Back in the Game

6.8 / 10
23 min
Comedy
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" gives "Back in the Game - Pilot" a 6."
Written by on 20 November 2013.
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Back in the Game - Pilot

You know summer is really over when you see the first previews and pilots from the networks’ latest new additions. ABC couldn’t possibly not add to this years list of new series, and introduces several new comedy series. One of those is 'Back in the Game', a tv show which revolves around a granddad, a mom and a (grand)son, whose lives all involve baseball. Normally I’m not a fan of comedy, with 'New Girl' and 'Modern Family' as the obvious exceptions, but because of the cast I was curious about this one.

Maggie Lawson ('Psych') plays the role of mother Terry Gannon Jr, who is a former All-Star Baseball player. In the first few minutes of the show you find out that Terry’s life has turned into chaos in the last weeks. She has lost everything after a very nasty divorce, while her ex-husband is the one that cheated and therefore the main reason for the divorce in the first place. Because of this Terry as a now-single mom, has to move in with her cranky father, a man nicknamed "the Cannon". He received this nickname in his past, when he was a baseball player as well.

The Cannon is very well played by James Caan ('Las Vegas'). I used to watch 'Las Vegas', even though Josh Duhamel was the reason more than James Caan was! But because of this show I did become a fan of the somewhat rough but still very sympathetic father figure James always played. I have to admit that because of that, it is difficult for me to now see him as a meddling father in 'Back in the Game', who thinks everyone is less than he is. As a viewer you don’t really consider him a model dad. This is mostly because he projects his failures, both personal and in sports, on his daughter. Because of this Terry has never felt any parental love, which she holds against him. I found it very difficult to relate to James’ character, but I do think he plays it with a lot of conviction!

When a father and a daughter have both played baseball, it is not very hard to imagine the grandson will also start playing baseball. Terry’s son, Danny Gannon (Griffin Gluck, 'Private Practice'), however, is not playing because he likes baseball. He plays because he wants to impress a girl who apparently only likes baseball players. When Danny tries out for the team, though, it turns out he’s not very good and therefore is not picked to join the team. Terry does not agree and forms a team for Danny and all the other boys that didn’t make the team. Terry will coach this team, The Angles, herself. The boys on this team are not your standard jocks, they’re more the school’s outsiders. For example there are the twins with red hair, the nerd, a girly boy, a fat boy and a boy that wears a turban. Actually, the team consists of a very cliche kind of clique of outsiders.

Besides Terry, Danny, the Cannon and the outsiders, there are some other characters in the show as well. First there is the arrogant ass of a coach, who thinks his team is the best of the best and does his best to put down Terry’s team. Second, there is the team’s star player, who likes the same girl Danny does. Luckily there is also a light and fun character in the show. For instance a widow that Terry meets, who is the girly boy’s mom. Together they make sure the Angles can play.

I assume the show is mostly about Terry's coaching of the team and everything that goes along with it. I have to admit that there are some pretty decent jokes in the show, made by both the children and the parents or the people at the school. Unfortunately the cliche jokes are included as well, which reduces the quality of the show. I hope that the writers of the show have better jokes available. I do not expect this show to be a great hit in America, mostly because the theme is a bit done for. I am curious, though, what the writers and actors will make of it, and therefore I’m sure I can make room in my TV schedule for 22 minutes each week!
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