TV tonight: big name talent delivers a night of mediocre TV

Will Arnett and Beau Bridges star in “The Millers.”
Photo: CBS/The Millers

WASHINGTON, October 3, 2013 —Last Thursday night, CBS dominated the ratings, but that doesn’t mean the night was without its low points. Most disappointing was “The Crazy Ones” starring Robin Williams. Watching Williams bounce from manic to maudlin was painful to watch despite the show’s strong supporting cast.

Fans of Williams who tuned in for his trademark irreverence were left scratching their heads at his obvious sellout. How could a show that banks on Williams being Williams exclude the edgy social commentary that is a huge part of his success as a stand up comedian? How could Williams not include at least one derogatory comment about the evils of McDonalds?


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Williams has admitted returning to TV for financial reasons, a fact that becomes more obvious with each passing moment of “The Crazy Ones.” Relying on Williams’ frenetic pace without including his censure-inducing insights is a recipe for failure. Despite posting huge numbers last week, “The Crazy Ones” will need a serious makeover if it’s to last beyond a single season.

Tonight’s lineup also includes the return of “Will and Grace” star Sean Hayes. Hayes’ role on “Sean Saves the World” is another one that’s tailor made for an established star. But not even a supporting cast that includes Linda Lavin can make this show aspire to anything beyond mediocre.

Another new show loaded with big name talent is “The Millers” on CBS. The cast includes Beau Bridges, Will Arnett (of “Arrested Development” fame) and Margo Martindale. Normally it would be safe to assume that such a star-studded cast would be a sure bet for success on the small screen.

Unfortunately the characters these talented actors play in this prematurely tired sitcom are too familiar and too predictable. The only thing that will save “The Millers” is that the show is following “The Big Bang Theory.” But even this powerful lead-in may not sustain an audience for this new show.


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All the new sitcoms on Thursday night have thus far managed to waste the talent of their big name recruits, and, by implication, their budgets as well. By trying to imitate successful shows like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Modern Family,” CBS and NBC have proved yet again that there is a serious lack of fresh writing talent in their respective home offices. Maybe a couple of the new Thursday night shows will make it beyond season one, but only because their competition is suffering from the same lack of originality.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: Scandal: The Secret is Out: (New) Scandalous moments from previous seasons.

CBS: The Big Bang Theory: (New) Raj designs a scavenger hunt that brings out the best — and the worst — in the whole gang.

FOX: The X Factor: (New) The battle for the Top 16 continues.

NBC: Parks and Recreation: (New) Leslie is forced to restrain her excitement when news breaks that Pawnee’s rival town, Eagleton, is completely bankrupt. Kristen Bell guest stars.

CW: The Vampire Diaries: (New) After spending the summer enjoying her passionate relationship with Damon, and making sure that Jeremy is adjusting after his return from the dead, Elena is thrilled to move into the dorm at nearby Whitmore College with her new roommate, Caroline.

8:30 p.m.

CBS: The Millers: (New) Nathan and Debbie’s distress over their parents’ divorce increases when they announce that they will each be moving in with one of them.

NBC: Welcome to the Family: (New) When Molly and Junior announce they’re expecting a baby; two very different families are thrown together.

9 p.m.

ABC: Grey’s Anatomy: (New) Derek and Meredith adjust to life at home with their newborn; Arizona tries to repair her marriage; Jackson and Owen clash over financial issues.

CBS: The Crazy Ones: (New) Disaster strikes when Simon encourages Sydney to take the lead on an ad campaign for a coffee shop; Zach becomes jealous when Simon asks Andrew to care for a family of ducklings.

FOX: Glee: (New) It’s Tina’s time to shine when she is nominated for prom queen.

NBC: Sean Saves the World: (New) Already struggling with a crazy boss and an overbearing mom, Sean’s about become a full-time single dad.

CW: The Originals: (New) Klaus Mikaelson, the original vampire-werewolf hybrid, has returned to the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans – the city his family helped build 300 years ago. Determined to help his brother, Elijah leaves their sister Rebekah behind and follows Klaus.

9:30 p.m.  

CBS: Two and a Half Men: (New) Jenny moves in with Evelyn and her wealthy boyfriend, Marty (Carl Reiner).

NBC: The Michael J. Fox Show: (New) Discovering nude portraits in their teenage daughter’s art portfolio turns Mike and Annie from progressive parents into prudish art thieves.

10 p.m.

ABC: Scandal: (New) An unexpected allegiance is formed as Pope & Associates and the White House face their biggest scandal; Olivia learns what her father is capable of.

CBS: Elementary: (New) A mathematician who was trying to decipher a highly guarded equation is murdered; a former patient’s son asks Watson for a loan.

NBC: Parenthood: (New) An Amber alert rocks the Braverman clan, while Adam and Kristina try to settle into campaign life. Ray Romano and Matt Lauria guest star.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Man, Cheetah, Wild at 9 p.m. on DSC

The First 48 at 9 p.m. on A&E

Mysteries at the Museum at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

Project Runway at 9 p.m. on LIFE

Four Weddings: Unveiled at 9 p.m. on TLC

North Woods Law: On the Hunt at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

World’s Strangest UFO Stories at 9 and 10 p.m. on SCI

Anger Management at 9:30 p.m. on FX

North Woods Law at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Beyond Scared Straight at 10 p.m. on A&E

House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV

House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Blade: Trinity on ENC

A Stranger Among Us on FLIX

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex on TCM

People Like Us on TMC
9 p.m.

American Gangster on BET

The Breakfast Club on ABCFAM

This is 40 on HBO

Cruel Intentions on MOMAX

Total Recall on STARZ

Later tonight:

Independence Day at 9:55 p.m. on ENC

Paradise at 10 p.m. on FLIX

Something Borrowed at 10 p.m. on FX

The French Connection at 10 p.m. on SUND

Leave Her to Heaven at 10 p.m. on TCM

Our Idiot Brother at 10 p.m. on TMC


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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.

 

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