April 8, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Pilot + 1 Review: “Weird Loners”


WEIRD LONERS:  Tuesday 9:30PM on FOX

A lot can happen between the creation of a TV pilot and the production of regular episodes: writer/producers may be hired or fired, audience focus groups weigh in, networks and studios (which may have had their own turnover) give plenty of notes, helpful and otherwise, and critics start to rear their ugly heads. Tone, pace, casting, and even story can change. Here at SHOWBUZZDAILY, we look past the pilots and present reviews of the first regular season episodes as well.

Previously… on WEIRD LONERS:  Out-of-work womanizer Stosh (Zachary Knighton) has just moved in with his odd cousin Eric (Nate Torrence) in Eric’s house, which is next door to the one where bitter singleton Caryn (Becki Newton) has just taken in commitment-phobe artist Zara (Meera Rohit Kumbhani).

Episode 2:  Things looked a lot more conventional in Weird Loners’ second outing, written by series creator Michael J. Weithorn and directed by Jake Kasdan.  The main storyline, in fact, was right out of the rom-com playbook:  Caryn, not able to convince the boring doctor she dumped in the pilot to fly with her to Florida and lie to her grandma about the two of them being engaged, is shocked when Stosh shows up to play the part.  Cue, quite literally, the love song for the two of them to dance to in Granny’s hospital room, and even though the episode tries to end on a tart note with the revelation that Stosh maxed out Eric’s credit cards with his Florida jaunt, stars are already in Caryn’s eyes, and Stosh–sigh–is a nice guy underneath it all.

Meanwhile, the B story fell all over itself trying to be quirky, as Zara’s attempt to make Eric feel better about his father’s recent death by pretending to be a mystic who could channel Dad’s spirit led gullible Eric to drag Zara/Dad through his entire tiresome day, thrilled in his child-man way to have his father with him one more time.

There wasn’t much to hold onto here in terms of promise for future episodes.  Although Newton and Knighton are tested, charming sitcom leads, they don’t have a tremendous amount of chemistry together, and the show seems to be pushing them together too quickly.  One’s tolerance for Torrence and his stuck-in-fifth-grade schtick runs thin, and Zara seemed more like his nanny than his friend.  There was nothing in the episode, in fact, that followed through on the oddball friends appeal of the pilot’s best sequence, when the quartet all poked fun at a wedding.  Here the characters felt stuck in various forms of arrested development, and not the good kind.  Any hopes that this could be an unsentimental embrace of strangeness like FX’s You’re the Worst were quickly dashed.

None of this is likely to matter beyond next month, because the premiere ratings for Weird Loners were awful even by FOX Tuesday standards–and that was before it had to air against The Voice.  Barring a miracle, these Loners will be back on the street soon enough.

ORIGINAL VERDICT:  If Nothing Else Is On…

PILOT + 1:  Already Feeling Stale

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."