Pilot Perception: The Crazy Ones

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 Crazy Ones, CBS in the U.S. and CityTV in Canada, Thursdays at 9/8c

The Pedigree: The show comes from David E. Kelley and Bill D’Elia (Ally McBeal, The Practice, etc.), who executive produce with Dean Lorey (Arrested Development). Jason Winer (Modern Family) directed the pilot.

The Cast & How You Know Them: The Crazy Ones stars Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy), James Wolk (Mad Men), Amanda Setton (Gossip Girl), and Hamish Linklater (The Newsroom).

The Premise: Unorthodox advertising genius Simon Roberts runs his powerful firm with his focused, organized daughter Sydney and the rest of their team.

A Taste:

What Works: I found this pilot to be thoroughly charming, and it also had a few moments that made almost fall out of my chair laughing – I probably laughed harder at this one than at any of the other new comedies so far. I really liked Williams’ and Gellar’s father/daughter chemistry, and they had a few touching moments that really got me and kept this from just being meaningless goofiness. The supporting cast is extremely talented as well, and the whole group is instantly believable as a set of coworkers who have known each other for a long time. Kelly Clarkson guest stars in the pilot, which obviously won’t be on ongoing element of the show, but the stuff they gave her to do worked so well that it made me hopeful about other future guest stars. (She has a certain bit with Wolk – well, you’ll know it when you get there.)

What Doesn’t: Robin Williams is . . . very Robin Williamsy, and even though I like him, it was just a little too much at times. His insanity is obviously a big part of his character, but he’ll have to be toned down just a tad going forward, both to make it believable that his character is as successful as he is and to prevent the audience from just getting WIlliams overload. And some of the rest of the cast, especially Wolk and Linklater, are so good that it will do the show a disservice if they just get drowned out by Williams.

Our Favorite Line: “Guys, I know what you’re doing.” “Really? We don’t.”

You Might Like This if you like Robin Williams and his usual shtick. I know that sounds reductive, but he’s such a huge part of this that if you don’t find him funny and charming, you probably won’t be able to stomach the show. But if you do like him, and also like wacky workplace comedies with hints of family drama, you should definitely give this a try.

If You’re Interested: CBS is rerunning the pilot on Saturday at 8/7c. Or catch it online at CBS or CityTV.

(Photo courtesy of CBS.)

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