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‘Crazy’ adds spark to an otherwise uninspired season
Crazy isn’t the half of it.
It’s crazy that, for the second straight year, the little, once-disposable CW should have the most promising pilot of the new fall broadcast season with the suitably off-kilter Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Unfortunately, it’s also crazy that CW’s victory (following its claim of last year’s top two spots with Jane the Virgin and The
Flash) is based as much on its competitors’ failings as its own success. Don’t get me wrong: If all goes well, Crazy could truly be a show to cherish, and it may not be the only happy surprise.
Still, it’s shaping up to be a lackluster fall, with a less prominent display of diversity than last year and a more depressing array of shows that feel like revivals or rote work.
Thank goodness, then, for the big, wild swing of Crazy, a weekly musical comedy starring multitalented newcomer Rachel Bloom as a career woman driven slightly mad by love. Created by Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, who wrote the screenplay for
The Devil Wears Prada, Crazy is sweet, sharp, ambitious — and as likely to face-plant as it is to soar, because that’s how big swings work. But it’s a risk that seems to be worth taking, and following.
While CW is betting on a newcomer, Fox, NBC and CBS are putting their fates in the hands of accomplished veterans. Fall’s funniest sitcom pilot, Fox’s The
Grinder, casts a very amusing Rob Lowe as a TV star who figures playing a lawyer on a long-running series is as good as being one. So when his show gets canceled, he joins the family firm — to the delight of his father (William Devane) and the indignant, sputtering consternation of his brother (Fred Savage).
In Grinder’s more conventional companion Grandfathered, John Stamos plays a playboy restaurateur who discovers he has a son and a granddaughter. The part requires Stamos to be charming, good-looking and seemingly ageless, which is to say he’s pretty much perfectly cast.
For NBC’s intriguing Blindspot, the big name is behind the scenes: producer Greg Berlanti ( Arrow and The Flash). This time, he wanders deep into the overcrowded world of conspiracies and ongoing mysteries, centered on an amnesiac woman (Jaimie Alexander) whose tattoo-covered body is one big living and breathing set of clues. Berlanti also is behind CBS’
Supergirl, whose biggest name is that of the title character, winningly played by Melissa Benoist. We may be at the point of superhero overload, but if any show can cut through the comic-book clutter, it could be this one.
All pilots are works in progress — and even series that get off to well-constructed starts have been known to collapse.
Still, whenever pessimism starts to set in, I think of Crazy’s loopy Disney-style production number salute to West Covina, Calif. (“Just two hours from the beach, four in traffic!”) — complete with Bloom being hoisted into the air on a giant pretzel. And once more, optimism reigns.
Yeah, I know. Crazy.