Number of episodes: 2
Ratings for debut: 9.4 (15.6 million viewers)
Stars: Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Wolk, Amanda Setton, Hamish Linklater
Premise: Bouncing back after two divorces and a stint in rehab, the once-charming and confident yet kooky Simon Roberts (Robin Williams) returns to his corner office at a big time New York advertising agency.
Unfortunately, Simon and his fellow ad team at Roberts & Roberts are treading on thin ice. He's late for a meeting with their biggest client, and to make up for it, secretary Lauren Slotsky (Amanda Setton) has been flashing the McDonalds board for the past twenty minutes. Underappreciated copywriter Andrew Keanelly (Hamish Linklater) is grumbling that artistic director/office harlot Zach Cropper (James Wolk) gets all of the glory while Simon's hardworking daughter, Sydney Roberts (Sarah Michelle Gellar), tries to keep everything together. Sydney likes to play it safe and run the reliable pitches, but spontaneous Simon always manages to off the cuff and gets the team in way over their heads.
Prognosis: Yes, Simon Roberts is basically Robin Williams playing Robin Williams, but don't expect it to be a one-man show. He and co-star Wolk play well off of each other (watch the extras to see the meat jingle that made Kelly Clarkson laugh out loud). Gellar, meanwhile, does her best to reel Williams in so his spiels go on for just enough time to be funny but not too long that you want to throw your TV out the window.
Sometimes it feels like you're watching ABC Family when The Crazy Ones, created by David E. Kelley, overplays its sentimental keys. But the show also has enough self-awareness to call itself out, resulting in amusing situations like Kelly Clarkson bullying Sydney into belting a McDonalds jingle on top of a table at a posh restaurant. Setting the comedy at an ad agency is risky (cue the synchronized scoffs from all Mad Men fans), but the dialogue is smart and there are good character dynamics (we only wish there was a bit more substance to Lauren).
We dig it, and, based on that huge series premiere debut (15.6 million viewers), the rest of America does, too. It's not so crazy to think that Mr. Williams and company are in it for the long haul (read: at least one full season). —Arianna Friedman