“Mockingbird Lane,” the “Munsters” reboot, premiered to respectable numbers Friday night, attracting 5.4 million viewers as a lead-in for “Grimm,” which pulled in 6 million viewers.
“Mockingbird Lane” placed third in its time slot behind a repeat episode of CBS’ “NCIS” (7.4 million) and ABC’s “Shark Tank” (6.7 million), but ahead of Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” (2.7 million) and the CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (1.1 million).
Earlier this month, it was reported that NBC would not be picking up “Mockingbird Lane” as a series, but viewers are now wondering if its solid ratings will be enough for the network to order more episodes.
In the all-important 18-to-49 demographic, “Mockingbird Lane” helped propel NBC to an overall win for the night with a 1.6 rating.
Normally, when news hits that a classic TV show is about to be remade, it’s a good sign to stay away from the resurrected project.
With few exceptions—“Battlestar Galactica” being the most notable—updated attempts at recreating classic TV fail dismally.
When NBC announced “Mockingbird Lane” earlier this year, it seemed doomed to fail, even with Bryan Fuller at the helm.
As the rebooted storyline was revealed, it seemed like it might work.
In spite of NBC’s initial unwillingness to pick “Mockingbird Lane” up for a full season after the pilot episode was filmed, the show did not entirely disappoint in its first—and quite possibly final—episode.
Eddie Izzard’s portrayal as Grandpa was far from the mold cast by Al Lewis in the original series, but he actually improved on the role, creating a quirky and memorable character.
Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster was, well, very Jerry O’Connell-ish. He played this character the same way he’s played all of his other roles.
Portia de Rossi’s Lily was uninspiring. She captured the aloofness of the original character, but did little to add to it. Sultry walking and camera shots intended to play off her attractiveness fell short.
The rebooted Eddie has a deeper storyline than the original series’ Eddie had, mainly coming to grips with being a werewolf after years of his parents lying to him about his true identity.
The show paid homage to the original series early on when Herman’s silhouette appeared in the form of Frankenstein’s monster—which the original Herman was—only to realize it was a bolted light fixture behind him that created the illusion.
The dialogue between family members as they sat around the dinner table with Herman’s heart “donor” was another of the more memorable moments of the show. Something about dinner gatherings that are ideal for memorable cinema.
Bottom line, Izzard’s portrayal of Grandpa and Fuller’s writing are the strong points of “Mockingbird Lane” and, presumably, would be the motors that drive the show, should it receive new life as a result of Friday night’s ratings.
In spite of the show’s liabilities—O’Connell and de Rossi, mainly—Izzard and continued solid writing would make a season’s worth of “Mockingbird Lane” worthwhile viewing.
Make it happen, NBC.