×

TV Review: ‘Schitt’s Creek’

With:
Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy

Seldom has a title been more descriptive than “Schitt’s Creek,” a tired reunion of SCTV’s Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara that makes a case for putting a cap on Canadian imports. Arriving in the U.S. on the rebranded Pop network, the half-hour series — created by Levy and his son Daniel — essentially builds a “Green Acres”-like show (with a pinch, perhaps, of “Arrested Development”) around a slim and juvenile pun, hoping the auspices and talent will carry through. Perhaps it will for Pop’s undemanding purposes, but that odor emanating from “Schitt’s Creek” is, at best, stale.

Representing the first scripted exercise from Pop (the channel formerly known as TV Guide Network), the CBC-commissioned series stars the elder Levy as the wealthy Johnny Rose, who suddenly finds himself impoverished after being cleaned out by his business manager. As a consequence, Rose and his soap-opera star wife Moira (O’Hara) and two entitled grown kids, David (Daniel Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy), are forced to move to the town they bought as a joke because of its name, taking up residence in the fleabag motel.

They are pestered, naturally, by the mayor, Roland Schitt, played by Chris Elliott in what’s merely the latest permutation on an easily riled loon that he’s done to the point of exhaustion.

Various indignities follow, which is mostly just an excuse for Levy and O’Hara to sport pained expressions, without exhibiting much of the improvisational wit for which they’re known or have displayed, say, in Christopher Guest’s films. When Johnny tries to buck up everyone’s spirits by saying, “I feel good about this,” well, by the time episode one’s in the can, that makes one of us.

As for the kids, they spend the previewed installments much like their parents, exasperated by these strange new circumstances and completely oblivious to how absurd their privileged, bratty demands and whining must sound to the motel’s bemused desk attendant.

Sitcoms have long reveled in this fish-out-of-water formula, but almost every gag here — starting with the name — is of the low-brow variety, such as a town sign in which the early inhabitants appear to be engaging in an activity that wouldn’t be featured on most brochures.

While one can appreciate why Levy would relish the opportunity to work with his progeny, this is the sort of slapdash exercise that can give nepotism a bad name. And if it’s similarly easy to grasp how a start-up like Pop would be drawn to the auspices — and to the Canadian partnership as a means of potentially making a small splash on the cheap — “Schitt’s Creek” leaves everyone concerned looking adrift without much of a clue, much less a paddle.

TV Review: 'Schitt's Creek'

(Series; Pop, Wed. Feb. 11, 10 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Toronto by Not a Real Company Prods. and ITV Studios.

Crew: Executive producers, Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Andrew Barnsley, Fred Levy, Ben Feigin; co-executive producers, Michael Short, Kevin White; producer, Colin Brunton; director, Jerry Ciccoritti; writer, Daniel Levy; camera, Gerald Packer; production designer, Brendan Smith; editor, Trevor Ambrose; casting, Lisa Parasyn, Jon Comerford. 30 MIN.

Cast: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy

More TV

  • Hasan Minhaj

    Nahnatchka Khan, Hasan Minhaj, 'Just Mercy' Cast Talk Inclusion

    “Always Be My Maybe” was “satisfying” to create because it gave focus to two characters that wouldn’t typically be portrayed as romantic leads, said director Nahnatchka Khan of her Netflix film at the CAA Amplify conference in Ojai, sitting on a panel with comedian Hasan Minhaj and NBA star Chris Paul. “We’re all big fans [...]

  • Sebastian Maniscalco

    Sebastian Maniscalco to Host MTV VMAs

    MTV has announced that comedian, actor and best-selling author Sebastian Maniscalco will host the 2019 “VMAs” live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Monday, Aug. 26. Last year, Maniscalco published his best selling book “Stay Hungry,” followed by a stand up tour of the same name. The comedian has also sold out [...]

  • T-Pain, Faheem Rashad Najm. T-Pain performs

    TV News Roundup: 'T-Pain's School of Business' Sets August Premiere

    In today’s roundup, “T-Pain’s School of Business” sets an August 6 premiere on Fuse, and OWN greenlights a new talks series. EXECUTIVE NEWS Matt Brodlie is leaving his role as director of original film at Netflix to join the Disney+ content marketing team as senior vice president of international content development. In his new role, [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs For Screens: Labrinth on Scoring HBO’s Drake-Produced Drama 'Euphoria'

    British singer-songwriter Labrinth (née Timothy Lee McKenzie) has been having one of the biggest years of his nearly decade-long career, from the April release of his collaborative album with L.S.D. (a.k.a. Labrinth Sia & Diplo) to his starring role in the latest campaign for MINI, where he reinterprets Cole Porter’s cowboy classic “Don’t Fence Me [...]

  • The Office

    'The Office' to Stream Exclusively on NBCUniversal Service Beginning in 2021

    NBCUniversal announced Tuesday that it will begin streaming “The Office” exclusively on its standalone streaming service beginning in 2021. The popular comedy series will leave Netflix once the current deal with NBCU expires at the end of 2020, the same year that NBCU plans to launch its ad-supported streaming service. All nine seasons of the [...]

  • 'Lincoln Lawyer' Series in Development at

    'Lincoln Lawyer' Series in Development at CBS from David E. Kelley

    David E. Kelley is returning once more to the court of legal dramas. CBS has issued a series production commitment for “The Lincoln Lawyer,” with Kelley in position to pen and executive produce. Based on the series of bestselling novels by Michael Connelly, the show hails from A+E Studios in association with CBS TV Studios. [...]

  • Patrick Somerville'Maniac' TV Show premiere, London,

    'Maniac' Creator to Helm 'Made for Love,' 'Station Eleven' for WarnerMedia

    “Maniac” creator Patrick Somerville has signed on to helm two new series, “Made for Love” and “Station Eleven,” for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service. “Made for Love,” which will be executive produced and directed by S.J. Clarkson, is a 10-episode, straight-to-series adaptation based on the novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting. The half-hour comedy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content