Fall TV preview: Can ‘Glee’s’ Mike O’Malley carry ‘Welcome to the Family’?

Welcome to the FamilyIf you’ve been a long time reader of Cartermatt.com, there is one thing you probably know already: We are big fans of a certain man named Mike O’Malley. He’s a big softie on “Glee,” he was scary on “Justified,” and he largely lifts the material of everything he is in. (Heck, we watched “Guts” for years on Nickelodeon.)

So can he prop up what is a new lineup of family comedies for NBC this fall? We’re about to find out. “Welcome to the Family” leads out of “Parks and Recreation” on Thursday nights, and it marks one of many pieces by the network to try and bring in a much more mainstream audience than what they’ve had with the likes of “30 Rock” or “Community.” It’s bad news for niche fans, and it could even be worse news for creative comedy fans.

The thing is, we’ve seen most of this show done before: Two families from very different backgrounds who are brought together thanks to their children’s unplanned pregnancy. It’s basically “Knocked Up: Family Edition.” There will definitely be conflict, but everyone will have to learn to get along with each other at the end of the day.

We don’t necessarily know if we agree with the single-camera over multi-camera approach here, mostly because “The Middle” and “Modern Family” seem to be exceptions more so than the rule. Plus, the show following it, “Sean Saves the World,” is multi-camera, complete with laugh tracks and set pieces. There are still some funny moments in the trailer, and we know that nobody plays a likable dad better than O’Malley does, even dating back to his “Yes, Dear” days.

The truth is that this is going to be a show that has to put in some work to win us over. Some series are just like that, since it was hard to see anything special in “The Middle” at first, either. We hope it’s great, but we imagine “Welcome to the Family” will either be a critical hit that lasts a long time, or a show that starts slow and is gone soon.

This is just one part of our Fall TV Preview series. If you want to read more entries, be sure to head on over to the link here.

Photo: NBC

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!