Monday, May 31, 2010

100 Questions sparks a few more

     NBC's newest sitcom is 100 Questions.  Premiering last Thursday with "What Brought You Here?", it's a sitcom with a definite number of episodes already set: 100.  Each episode concerns one of the 100 questions a dating service asks our main character, and she gives lengthy answers in flashback.  Considering it's a summer series, it seems unlikely that it will complete it's goal, though to be fair, Seinfeld was a summer show.  So was the brilliant Better Off Ted, although it only got to run eleven episodes during the normal tv year.  But that's the problem.  If it is soon canceled, as it is likely to be, it won't hit but a few of the aforementioned queries.  If it miraculously gains momentum and is a huge hit, it will be expected to go well over 100.  So someone picked a completely wrong number on this one.

     The show itself is not bad.  It should loose the laugh track immediately, as that was definitely the most annoying part about it.  But it does have a fun cast of characters that seems a cross between Friends and How I Met Your Mother.  Charlotte (Sophie Winkleman) is the Brit at the center of the group, and the one telling the story.  Her friends include a slutty ditz, Jill (Collette Wolfe), heartbroken Leslie (Smith Cho), suave former-rich boy Wayne (David Walton) and geeky straight man Mike (Christopher Moynihan, the creator and writer of the show).  Each fits nicely in their little group of chums, though I suspect they may try a Wayne - Charlotte romance should the series continue.  I found funny qualities already in each character, and the actors can all handle the comedy.  Their dynamics was much more interesting than the plot unfolding, which is not a bad thing for a new series.  Even the match company guy, Andrew (Michael Benjamin Washington) adds his own humorous quips.

     I do wonder at the format.  It has not been made clear after only one episode if the flashbacks will be sequential or not.  I would argue for not, as it frees up the writing staff to be a lot more creative, however I doubt audience would be able to stomach it.  It would be too hard to develop a cohesive linear story of the characters, and that would seem necessary to build a fan base.  The audience has to care about who they're watching, and most people won't do that if they spend all their time confused about how each segment fits among the previous ones.  Unless the placement isn't important, and the jokes kick it up another couple of notches, and then they can do whatever they want.

     As far as summer shows go, this will probably be among the best.  If it aired during the regular season, I would likely rank it in the middle of the pack.  However, as I always say, it's hard to judge what a series will be by it's pilot, and that is all I have seen so far.  Please check out 100 Questions Thursday nights at 8:30 on NBC to find out the answers to the queries I posed.

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