TV MADNESS #1: GO ON

I thought I would kick off TV Season Pilot Madness with a look at an old friend. The pilot debuted on NBC right after the Olympics but most of the East coast didn’t see a great start for Matthew Perry’s return to TV.

“Go On” stars Matthew Perry as a popular sportscaster who after a great loss in his life joins mandatory group therapy sessions. There he meets a rather eclectic group of characters and together they change each other’s lives.

This is Matthew Perry’s third chance at launching a new TV series since the conclusion of the monster hit Friends back in 2004. Perry’s had a long hard road since the Friends era. Drug and alcohol problems but has also stuck to what he knows best. Case in point, the hit body-switching comedy “17 Again” with Zac Efron and critically acclaimed performances in Numb, Birds in America and The Good Wife.

If there was any of the Friends cast that should break-out in his own series it should be Matthew Perry.

Comedy pilots are a hard nut to crack. They are short, fast and try to establish the premise in the blink of an eye. Not to mention they try to deliver at least a handful of memorable jokes to have the audience come back. What is strange is that if you go back and look at the pilots for some of TV’s longest running sitcoms, they are usually quite awful and it takes sometimes four episodes to finally see where the show is going. (Dramas take much longer) But for someone to commit there needs to be something to bring them back each week. In this case they are hoping it’s Matthew Perry.

“Go On” is another in what seems to be a growing trend of therapy or club comedies. They are sort of a hybrid of the workplace comedy except with even quirkier characters. “Community”, “Anger Management” and now “Go On” are examples. “Community” isn’t labeled a group therapy show but that group is all about therapy. This kind of comedy goes all the way back to the classic “Bob Newhart Show” where he was a therapist and many of the oddballs that came to see him were worked into episodes.

There is lots to like here from the stable female lead in Laura Benanti, who already has chemistry with Perry. And the countless stories and jokes from the therapy sessions. Also not to mention John Cho shows up as one of Perry’s friends. “Go On” is a million times better than Perry’s last sitcom “Mister Sunshine”. Give it a chance.

GIVE IT: 4 episodes

WATCH OR DVR: Watch it

PILOT RATING:  3.5 out of 5

“GO ON” DEBUTS SEPTEMBER 11 ON NBC.

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