The Millers

The Millers
5
Will Arnett finds himself heading yet another middle of the road sitcom that doesn't play to his strengths. Much like the short-lived Up All Night, The Millers shows a sparkle of potential but lacks the substance of a durable series.

As Jack Miller, he's a recently divorced local newscaster stuck doing crappy local interest pieces. His off hours appear to be spent with his sister and her (possibly mentally handicapped) husband (a strange waste of Michael Rapaport). They engage in (not so) witty repartee but Arnett's comic timing helps carry the frequently flaccid writing.

Everything is kicked up a notch when the senior Mr. and Mrs. Miller arrive. Margo Martindale (Justified's Mags Bennett) dominates the screen as much as her character dominates her husband.

It's kind of sad to see Beau Bridges as such a meek shadow of a person and he doesn't really do much with the role until he's allowed to find his spine after learning about his son's divorce. His subsequent explosive freak out about not knowing that happiness (aka freedom from marriage) is an option is almost inspired.

That divorce is presented as an impetus for positive change is a refreshing perspective in a studio system often reticent to admit any alternative to the nuclear family as healthy. When Momma Miller moves in with Jack, the show finds some fire that if stoked, could give it the crackle it needs to survive, at least for a season or two.

Martindale and Arnett have great chemistry and neither is bashful about going whole-hog for uncomfortable laughs. In this case, their episode capping, creepily oedipal rendition of the "Time of My Life" dance from Dirty Dancing definitely qualifies.

Give this one a few episodes to find its footing and a staff of writers willing to work as hard as the performers and it might surprise us.

The Millers premieres on Thursday, September 26th, 2013 at 8:30pm on Global TV. Please note that this review is based on an unfinished pilot copy and is therefore unofficial. (CBS)