Filmed in Los Angeles by ABC Prods. in association with Meredith Baxter Prods. and Murphy-Thompson Prods. Executive producers, Meredith Baxter, Gary Murphy, Neil Thompson; producer, Tim Steele; director, Will MacKenzie; writers-creators, Thompson, Murphy; Amiable but not overly interesting, this midseason replacement is stocked with sitcom pros whose perfs transcend the average material but don’t lift “The Faculty” to a higher level.
Meredith Baxter, one of the series’ exec producers, plays a junior high school vice principal. Most of the show’s action takes place in the faculty lounge or in the administrative offices of the school, and focuses on her interactions with the jaded but still committed staff at Hamilton Middle School.
The faculty is peopled with familiar types, although that is not meant as a criticism; in fact, auds will be instantly comfortable with the wisecracking single gal (the astringent and funny Constance Shulman); the enthusiastic rookie teacher (Jenica Bergere, who needs to calm down); the pompous but caring principal (Peter Michael Goetz, who never seems to be out of a TV job); and the humorless and colorless history teacher (Peter Mackenzie), who’s the butt of all the jokes.
Just like her Elise Keating on “Family Ties,” Baxter’s Flynn Sullivan is the glue that holds all the wacky types together.
While the cast’s chemistry is right-on, and it is nice to see Baxter back on a light sitcom, “The Faculty’s” blend of comedy and humane life lessons isn’t particularly witty or memorable.
Vet TV director Will Mackenzie keeps the pace snappy, and David Sackeroff’s production design conveys the proper tone for the fiscally struggling Hamilton while making the most of institutional green paint.