I first heard about ABC's The Knights of Prosperity six months or so ago, when Maz Jabroni was talking a bit about why he signed on to it. His love for the show was enough to sell me on it without even knowing what it was about; he talked in length about how it concerns Everyday Joes trying to overcome their lots in life, to scrape ahead and make something of themselves through somewhat unconventional means. Sounds great. He also said it was really funny. Bonus.
Then I found out the show was originally called "Let's Rob Mick Jagger!," and that it was created as a vehicle to allow Donal Logue's real-life personality to shine through and to allow him to stretch his "wacky character" muscles in ways he hasn't had the opportunity to since you saw him in MTV's "Jimmy the Cab Driver" spots back in the mid-nineties. Donal Logue is easily one of my favorite actors of all time, so I had to mark another point in the "I want to watch this show" column.
So then I heard that it's a serial arc, where throughout the season they get progressively closer to accomplishing what they've set out to accomplish, each week getting slightly closer to the better lives they desperately want to make for themselves. It's kind of a bumbling-criminal 24/Prison Break -- except funny, and not gimmicky, unrealistic or overrated. I've been saying for some time that networks need to embrace long-term arcs that don't require strict adherence to their timeslot shackles, and it seems ABC is taking the chance. The show is designed such that you can miss episodes without any worry; each one is self-contained, yet progresses through the overall arc painlessly. I really hope it pays off, because I'd like to see more tv like that.
I just watched the pilot episode and have to say that it surpassed even my extremely lofty expectations. It is very funny in ways that most comedy programs are not: there's no laugh track and no "jokes" per se, most of the humor is situational and dialog based. For instance: Maz Jabroni's character is a taxi driver who has hired a naive student to "intern" for college credit for their crime syndicate, having convinced him that they're producing the film "Taxi 2 (colon) Step On It." There's an amusing anti-cliche wherein an outsider wants into the syndicate, and the leader (Donal Logue) thinks it will be hard to convince the others to approve it. Seconds after seeing that this particular outsider is in fact a smokin' hot chick, all the syndicate members gladly approve her joining. It's exactly the way I think a bunch of inexperienced criminals would behave, but exactly the way they never do in fiction.
The characters are all quite likeable, and all pretty grounded in the "blue collar" day-to-day lifestyle that most of us live in. They don't sit around drinking expensive coffee or shopping at fancy stores. They have realistic problems. This is no Friends or Will & Grace; you're laughing because it's funny, not because the tv started laughing so that you know it's time to.
The show is put together pretty slickly as well as being well-written. There are many cuts to an E! Channel program about Mick Jagger's home, wherein Mick shows us completely over-the-top extravagances such as a hat-storage room with a sophisticated climate-control system and a swiming pool that is only used by Mick's dogs -- ensuring that even the most law-abiding viewer doesn't feel too bad about what the Knights are trying to accomplish. The soundtrack is all Dick-Dale-meets-Enrico-Morriconi surf-guitar renditions of a popular spaghetti western theme that really helps to set up the exciting situations they get into, punctuating their lack of grace as these bumbling, inexperienced criminals execute their plans.
This is my new favorite comedy, and I give it a full five (out of five) Chicken Enchilada Grilled Stuft Burritos -- a rare feat in this age of lousy, derivative television. I couldn't possibly have loved the first episode any more, which is rare for me as I find that even the best shows usually take a few episodes to really catch a stride and hook me. I greatly look forward to next week's episode, and hope that you either catch the pilot when ABC runs it again Friday Jan 5th at 9pm, or acquire it via some other means.
For reference purposes, here are some fiction programs that I enjoy (in no particular order): Battlestar Galactica, Dead Like Me, Veronica Mars, Dexter, Medium, Brisco County Jr., Northern Exposure, Firefly, Spaced, That's My Bush, South Park, Scrubs, Robot Chicken, Home Movies, Heroes (though to a lesser degree after each episode), House.
Some that I dislike: Smallville, any of the CSIs, Psych, Friends, Will & Grace, Family Guy, Eureka, Monk.
If anyone would like reasonings for my likes/dislikes, I'd be happy to provide them in the comments. I just list them in case I overlap at all with your tastes, thus increasing the likelihood that you don't miss out on a great show.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. He likes to be contacted.
(All press inquiries, however, ought be directed towards the author's agent, Alistair Hoel, via email to email@example.com.)