Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Show: Ben and Kate, FOX, Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c
The Pedigree: The semi-autobiographical show was created by Dana Fox (New Girl) and other EPs include Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope (New Girl, Touch). Writers of upcoming episodes include Alex Cuthbertson (Community), David Feeney (According to Jim, 2 Broke Girls), and Matt Fusfeld (American Dad, Community).
The Cast & How You Know Them: Ben and Kate stars Nat Faxon (Happy Hour, The Cleveland Show), Dakota Johnson (The Five-Year Engagement), Lucy Punch (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), Echo Kellum (Hot in Cleveland), and Maggie Elizabeth Jones (We Bought a Zoo).
The Premise: An immature but well-meaning man moves in with his super-conscientious sister Kate to help take care of her little girl Maddie, and adorable hijinks – as well as real family bonding – ensue.
What Works: I wasn’t expecting much of this one, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. The main characters are likeable, there were several jokes that actually made me laugh, and, most importantly to me, the history and dynamics between the characters were intriguing enough to make me want to keep watching. I was worried that Ben would just be too crazy and immature, but he did some things in the pilot that made me realize how much he really loves Kate and Maddie, and that won me over.
What Doesn’t: Ben could tip over the line from carelessly fun to annoying pretty quickly, so we’ll have to wait and see where that goes. And I’m always skeptical of shows relying a lot on precocious kids, but this one is pretty darn charming so far. The “Ben and Kate are so different, and isn’t it hilarious?” motif could be a bit one-note, but we’ll have to see if it manages to evolve beyond that.
Our Favorite Line: “You’re so naive. You’re only five, but you’re very naive.”
You Might Like This if you like stories about unconventional families and strong sibling bonds. Or adorable children. Or people overcoming their differences to try to help each other.
If You’re Interested: Ben and Kate premieres tonight (Tuesday) on FOX at 8:30/7:30c.
(Photo courtesy of FOX.)