Sunday, March 24, 2013

Second Sight: Seed is Funny and Frantic

Second sight: it's a gift few TV critics possess.
Like most of my tribe I usually review the first episode of a new series and then practically forget about it.
So when Seed --Citytv's only scripted Canadian series-- came on in early February I was enthusiastic particularly after meeting star Adam Korson. His comic timing reminded me of Dustin Hoffman in The
Korson effortlessly plays bartender Harry who sold his sperm to the highest bidder only to discover he has kids all over the place.
It's not a conventional premise for a feel good network sitcom.
And I was surprised at City's scheduling decision: plopping Seed at 8:30 p.m. on Mondays.
Whatever happened to TV's Family Hour? Or maybe we're being told this is the ultimate family tale?
In my decades of covering Canadian TV I was always being told Canadians just couldn't make respectable sitcoms.
For every hit like King Of Kensington there was a Delilah. And if you can remember Delilah--I had to sit through several tapings in the line of duty -then you deserve a special award.
Canadian comedy was more of the sketch variety, some critics said pointing to SCTV, Kids In The Hall, RCAF.
And that interpretation reigned until the magnificent break out successes of The Newsroom and Corner Gas.
But subsequent sitcoms including Hiccups and Dan For Mayor simply couldn't match it..
I've been studying Seed since it came on the air. The writing is light and airy (thanks to executive producer Mark Farrell) and some of the principals really nail their characters.
For purely econiomic reasons Seed is shot in Halifax. Production values are very room comy meaning it could really be made everywhere.
And I'm hoping the presence of guest star Tom Green, well cast as psychiatrist Dr. Stuart Meinertzhagen, will hook in stragglers watching for the first time.
As with many Canadian sitcoms (Intelligence, Men With Brooms) the series is "block shot" meaning scenes in the bar will be shot one after another.
I'd prefer a live audience approach which always makes the principals act on a higher level but this might be considered too expensive.
Corner Gas worked without an audience because Brent Butt as a stand up instantly knew what would work and expertly guided the rest of his cast.
Korson has a hard assigment -- to play likable yet slightly dumb. I think he's  already found the right balance. Obviously Harry had to sell his sperm to make ends meet without realizing the consequences.
Equally funny is Carrie-Lynn Neales (L.A. Complex) as a single girl who ends up pregnant with Harry's sperm and then wants a relationship.
Harry already has a kid)William Ainscought) who has two moms (Amanda Brudge and Stephanie Anne Mills) and a 15-year old daughter Anastasia (Abby Ross) with two extremely neurotic marrieds (Matt Baram and Laura De Carteret).
Previewing Monday's episode made me realize how these comedy actors have grwn into their roles over the past two months.
In short Seed deserves a second season --the kinks are being ironed out--and given another season the show is set to soar..
But a later in the evening time change would surely be beneficial, am I right here?
MY RATING: ***1/2.

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