Coming to you on February 8th is a new FOX comedy, Traffic Light. Hoping to capitalize on the success of another new show, Traffic Light follows Raising Hope, which is returning with new episodes for the spring. Despite the lead in, and even despite a rather good turn at comedy, I have my doubts that Traffic Light will ultimately survive long enough to be picked up for another season.
I hope I’m wrong, because I’ve looking forward to this show since early last summer (when it was called Mixed Signals… an immeasurably superior name). The trouble is, even with some sharp writing, and a decent premise, the show has little in the way of powerful draws, and spring premieres have a high mortality rate. Worse, for its chances of success anyway, it relies on a slow, somewhat dry humor, with little from the area of “laugh out loud” comedy, and such shows are hard sells in the best of circumstances.
It revolves around three friends, who have known each other since college, and their individual, life accoutrement. In the case of Mike (David Denman), this would be his wife, Lisa (Liza Lapira), and his very young son. In the case of Adam (Nelson Franklin), this would be his girlfriend Callie (Aya Cash). The show begins with Adam and Callie having just moved in together. In the case of Ethan (Kris Marshall), this would be his dog, Carl.
At various stages of relationships, in Ethan’s case a sincere disinterest in having one, our heroes valiantly traverse the ever-shifting minefield that is life in a relationship, and at points help and hinder each other along their paths. The ins and outs of the crazy world of boy meets girl fuel the stories, largely by way of Adam figuring out what “living together” really means (much to the stupefication of Ethan), and Ethan bewildering his mates with his string of affairs.
Through the first few episodes, there are some great moments, and I like the overall approach… I’m just not sure it will be enough. It doesn’t have any recognizable faces, isn’t exactly a wildly original concept, and it isn’t the “laugh a minute” sort of endeavor that can burst right into your living room (like say, Modern Family).
My recommendation is that you give this one a serious shot, but keep in mind that I don’t think this one will blow anyone away right out of the gate. The pilot is solid enough, but it isn’t going to instantly be the next great thing. That’s okay, really. It isn’t that kind of show. This is a show that, if it gets the chance to find the best of its potential, will hit its stride after a dozen or so episodes. Our group has to settle in post-gimmick-establishment, and the actors and writers need to figure out how to make the most of what they have.
Check out some preview clips below, and let this one get a chance to get under your skin. I mean, you’re going to be watching Raising Hope anyway.
TRAFFIC LIGHT is a new comedy about how friendships and romances – though often difficult and sometimes messy but always worth the work – both enhance and complicate our lives. The series centers on three longtime friends and their attempts to navigate the demands of their relationships.
MIKE (David Denman), ADAM (Nelson Franklin) and ETHAN (Kris Marshall) have been friends since college, and the trio has seen each other through highs and lows. Now in their 30s, these men find themselves at very different stages in their lives.
Mike is a married lawyer who wants nothing more than to be a good family man to his wife, LISA (Liza Lapira), and his young son, but he’s also desperately trying to carve out a little space for himself. Lisa understands this, which is why their marriage is a loving game of give and take.
Adam recently moved in with his girlfriend, CALLIE (Aya Cash), and is learning how vastly different “she comes over a lot” and “she lives with me” really are, especially when his girlfriend is an adventurous, straight-talking firecracker.
Ethan is the perpetual bachelor. He loves women, and when he’s in, he’s all in – at least for three weeks. Charming, genuine and hopelessly independent, Ethan is finding out that as he gets older, the pool of women who are willing to take things day by day is rapidly evaporating. Luckily, he has CARL, his beloved, long-suffering bulldog.