An uneven opening stanza for new series “Flying Blind,” written by exec producer Richard Rosenstock, shows that the show has possibilities, that Corey Parker has the stuff and that there are a few solid laughs still to be caught in eccentric characters. But not necessarily characters intro’d in the pilot.
Recent college grad Neil Barash (Parker), working in a food factory where his dad got him a desk job, shares an office with ambitious, unctuous Ted (Marcus Giamatti).
Neil is approached at lunchtime by manic beauty Alicia (Tea Leoni), who invites him back to her jazzy downtown apartment.
Ted encounters Alicia’s downbeat roommate Megan (Clea Lewis), other roomy Jordan (Robert Bauer) and her belligerent painter-boyfriend Jonathan (Thomas Haden Church).
Presumably outrageous, the four actually suffer from desperate lunges at being bizarre; they’re more teen-type than true young-adult eccentrics, whose personalities weigh in more flamboyant than comedic. Some sorting out is in order if the new show is going to sustain Fox’s Sunday night laugh slate.
James Burrows’ astute direction generally holds up. Program’s opening as romanticist Neil, watching a French film, is snapped back to reality works wonderfully, but Neil’s solo stint in the office falls flat.
Parker’s low-key approach works well. Giamatti delivers a solid interp of the slick office mate. Leoni’s scatterbrained, overbearing Alicia plays like Holly Gonelightly. Michael Tucci as Neil’s dad hands in a good, understated performance.
Though filmed before a “live” audience, a suggestion of hitting-over-the-head sweetening intrudes. A mismatched scene surfaces, otherwise new sitcom on the Fox block looks smart, thanks to Burrows and to designer Tommy Goetz.