Stars: Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito, Simon Templeman, Toks Olagundoye, Clara Mamet, Tim Jo, Ian Patrick, Max Charles, Isabella Cramp
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Director: Chris Koch
Network: ABC, airs Wednesday nights
Original Telecast: September 26, 2012

You can’t fault ABC for at least trying something new. Last year, they trotted out their cross-dressing comedy WORK IT (epic fail) and this year they’ve got THE NEIGHBORS, a terribly dated suburban alien comedy that falls completely flat.

Ten years ago, a bunch of aliens from the planet Zabvron arrived in a gated New Jersey neighborhood to see if Earth could be inhabitable by their kind. They lived in isolation from the outside world with all of their little alien quirks and habits until two of their own decide to leave resulting a vacancy in their community of Hidden Hills.

Now they have to let the humans in.

That family is the Weavers led by tough-as-nails wife Debbie (Jami Gertz) and doting husband Marty (Lenny Venito). They also have three kids, who are pretty thinly written characters in as far as the pilot is concerned.

It doesn’t take long before the aliens welcome them to the community. Their leader is Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) and he has a loving wife Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye).

The Weavers don’t know what to make of their new neighborhood, but pretty quickly they learn their neighbors are aliens – and realize they have more in common with them than they thought.

Sadly, despite the breezy and quirky direction by Chris Koch, THE NEIGHBORS just isn’t funny. The laughs are of the fish-out-of-water kind, but instead of being uncomfortably weird, it’s just uncomfortably bad.

The tonal shifts and the attempt to bring a family comedy into a new, science-fiction environment absolutely fails. At least 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN was funny (at least in the beginning).

If I was a betting man, THE NEIGHBORS would be my pick for the first cancellation of the new year. I can’t see the show surviving past this train wreck of a pilot episode. In many ways, it’s refreshing for a network to take chances like this. Sometimes it works like last year’s REVENGE and ONCE UPON A TIME, but often it ends up being awful filler where you scratch your head wondering who the intended audience for the show actually was.

In this case, I would suspect aliens from the planet Zabyron are the target demo.

Related: Exclusive Interview with THE NEIGHBORS creator Dan Fogelman


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Article:TV Review: THE NEIGHBORS – Season 1 – “Pilot” – Series Premiere

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