We probably won’t know what the biggest hit of the new season will be for awhile but it’s becoming pretty clear what it’s not going to be. There’s a new sitcom called Free Agents airing on NBC tonight and the critics seem to be in agreement about this one and it’s not good.
In Free Agents, Alex (Hank Azaria) is newly divorced and trying to keep himself together. Alex’s co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn) drinks too much because she’s trying to cope with her fiance Pete’s untimely passing from a heart attack. The two overworked public relations executives share an ill-fated night of passion and are forced to cope with the awkward aftermath. While Alex and Helen try to figure out their lives and potential relationship, their co-workers at the PR firm of Hale Dayton Associates try to do anything to get them back into the dating game. Others in the show include Anthony Head, Mo Mandel, Al Madrigal, Natasha Leggero, and Joe Lo Truglio.
Here are what the critics are saying:
SF Chronicle: “It’s virtually impossible to care about the characters, and not only is the show without a single laugh line, its attempts at humor come off as brittle and nasty.” …
“Where can Alex and Helen really go? They either have sex or they don’t. And if they do, they’ll probably have to become more than colleagues with benefits, which will make the show a rom-com. That may work, because right now, it’s not really anything, except an inflated sketch with two appealing lead actors whose considerable skills are being underutilized.”
Chicago Tribune: “Azaria and Hahn, both of whom I have loved in other projects, have no chemistry here. Their castmates are given little good material while playing stereotypes like ‘the snarky assistant,’ ‘the smug womanizer,’ ‘the clueless boss’ and the ‘horny nerd.'”
“I’m not sure how long Alex and Helen will spew cheap laughs while dancing around the fact they belong together, but I won’t be sticking around to find out.”
USA Today: “Sometimes, somehow, bad shows happen to good people.”
“It’s always disappointing, and often inexplicable, but it also seems to be a seasonal inevitability. Talented people will gather, hard work will be done (and even the worst shows almost always involve hard work), expectations will rise — and when the show finally arrives, it will all come crashing down in an unwatchable heap.” …
“There’s not a character you’re likely to believe, which is a problem, or one you want to see again, which for a series is a bigger problem. All involved have done better before and deserve a chance to do better again, and most seem set to get that chance sooner rather than later.”
Chicago Sun Times: “The pair have zero chemistry, but that doesn’t stop them from winding up in bed, where Hank has one of his crying spells because he misses his kids. Hilarious, huh?”
“They decide to just be friends, but that complete lack of chemistry must be a powerful thing, because they end up in bed again. This on-again, off-again dance will probably continue until midseason, when we can only hope that someone at NBC will pull the plug on the jukebox and make it all stop.”
“Thank you, Britain, for giving us The Office, but you can keep Free Agents on your side of the pond.”
But, what do you think? The critics have been wrong before, right? Will you watch Free Agents or does this sound like a show that should be quickly cancelled?
Image courtesy NBC.