So stellar as (Just) Jack in "Will & Grace," Sean Hayes returns to NBC'sThursday night line-up in "Sean Saves the World."
The premise of the show is that Hayes is a single dad to a teenage daughter whose mother has recently left the girl with her father, for reasons not really explained.
Joining Hayes in his new venture with his daughter (Samantha Isler) are his mother (Linda Lavin), his female friend (Megan Hilty) and an eccentric new boss (Thomas Lennon).
While Hayes certainly brings the comedic adaptness and timing that won him an Emmy, the pilot is fairly weak in terms of story. There are a few redeeming moments, such as when Hayes explains to his daughter how he, as a gay man, became her father, but overall the issue is that while it's enjoyable to watch Hayes with all of his charms on display, it's difficult to take the sniping of Lavin's character and the downright meaness of Lennon as Hayes' superior.
Fortunately, by the second episode these characters are a bit more fleshed out and Lavin's Lorna comes across as critical but caring while Lennon's Max is revealed to be more of a peculiar fellow than an actual hard-nosed business man.
While watching Hayes work it's hard not to want Megan Mullally's Karen Walker to come bounding into the scene. It feels a bit like watching half of a well-known duo try to make it on his/her own. Well, in this case, it actually is exactly like that.
Nonetheless, Hayes is to be commended for taking on the challenge of this new show and not simply resting on his past on-screen success. He's still the wacky guy that viewers have come to know, he's just in a different setting now.
The foundation for a funny week-in-week-out show is there, it just needs to be tweaked a bit and find it's groove. Hopefully, precisely that will happen, but it definitely needs to happen very quickly or it won't be "Sean Saves the World," it will be Just Sean.
"Sean Saves the World" premieres Thursday at 9/8c on NBC.