Sunday, January 13, 2019

Pilot Review: Schooled

Schooled (ABC)
Premiered January 9 at 8:30pm

When I go through the TV listings on and just flag the pilots I need to watch, I often don’t know a thing about them until I actually sit down to start watching, especially if the channel they’re on isn’t one that I tune in to often. That was absolutely the case with this show, which I had no idea was a spin-off of a series that I hated so much when it debuted five years ago that I gave it an F-. That was probably too harsh, in retrospect, and this one wasn’t nearly as grating, even if it was hopelessly familiar. From what I can tell, AJ Michalka’s Lainey Lewis was a supporting player on “The Goldbergs,” and both Tim Meadows’ Principal Glascott and Bryan Callen’s Coach Rick Mellor were at least recurring and likely even more featured than that. Why this needed to be a show I’m not sure, especially since we’ve seen people going back to teach when they didn’t want to so many times, with “Bad Teacher” and “A.P. Bio” being two recent examples. The fact that it’s the 90s only makes the premise feel hokier, since of course Lainey would relate to the principal’s niece because she was that girl in high school. Now, while both Michalka and Rachel Crow, who plays Felicia, seem to be suited to their roles, it’s a bit ridiculous that, in real life, the former is only seven years older than the latter, but casting older actors as teens on television is nothing new. I nearly laughed once in this episode, when Lainey first tried to kick Felicia out of class, and a half-chuckle is hardly enough to keep me watching a show that just seems like more recycled sitcom fare.

How will it work as a series? The focus on the coach felt odd to me, and the end-of-episode reveal that Coach Mellor is a real person and that the basketball star he tried to teach how to be a team player is indeed an NFL quarterback now adds an interesting dimension to this weekly comedy series. I don’t think it helps since that just provides another expectation of where things end up, but I suppose it could help make it appeal to a broader audience.
How long will it last? The ratings look to be pretty close to those of the original series, which airs as its lead-in. The reviews aren’t all that bad, and though the original has turned into a hit, it wasn’t all that well-received at first. Reports of retooling this pilot and its premise may ultimately be its downfall, but, for now, this comedy seems to be well-primed to do well in ABC’s successful Wednesday night lineup.

Pilot grade: C

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