This new sitcom, The Neighbors, has a such a silly premise that you can’t help but shake your head. It seems destined to get slammed in the ratings and cancelled immediately. How did this show get a greenlight? It seems like such an obvious bomb. Is it possible that there’s more to it than meets the eye?
The Neighbors revolves around a family who move to a beautiful gated community in New Jersey. It seems like a dream come true — until they discover that all of their neighbors are actually aliens from outer space. The sitcom’s cast includes Lenny Venito, Jami Gertz, Clara Mamet, Max Charles, Isabella Cramp, Simon Templeman, Toks Olagundoye, Ian Patrick, and Tim Jo.
Here’s what some of the critics have to say:
LA Times: “Whatever conflict the scripts hopefully mine for hilarity — and this being a sitcom, there is a lot of argument (‘I live within 10 yards of the biggest schmucks on two different planets,’ a frustrated Gertz at one point declares) — The Neighbors is more about how we can all get along, even to the point of mawkishness at times. But those times are brief, and they pass.”
NY Daily News: “ABC’s bizarre new sitcom The Neighbors is amusing. Once. Unfortunately, ABC seems to have scheduled it to run every week… Droll and amusing though the jokes and characters in the first episode often are, The Neighbors has all its chips riding on what is essentially a one-line gag.”
USA Today: “There is a place for this kind of comedy, though watching Neighbors, you may begin to suspect that place is a Friday night in the late ’70s. But the shows that have made this concept work have either boosted a novel twist that caught on, like ALF, or terrific comic performers who commanded attention, like Robin Williams in Mork and the entire cast of Third Rock. Nothing in The Neighbors rises above mediocrity, and too much falls beneath it.”
NY Times: “In the first two episodes the writers take a stab at using extraterrestrial naïveté for something other than cheap gags. It’s not terribly effective, but maybe they’ll grow better at it in the unlikely event that viewers get past the initial shock of how out of phase this series feels and let it run for a while.”
TIME: “The Neighbors is not, that is, an inherently stupid show. It is in the respectable, nay the proud, tradition of the goofy, fantastical sitcom: the comedy about what happens when regular people end up living next door to witches, genies, monsters and, yes, aliens. Alf was a perfectly good sitcom! Third Rock from the Sun was, often, a better-than-good sitcom… The Neighbors’ problem, then, isn’t that it’s about aliens. It’s that it has nothing interesting to say about people.”
Boston Globe: “Well, ABC’s The Neighbors is this season’s awful sitcom, the one that defies all kind of sense. It makes you want to ask ABC, as Seth Meyers asks in his new SNL news segment, What are you doing? … For a five-minute sketch while nodding into Sunday morning? Maybe. For a weekly half-hour in prime time? Nope. The Zabvronians take in nourishment through their eyes, which means that if they watched this show for dinner too often, they’d waste away to nothing.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Some TV critics absolutely hate it; others sort of like it. Put me down for the latter. While I’m not yet convinced the show’s concept will hold up over multiple weeks… Although The Neighbors won’t be mistaken for the next great American sitcom, it’s entertaining enough to warrant a neighborly welcome to prime time.”
Boston Herald: “In its goofiest moments, the show has a gentle Tim Burton vibe. It’s sure to build a cult following, but it seems more suited to a cable network such as TBS or Syfy. I worry it will be unable to sustain a commercial network-sized audience. Get to know Neighbors before they’re deported right off the prime-time schedule.”
What do you think? Have you seen The Neighbors sitcom on ABC? If so, will you watch it again? Would you recommend it to a friend or co-worker?