Pilot Perception: Malibu Country

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: Malibu Country, ABC, Fridays at 8:30/7:30c (and CityTV in Canada)

The Pedigree: The show is executive produced by the people who brought you Reba, including, of course, Reba herself. Some of them also worked on The Exes and Retired at 35.

The Cast & How You Know Them: You know star Reba McEntire from music or her previous sitcom Reba. The show also stars Lily Tomlin (The West Wing, I Heart Huckabees), Justin Prentice (Winx Club, iCarly), Juliette Angelo (New Year’s Eve), Sara Rue (Less Than Perfect, Rules of Engagement), and Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye).

The Premise: After her country music star husband cheats on her, Reba moves her mother and teenaged children from Nashville to Malibu and tries to restart her own music career.

A Taste:

What Works: The basic premise isn’t awful, and some of the culture shock stuff has potential but isn’t handled very well here. Reba McEntire is very charismatic, and Lily Tomlin is an amazing actress. But they’re given very little to work with. I did like the song that Reba wrote during the episode – I’d probably be more likely to buy music from the show than to actually watch it again.

What Doesn’t: The writing is flat and the jokes range from stale to offensive. Most of the acting was pretty wooden, though I don’t see how it could be anything else, given the script. The writing doesn’t have the nuance or sensitivity to make the culture shock aspect interesting or funny instead of cliched and stereotypical. I liked Reba so I was hoping I’d like this as well, but this lacks any of the charm or heart that made Reba what it was.

Our Favorite Line: “I know I have sinned against God and my wife with that woman, so I decided to suspend the rest of my These Vows Are Sacred tour . . .”

You Might Like This if you’re a really big fan of Reba the show or Reba the person, I guess, though it doesn’t have much else to recommend it.

If You’re Interested: Watch the pilot on ABC.com or Hulu, then tune in next week for episode two.

(Photo courtesy of ABC.)

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