Pilot Perception: The Goodwin Games

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: The Goodwin Games, Fox in the U.S. and City TV in Canada, Mondays at 8:30/7:30c

The Pedigree: The show is executive produced by Carter Bays, Chris Harris, and Craig Thomas, all of How I Met Your Mother.

The Cast & How You Know Them: The Goodwin Games stars Becki Newton (Ugly Betty, How I Met Your Mother), Scott Foley (Felicity, Scandal), T.J. Miller (Gravity Falls), Melissa Tang (Beginners, Harry’s Law), and Kat Foster (‘Til Death, Royal Pains).

The Premise: Three estranged siblings are called back together when their father dies – and they discover he’s set up an elaborate game to control who wins his secret fortune.

A Taste:

What Works: The premise is fun, and I’m always a sucker for good sibling stories. I thought the flashbacks to the unconventional childhood that set all this up were a good addition. And those who like games will probably enjoy that aspect – I’ve already gotten one idea for a game that would be fun to try with my family.

What Doesn’t: The characters are all drawn quite broadly so far, and a lot of the dialogue in the pilot is cringe-worthy. I also kept getting distracted by trying to figure out the legalities of this non-traditional estate planning, but if you’re lucky you’ll be less preoccupied with that than I was, because it’s really not the point.

Our Favorite Line: “Not to brag, but I did quite a few push-ups in prison.” “Anything that ends with ‘in prison’ isn’t bragging.”

You Might Like This if you like games, stories about adult siblings, or shows about people returning to their hometowns. This show is from the team behind HIMYM, and while the content is different, the feel of the show and the format of using a sitcom to move toward a big reveal (here the end of the game rather than the mother) are similar.

If You’re Interested: The Goodwin Games premieres on Monday, May 20th at 8:30/7:30c on Fox and City TV. Or get ahead of the game (no pun intended) and watch this weekend on Hulu.

(Photo courtesy of Fox.)

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