×

Malibu Country

Normally, screening a pilot yields about a page of notes. By contrast, sitting through "Malibu Country," ABC's twangy and rusty Reba sitcom vehicle, produced nothing but an empty pad.

With:
Reba - Reba
Lillie Mae - Lily Tomlin
Kim - Sara Rue
Cash - Justin Prentice
June - Juliette Angelo
Geoffrey - Jai Rodriguez

Normally, screening a pilot yields about a page of notes. By contrast, sitting through “Malibu Country,” ABC’s twangy and rusty Reba sitcom vehicle, produced nothing but an empty pad. Granted, nobody is looking to reinvent the wheel or even the pickup truck with this Friday-night companion to Tim Allen’s equally creaky “Last Man Standing,” but the result is even less ambitious — and has less to recommend it — than the country singer’s old WB show. This is the fall’s final new network series, and nobody can accuse ABC of saving the best for last.

Malibu” continues ABC’s country-themed programming strategy, which has already exhibited mild promise with “Nashville,” a music-based drama. Like “Nashville,” this latest show incorporates “He done me wrong” songs into the formula, with Reba playing Reba (presumably to cut down on confusion at the craft-services table), a successful singer who gave up her career, then walked out on her cheatin’, good-for-nothin’ husband after discovering his infidelities.

Taking refuge at what once was the family’s vacation home in Malibu, she brings her brood West, including stock kids seemingly ordered from the Sears catalog and her wacky momma, played, inexplicably, by Lily Tomlin, channeling Irene Ryan from “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Not surprisingly, the kids are a trifle gaga about their new surroundings, with all those Hollywood-beautiful types; there’s a ditsy New Age neighbor (Sara Rue), because California stereotypes are every bit as lazy as Southern ones; and the little question of getting Reba back into the studio, for all the obvious reasons.

Most of the producers are “Reba” alumni, but the series was actually created — again, inexplicably — by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. Reba (who has shed her surname as a performer, but keeps it as a producer) has always proved a natural presence onscreen, but every beat of the new show is so stale and familiar the audience can practically sing along to the punchlines — which, perhaps, is the point.

There’s nothing wrong with the comedy equivalent of comfort food, and ABC’s goals for the hour are clearly modest — aimed at an audience more apt to be home munching fried fare on a Friday night. Perhaps they’ll turn up in sufficient numbers, but for anyone with slightly higher expectations who dares venture into “Malibu Country,” sweet dreams are not made of this.

Malibu Country

ABC, Fri. Nov. 2, 8:30 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Nest Egg Prods. and Acme Prods. in association with ABC Studios. Executive producers, Kevin Abbott, Michael Hanel, Mindy Schultheis, Reba McEntire, Narvel Blackstock, David A. Stewart, Pamela Williams, John Pasquin; producer, Jay Kleckner; director, Pasquin; writer, Abbott; story by Stewart, Dave Harris.

Crew: Camera, Don Morgan; production designer, Glenda Rovello; editor, Pam Marshall; casting, Sheila Guthrie, Suzanne Goddard-Smythe. 30 MIN.

Cast: Reba - Reba
Lillie Mae - Lily Tomlin
Kim - Sara Rue
Cash - Justin Prentice
June - Juliette Angelo
Geoffrey - Jai Rodriguez

More TV

  • Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

    How to Watch Packers-49ers Online: Live Stream

    Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are looking for their first Super Bowl championship in nearly a decade. But first, they need to beat a mighty San Francisco 49ers team in the 2020 NFC Championship Game. Held at Levi Stadium in San Francisco, the Packers-Niners game kicks off at 3:40 p.m. PT and will [...]

  • Michael Ellenberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon,

    'The Morning Show' Team on Steve Carell's Season 2 Future, Season 1 Criticism

    Although the first season of “The Morning Show” ended on Steve Carell’s former news anchor character, Mitch Kessler, who was fired at the top of the season amid sexual misconduct allegations, finally feeling the weight of what he did, there is no guarantee the second season will see him learn, grow or be around at [...]

  • Kumail Nanjiani

    Kumail Nanjiani on Not Wanting 'Little America' to Focus on the Political System

    Apple TV Plus’s anthology drama “Little America” may not be about politics, but by telling tales of immigrants in a polarizing time, many people feel there is a political undercurrent to its themes. “It is amazing that we are living in a time where kindness, empathy, humanity and shared experience feels like a political statement,” [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Renews 'Mythic Quest:

    Apple TV Plus Renews 'Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet' Ahead of Series Premiere

    Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Megan Ganz’s “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” has been renewed for a second season ahead of its series debut, Apple TV Plus announced Sunday. The half-hour comedy follows a team of developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. It was inspired by McElhenney’s visit to Ubisoft’s [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Home Before Dark

    Apple TV Plus Mystery 'Home Before Dark' Renewed for Season 2 Ahead of Series Premiere

    “Home Before Dark,” Apple TV Plus’ mystery series inspired by the real-life reporting of 9-year-old investigative journalist Hilde Lysiak, has nabbed an early Season 2 renewal ahead of its series premiere on April 3. Directed and executive produced by Jon M. Chu and created by showrunners and exec producers Dana Fox and Dara Resnik, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content