Last week I saw both of FOX’s new comedy pilots with an audience at The Paley Center in NY. Most  critics love RAISING HOPE and are not so kind to RUNNING WILDE. Either way they are FOX’s best efforts in live action comedy in quite some time. They have GLEE as a lead in, so they certainly have a shot to get sampled. 

Raising Hope

From Greg Garcia and more in the vein of “My Name Is Earl” than “Yes, Dear”. The show is very likeable, funny and at times sweet. It has potential. I honestly didn’t love it as much as many critics do. But it’s definitely a good pilot (not great) with much room to grow now that the premise is established. My favorite part of the show is Martha Plimpton, fresh off two brilliant guest starring roles last season on THE GOOD WIFE and FRINGE (both  shows could have spun off her character – yeah that’s how good she was). If this show exists mostly to send her to super stardom, it’s a win. My biggest problem was that Martha and Garret Dillahunt (who’s also really good in a very different, comedic role) seem only a couple of years older than Lucas Neff who plays their son. Martha’s character said she got pregnant at 15, but she seems way less than 15 years older than him. Minor Quibble.

 Running Wilde

I hadn’t seen the original pilot which was not critically loved, so I can’t compare it to that.  I actually think this show worked better than I expected. You can tell it’s from Mitch Hurwitz, as there are some similarities (voiceover/tone) but it does carve out its own niche and feels different. Unlike many that have reviewed it, I actually like Keri Russell and she and Will Arnett have a nice chemistry. There are some crazy implausibilities and silliness but a lot of that can be attributed be to the normal issues some pilots face when attempting to establish the premise. I assume it will relax a bit in episode 2. I actually think this one has potential and with the pedigree behind and in front of the camera, it certainly warrants more viewings. Maybe my thought on it are more positive than most because I saw it with an audience at the Paley Center and they loved it. They laughed heartily all through it and that might have influenced me too, but I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

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