Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show – in this case, The Detour – in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Show: The Detour, TBS in the U.S., Mondays at 9/8c
(I couldn’t find information on a Canadian broadcast at this time, but let me know if I’ve missed something and I’ll add it!)
The Pedigree: The show was created, written, and produced by The Daily Show‘s Jason Jones and Samantha Bee. Steve Pink (Telenovela) directed the pilot.
The Cast & How You Know Them: Along with Jones, The Detour stars Natalie Zea (Justified), Ashley Gerasimovich (Louie), and Liam Carroll (Neighbors).
The Premise: A father, for reasons revealed to both the audience and his wife in the course of the show, takes his family on a disastrous road trip.
What Works: The cast has good chemistry, and the family dynamics – especially between the two siblings and between the mother and her children – feel realistic. And I don’t want to spoil specifics, but the way this was written set up more mystery than a comedy pilot usually has, which at least made me curious to find out what’s going on. (Frankly, I’m probably curious enough to look up some reviews later but not to watch more, but your mileage [ha!] may vary.)
What Doesn’t: A lot of the pilot revolved around the husband tricking his wife and making decisions for her, which turned me off immediately. Aside from that, it’s just … mostly not very funny, especially when it gets into regional stereotypes of the places the family visits. TBS aired the first two episodes back to back, but after I finished watching the first I realized the idea of watching the second just sounded like a slog.
Our Favorite Line: “You know, I tried to figure out a way to not go through Pennsylvania.” “Like on an airplane?”
You Might Like This if you like darker family comedies, or Jones and Bee’s previous work.
If You’re Interested: TBS is rerunning the first two episodes a bunch of times this week, so check your local listings or find them on demand or on the TBS site. Then set your DVR for Monday at 9/8c.
(Photo courtesy of TBS.)