TV Reviews: 'Knights,' 'Emergency' join ABC
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Starring: Donal Logue, Lenny Venito, Kevin Michael Richardson, Josh Grisetti and Sofia Vergara
Starring: Jonathan Silverman, David ARquette, Lori Loughlin
Knights of Prosperity," a new comedy from the producers of "Ed," gently amuses, tickling the funny bone even if it doesn't elicit gut-busting laughter. It's a cute show, but the premise is so paper-thin you have to wonder how the writers will sustain "Knights" (9 p.m. Wednesday, ABC) for a full season, let alone many years, if successful.
Donal Logue ("Grounded for Life") stars as Eugene, leader of a modern-day band of Robin Hoods who devise a plan to steal "from the rich and give to the poor: Us." He hatches his plan after a co-worker -- another janitor at his dead-end job -- dies while mopping the floor.
Eugene dreams of opening a bar he imagines as "an oasis of cheer in an urban wasteland." After he sees an E! report on Mick Jagger's $52 million apartment on Central Park West, he comes up with a plan: "Let's Rob Mick Jagger," which was an earlier, better, more evocative title for this show.
Eugene assembles his motley crew, a comedic assortment of oddballs that includes his fellow janitor Squatch (Lenny Venito), cab driver Gary (Max Jobrani) and deep-voiced security guard Rockefeller (Kevin Michael Richardson), who demands there be cookies at their first meeting.
Subsequent additions to the group include nerdy college communications student Louis (Josh Grisetti) and beautiful Colombian waitress Esperanza (Sofia Vergara).
They all agree to only steal enough from Jagger to finance their dreams. Any amount above that will go to a charity of their choosing (Rockefeller selects "feline AIDS").
The gang's first effort to stake out Jagger's apartment begins with little promise. They can't seem to synchronize their watches. The caper antics grow wearisome quickly.
The second episode shows more promise as they send the virgin intern to seduce a woman (Reiko Aylesworth, "24") who has the access code to the security system in Jagger's apartment.
Created by Rob Burnett and Squirrel Hill native Jon Beckerman, "Knights" doesn't shine as brightly as one might hope in these early episodes, but there are enough hints of great comedy that there's reason to expect further improvement.
'In Case of Emergency'
Alas, there's little hope for "In Case of Emergency" (9:30 p.m. Wednesday, ABC), a show whose pitch you can easily imagine: "It's about that time in life when we're too old to list our parents as our emergency contact, but we're not sure who to write down. An ex-wife? A best friend? Someone we're dating?"
On paper, it's not a bad concept. TV shows have certainly been built from less. But rarely has a grounded premise led to such an unbelievable -- as in, contrived characters behaving in outlandish, unrealistic ways -- series.
Four high school friends re-connect through a series of coincidences. Neurotic, divorced Harry (Jonathan Silverman, "The Single Guy") goes to a massage parlor seeking sexual release and reconnects -- literally, eww -- with the high school valedictorian, Kelly Lee (Kelly Hu).
Financial whiz Jason (David Arquette, "Scream") is suicidal over deals gone bad. Turns out he even lost investment money belonging to diet guru friend Sherman (Greg Germann, "Ally McBeal"), who falls off the diet wagon when his wife leaves him and he steals a truck full of pastries.
Lori Loughlin ("Full House") also stars as a doctor Jason begins stalking after meeting her in the emergency room following his botched suicide attempt.
Alleged wackiness ensues along with a sad underlying theme about how none of the four high school chums lived up to their potential.
"We're all whores," Harry tells Kelly, who's the professional in that field. "I was going to be Kurt Vonnegut and now I write greeting cards."
Never thought a TV comedy would leave me wistful for Silverman's NBC bomb "The Single Guy," but "In Case of Emergency" manages to do just that. In an emergency that calls for comedy, best to look somewhere -- almost anywhere -- else.
First Published December 31, 2006 12:00 am