This is the first in a series of reviews we’ll be doing for all of this season’s new pilots. Keep in mind, these are reviews of pilots only. As we all know, these pilots can change before they actually air. Go On is the first show up for review. When the rest can be reviewed, they’ll be posted up here accordingly.
Misery loves company. Unless you’re sportscaster Ryan King (Matthew Perry, “Friends,” “Mr. Sunshine”) who thinks misery should just be left alone. After taking some time off, Ryan – who recently lost his wife in a car accident – is now ready to get back to work. And while he seems like his same old charming, cocky self, his boss won’t set him back on the air until he seeks counseling. So, Ryan reluctantly joins a support group with one goal in mind: get in, get out and get back on the radio as quickly as possible. Played by the fast-talking, sarcastic, and charismatic Perry, Ryan gives grief a real run for its money. Within one day of group therapy, he hijacks the meeting and suddenly the downtrodden are cajoled into playing a game of “who’s got the best sob story?”
And in no time all of them are battling it out, trying to one-up each other’s despair. Now, this is fun! Ryan’s total lack of interest in healing might be just what this group needs – and maybe, exactly what he needs to move on with his life. Also starring are Tony winner Laura Benanti (“The Playboy Club”), Julie White (“Transformers”), Suzy Nakamura (“Dodgeball”), Khary Payton (“General Hospital”) and Allison Miller (“Terra Nova”). From the Emmy-winning writer and executive producer Scott Silveri (“Perfect Couples,” “Friends”) comes a new series that proves grief can be good. Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”) and Karey Burke (“Free Agents,” “Miss/Guided”) also serve as executive producers. The pilot was directed by Holland. “Go On” is a production of Universal Television, Dark Toy Entertainment and Silver & Gold Productions.”
What You Should Know
NBC is giving it a sneak preview on Wednesday August 8th, but will be normally airing Tuesday’s at 9 starting in September.
Matthew Perry’s style of comedic acting can be extremely polarizing. Here, for once, there’s actually a reason for his sarcastic mess of a persona. He’s an emotional wreck after the sudden death of his wife, so the wall he builds around him actually fits nicely with the tone of the pilot. I was fully prepared to not like this, but honestly, it left me slightly emotional.
While my mind still needs to be made up on Matthew Perry carrying his own show, the supporting cast here is great, and I genuinely liked each member in his support group. I applaud them for giving us something with so much surprising heart. It’s reminiscent of the The Big C in many ways, in that it’s a series about truly horrible things happening, but given to us in a comedic way.
What Doesn’t Work
The show is a comedy, but it’s really not that funny. I think this show works as more as a dramedy, but the half hour format suits it nicely.
The sports setting back at Ryan’s employment just doesn’t work. Eventually they will either need to spice up that side of the cast, or completely drop it. The show only works in the setting of Ryan’s interaction with the people at his group therapy of sorts. The first five minutes when he’s actually back at his office made me hate the beginning. If these people know what is good for them, they will build enormously on the group therapy, and not at his work.
There’s also a bit too much stereotypical Matthew Perry-isms to go along with a few stereotypical sitcom moments that I wasn’t a fan of.
Should You Watch?
I’ll say yes, give this one a shot. The surprise of Tuesday night is that I was fully expecting to write this one off and watch The New Normal (which it’s being paired with), but after seeing their pilots, I can confidently say this is better.
Go On has major potential to be a very heartwarming comedy without being overly sentimental, which is extremely rare. The show needs to be praised for the fact that it really walks the line nicely between that old classic sitcom feel, and a much new modern take on the genre. Go On feels like a bit of Community, with a bit of Modern Family thrown in. Only this family is a bunch of eccentric acquaintances.
There’s a competition called March Sadness that propels this pilot to something very enjoyable. Watch for this alone.
First Impression Grade