Tonight, Tim Allen returns to series television with a new sitcom, his first since Home Improvement signed off in 1999. Will Last Man Standing last eight seasons as well or quickly head to this season’s cancellation pile?
The new TV series revolves around Mike Baxter (Allen), a director of marketing who works at an outdoor sporting goods store in Colorado. His home life and world is dominated by women — particularly by his wife and three daughters, one of whom is a single mother. The sitcom also stars Nancy Travis, Molly Ephraim, Alexandra Krosney, Kaitlyn Dever, Christoph Sanders, and Hector Elizondo.
Is Last Man Standing worth your time? Here’s what the critics have to say about it:
USA Today: “It’s all standard stuff, but outside of the tiresome, heard-it-all-before rants, it’s not without its appeal. Travis and Allen work well together (she exudes the healthy skepticism Patricia Richardson brought to Home Improvement), and as anyone who saw Justified knows, Dever is a star aborning. And there’s no question that Allen is a pro.”
NY Daily News: “Everything in Mike’s life seems contrived to set up ba-ba-boom punch lines, like when he sees his daughter in a soccer uniform and grumbles that soccer is just a plot by effete Europeans to sissify the youth of America. A quick carbon-dating of that joke reveals it might have felt mildly fresh from the mouth of Archie Bunker in 1973.”
Boston Globe: “Allen is clearly an old pro. And I do confess a soft spot for his Galaxy Quest and Toy Story. (The creators give one sly nod to Buzz Lightyear in the pilot.) He manages to make Baxter mostly relatable and less angry than the character could’ve been in a less-gifted sitcom actor’s hands. It is not hard to imagine men Baxter’s age voicing similar gripes, and his scenes with Travis actually generated a couple of chuckles. Elizondo is dependably offbeat.”
“If all of the characters receive some fleshing out – right now the whole broad enterprise seems better suited to the throwback style of TV Land – as the series progresses, don’t be surprised to find Allen settling into a new TV home.”
LA Times: “The jokes and plots have been efficiently constructed, but most have no traction; they slide right off you, and the characters themselves seem disconnected from one another. Even Mike’s rants feel remote, and remote-controlled. The comedy is much more promising when it slips into something more personal.”
Washington Post: “Let me say that I’d be the first to enjoy a well-made comedy about whatever today’s men are feeling about their roles as husbands and fathers in an economy and culture that they think is marginalizing them. But I no longer have faith that the networks can make such a show… Within its 22 minutes, Last Man Standing reveals Mike to be homophobic, xenophobic and generally just phobic.”
What do you think? Will you try Last Man Standing? If you already have, will you watch again? Does it deserve to stick around or be quickly cancelled?
Image courtesy ABC.