast, and it’s hard to find any of them likeable, since those who aren’t deplorable have no real personality. This show might be good for some light entertainment, and I suppose it’s a relief that it’s only half an hour.

How will it work as a series? We met next week’s unlikely couple at the end of this episode, though they seem like a much better match, their only impediments being an engagement ring and a fear of British accents. Since everyone is so interconnected, we’ll probably see our returning characters in some capacity each week, which is a good thing or a bad thing depending on whether you find them unbelievably irritating (I’m looking at you, Bruce).
How long will it last? The similarly broadly-focused “Lucky 7” didn’t fare well, and I suspect this show’s fate will be similar. Debuting after “Modern Family” could have helped it to a strong sendoff, but that wasn’t the case. A half-hour comedy is a precious commodity, but I still think that ABC will choose to let it go after just a few drinks.

Pilot grade: D-

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