The time has come again. The summer sun has set. The days grow colder and the nights grow longer and we fill those nights with new fall TV. As happens every autumn, the five major networks have unleashed a flurry of new programs to entertain us into these dark, frigid winter months and beyond. So many choices. So much risk! How will you know what to watch? That’s where I come in. I watch every new fall pilot episode so that you don’t have to. I take one for the team, so you can watch the… screen(m). It’s time for…
THE PILOT PROJECT (2016 Edition)
Son of Zorn (Sundays on FOX)
So here’s the elevator pitch: what if He-Man was an absent father? Only in this case, He-Man is Zorn, Defender of Zephyria, Conqueror of the Tribes of Agon, Decapitator of the Dark Herdsmen of Grith, and voiced by Jason Sudeikis. I say voiced because, as you may have guessed, the character of Zorn is animated, as is everything else related to his world. It’s a gimmick that has been done before, to varying degrees of success, but the effect works really well here. The blend of animation and live-action is pretty seamless and results in some really cool scenes.
Rounding out the cast are Johnny Pemberton, who plays Alangulon (Alan), the titular son of Zorn; Cheryl Hines, who plays Edie, Zorn’s ex-wife; Tim Meadows, who plays Craig, Edie’s new fiancé and an online college professor; and Artemis Pebdani, who plays Linda, Zorn’s new boss at his sales job. It’s a solid cast full of proven comedic actors, even though they often wind up playing the straight man to Zorn and his antics. Maybe it shouldn’t work, but it does.
I think my favorite part is how the world reacts to Zorn and his antics, specifically in how they find them odd, but not THAT out of the ordinary. It’s weird that Zorn shows up to the office without a shirt on, but it’s totally acceptable that he shows up with his sword. Zorn is undoubtedly a misfit, but he’s still a part of the world, and that adds a lot to the charm of the show (there’s a great gag about how Zorn is a diversity hire at his office).
It’s a goofy, out-there concept, but it works because of how grounded all of the live-action elements are and I think it’s got a lot of potential. Plus, any show that features Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes” is a show that you need to be watching.