After last week’s news that the pilot episode of Cedric the Entertainer’s original scripted sit-com for TV Land (The Soul Man) pulled in 1.9 million viewers during its 10pm time slot, making it TV Land’s second highest-rated original series debut ever, naturally, I had to check it out for myself.
And, well, after watching the first 2 episodes over the weekend, I can’t say that I’m itching to return for a third (it’s customary for me to give new series 3 episodes before deciding on whether to write them off, or stick around).
I wonder if maybe it’s because I’m not a regular TV comedy sitcom watcher, because the show just felt quite dry to me. I probably laughed once or twice, although more like chuckles than outright laughter, and I just wasn’t moved strongly in any direction.
After watching both episodes, my immediate reaction was just to shrug at it all.
I suppose it’s more of a family show, but that doesn’t mean it has to be so tame and dull.
I’d say it’s probably a case of weak writing, because I think there’s enough acting/comedy talent in the starring cast here, to make for an enjoyable 30 minutes of entertainment (more like 22 when you include all the commercial breaks), and I can’t help but feel that the are all being under-used here, or more like misused.
Cedric’s a funny guy! I’ve seen his stand-up routine, and he’s got jokes. I laugh hard. Here, as much as he tries to keep things bouncy, he seems restricted, and I wish the writers/producers would just let him loose to do what he does best, while still keeping things PG; Same for co-star Niecy Nash who plays his wife on the show.
The opening credit sequence is actually one of the show’s highlights, as short as it is.
So, in short, meh… happy for Cedric and company, but the material doesn’t grab me nor hold my attention.
The series is a spinoff of Hot in Cleveland, and stars Cedric as Rev. Boyce “The Voice” Ballantine, a former R & B singer turned minister, who takes over his father’s church.
Jazz Raycole plays his daughter Lyric, John Beasley as Boyce’s father, Barton, and Wesley Jonathan as his brother, Stamps.
The Soul Man has been heavily marketed to African American audiences, with the intent being to attract new audiences to the network.
And based on the numbers for the first 2 weeks, it looks like it worked.
The new series airs Wednesdays 10/9c on TV Land.
You can watch the first 2 episodes on TV Land’s website HERE.
If you’ve been keeping up with the series, your thoughts?