Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Play for me, Wedding Band!

TBS premiered a new hour-long dramedy series this past Saturday night called Wedding Band. Yep, the network known for Tyler Perry sitcoms and stale comedies, both new and in syndication, began a show of a different format on a night where virtually no one airs any new television episodes. It has to suck, right?

Actually, quite the opposite. It's compelling! The characters are well thought out, the cast is terrific, fantastic music with interesting arrangements adds to the fun, and the first story is both entertaining and moving. Let's hope, with virtually no competition on Saturdays, save BBC America, Wedding Band can find an audience. Let's also help, with Wedding Band and the-soon-to-launch fourth season of Cougar Town, TBS has finally become a network worth watching! Sure, it's only two shows, but it's a start!

Wedding Band follows four guys who play have their own band that performs at weddings and various other functions. There's Tommy (Brian Austin Green, Desperate Housewives, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), the lead singer, who is somewhat of a player, but only until he finds the right woman; Eddie (Peter Cambor, NCIS: Los Angeles, Notes from the Underbelly), who has to balance fatherhood with his passion; Barry (Derek Miller, Secret Girlfriend), the goofy drummer with a knack for pyrotechnics; and Stevie (Harold Perrineau, Lost, Sons of Anarchy), the new guy who is tired of being a studio musician and wants to hit it big as a real part of a band. He thinks that he has found his chance in this group.

Stevie may be right. I don't know if the actors are doing their own singing or playing, but if it's fake, it isn't obviously so. They perform arrangements of popular songs, both new and old, crossing genres, and they sound really, really good. They take what they're doing very seriously, which shows. It's no wonder that, by the end of the "Pilot," they are being sought out by Rutherford (Melora Hardin, The Office, Monk), Seattle's top wedding organizer, who previously had hired their arch-nemesis group, led by a real douche (Ken Marino, Childrens Hospital).

In the "Pilot," the gig that gets them Rutherford's attention is one in which they are playing for Tommy's ex, Sara (Bree Turner, Grimm). Yet, as hokey as the sounds as a premise, it is executed with the utmost sincerity. Sure, Tommy still has feelings for Sarah; she's the one that got away. But he also loves his buddies, and he's not about to (intentionally) do anything to jeopardize the band. This isn't just a weekend hobby for the guys. it's something they want to devote their life to. Rutherford can help that.

Which doesn't mean there aren't any shenanigans. One of the group does hook up with Rutherford, and the boss's adorable assistant, Rachel (Jenny Wade, The Good Guys, Reaper), who happens to be engaged, catches Tommy's eye. Yet, all of the main characters are upstanding citizens who seemingly would not cheat on their significant others, which actually makes them all the more charming and easy to root for.

The non-band and non-romance scenes are also great. There's a birthday party that lets everyone show off a bit of their personalities, and an hour does not seem too long a format, given the way it plays out in the first hour. There's some drama, to be sure, especially when Sara makes a play for Tommy, which results in a boob mishap, and as Eddie lies to his wife, Ingrid (Kathryn Fiore). But none of it plays out in a completely predictable or boring way.

This band needs to find success. I'm not just talking about within the story, because I want the show itself to get some attention. It's a special series that could easily slide onto a broadcast network and not look out of place. It deserves to do well. It's doing it's part, making quality, now the audience just needs to find it.

There's nothing else on TV Saturday night. What have you got to loose by checking out Wedding Band, which airs at 10 p.m. ET on TBS?

If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Check out my website, JeromeWetzel.com! First posted on TheTVKing

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