Trial and Error (NBC)
Premiered March 14 at 10pm
The mockumentary-style sitcom has become increasingly popular in recent years since “The Office” used it and many others followed suit. Such a format can be used in any setting, and we don’t even see it played out in a courtroom. This show is probably most comparable to “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” in the absurdity of all of its events and the backwards laws – like “death by bear” – that couldn’t have ever been even remotely legal in less sophisticated times. The insistence that a “Northeasterner” – code for “Jewish” – represent John Lithgow’s Larry was just the tip of the iceberg, with the guards at the courthouse allowing in a firearm that they complimented and confiscating lip balm because they heard the word “balm” serving as among the most ridiculous. The team that Nick D’Agosto’s Josh has assembled is also absurd, with a private investigator who used to be a cop but left his patrol car in reverse and a secretary who can’t recognize faces and passes out whenever she sees anything beautiful. Add to that a client who cares more about his skate wrench than his murdered wife, may have killed his first wife, and always seems to say something incriminating and unhelpful when given the opportunity. This show is pretty wild, but it’s not all that bad. I like D’Agosto here much more than I did on “Heroes” or “Masters of Sex,” and there’s no question that Lithgow is right for this role. I also like Jayma Mays (who used to be on “Heroes” too), and this is a fun part for her. I might be back to check out a third episode of this decent comedy – we’ll see.
How will it work as a series? My first thought was that it’s meant to be a weekly series, and so I’m not sure how that’s going to jive with a murder case that’s eventually going to run its course and will in all likelihood end with the defendant being executed. While it lasts it should be fun though!
How long will it last? I expected the reviews to be a lot worse than they are, with people having mostly positive things to say about the show. Premiering this show immediately following the season finale of “This Is Us” seems like an odd choice because the audience isn’t the same, and hopefully week two moved to the 9pm hour should prove than the debut airing which wasn’t watched by all that many people.
Pilot grade: B