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Monday, March 6, 2017

PILOT REVIEW: Making History


Starring: Adam Pally, Leighton Meester, Yassir Lester, John Gemberling, Neil Casey

Created by Julius Sharpe
Written by Julius Sharpe, Directed by Jared Hess

In a year full of time traveling new shows, Making History is unique because it's the only one that is a comedy. This was one of my favorite trailers to come out during upfront season last May, but I'm a little less enthusiastic about the pilot while still thinking the elements are all there for this to be a great show.

Dan (Adam Pally) is a down-on-his-luck computer science professor who has stumbled on a way to time travel back to 1775, which he does regularly to spend time with his girlfriend from back then, Deborah Revere (Leighton Meester), daughter of Paul. In the pilot, he drags history professor Chris (Yassir Lester) with him while the main cast is rounded out by John Hancock (John Gemberling) and Sam Adams (Neil Casey).

I was very discouraged at the beginning of the pilot because it felt so haphazard. I actually felt like I had missed something because the opening scene felt so disjointed. It also had a very awkward cut to a commercial so I instantly had concerns about this pilot and worried that maybe all the funny things I had seen in the trailer were all the funny things this show had in the whole pilot. But while it's true that the funniest stuff was from the trailer (the Titanic bit, the "show me the money" bit in the tavern), the episode got much better as it went on. The chemistry between Pally and Meester and dynamics between Pally and Lester are strong while Gemberling and Casey seem like they could be funny supporting characters.

After a year of time traveling dramas (and another to still review airing the same night), it felt like a little bit of a relief to watch a comedy with the same time of feel. But it also did have some elements that have made time traveling shows both fascinating and frustrating to me. I'm interested about the ending and how this show is going to play with altered history as a result of their choices. Yet, there's always a risk of getting unnecessarily convoluted, which seems to happen frequently with time travel shows. I'm hopeful the fact that this is a sitcom will keep it from trying to get too cute with things. This seems like a great fit for FOX as it fits in with shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I'm hopeful it can somehow find an audience in a tough slot.

Yes. I'm very curious to see episode two.

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