'Sons of Tucson' Receiving Solid Reviews Prior to Series Premiere
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Thread: 'Sons of Tucson' Receiving Solid Reviews Prior to Series Premiere

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    Thumbs up 'Sons of Tucson' Receiving Solid Reviews Prior to Series Premiere




    Television critics are releasing their reviews of the pilot of Justin Berfield's J2TV's "Sons of Tucson" in advance of tonight's series premiere and it is garnering some solid, positive reviews. Below is just a small sample of the commendations the new show and it's stars are receiving.

    The Hollywood Reporter: "Bottom Line: An unconventional family comedy mixes warmth with a sly wit."

    Chicago Sun-Times: "The jokes are often as juvenile as the juveniles, which makes for some relaxing sitcom viewing. If the writers can stay away from any sort of tenderness, they might have a winner on their hands."

    Boston Globe: "Ron is played by Tyler Labine, the clown who was one of the best things about “Reaper’’ and “Invasion,’’ and he keeps this show in comic motion, too...He also plays the show’s physical comedy with a light touch, for instance when he spots a $20 bill on the floor, steps on it, and slides it away. He steals the money, and, ultimately, he steals the show."

    Los Angeles Times: "The kids, all excellently played, are arrayed much as they were in "Malcolm"...Ultimately, this is another in a long line of movies and shows in which immature adults are forced to grow up by the presence of suddenly acquired needful children (whom he will teach to be children)...But the governing impulses here are more sardonic than sentimental, and this being television, the usual end may be forestalled indefinitely, and happily so."

    Vitemo.com: "The personalities and relationships of the Gunderson brothers are the driving forces of the show... All in all, with the combination of unique characters, hilarious story lines, and the prime positioning during a night when the audience is looking for laughs, Sons of Tucson certainly delivers."

    Collider: "Of the show’s adolescent stars, Stockham shines the brightest... If you are a fan of Tyler Labine’s schtick–a perfectly understandable position–Tucson is for you."

    Boston Herald:"Labine is essentially playing the same character he played on CW’s cult favorite “Reaper,” but his wiseacre act shows no sign of getting old... The boys, too, are well cast, especially Dolce as an 11-year-old about to turn 70 any second, so heavy are the responsibilities he carries... “Sons” doesn’t shine yet, but it could if the writers embrace their loony wild childs."

    Entertainment Weekly "If you like the laid-back-dude vibe given off by Reaper's Tyler Labine, you'll enjoy this nicely ratty sitcom."

    Don't miss the series premiere of "Sons of Tucson" tonight at 9:30/8:30 central on FOX.
    Last edited by Ryebeach; Mar 14, 2010 at 12:28 PM.



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    For some balance, it has had a bad review from USAToday.
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    Default My review: Sons of Tucson

    Grade: B

    Last nite, Nick at Nite re-ran the MITM pilot, and I had forgotten the zip of the pacing, the hyper-editing with sound effects, and the great use of music to that show.

    So it was a real pleasure to finally see SONS OF TUCSON, directed by longtime MITM director, Todd Holland, with a long-missed MITM-like zip. The premise is interesting, and the show has a lot of possibilities. It did make me wonder what THE MIDDLE would look like if it were under the same directorship as SONS OF TUCSON.

    The only problem comparing the pilot to MITM and SONS OF TUCSON is that SONS is missing a very important ingredient - likable characters. You may have a dysfunctional family or an odd premise, but to make a TV show last, you have to like or identify with a character. For SONS' premiere, I didn't really click with any of the characters or the premise - where 3 brothers rent a dad to get them enrolled in school and out of foster homes.

    I think the youngest brother, Robby (Benjamin Stockham), is going to steal the show. He's already got Dewey-like comic timing. At least in this first episode, the other 2 brothers are fairly passive and dull.

    Their new "dad" (Tyler Labine) seems like he'll have great comic potential, but this episode packed in a lot - maybe too much. We already have established a possible love interest (the school teacher), the oddball principal, the wussy boss, and a crazy grandma that reminded me of the MITM episode about the lonely old lady with a house full of cats....

    Anyway. merely my 2 cents. Looking forward to seeing where this show goes.
    Last edited by Movieye; Mar 15, 2010 at 01:47 AM.

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    I have to say, I found the pilot episode to be excessively fast-paced. I really struggled to actually keep up with everything that was going on in the episode because it jumped from scene to scene so fast. I think maybe they did try to do too much in one episode; they didn't seem to spend a lot of time introducing the characters and getting the audience familiar and comfortable with them (contrast that with the cold open of MITM's Pilot).

    It is obvious that Sons of Tucson has a lot of potential and there are clearly lots of talented people working on the show. I just hope that they slow it down just a little so we get a chance to really bond with the characters.

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    PeterU and Movieye, I hadn't read your opinions before viewing the Pilot - on purpose, to get a fresh impression, but you come up with a lot of the issues I feel I have with the start of this series. It's just based on viewing the Pilot, by the way.

    In all, the first episode didn't gel with me - so far. With all the violent slapstick and hard rock tunes, it looked (and sounded) extremely frantic and loud, as if they were cramming it full of jokes and action for fear of a single viewer getting bored. The whole situation with a couple of spoiled rich kids hiring a bum on the spot to play their dad without any of their backgrounds getting clear, with hardly any second thoughts or good questions asked, seemed very forced to me. Tyler Labine looks like a good, versatile actor though, but again, this is more about fast edits than having any space to create a character.

    With MITM, it was slapstick and absurd elements introduced into a believable, solid family setting, and with moments of reflection and 'room to breathe' thrown in too. Do producers have a problem today pacing series because slowing down equals losing viewers? Is it all because hysterical American and Japanese Nickelodeon cartoons are setting the pace for teen viewers?

    Here, the very issue of believability seems to be thrown out of the window to start off with, and there appears to be no centre of empathy. Who are we supposed to be identifying with? Ron the fake dad? The kids as a group? One of the kids? The kids look like scheming adults in kids' bodies once more - The Middle fares a lot better in that respect.

    Why can't Ron stay in the house? Are they such snotty bastards thay can't even give him a small room? The dialogues and action as such were sharp and swift, but without a good premise, it seems to be just torrents of random words and events, without a real framework to support it. The moments of tentative romance and sudden sympathy looked out of place among all the commotion too.
    Last edited by Richiepiep; Mar 29, 2010 at 09:04 PM.

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    Hey Richie - well the mildly good news is that Episode 3 is much better - IMHO - than the first 2 episodes. Obviously the writers and director change the entire feel.

    I was saying that the other series, THE MIDDLE, could be so much more lively if it had been directed by Todd Holland!

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    I've watched all 4 episodes so far by now, and knowing that the series didn't do well viewer-wise and is 'on hiatus', I have my preliminary opinion ready.

    First of all, generally speaking, I don't like the idea of a new series getting scrapped mid-season. Obviously some comedies or dramas need more time for viewers to catch on, because its subject matter or style is a bit difficult to appreciate or outlandish. Novel ideas need some time to sink in. It's really commercial interests that force a program to score big first time, which puts far too much pressure on new shows. What I can say for the series, is that it's well filmed, acted and edited, so at least it deserves a fair chance.

    I think the first two episode really killed the series, given this unfortunate state of commercial TV. So as not to let audience interest wane, the Pilot and episode 2 wasted no time introducing characters or backgrounds and used frenetic pacing, editing, slapstick and bursts of loud rock songs to give it an edgy, trendy appearance.

    I agree with Movieye that the problems with the series may be more fundamental though, because it lacks that one ingredient: heart. The kids and Ron are agitated, loud, scheming and wisecracking most of the time, with few, if any, redeeming charachteristics. That's not something an audience easily warms to.

    Moreover, the basic premise of rich, fully independent kids with a bum for a fake dad is hard to buy and not very well established, and the development has a lot of plot holes and characters going off the wall far too quickly, like Ron's old pal who turns into this obsessive burglar. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there's this very sympathetic, ostensibly down-to-earth and very normal teacher Maggie Morales, who nevertheless buys into all of Ron's crazy stories and grotesque excuses, as she's supposedly set up to become a 'love interest'! Those are hard points for the audience to swallow.

    I thought the third episode was well developed and directed, which I assume was due to Fred Savage's skills and feel for acting kids. That was a really well-timed and acted eppy. The 4th turned out pretty lame and disjointed again. I mean, what about the 'What up, slut' taunt?! I couldn't at all get where that came from, probably only a device to create a family rift to put the teacher's dinner date at risk!

    So to borrow an astute observation form Bryan Cranston, I think the writing is the problem, something I wouldn't have expected from Justin adn Todd Holland.
    Last edited by Richiepiep; Apr 22, 2010 at 08:13 PM.
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    How about nine-year-olds on Twitter, by the way?

    http://twitter.com/Benjstockham

    Rich
    All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in.
    I'm glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin.


    Beiß mein' Schorf, Blasenloch!

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    Default Sons of Tucson-inspired TV musings

    I've been thinking about Sons of Tucson lately, why I really didn't like it, or rather couldn't relate to it. It never raised more than an occasional brief smile (most of them for the 3rd episode), while watching of few episodes of the old The Adventures of Pete and Pete, from 1994, which I'd never seen before, made me laugh out loud and long effortlessly.

    Were my expectations too high, as they were based on the high standards of the MITM-team? I don't think so, in retrospect. Tucson is a well-mounted series, with a very professional, hard-working staff. Ultimately, I think it has everything to do with the tone of the series, as regards family-oriented sitcoms.

    I remember liking The Wonder Years, from the late Eighties, when I was a teenager. Now, essentially, this was a romanticized, wistful look at growing up in the late Sixties. The comedy of the series had a tone of gentle irony. Older brother Wayne Arnold was a sort of mini-Reese, and yes, kids could be dishonest and nasty, but never invariably or (deep-down) intentionally so. Accordingly, it also fitted in with the moralistic slant of previous TV sitcoms. It always appeared to end on a 'when I looked my dad in the eyes, I suddenly realized how hard life can be for blah-di-blah' observation, which could be rather annoying at times.

    Pete and Pete had a far more down-to-earth outlook, with lots of elements of the absurdity of so-called everyday life creeping in. Its tone had a sense of wonder and melancholy mixed with sarcasm and absurdity. It showed how pathetic teachers at school could be, and why on earth you were supposed to obey them. It exposed the silliness of the idea of vigorously upheld school honour and mascots, that New Year's resolutions were worthless, that parents could be completely clueless, and that the idea of father-and-son bonding was tentative at best. Still, this being a series aimed mainly at kids, they felt it necessary to end on a more-or-less moralistic denouement.

    Malcolm in the Middle, coming 5 years later, had the absurdity of 'normal' life at its core, and completely did away with the idea of sensible parents and angelic kids, and had no moralistic conclusion whatsoever, except that the family did always stick together, even in their bouts of lunacy, bad manners or downright nastiness. I guess this was the in fact 'realistic' (to me) atmosphere that pleased me the most, and why MITM is at the top of my list, although I sometimes long for the comforting, nostalgic, rose-coloured view of The Wonder Years and Pete and Pete.

    Finally, Sons of Tucson, coming in 2010, although it hasn't come to full fruition and perhaps never will, took the idea of MITM one step further. Its humour was no longer ironic or sarcastic, or absurdity lurking below the surface, but cynical and mean-spirited at its core. That's where the 'heart' gets lost. It seems to tap into the mood of the new millennium, where a terrorist attack could be around the corner, you learn to distrust your neighbours, lots of people have been obsessed with greed as their prime motive at the blatant expense of others, and one in two rather than one in three marriages break up. Even though this may be emblematic of the era, it's where I at least call it quits.

    It ties in with the development of TV drama, how the poetic surrealism of Twin Peaks turned into the sense of impending doom in Wild Palms, then impending horror and apocalypse of Carnivale, obsession with death in Dead Like Me and Six Feet Under, to the downright morbidity of the Hannibal Lecter-territory of Dexter.

    Similarly, cartoons have taken the long road from Disney sentimentality to the nihilistic shock value of South Park.

    I think it's a sign of the times, and it's a matter of taste what viewers will still be able to accept as entertaining and intriguing. I think I have been coming along for most of the ride, but I've drawn the line at some point.
    Last edited by Richiepiep; Apr 27, 2010 at 12:47 PM.
    All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in.
    I'm glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin.


    Beiß mein' Schorf, Blasenloch!

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