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Robin Williams is back on television with The Crazy Ones, a new half-hour comedy revolving around the exploits of an advertising executive.
The sitcom, also featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Hamish Linklater and James Wolk, premieres on Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBS.
The show currently sits, slightly rotten, at 46 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Top critics were similarly divided.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s chief TV critic, Tim Goodman, wrote that viewers will be divided depending on whether they enjoy Williams’ sense of humor.
“If you’re not a fan (or merely an ex-fan), then avoid this at all costs,” Goodman wrote. “Because The Crazy Ones is Williams being Williams, which used to be a thing a while ago but now seems more like a thing you’ve seen too many times.”
STORY: Fall TV Survey Crowns ‘Crazy Ones’ Most Likely to Succeed
Similarly, New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley noted that the comedian’s routines didn’t stand up to his previous work.
“Watching Mr. Williams return to the kind of improvisation-style routines that made him famous in the 1970s is bittersweet, like watching Jimmy Connors play tennis again: They are still impressive, but audiences can’t help recalling how much more elastic and powerful they were at their peak,” Stanley wrote.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal‘s review, by columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz, gave a thumbs-up to the writing of the sitcom and praised Linklater for his supporting role. “When character actors of this strength show up, it’s a portent of good things to come.”
Hank Stuever, television critic at The Washington Post, generally enjoyed the straightforward nature of the series. It “shows sure signs of achieving what it’s attempting to be — a playful, upscale, single-camera departure from the usual sitcom. You can tell that it wants to be funny, which sounds like a strange compliment, until you watch enough new comedies in which detachment is the goal.”
USA Today‘s critic Robert Bianco, in a two-and-a-half-out-of-four-star review, said the show didn’t have enough funny moments. “[Williams] spends the half-hour bouncing between manic and maudlin. That’s been a large part of Williams’ act ever since he left Mork & Mindy, and either it appeals to you, or it doesn’t.”
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