Wednesdays (tonight at 9:30; starting next week at 8:30) on ABC
If you've heard much about "The Neighbors" before now, it could be because it has already made several "worst of" lists this fall. But I don't think it deserves that at all.
I think if you embrace what they're trying to do here, which is to be very, very silly (think "3rd Rock from the Sun" -- except goofier), you may even chuckle a time or two.
Here's the premise: Aliens from the planet Zabvron arrived on Earth in 2001, then bought up an entire subdivision to occupy while they awaited further instructions from home. Ten years later, they're still waiting for those communications when a sudden vacancy allows a family of humans to move in.
The sophisticated Zabvronians, who rename themselves after famous professional athletes, are not acclimated to the ways of earthlings since they've shut themselves off from the rest of the world for their entire stay. So it's no surprise that Larry Bird, his wife Jackie Joyner-Kersey, and children Dick Butkus and Reggie Jackson, clash with the all-American Weaver family from New Jersey.
Tonight's pilot episode involves not only the introduction of the Zabvronians to the humans (and the revelation of their true identities), but tangles with the question of whether or not the aliens should recharge their "Pupar," the nearly-dead device through which their home planet will contact them. The bizarre charging method is what's at question. The second episode, airing next week, has Larry Bird accompanying his family to a mall to buy clothes for the children, so that they may blend in if they attend human schools. It's the alien family's first time leaving the subdivision and seeing the "real world," so witnessing the sort of gross consumption one sees in any American mall proves quite shocking for them.
Yes, it's silly. Extremely silly. But in a spoofy, sorta charming way. It's not going to be for everyone, but there are clever moments and the cast is funny. Is it groundbreaking? No. But it doesn't deserve all the hate, either (The New York Times said it's the kind of show that "makes you stupider" -- harsh!!)
So if you're tolerant of an abundant dose of family-friendly silliness, dive in.
"The Neighbors" debuts tonight at 9:30, but moves to its regular 8:30 timeslot next week on Wednesday, October 3.
Stars: Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito, Simon Templeman and Toks Olagundoye.