Thursday, April 13, 2017
Premiered April 5 at 10pm
Seeing posters for a show starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet was enough for me to want to watch this show, and clearly enough for IFC also, which renewed the show before it premiered. Azaria has always impressed me, from his performance in the pilot episode of “Huff” (a show I really should have kept watching but never did in the infancy of my TV enthusiasm) and his recent Emmy-nominated turn on another Showtime series, “Ray Donovan.” Peet is terrific, and after a memorable role on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” a while back, she was one of the standout parts of “Togetherness.” It’s good to see the roles reversed here a bit, with Azaria as the one spiraling out of control and Peet the in-control one who still has some issues of her own. What was cool and refreshing about this series debut is that it features a plotline that’s been done many times over – a public figure having an on-air meltdown – and takes the concept and runs with it, creating something far from wholly original but still tremendously entertaining. Jim Brockmire’s new gig is far from glamorous, but I think he has just the right sentiment to announce the games in for this small-town fracking team. I love that Jim and Peet’s Jules started having sex right away and then it turned into a superstitious sports thing, then developed into a hate-filled relationship and now might end up being something more sentimental. David Walton’s ex-boyfriend also seems to have some nefarious industrial plans in store for what is currently the run-down stadium, and I’m sure that Brockmire will soon be fighting for the survival of something he would have argued against existing at all at the start of this show. I’m not usually into sports shows, but I like this one and its stars enough to see where it goes.
How will it work as a series? We’ve seen two episodes so far and the network obviously likes it enough to commission more right out of the gate, and I’m optimistic that there will be some great ground to cover thanks to strong and entertaining characters. The last scenes of the first two episodes have been cool because they’ve introduced new threads without going into them, so I’m intrigued to see what comes next.
How long will it last? Getting renewed hours before your first two episodes official air is about as good a sign as you can get. It was already well-watched in its original online release before it premiered on IFC, and so I’m sure that this show will go on however long the creative forces behind it want it to.
Pilot grade: B+