You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Good Luck Charlie

A surprisingly refreshing throwback to ABC's "TGIF"-style sitcoms of old.

Teddy - Bridgit Mendler PJ - Jason Dolley Gabe - Bradley Steven Perry Amy - Leigh-Allyn Baker Bob - Eric Allan Kramer Charlie - Mia Talerico

Disney has found another budding teen star in Bridgit Mendler, who’s easily the best thing about the sprightly new sitcom “Good Luck Charlie,” a surprisingly refreshing throwback to ABC’s “TGIF”-style sitcoms of old. Using a well-worn but clever device to frame the episodes — with Mendler’s Teddy taping a video diary for her new baby sister, essentially warning her about the rest of the family — it’s the kind of premise likely to resonate among the Disney Channel’s “tween” target audience without making their parents run screaming for the hills.

The addition of a baby has added to the turmoil around the Duncan household, what with bug-exterminator Bob (Eric Allan Kramer) and nurse Amy (Leigh-Allyn Baker) both working and already raising three older kids: the aforementioned Teddy, her slightly older brother PJ (Jason Dolley) and 10-year-old Gabe (Bradley Steven Perry), who resents having been dethroned as the youngest.

“You ruined my life,” he tells Charlie in the video diary, later raiding a neighbor’s kitchen after complaining that nobody has bothered to feed him.

Created by Phil Baker and Drew Vaupen, “Charlie” hardly pushes sitcom boundaries. The premiere, for example, finds Teddy trying to get some alone time with a cute boy during a study date, only to have the family experience some new mishap each time he begins edging closer to her on the couch.

Still, it’s all handled pleasantly enough, from Kramer’s read on the hoary stereotype of the over-his-head sitcom dad conspiring with the kids to hide his ineptitude from his spouse to the highly relatable feeling of kids being overlooked when new siblings arrive.

Tellingly, both Mendler and Dolley are homegrown talents (she on “Wizards of Waverly Place,” he on “Cory in the House”), reflecting the Disney Channel’s knack for identifying young performers and rolling them from one project to the next, in a fashion reminiscent of the old studio system. And while there’s nothing remotely new about “Good Luck Charlie,” given how smoothly the pilot (shrewdly scheduled to follow “High School Musical 3”) goes down, one suspects the channel has again contributed to its own good fortune.

Good Luck Charlie

Disney Channel, Sun. April 4, 8:30 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by It's a Laugh Prods. Executive producers, Phil Baker, Drew Vaupen, Dan Staley; co-executive producer, Christopher Vane; supervising producers, Erika Kaestle, Patrick McCarthy; producer, Pixie Wespiser; director, Shelley Jensen; writers, Vaupen, Baker;

Crew: camera, John Simmons; production designer, Glenda Rovello; editor, Andy Zall; music, Stephen R. Phillips, Tim P.; casting, Sally Stiner, Barbie Block. 30 MIN.

Cast: Teddy - Bridgit Mendler PJ - Jason Dolley Gabe - Bradley Steven Perry Amy - Leigh-Allyn Baker Bob - Eric Allan Kramer Charlie - Mia Talerico

More TV

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • Michael Che Defends Kevin Hart on

    Michael Che Ribs Academy Over Kevin Hart Controversy on 'SNL'

    Kevin Hart may have alienated some in Hollywood over his recently resurfaced homophobic tweets, but that didn’t stop “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che from cracking some jokes in support of Hart on Dec. 8’s “Saturday Night Live.” After briefly recapping that Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after the 2011 tweets came to light, [...]


    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Jason Momoa"

    Robert De Niro Appears as Robert Mueller in 'Saturday Night Live' Cold Open

    Robert De Niro made a surprise appearance as special counsel Robert Mueller in “Saturday Night Live’s” cold open. De Niro popped out of a closet in a sketch that skewered President Donald Trump and the mounting legal pressure Mueller’s investigation has put on many of Trump’s associates. Alex Moffatt played Eric Trump in a bedtime-story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content