'LA to Vegas' fails to live up to its potential

Posted 1/2/18

By Kevin McDonough

You've heard of saving the best for last. Sometimes I think networks save the worst for first. I can't tell you how many new comedies I've reviewed over the years that arrived in the first days of the new year only to vanish …

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'LA to Vegas' fails to live up to its potential

Posted

By Kevin McDonough

You've heard of saving the best for last. Sometimes I think networks save the worst for first. I can't tell you how many new comedies I've reviewed over the years that arrived in the first days of the new year only to vanish very quickly. Why? Because they were terrible.

Depressingly laughless, "LA to Vegas" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) stars Dylan McDermott as a cocky and friendless airline pilot assigned to the short holiday commuter jump that gives this comedy its title.

"The Practice" star McDermott is reduced to Capt. Dave, a stereotype of a competitive corporate schemer always out to show up his flyboy rival, Capt. Steve (Dermot Mulroney). Dave treats his flight crew, particularly the fetching but needy attendant Ronnie (Kim Matula), as his accomplices, but they're always looking out for themselves.

Given its low-budget air jitney run between Tinsel Town and Sin City, this comedy has the potential to showcase a parade of "colorful" characters, a la "The Love Boat." Sadly, too much of the focus is on the cockpit.

A meager subplot concerns Colin (Ed Weeks), a sad divorced dad out to throw a killer party for his 3-year-old son in Las Vegas. But once there, his lack of funds forces him to resort to hiring strippers for the entertainment. Yes, it's that kind of show.

Very little of the brittle dialogue rings remotely true to any human experience.

Dermot Mulroney and Dylan McDermott have appeared in "American Horror Story" installments on FX, and have both starred in CBS dramas. Mulroney's "Pure Genius" was given the hook by CBS last year after one short season. McDermott starred in the sadistic "Stalker," one of the most savagely reviewed and widely loathed series of the 2014-5 season.

I think both have outdone themselves with "LA to Vegas."

• Returning series include "Intervention" (9 p.m., A&E, TV-14), entering a new season with a focus on the opioid epidemic.

TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

• Sue kisses and tells on "The Middle" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

• Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe star in the 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton's novel "The Outsiders" (8 p.m., BBC America).

• Andrew Zimmern and "Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations" (9:30 p.m., Travel, TV-G) enter season seven.

• Bad behavior under cover on "NCIS: New Orleans" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

• A patient demands treatment, but won't cooperate on "Chicago Med" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

• Playing Cupid on "Kevin (Probably) Saves the World" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

• A couple renovate to maximize their space on the new series "Restored by the Fords" (10 p.m., HGTV).

"The Profit" (10 p.m., CNBC) returns to examine potential investments in the marijuana business.

"Hunting Hitler" (10 p.m., History, TV-PG) enters its third season.

CULT CHOICE

After foiling a robbery, Egbert Souse (W.C. Fields) is rewarded with a new job in the 1940 comedy "The Bank Dick" (10:45 p.m., TCM). Written by Fields under the pen name Mahatma Kane Jeeves.

SERIES NOTES

On the waterfront on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * Two solid hours of "Ellen's Game of Games" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) * Printing money on "Lethal Weapon" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Barry Meets DeVoe on "The Flash" (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) * Peer pressure on "Fresh Off the Boat" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * A bad influence on "Bull" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * Bow struggles on "blackish" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Jungle fever on "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" (9 p.m., CW, r, TV-14) * Impressing the neighbors on "The Mick" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Very superstitious on "Modern Family" (9:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-14).

LATE NIGHT

Elijah Wood, JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Paul Weller appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r) * Anderson Cooper, Maz Jobrani and Margo Price are booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes Kate McKinnon, Patton Oswalt and Wiz Khalifa featuring Ty Dolla $ign on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC, r) * John Lithgow, Jonathan Groff and Michael Lewis visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC, r) * Debra Messing, Taran Killam, Sam Rockwell and Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line appear on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).

© 2018, United Feature Syndicate