ABC’s ‘Uncle Buck’: Forced family fun
The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie has a twist
June 14, 2016
One in a series of Media Life previews of the new shows debuting this summer. You can find past previews here.
ABC’s “Uncle Buck”
Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
The irresponsible and reckless Buck (comedian Mike Epps) becomes the new nanny for his brother and sister-in-law’s children when the family gets in a pinch.
Under normal circumstances, the buttoned-up Alexis and Will would never consider Buck for the job. He flakes out and he’s kinda shady.
But in the tradition of heartwarming family sitcoms, it turns out he’s exactly what the family needs to shake up their lives and bring them closer together. Awww.
This comedy originally was slated for midseason and got bumped to summer, which is really all you need to know about the show.
Any program with even the slightest promise does not follow that programming trajectory. It shows the network had little confidence “Buck” could draw an audience against tougher in-season competition.
The show is one of the many reboots that have peppered the broadcast networks over the past couple years, and it’s not even the first “Buck” reboot to air on broadcast. CBS had one in 1990.
The only difference with ABC’s version is that Buck and family are black instead of white, which matters little to the plotline though it does afford the writers a chance to make some race-based jokes.
The main problem with “Buck” is that most jokes are derivative and unoriginal. Epps has charm and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer.
It also airs against NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.
What media people are saying
Buyers are tiring of the reboot craze.
They’re perplexed as to why ABC would revive a 27-year-old movie that wasn’t that good to begin with, although they’re always pleased to see new scripted programming in the summer.
“It’s great ABC is trying a sitcom, but I wish it had an original premise,” one buyer says.
What critics say
“ABC should have given Epps — a passable comic with a real talent for TV acting — his own sitcom, free from connection to a movie that was already made into a TV show back in 1990 (yeah, I barely remembered it, either).” – Eric Deggans, NPR
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