Tall Hopes

Unfortunately, a new sitcom can't make it on the script's ideals alone, or CBS' new "Tall Hopes" would be a slam dunk. But this family-value-fueled comedy, revolving around mom, dad and three children -- one a heavily recruited basketball player -- can't overcome its shallow feel and rookie production values.

Cast: George Wallace, Anna Maria Horsford, Kenny Blank, Terrence Dashon Howard, Karia Green.

Unfortunately, a new sitcom can’t make it on the script’s ideals alone, or CBS’ new “Tall Hopes” would be a slam dunk. But this family-value-fueled comedy, revolving around mom, dad and three children — one a heavily recruited basketball player — can’t overcome its shallow feel and rookie production values.

Skein’s opening intros Ernest Harris (Kenny Blank), the family’s middle son who’d rather shoot movies and videos than free throws. He narrates the episode by talking to his vidcam, both at the beginning and end, which gives rare glimpses of the show’s potential.

Family wunderkind Chet (Terence Dashon Howard), a 6-foot-6-inch high school basketball player headed for college ball and beyond, is skedded to meet with a college recruiter, so Ernest is essentially bribed by dear, old dad, George Harris (George Wallace), to do a bit of his brother’s homework.

Of course, this is all for naught when Mother Harris (played brashly by Anna Maria Horsfold of “Amen”) trips up this scheme and busts all involved.

On paper this might work, but on the set, stiff acting by standup comedian Wallace along with too many scenes with the family crowded together, do little to shake the rigor mortis setting in.

However, Blank’s hearty performance as Earnest and the enjoyably boisterous work of Horsford give hope to the possibility the show can be resuscitated with a production facelift and more ensemble interaction.

Scripters Michael Elias and Richard Eustis give “Tall Hopes” lofty themes that are always needed on TV, but without chemistry between players and production, this skein’s destined to be benched.

Production qualities from the opening are lost fast. Set posing as the Harris family home looks fake, with the lighting giving the feel of being shot in someone’s basement.

Popular on Variety

Tall Hopes

(Wed. (25), 8:30-9 p.m., CBS)

Production: Taped in Los Angeles by Eustis/Elias Prods. in association with Warner Bros. Executive producers-writers, Michael Elias, Richard Eustis; line producer, Bari Halle; supervising producers, Bob Burris, Michael Ware; director, Sam Weisman.

Crew: Camera, George Dibie; art director, Ken Johnson; editor, Jimmy B. Frazier; audio , Peter Damski; music, Ed Alton.

Cast: Cast: George Wallace, Anna Maria Horsford, Kenny Blank, Terrence Dashon Howard, Karia Green.

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