Fall TV Preview: Will ‘Life in Pieces’ with Colin Hanks become TV’s top new comedy?

Even though we are still most likely well over three months from the premiere of “Life in Pieces” on CBS, it already feels to us almost like the network has more faith in this than almost any other new series other than “Supergirl.” It is getting the coveted timeslot after “The Big Bang Theory” both on Monday nights in the early fall, and then later when the two shows move back to their typical Thursday slot. It also has a great cast, and a trailer that produces a few quality laughs.

What we almost get from watching this is that it is a combination of “Modern Family” and “Parenthood.” In an age where very few comedies can break free and become popular, maybe this will be the one to buck the trend.

What works – Getting big-name talent is important in the DVR era, and you have here James Brolin, Dianne West, Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt, and Thomas Sadoski. Those are five very accomplished performers, and we find it especially interesting that the show prioritized acting ability almost more than comedic history. Brandt and Hanks are best known for drama; meanwhile, Sadoski is coming off a part on “The Newsroom.”

Family comedies are always an easy sell to the public, but what makes this one stand out right is its insistence seemingly on several tiny arcs an episode, and also the general wackiness of some of the characters. Maybe Brolin’s character having a funeral-themed birthday party is over-the-top, but that’s the only part of the trailer that feels like a stretch from normal life.

What doesn’t – We’d say that the title is a B rather than an A, and we feel like some will probably just see “family comedy” and not even give it a try. In some ways, just being a network comedy these days is the show’s biggest weakest. “black-ish” is the only new broadcast comedy from this past season we’d consider to be a hit; “The Odd Couple” and “The Last Man on Earth” were solid, but not necessarily spectacular.

Our verdict – This is a fun trailer, and while it is probably not the sort of show that would benefit from weekly coverage or develop a passionate cult following, it would be perfect half-hour escapism for families after “The Big Bang Theory.” CBS is feeling good about this for a reason.w

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