Friday, October 19, 2018

Pilot Review: The Kids Are Alright

The Kids Are Alright (ABC)
Premiered October 16 at 8:30pm

I always wonder if there’s a database of all movie and TV titles that someone looks at when greenlighting a project that has the same name as another well-known work. Sure, the 2010 Oscar Best Picture nominee “The Kids Are All Right” spells its affirmation of the children’s’ potential differently, but I wasn’t sure when I tuned in to watch this pilot if it was going to be a remake of that great fil. It turns out that’s not the case at all, but instead we get this very crowded show that follows the comedy theory that bigger is better, with a family of eight boys all fighting aggressively for attention and happiness in their 1970s Irish Catholic home. None of the characters are overly memorable, even the rising music star and the would-be priest, but there were a few familiar faces in the cast. I liked Christopher Paul Richards as the affable, precocious brother on “Me, Myself, and I,” and I guess it’s good to see him in a similar role here. Michael Cudlitz got his big start on “Southland” and was a featured player on “The Walking Dead” for many years, and this is just the latest foray into television for Mary McCormack, alumna of “The West Wing,” “In Plain Sight,” and, most recently, “Loaded.” She does have the opportunity to be noticed here, but this role, and the show in general, is far too uncreative and unambitious for its own good. We’ve seen this before, many, many times, and the minor variations in play don’t do enough to make it worthwhile.

How will it work as a series? Peggy has recognized some talent in her theater-minded son, and now he might be able to finally get away from his family to devote time to his true interest. Fleshing out ten family members is no easy task, and nothing about this opener indicated to me that it’s capable of truly doing that.
How long will it last? The reviews seem to be generally good, which surprises me a bit, but the ratings were as expected. The second of four comedies to start on ABC on Tuesday night had the second-best ratings, but I’d imagine those will fall considerably in week two and beyond, and this will end up airing just its original episode order.

Pilot grade: C-

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