Jonathan Katz is back on TV, but in the form of Bob Saget, who does his best to channel Katz’s sublime comic persona. Saget’s Matt Stewart, like the title character in “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist,” is likable and low-key, but based on one episode of “Raising Dad” (only one was available for review), not as funny. Nice-looking sitcom fills out the WB’s family-friendly Friday sked.
Dr. Katz was luckier than Matt Stewart. He had standup comics and other famous people (David Duchovny, for example) as “patients,” as well as his hostile receptionist Laura and slacker son Ben as foils. Saget has a more traditional sitcom family: two teenage daughters, a crusty dad and a dead wife. As a writer here, Katz’s sense of humor seems deadened by the genre’s conventions, although Saget digs out some sweet gems.
Matt (Saget) is a creative writing teacher in the school attended by his oldest daughter Sara (Kat Denning). Having her dad around all the time is constant torture, and her humiliation knows no bounds. This conceit doesn’t work, since Matt is funny and seems popular with the students — the strident Sara needs to take a chill pill.
Younger daughter Emily (Brie Larson) is in cahoots with Grandpa Sam (Jerry Adler), who makes up excuses for her to miss school so they can watch baseball together.
It all adds up to a family trying to cope with the death of the mother, which isn’t funny, but it is touching at times.
Cast is fine, and “Dad” shows some promise. It probably will keep “Reba’s” audience tuned in to end a nice family night of TV.
Tech credits are good.