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Series debut: Better Off Ted

In television on 03/17/2009 at 9:01 pm

Series name
Better Off Ted

Debuts
Wednesday, March 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Regularly airs
Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET

Premise
Ted is an exec at Veridian Dynamics, where he runs an R&D team that can make anything happen, most of the time. Weaponize a pumpkin? No problem. Create a mouse (animal type) that can withstand the temperature of almost 200 F? Done. Freeze the brain of an underling to see it if can be done? Ummmm?

Primary cast and crew

Jay Harrington (Private Practice, Desperate Housewives) is Ted. Smiles a lot.

Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development) is Veronica, Ted’s boss. Humourless, even by satirical standards.

Andrea Anders (The Class, Joey, Oz — Ow! I just got whiplash writing those three titles within two parentheses!) is Linda, pain in Ted’s progress report and object of his desire.

Jonathan Slavin (My Name Is Earl, Summerland, Andy Richter Controls the Universe) is Phil, research partner with…

Malcolm Barrett (Monk, Psych, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is Phil’s partner, Lem. They have to deal with the crazy demands.

Maz Jobrani (Knights of Prosperity), brilliant comic from last year’s Just for Laughs) is Dr. Bhamba, zealous researcher.

Victor Fresco (My Name Is Earl, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Andy Richter Controls the Universe) is creator and exec.

10-minute preview clip (yes, it’s worth it)

Buzz buzz
Portia de Rossi talks to the L.A. Times on her marriage to Ellen DeGeneres, the fact that she is not, repeat not, pregnant, and on working on another series.

Mediaweek talks to Victor Fresco about corporate ethics as comedy and the lessons learned (or not) from Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Here’s the (three-minute) video.

But what do I know anyway? After NOT having seen the pilot I predict…
Cross Arrested Development with 39 Rock and The Office. Some of you (us!) will find this funny to the point of cramping up. Others? Please see: Arrested Development and Andy Richter Controls the Universe and their ratings-challenged, but critically acclaimed runs.

Other reviews
Tim Goodman at the San Francisco Chronicle likes the weird funny, but worries (a little) that the soft side of Ted — he’s a single dad — will moulder the good parts.

Televisionary and the Boston Herald also like it quite a bit.

ABC website and Veridian Dynamics site
Lots of video on both sites, with more and better product and staff description on the VD site. I thought there’d be more fun stuff, but not so far.

Wondering when other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for the complete and updated list of mid-season premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay

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