TV review: 'Enlisted' on Fox

Wednesday, 08 January 2014 12:00 AM Written by 

Enlisted-Pilot SC27 0157An amiable enough comedy, Fox does “Enlisted” no favors by slotting it at 9:30 p.m. Friday where few viewers will find it when it debuts later this week. (Friday is not a big TV viewing night, especially for younger viewers who would seem to be this show’s target audience.)

It’s a disappointing but perhaps not surprising move. “Enlisted” may be too heartfelt for Fox, which traffics in louder, brasher comedy. The pilot episode has its slightly edgier elements, as do future episodes, but “Enlisted” also has some pathos a credit to the series but perhaps not in the minds of Fox executives.

Set at Fort McGee, a rear detachment U.S. Army base in Florida, “Enlisted” focuses on three bothers: Pete (Geoff Stults, “The Finder”), a supersoldier who’s sent stateside after punching a colonel; Derrick (Chris Lowell, “Private Practice”), a sourpuss who doesn’t even want to be in the Army; and sensitive dimwit Randy (Parker Young, “Suburgatory”), who worships what he perceives as Pete’s heroism.

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Pete is assigned to lead a Fort McGee platoon that includes Derrick and Randy and they’re a motley crew; the Bad News Bears of Army units. But they try, they have heart and they bond in the process of a military exercise against some Italians.

Created by Kevin Biegel, co-creator of “Cougar Town,” the humor in “Enlisted” is less gonzo than in his previous series. But “Enlisted” is often still funny and the bond among the brothers is sweet without getting too cloying.

It’s a well cast show. The actors who play brothers actually look like they could be related. Mr. Young, in particular, stands out as the over-enthusiastic, youngest of the three.

Future episodes offer more dramatic moments, including the development of a possible romantic relationship between Pete and Jill (Angelique Cabral), another platoon leader. And actor Keith David co-stars as Command Sgt. Maj. Cody, who gets out from behind his desk in the Jan. 24 “Prank War” episode.

But given its time slot, don’t get too attached to “Enlisted;” it’s likely to be honorably discharged sooner rather than later.

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