"Sean Saves the World"
Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC
Like his Thursday night time-slot companion, Michael J. Fox, Sean Hayes became a star during the heyday of NBC's "Must See TV" lineup. His Emmy-winning turn as manic, campy Jack "Just Jack!" McFarland on "Will & Grace" brought him much fan goodwill.
He's gonna need all that goodwill to survive "Sean Saves the World," which is essentially "Just Jack – The Later Years." Like Jack, Hayes' new character, Sean, is a gay man with a teenage child and an overbearing mother. The child, 14-year-old daughter Ellie (Samantha Isler), comes to live with Sean when her mother (Sean's former wife before he acknowledged he was gay) moves away. Adding to the family dynamic is Sean's mother, played by Linda Lavin. (Yes, TV's "Alice" herself.)
The rest of the sitcom star-studded cast includes Thomas Lennon ("Reno 911") as Sean's weird new boss, Max, and Megan Hilty ("Smash") and Echo Kellum (the late, lamented "Ben and Kate") as Sean's coworkers and friends. Acting talent clearly is not the problem here. But unfortunately, the writers and producers have no idea what to do with this ensemble.