×

TV Review: ‘Sean Saves the World’

Sean Hayes vehicle should focus on saving itself, especially if it drags down 'Michael J. Fox'

With:

Sean Hayes, Linda Lavin, Thomas Lennon, Megan Hilty, Samantha Isler, Echo Kellum

Furthering NBC’s goal of dialing back the clock to happier days, “Sean Saves the World” brings Sean Hayes back to Thursday nights, joining Michael J. Fox to spread out a blanket of nostalgia. Game as he is, however, the show is a tired litany of setups and rim-shots, with Hayes as a single parent grappling with the demands of working for an eccentric boss and raising a 14-year-old daughter. If the actor helped break ground on “Will & Grace,” all he saves here is the TV-given right to roll out retreads.

Hayes’ Sean has gone from “Fun Weekend Dad” to full-time father, which is doubly stressful because his company’s persnickety, humor-challenged new owner (“Reno 911’s” Thomas Lennon) is completely unsympathetic about off-job responsibilities. Moreover, he gets lip from his hypercritical mom (Linda Lavin), and questions from his kid (Samantha Isler) — like how he sired her when it turns out he’s gay — that provoke the customary stammering responses.

Created by Victor Fresco, the show seeks to show off Hayes’ versatility, including big physical gags and broad comedy. And while one could forgive the pilot for failing to strike a single original note as it sets up the premise, it’s harder to get past the fact that there’s almost nary a funny one.

Nor do subsequent episodes much improve matters, as Sean must decide whether to let mom or his best gal pal (“Smash’s” Megan Hilty) take his daughter bra shopping, while in episode three, he worries about the kid’s whereabouts as he braves going on a date.

NBC will position the show at 9 p.m., presumably to give Fox’s eponymous vehicle a better chance of finding an audience and bridging the gap into “Parenthood” at 9:30. Still, if “Sean Saves the World” looks like it’s falling on its face as the linchpin of a revised Thursday block consisting of three new sitcoms, one suspects the network won’t sit idly by for long before making some kind of move.

Hayes has never exactly been known as a model of restraint (that was the fun of his “Will & Grace” role), but the mugging felt more tolerable in supporting turns. In what almost feels like an unintended joke, Hilty was a late addition to the cast after they shared a “Smash” story arc in which her character gets saddled with a hammy star, played by Hayes.

“My boss is being a total di — difficult guy,” Sean says to his daughter, laboring to clean up his language, to the approving roars of sweetened laughter.

Much like “Sean Saves the World” is total dr — er, dreary comedy. And while Hayes might represent another link to NBC’s “Must-See TV” days, there’s simply precious little here worth seeing.

TV Review: 'Sean Saves the World'

(Series; NBC, Thurs. Oct. 3, 9 p.m.)

Production:

Filmed in Los Angeles by Hazy Mills Prods. and Garfield Grove in association with Universal Television.

Crew:

Executive producers, Victor Fresco, Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner, Marc Buckland, James Burrows; co-executive producers, Claudia Lonow, Michael Ross; supervising producer, Matt Ward; producer, Mark Solakian; director, Burrows; writer, Fresco; camera, Gary Baum; production designer, Wendell Johnson; editor, Chris Poulos; music, Scott Clausen; casting, Brett Greenstein, Collin Daniel. 30 MIN.

Cast:

Sean Hayes, Linda Lavin, Thomas Lennon, Megan Hilty, Samantha Isler, Echo Kellum

More TV

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Returns to Air As ITV Defends Treatment of Caroline Flack

    ‘Love Island’ was back on air Monday for the first time since the death of former host Caroline Flack on Feb. 15. Amid the reality series’ return, broadcaster ITV insists it supported the star after she was removed from the show. Monday night’s episode began somberly with narrator Iain Stirling providing voiceover over scenes of [...]

  • Tiffany BooneEntertainment Weekly Pre-SAG Party, Arrivals,

    Actor Tiffany Boone Addresses Her Decision to Quit 'The Chi'

    Actor Tiffany Boone addressed her exit from “The Chi,” the Showtime series she departed in November 2018 after making harassment allegations against her former co-star Jason Mitchell. Mitchell was fired from the show last May as a result of intimidation and abuse accusations made by Boone and showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis. Mitchell was subsequently dismissed [...]

  • Amazon Prime nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for

    Amazon Prime Nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for Germany, France and the Netherlands

    Amazon Prime Video has acquired the first season of series “Russian Affairs” for distribution in Germany, France and the Netherlands, from Russia’s Start Studios. The eight-part drama that follows the lives of Russia’s elite and those who aspire to that position is set in contemporary Moscow. Under the title “Gold Diggers,” the series was broadcast [...]

  • MODEL RELEASED Mother with baby, 1

    Channel 4 Orders ‘Baby Surgeons’ From Wonderhood Studios

    U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has commissioned Wonderhood Studios for a documentary series with the working title “Baby Surgeons.” The series will explore the journeys parents go through to save their babies during complex pregnancies and will feature cutting-edge baby surgeries, some performed inside the womb. It will also use CGI, MRI and Ultrasound to enhance [...]

  • Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should

    Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should Be Free to Merge

    The CEO of German media giant Bertelsmann has said its RTL Group TV division should be allowed to merge with German rival ProSiebenSat.1 and called for a loosening of E.U. antitrust regulations in order to better stave off intensifying competition from U.S. streaming giants. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung published on [...]

  • Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following

    Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following Reports of Major Cuts

    A war of words around the future of the BBC continued on Monday amid reports of severe cutbacks to the U.K. public broadcaster. The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that Downing Street, the seat of the U.K. government, was planning to replace the annual BBC license fee with a subscription service; sell most of [...]

  • Stanley Tucci

    Stanley Tucci to Host BBC Radio 4 Series 'The Californian Century'

    Actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci will front series “The Californian Century,” set to air on BBC Radio 4. Tucci will play a cynical screenwriter who narrates the stories of ten people who helped build California over the last 100 years. They include Francis Boggs, the first person to direct a full movie in California; Hattie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content