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Midseason TV: About a Boy

Emily and Mandy C. check out the first episode of About a Boy. SPOILER ALERT: Don’t watch the movie if you want to go into the show unspoiled.

Midseason TV: About a Boy

Welcome back to our series on midseason TV (a continuation of our fall TV series). We’re here to help you determine what you should watch as it airs, what you can save for later, or what you shouldn’t even mess with.

(Warning! Possible spoilers ahead.)

About a Boy

Premiered: Feb. 22 on ABC (Watch online.)

Elevator Pitch

Executive sits at his desk spinning circles in his chair. He looks from the shelves full of books to the film posters framed on his wall to the boxes of TV on DVD in the corner (that are covered in dust because who watches TV on DVD anymore?) as he tosses a football. He pauses as he looks at the football, daydreaming about the one story that worked perfectly as a book, movie, and TV show … Friday Night Lights. How could he create that again? And what would be the perfect book to do it with? He glances down to see the screener copy he just received of A Long Way Down that's about to hit theatres. Nick Hornby books have been turned into some pretty great movies. High Fidelity was amazing, and Fever Pitch was, well, it was enjoyable. What other books did he write that have been made into movies? About a Boy. Now that was a good adaptation! But who could make it into a TV show, keeping the same quality, yet, making it into a world we would want to live in for years to come? The exec taps the football while staring blankly at a framed Steve Martin movie poster. Who has had a successful career of making quality TV from movies? "Aha!" he says as his eyes travel back and forth from the 1989 Parenthood poster in front of him to the football in his hands. "There's only one man for this job. Secretary, get me Jason Katims on the phone!"

Familiar Faces

David Walton as Will

Al Madrigal as Andy

Leslie Bibb as Dakota

Minnie Driver as Fiona

Benjamin Stockham as Marcus

Phil Abrams as Principal Goldenrod

Redeeming Qualities

Emily: It's the perfect trifecta. One of my favorite books (by one of my favorite authors), made into one of my favorite movies, now being produced for television by one of my favorite show creators (Jason Katims of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood fame). I also find David Walton completely endearing. He was fantastic on New Girl and the cancelled-too-soon Bent. And Benjamin Stockham as Marcus is pretty fantastic. Plus, this "world" is the same as Parenthood, meaning there are rumors of some Braverman crossovers!

Mandy: Marcus is a precocious little dude who doesn’t seem to care about what people think of him, and I love that. When I eventually have kids, I want them to be like him. (Minus the whole being made fun of thing. Kids are brutal.) Will was also really sweet, pretty much from the get-go, which I like. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing him be a total douche for the entire episode.

It's Not Me, It's You

Emily: Minnie Driver is a little of a weak link for me, but I'm going to allow her time to grow on me. As a fan of the book and movie, I did feel like I was watching them both on fast forward. It made the show seem a little spastic and rushed. But on the other hand, who wants to watch an entire season of a story they already know?

Mandy: Fiona is a terrible stereotype, and a more than a little bit of a mess. I can see myself liking her, but only if she becomes more of an actual person. On the other hand, the character development for Will was surprisingly quick, which made the episode feel a little too fast and/or wrapped up too nicely. (We didn’t need the entire plot of the movie version in the first 20 minutes of the series, did we?)

Let's Do This Again

Emily: I love everything about this show. The source material, the creatives, the lead. Even if the pilot was a super-condensed version of the movie/book, it was needed to get to the good stuff which I fully believe is coming. There aren't many people I trust with years of my life, but Jason Katims is one of them. I'm in for the long haul.

Mandy: About a Boy is a wonderful idea, and the pilot was super sweet, but there wasn’t that much about the show that made me immediately consider adding this one to my weekly schedule. I might check in on the weekend every couple of weeks when I have nothing better to watch, but I’ll need a little more plot to keep my attention.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.