TIMESLOTWednesdays at 8:30-9 p.m. ET, beginning Fall 2011 on NBC.
SYNOPSIS"Free Agents" is a crooked workplace/romantic new comedy from creator John Enbom ("Party Down") and Emmy Award-winning director Todd Holland ("Malcolm in the Middle") based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, "The Simpsons," "Huff") is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, "Hung") thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends. Meanwhile Alex's co-workers, Dan (Mo Mandel, "Love Bites," "Modern Family") and Gregg (Al Madrigal, "Wizards of Waverly Place," "Gary, Unmarried"), and Stephen (Anthony Head, "Merlin," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") fail in their attempts to help him get back out on the dating scene. When Alex finally agrees to a date, Helen gets a little jealous, and he gets cold feet, so they end up back where they started -- in a casual, intimate and beautifully awkward relationship. Also starring is Joe Lo Truglio ("Backwash," "Mad Love") and Natasha Leggero ("Ugly Americans," "'Til Death").
"Free Agents" is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with Dark Toy and Big Talk Productions. Enbom is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Holland. Karey Burke ("Miss/Guided") executive-produces, along with Big Talk Productions' Kenton Allen ("Free Agents," BBC Network) and Nira Park, as well as Chris Niel.
REVIEWSPlease note that these reviews may contain spoilers.
|Gordon McDougall's Take|
|The most important thing this series needs is chemistry between its lead characters, played by Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn, and I believe they have that. I can see them together, but I can see them not wanting to be together…while they’re together, as well. That’s the premise of Free Agents. I enjoyed the show, including the supporting cast, especially Anthony Head as the boss. Most viewers on this continent know him as Buffy’s Watcher on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but he has brilliant comic timing which could be the highlight of this show.
Director Todd Holland has a comedic style that I really enjoy (I was a huge fan of Malcolm In The Middle), but I wonder if his style is mainstream enough for a mainstream sitcom. Free Agents has a bit more of a heart-on-its-sleeve quality that may make it more accessible to its audience as Malcolm was. There weren’t any laugh-out-loud funny moments in the pilot, but there were moments with charm (Hank’s Alex has a choice between a first date with a beautiful woman and being a friend to Kathryn’s Helen. He makes the right choice.)
I am not sure I can see this show being a hit, but I can see myself enjoying it for how ever many episodes it manages to get on the air. It’s got some stiff competition from CBS’s Survivor, Fox’s X Factor, but shouldn’t face much of a threat from ABC’s Suburgatory. As long as NBC doesn’t expect it to put much of a dent in the reality shows, this show might carve out a little niche audience that doesn’t want to watch, well, real people.
|Rating: Limited success (Might survive a full season)|
|About Gordon McDougall|
TVGord is a radio host at 580 CFRA in Ottawa. He does a weekly segment about TV every friday which you can hear in MP3 in the '580 CFRA Interviews' section of their website, www.cfra.com