April 1, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Weird Loners”


WEIRD LONERS:  Tuesday 9:30PM on FOX – If Nothing Else is On…

WEIRD LONERS belongs to the sitcom subspecies of quirky singles comedy, which has given us New Girl (the pilot for Weird Loners was directed by Jake Kasdan, who’s also a New Girl director/producer) but also things like A To Z and Marry MeLoners seems to inhabit the middle of that spread.

The series has been created by Michael J. Weithorn, who was one of the creators of the long-running CBS multi-camera comedy King of Queens, so this is something of a tonal shift for him.  The pilot was a premise half-hour, and it felt quite generic, but perhaps the series will show more spark as its 6 episodes roll on.

The object of the pilot was to bring the main characters together in thirty minutes or less.  The men, womanizer Stosh (Zachary Knighton, from Happy Endings), and lumpy Eric (Nate Torrance, who played a similar role on HBO’s Hello Ladies) are cousins, but by the end of the pilot they’re also roommates, since Stosh slept with his boss’s fiance, got fired, and thus lost his company condo, not to mention his job, putting him in need of a new home.  The pair happen to live next door to Caryn (Becki Newton), who can’t quite convince herself in her late 30s that it’s time to stay away from bad boys (like Stosh) and settle down with someone boring.  She has a new roommate, too, by the time the half-hour is up:  Zara (Meera Rohit Kumbhani), an artist who unceremoniously dumps whatever man she’s with before things can become serious.

We’ve seen all of these characters on network sitcoms before, except perhaps Zara, and the Weird Loners pilot feels at times like it’s following the quirky buddies comedy handbook.  Weird Loners doesn’t have the courage of its convictions, like its cable cousins You’re the Worst and Man Seeking Woman, where the leads dare to be genuinely unpleasant.  This quartet is all but longing for togetherness, and it remains to be seen if any of them will ever do something surprising.  The show isn’t quite dismissible, though.  There are some bright moments, especially near the end, when the foursome watch a nearby wedding and provide their own garbled vows for the truly beloveds.  (“By the powder infested in bees…”)  Also, in a show like this, casting is half the battle, and although Eric may be too much of an idiot for Torrance to rescue, Knighton, Newton and Kumbhani seem like they’ll be good company.  Newton, in particular, brings the same kind of smart spin to her rote dialogue that she did in her stints on Ugly Betty and How I Met Your Mother.

The bar isn’t very high for Weird Loners to make an impression.  Its short run will air in the Mindy Project slot, where the current inhabitant (a much better show, to be sure) is glad to get above a 1.0 rating each week.  Loners doesn’t seem likely to do much better, but on FOX right now, much better may not be needed.  There’s enough merit to the pilot, and especially the cast, to at least merit a second viewing.


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."