NVTV 28: A to Z "E is for Ectoplasm" and The McCarthys "Pilot"

Quick thoughts today, as I'm dangerously hungover and neither one of these shows did anything interesting enough to spend much time on. 

With Manhattan Love Story dead and buried, A to Z is now the worst of the new sitcoms; as ever, this week had a few (but not enough) funny lines, a tremendous cast being totally wasted, and a plot line that completely sold out more than half of its cast. If I may paraphrase a classic Sports Night moment, show runner Ben Queen's demonstrating an almost total lack of understanding about how to get the best from talented people. He's got the second or third strongest cast of the new sitcoms (behind Bad Judge and arguably Selfie or Mulaney) but he gives them nothing to work with. Ditto a very deep writer's room; I don't know if the writers are being over-edited or just serving a bizarre and counter-productive agenda, but their resumes suggest they really ought to be putting out a much better product. The fact that I dislike this episode is doubly damning because I am the world's biggest mark for Ghostbusters references, and this episode was full of them. Bustin' makes me feel good, but watching A to Z just makes me feel sad. 

Meanwhile, The McCarthys was nowhere near as bad as I expected. It's a throwback multi-cam show that actually mostly works for what it is, the problem is just that what it is isn't terribly interesting Still, the cast is strong (especially Norm alum Laurie Metcalf and lead Tyler Ritter), the jokes hit more than they miss, and the laugh track is not as intrusive here as it is on Mulaney. The McCarthys isn't a show I'll likely ever love, but I'm also not really the audience it wants, and for what it is, it does its job. If the writing stays sharp (or sharpens), it'll even be enjoyable for somebody like me, albeit with a  much lower ceiling than a lot of the other promising-but-troubled shows I've been reviewing. Mild thumbs up on a personal level, regular thumbs up at an attempted objective level.