August 8, 2012

Quick Thoughts: GO ON, "Pilot"

Chandler was by far the best character of Friends, I'm willing to cut Studio 60 some slack, and I even watched every episode of Mr. Sunshine. So, it's no surprise that I'm excited for Perry's return to NBC with Go On. Thanks to NBC's need to rely on the Olympics to launch its new fall line-up, we got an early preview of the show, and I have to say that it was good but not great.

Some of the early criticisms of Go On have been how familiar the pilot felt while also bringing up touchy subject of death and loss, and while I don't think that these are insurmountable obstacles to bypass, the issues were very apparent during the first episode. As NBC tries to veer away from niche comedies, Go On didn't break any molds or really do anything all that new, but again that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, a lot of NBC viewers are used to 30 Rock, Parks and Rec and Community, but there are not enough of them to keep NBC in business, so Go On took what makes those shows accessible and took out the quirkiness that can be alienating. Will this approach work? Maybe, but it should get credit for being successful with its first attempt.

I can't say that the Go On pilot was a home run because it sagged a little bit in the middle after a good start, and Matthew Perry and Laura Benanti practically had a "willy they, won't they" sign flashing above their heads, but it did end strong which was encouraging. The show's fate will obviously rest on the ensemble which was odd enough without being off-putting, and if the writers can figure out what to do with them all, then it could be what Community was supposed to be. As for the subject matter, focusing on something as devastating as loss could be the source of a lot of strong material, and if the show can effectively mix the sad with the funny, then Go On could be a winner. To keep with the baseball metaphor, the first episode was a solid stand-up double.

As of now, I'm definitely on board with Go On, and I'm excited for when it officially premieres in September. That being said, I don't know how much time I'll dedicate to it since it's on a packed Tuesday night that will also include New Girl and Happy Endings. Unfortunately, it's number three on my priority list, but I could see it bumping New Girl down a notch if it plays its cards right.


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