On the heels of former Modern Family followers Cougar Town, Happy Endings and Apartment 23 comes a slightly unexpected comedy this fall. ABC has given its most coveted time slot to The Neighbors, a single-camera sitcom about a New Jersey family that moves into a gated community occupied exclusively by extraterrestrials.
The Hollywood Reporter screened the comedy pilot — the network’s only laugher kicking off at the start of the season — ahead of the series’ official premiere and, in keeping with our Fall Preview 2012, have five things to know about the series ahead of its launch.
1. No, it’s not a metaphor. The aliens depicted in The Neighbors are not of the illegal kind; they’re the green, slimy, come from a different planet and keep flying saucers in their garage kind. The pilot gives most of the attention to the human beings they’re posing as (stars Simon Templeman and Toks Olagundoye), while only offering a few glimpses of their shorter, scalier, computer-generated selves.
2. Despite the outwardly low-brow premise of a sitcom about aliens living in a cul-de-sac, the series does have a celebrated pedigree in creator Dan Fogelman. The veteran scribe gave Disney its animated hits Cars and Tangled and wrote last summer’s romantic dramedy Crazy, Stupid, Love.
3. The recession is still a hot topic for TV. Though the pilot does not dwell on their financial circumstances, the Weaver family hits on many hot button issues. The working class Marty (Bored to Death‘s Lenny Venito) feels trapped in the Bayonne, New Jersey, community he grew up in and wife Debbie (Entourage‘s Jami Gertz) had to return to work when the family fell on hard times. When things in their new neighborhood get weird, the market keeps them from immediately selling their house.
4. Aliens love sports. In an attempt to assimilate, the aliens have all given themselves the names of famous athletes such as Larry Bird, Reggie Jackson, Dick Butkus and, most notably, Jackie Joyner Kersee.
5. There’s no lingering mystery to be solved here. As the previews will tell you, The Neighbors rips off the band-aid — or, in this case, the human flesh jumpsuits — rather quickly. By the second act of the pilot, young Dick Butkis outs the family’s extraterrestrial origins and then entire neighborhood reveals themselves to the Weavers, asking them to stay and guard their secret and presumably setting up at least a season’s worth of misunderstandings and hijinks.
The Neighbors land on ABC’s Wednesday lineup this fall at 9:30 p.m. Tune into the promo below and hit the comments with your thoughts. Will you watch?