Back for the start of a first full season, Ed Asner and “Thunder Alley” continue their mildly amusing goings-on. The cutes will annoy some, but Asner and the cast make endearing themselves look easy.
Setup is the same, with ex-race driver Gil (Asner) sharing his house with his divorced daughter Bobbi (now ably played by attractive actress Robin Riker) and her two girls and boy.
The son, Harry (Haley Joel Osment), faces his tonsils being yanked, and mom and grandpa try out ways to encourage him; grandpa isn’t that comforting.
Harry’s older sister Claudine (Kelly Vint) blithely tells him she’ll be good at his funeral, and Harry has something to say in private to his other sis, Jenny (Lindsay Felton).
Sitcom has “comfy” slathered all over it, from Lissa Levin’s script to David Sackeroff’s agreeable sets. The interplay among actors under Robby Benson’s shrewd direction is reassuring, and Asner’s contribution pleasantly anchors the work.
Jim Beaver returns as Gil’s sidekick. Riker is particularly fine as the concerned mother (she’s the third actress in the role, taking over from Diane Venora, who replaced Felicity Huffman before the show hit the air in its limited run earlier this year). Young Thomson does sterling work.
Show aired Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., following “Home Improvement”; next week, “Alley” shifts to its regular timeslot at 8 p.m.