Take Me To The Pilots ’13: NBC’s ‘Sean Saves the World’

[In case you’ve Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all “These are reviews.” If you’ve read me, you’ve read my reviews and you know this isn’t what they look like.]

Show:“Sean Saves The World” (NBC)
Airs:Thursdays at 9 p.m.
The Pitch:“Sean Hayes is back!” “In Pog form?” “No. In schlocky sitcom form.” “Even better!”
Quick Response: Look, I get that Sean Hayes is a talented man. He sings. He dances. He acts. That “Martin and Lewis” TV movie? He wasn’t bad. I just don’t find him all that funny. Not on “Will & Grace.” Not on “Smash.” Etc. But lots of people do. So I can’t say how “Sean Saves The World” will play for you if you love Hayes’ brand of desperate, eager-to-please comedic mugging. Perhaps you’ll love it? Me, I could only sit back in some agony as I watched one of the most exposition-y comedy pilots in recent memory. Everybody in the pilot feels the need to constantly be establishing the premise, like when Sean observes to his daughter, “Your mom just moved away. I just got a new and very weird boss” or when his mother (Linda Lavin, matching Hayes ham-for-ham) walks in and announces “You have so much on your plate: A teenage daughter, a terrible new boss, that fantastic, gorgeous man you finally found who dumped you…” Why should anything happen in a pilot when you can have characters tell us all of the big things that happened before we arrived? And why should we have the pilot’s theme illustrated for us when Sean can moan, “I don’t know anything about parenting” and another character can helpfully respond, “Nobody does.” That’s the entire first half of the pilot. The second half is limp farce in which Sean tries to escape from his office early because he promised to be home for dinner. Yawn. I really don’t expect better from Hayes, who does all of his Sean Hayes things, but to say that I expect sharper writing from “Better Off Ted” and “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” creator Victor Fresco would be an understatement. This is a poorly written pilot and the direction, courtesy of legend James Burrows, who I couldn’t respect more if I tried, is as boxy and lifeless as so many of Burrows’ recent pilots. And YET. Yup. “And yet…” I could have disliked this pilot a lot more. Really. As the “terrible new boss,” Thomas Lennon made me laugh a couple times, which is more than I can say for several comedy pilots I actually liked this year. And the marvelous Echo Kellum, who really deserves a starring vehicle and soon, made me laugh once or twice. In fact, were it not for the exhausting efforts of Hayes and Lavin, I might feel this pilot had potential. Unfortunately, they’re the show. [Note that Lindsay Sloane, who appeared in the original pilot, was replaced by Megan Hilty. I like Megan Hilty. I also like Lindsay Sloane. Neither will make or break this show.]
Desire To Watch Again: I’ll watched the revised pilot to see how Megan Hilty fits. I’ll watch a couple more episodes to see if Victor Fresco can stealthily make this a show about Lennon and Kellum’s characters. Then I’ll probably move on.

Take Me To The Pilots ’13: The CW’s ‘Reign’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: CBS’ ‘The Crazy Ones’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: FOX’s ‘Enlisted’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: ABC’s ‘Betrayal’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: NBC’s ‘The Blacklist’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: The CW’s ‘The Tomorrow People’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: CBS’ ‘Hostages’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: FOX’s ‘Sleepy Hollow’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: ABC’s ‘Trophy Wife’ 
Take Me To The Pilots ’13: NBC’s ‘The Michael J. Fox Show’ 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries