There are many reasons to be excited about the fall TV season, and for ABC in general, they are continuing to do what they do best in the comedy realm: Telling stories about unusual families and the way that they make things work. “Speechless,” from our first impression of it, has the spirit of other shows like “black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” It can make you laugh, but it also has heart and it allows you to take multiple looks at the human experience.
Specifically, we think that this show takes a fairly real (while still funny) look at the special-needs community, including the sort of loops parents have to jump through just so that their child can have a reasonably-normal life.
Premiere Date and Timeslot Competition – Wednesday, September 21 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. This is a winning timeslot for the show given that it’s right in the middle of ABC’s most-successful block. While there is some competition from the likes of “Blindspot,” “Arrow,” and “Survivor,” none of them are director competitors. The same can likely be said for “Lethal Weapon,” even if it hasn’t premiered just yet.
Logline – “Maya DiMeo is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband Jimmy and her kids Ray, Dylan and JJ, her eldest son with special needs. As Maya fights injustices both real and imagined, the family works to make a new home for themselves and searches for just the right person to give JJ his ‘voice.’
Cast – Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Mason Cook, Micah Fowler, Kyla Kennedy, and Cedric Yarbrough
Trailer – Sure, there is a certain element of this trailer that falls into predictable family-comedy tropes, from complaining kids to silly sight-gags. Yet, at the same time we think even some of the familiar humor is written fairly well, and more than that JJ’s story is given the right balance. Nobody is making fun of the character, but he is still used as a device for humor and lightness. Often, he’s even involved in it.
Overall Take – This show’s got a ton of potential to be great, so it remains to be seen if it can sustain beyond a very strong trailer. Driver is fantastic so far, and while Bowie doesn’t have a huge presence in the trailer, it’s nice to see him get a consistent role after years of popping up as Kripke on “The Big Bang Theory.” This is a comedy to watch in a season that looks to be fairly good for the genre.
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