Review Roundup: Did Critics Cast Their Votes for Lea-Michele Led THE MAYOR?
Tonight, the new series THE MAYOR, from executive producer and Tony winner Daveed Diggs (HAMILTON), premieres on ABC at 9:30 pm/ET. The series stars GLEE alum Lea Michele (SPRING AWAKENING) as Valentina Barella, who was originally the campaign manager for the losing mayoral candidate, Ed Gunt (David Spade), but who changes sides and offers to join rapper-turned politician Courtney Rose as his chief of staff when she realizes he truly wants to make a difference in his community.
Valentina's no-nonsense, straight-laced ways assure him that things will turn out for the best, because she will not settle for anything less than perfect.
THE MAYOR got BWW's vote. We had this to say about the show: "THE MAYOR is a fresh new addition to ABC's comedy line up with a solid cast. Brandon Micheal Hall will soon become Hollywood's rising star. He portrays Courtney Rose with such charisma that it is hard not to like him, even when some of his actions make you cringe."
Read BWW's full review of the show here and see what some other critics have to say.
Kelly Lawler, USA Today: "THE MAYOR delivers on the two most important things a sitcom pilot needs: great characters and a great concept. That the jokes are relevant and funny is also a good sign of things to come. In a TV landscape where political humor is either cynical or angry, it fills a hole by landing squarely on the side of hopeful and fun. That may be just enough to earn your vote."
Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly: "The repartee, especially between Hall and Brown, is lightning-fast and far funnier than most network comedy fare. And while the basic plot, at least in the show's pilot, might be predictable, it more than redeems itself with an expert chemistry among the cast and Hall's tangible charisma. It's Hall who's responsible for making the show work as well as it does, navigating a tricky character in Courtney Rose who might have been insufferable in someone else's hands. Rose is a little selfish but still caring, enterprising but a little ignorant and, most important, funny. CONSIDER THIS my formal endorsement."
Sonia Saraiya, Variety: "On one hand, THE MAYOR is a heated little send-up of the American attitude towards politics, which seems to treasure participatory democracy and civic pride up until the moment where it involves leaving the house. On the other, it is a dig at Courtney's generation of attention-seeking millennials, who will do anything if it can be said to promote their #brand. And yet the show treats both its candidate and its voters with a lot of love. And the pace is so reassuringly snappy - the supporting characters, so clearly in sync - that newcomer THE MAYOR, like its fictional mayor, walks into its place on the schedule with self-assured swagger. The pilot snaps through the premise in such short order that there's no effort involved from the viewer except to sit back and enjoy the hijinks."
Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter: "My biggest concern rewatching THE MAYOR pilot was that almost everything I found memorable was in the premise-setting first half. Then in the second half, when the show tries illustrating what it might be like to have Courtney as mayor, it becomes pretty flat. Since that's the actual show, I'd want to see something better. I also think the pilot makes insufficient use of music, either Courtney's rapping or general tone-setting, given how much Daveed Diggs is being pushed as executive producer and melodic contributor. Finally, GLEE haters may be nervous about Lea Michele's presence in a comedy, but as somebody who watched every episode of SCREAM QUEENS, I know that she's got great timing and surprisingly little ego when used right. She's not used all that well in the pilot."
Ben Travers, IndieWire: "THE MAYOR doesn't succeed on surprise, nor does it rely on twists. It's a comedy through-and-through, with an extra dose of responsibility. Valentina and Dina keep the well-intentioned new mayor honest, while smart, subtle quips populate the space surrounding the pilot's tight plot. The Mayor-Elect and his buddies T.K. (Marcel Spears) and Jermaine (Bernard David Jones) pepper in good jokes about fake phobias and antibacterial soap (Why isn't all soap antibacterial?) in between solid overall banter."
Michael Starr, New York Post: "There's nothing really bad about THE MAYOR and nothing, save for its (sort of) ripped-from-the-headlines narrative that sets it apart from your average run-of-the-mill sitcom. There are some snappy lines ("Russia clearly tampered with the voting machines"; "The media is never wrong") and everyone fits into their roles admirably, including Hall (SEARCH PARTY), who carries the ball with enthusiasm. I particularly like Clifton, who makes the most of his supporting role as T.K. and knows his way around a punch line. But THE MAYOR needs more depth to take it beyond the standard sitcom formula; it's up to the show's executive producers, including rapper/actor Daveed Diggs (HAMILTON), to keep us interested going forward."
Verne Gay, Newsday: "THE MAYOR is a good idea with a good cast and a particularly good lead - in need of almost everything else. Beginning with brakes: The pilot rushes through so much story in so little time that almost none of this (or them) sticks. How exactly did Courtney come up with the idea of running for mayor in the first place, and while we're on the subject of Courtney, who is Courtney anyway? Is his music any good, or is he a would-be hustler in search of a would-be killer app - aka the mayor's office? Back story matters - even in sitcoms - and viewers get almost nothing here...This show needs to slow down, take a breath, develop the characters and most of all, make certain Hall is on screen most of the time. He's pure charisma. His show's a pure muddle."
Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times: "But Rose is a charismatic leader, and the playful energy between him and his friends/sidekicks Jermaine (Bernard David Jones) and T.K. (Marcel Spears) makes this administration a delight to watch. Valentina (Lea Michele), a small-time political strategist and former classmate of Rose's, appoints herself as an aide to the new accidental mayor, and it's frustrating for a by-the-book climber like her. His mother, Dina (Yvette Nicole Brown), provides moral guidance and heart - and there's a lot of heart here...If the rest of the series is anything like THE MAYOR pilot, expect a fresh show with likable but green talent, a lot of charm and plenty of political references turned inside-out to reflect the frustrations and hopes of a truly disenfranchised community."