Two New Shows: One Big Happy and iZombie

Two new shows hit the schedule this week. I took a look at them. Here are my reactions to these new offerings. Both air on the same night, which is why I thought these two very different series should be lumped into one review. Just go with it.

One Big Happy

One Big Happy stars Nick Zano, Elisha Cuthbert and Kelly Brook
One Big Happy stars Nick Zano, Elisha Cuthbert and Kelly Brook

With Ellen DeGeneres on board as producer and with Liz Feldman as creator, I was expecting One Big Happy to hook me right away. It didn’t.

One Big Happy is a typical sitcom with characters who say their lines as if they were shouting to the people in the nosebleed section, improbable situations, and not very funny jokes.

One Big Happy stars Elisha Cuthbert as a lesbian. Her best friend, played by Nick Zano, agrees to have a baby with her. Along comes a pretty English lass played by Kelly Brook and the couple turns into a strange triangle.

I like the setup. The actors are attractive, but the characters did nothing for me. I just couldn’t get into it.

I wanted so much to like this show with a leading lesbian character, but if they brought out their best for the pilot episode, I’m not sure I’ll continue watching. I’ll give it another chance, because I want to be a devoted fan. I’m just not convinced that’s going to happen.

iZombie

Rose McIver stars in iZombie
Rose McIver stars in iZombie

iZombie, on the other hand, while wildly improbable situation-wise, was more interesting and showcased characters who are far more charming. Even the undead character is likeable.

iZombie stars Rose McIver as the zombie, Liv Moore. (Liv Moore, get it?) Liv is a doctor who gets killed and turns into a zombie. She changes jobs to work in the morgue where she has a steady supply of stolen brains for dinner. Also working in the morgue is Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli), who doesn’t mind being around a zombie. He is the only person who realizes that Liv is among the undead.

When Liv eats a brain, she gets crime-solving visions about the person’s death and is very quickly indispensable to Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin), a cop.

iZombie is a DC Comics show, with Rob Thomas as producer. It switches from comic drawings to live action sometimes, a juxtaposition that adds to the funky charm of the story.

Even though zombies have been done to infinity and shows with lesbians as main characters are rare, my reactions to these two series were the opposite of what I expected. I enjoyed the undead doctor and was bored by the pregnant lesbian.

Did you watch either of these? What did you think?

What do you Think of the Summer Pilots?

The other day I mentioned a couple of pilots on TNT that I’m super excited about that star Jennifer Beals and Julia Stiles. The big networks – NBC, CBS, ABC, CW, and FOX – all have a full slate of summer shows lined up. You can see the full list by following the links.

I want to mention the ones that look good to me, the ones that have a female in the leading role, and the ones I think might be worth watching. I’d love to hear what you think about the summer lineup, so speak up in the comments.

There are lots of comic book spinoffs, zombies, and aliens in the schedules. Lots of comedies and a few dramas.

On NBC

A variation on the zombie craze, Babylon Fields will star Virginia Madsen, Meagan Good, Skeet Ulrich, Ritchie Coster, Yul Vazquez and Kyle Schmid.

Debra Messing will lead the cast in a police procedural called Mysteries of Laura. It’s based on a Spanish series. Messing and her husband solve crimes while dealing with their twin sons.

Odyssey has a female soldier at the helm, played by Anna Friel. The plot centers around an international mystery.

Katherine Heigl will join the CIA in State of Affairs. She’s counselor to the President. Maybe she’ll run into Olivia Pope in D.C.

NBC has a ton of new comedies. The most interesting one stars Natasha Lyonne and is called Old Soul. I’ve mentioned this one before.

Another comedy that looks promising is produced by Ellen DeGeneres. One Big Happy is about a gay woman (Elisha Cuthbert) and her straight best friend (Nick Zano), who decide to have a baby together.

On CBS

Tea Leoni will be the Secretary of State in Madam Secretary. Morgan Freeman is producing this one. Tim Daly, Geoffrey Arend, Patina Miller, Erich Bergen and Katherine Herzer will also star.

Patricia Arquette will star in an as-yet-unnamed CSI spinoff. It sounds very high tech in concept, rather like the current show Intelligence because it involves a lot of cyber security. But I don’t think any of the FBI agents in this show have chips in their brains.

Jamie Lee Curtis is a hospital administrator whose four children – quadruplets – all work at the hospital. Oh, and the children grew up on a reality show. This show doesn’t have a name yet either.

On ABC

Danish series have been adapted for American TV with great success. Jennifer Carpenter will be in Sea of Fire, another Danish adaptation. This one is an FBI story.

Warriors will be a medical drama. The cast includes Morena Baccarin, Don Hany, Courtney B. Vance, Justina Machado, Greg Grunberg, Steve Kazee, Hampton Fluker, Abbie Cobb and Eloise Mumford.

On FOX

Cabot College is a comedy produced by Tina Fey. A show can’t get much more promising than that.  Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Bonnie Dennison, Ely Henry, Asif Ali, Jack Cutmore-Scott and Brandon Jones will star.

On the CW

I don’t see anything that tempts me on this network.

Again, you can see the full lineup of summer shows here: NBC, CBS, ABC, CW, and FOX. I’d love to hear what you think about the ones I consider hopeful, or if you see something else that didn’t catch my eye that looks really good to you.