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Herc Says Ray Romano’s MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE Is Probably TNT’s Best Original Series Ever!!

Published at: Dec. 8, 2009, 5:42 p.m. CST by hercules

I am – Hercules!!
A TNT dramedy from “Everybody Loves Raymond” writers Ray Romano and Mike Royce, “Men of a Certain Age” stars Romano, Andre Braugher (“Homicide”) and Scott Bakula (“Star Trek: Enterprise”) as a trio of friends – a party supply store owner, a car salesman and a part-time actor – confronting mid-life crises. It may be TNT’s best original series to date. I already like it a good deal better than Romano’s long-running laughtrack sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” There’s a very dark gag early in the first episode involving a vehicular mishap that makes me want to cut “Certain” a lot of slack. Braugher is aces as always, and looks far heftier than I remember he did in “The Mist”; unless there are some digital effects or some very convincing prostheses at play, he seems to have outeaten Robert DeNiro, packing on a troubling amount of weight to play an unhappy, lethargic, diabetic overeater who finds himself pushed to new levels of frustration. (The series’ storyline appears to bring a new resolve to the character that might keep the actor from killing himself.) At times the series feels like a middle-aged “Diner” and at other times feels slightly overwritten; the comedy and drama might grow stronger if the project adopted the semi-improvisational approach we saw in “Diner” and still see “Friday Night Lights” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I laughed hard at something as simple as Romano failing to guess the correct temperature; I’d love to see more of that kind of thing. I like this show well enough to watch its second and third episodes, even though I really didn’t have to and have a lot of other stuff to review. I deem it DVR-worthy. USA Today says:

… fine but slightly overemphatic premiere, which overdoes the sad-sackishness of its three main characters … There are big moments, but much of the joy comes from small exchanges and throwaway jokes. (Terry's response to Owen's dismissive "Pirates, pickpockets, what's the difference?" is a perplexed, "Well, there's the boat.") The show could do without the invented basic-cable-approved, almost-obscene insults, but the men do wield them affectionately. You may not recognize the words, but you'll recognize the tone and tenor of friends who know one another too well.

The New York Times says:

… not violent, exciting or fast paced, but the series has a quiet charm of its own: it is a believable, sharply observed portrait of ordinary men who, through all-too-common bad breaks and missteps, feel that they are backsliding. The three lead actors, on the other hand, are on top of their games playing losers. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

… a miraculously good show about a stage of life that is too often either ignored or overplayed. …

The Washington Post says:

… proves a powerful yet mercifully amusing experience -- bittersweet, poignant and wise. It's not just a series, but something of a tonic. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

… Though there have been various attempts through the years to get at the easily identifiable and relatable midlife crises of men, much of the effort is put on cheap laughs and even cheaper clichés. TNT's new drama "Men Of A Certain Age" might be the closest thing to getting it right. … This isn't some "Bucket List" joke-fest. There's some spot-on and sharp humor throughout, but it never gets too light and breezy. There's an underlying seriousness - just shy of real gravitas - that anchors the series. If "Men Of A Certain Age" eschews the easy clichés as it has in the first few episodes, there's real potential for drama here …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

… enjoyable … It's talky but not didactic, and the camaraderie among the core cast feels real, not forced. That's mostly due to the small details in the show's scripts. …

The Boston Herald says:

… the star of the inexplicably popular sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” makes his return to TV … “Men” is worth your time only because of co-star Andre Braugher. …

The Boston Globe says:

… While it includes some predictable guy banter, especially in tonight’s uneven pilot, “Men of a Certain Age’’ is a probing, occasionally bleak drama that evokes indie director John Cassavetes more than “Sex and the City’’ creator Darren Star. The writers and actors steadfastly avoid TV-bred coziness, as they push further into the difficult trade-offs that make getting older so liberating and so demoralizing. The actors are especially willing to forgo leading-man vanity in favor of emotional vulnerability, with Braugher and Romano looking particularly wasted at times. … “Men of a Certain Age’’ does settle into a groove, and it’s a good one. …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

… Those who gravitate to this engaging show will be rewarded with the kind of substantial, thoughtful fare more often reserved for theater audiences. Plus, there are outstanding performances. …

Variety says:

… isn't a great series yet, but it has the assets to grow into one. And in the interim, watching it certainly isn't a Sisyphean task. …

10 p.m. Monday. TNT.



 

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Readers Talkback

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  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:48 a.m. CST

    Basically the same as Shotime's "Manchild"

    by V'Shael

    I have no idea why Shotime didn't pick up Manchild (the pilot was pretty fucking funny) but there has been a gap in the networks for a show like this. I'm just surprised TNT were the ones to fill it. <p> Male friends in their mid-life crisis 30-40's. It was probably pitched as a male equivalent of "Sex In The City".

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:56 a.m. CST

    Can't be any worse then Dark Blue

    by Xiphos_2

    Because outside of Sons of Anarchy and Fringe nothing is as bad as that Trey Atwood cop show.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 4:01 a.m. CST

    I'll have to check this out

    by hst666

    Raymond was pretty good for a laugh track sitcom.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 4:07 a.m. CST

    "watching it certainly isn't a Sisyphean task"

    by smackfu

    Yet another reason to despise Variety with every fiber of my being

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 5:40 a.m. CST

    That's a great cast

    by Chakraborty

    If word of mouth continues to be good...I'll eventually watch the episodes online as I don't have cable.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 6:42 a.m. CST

    Great cast (apart from Romano)

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Andre looked like the Michallin Man when he was in House recently. He's given into middle age gracefully lol. He's still one quality actor. Anyone ever see him in Homicide:Life on the Street? He was on fire in that series. His scenes in the interview room (the Tank?) were fucking amazing. The guy could get a confession out of a stone.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Unfortunately, TBS...

    by CatVutt

    Played those fucking promos so many fucking times during the MLB playoffs that I'm already sick of the fucking thing even though I've never seen it.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Looks like a fucking dopey waste of time

    by YackBacker

    Hearing middle-aged men who enver had to face down The Great Depression or Nazi Germany/Imperial Japan bitch about how they're fat, uninspired and lonely? Go suck a pacifier, Romano. Fucking nonsense.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 8:54 a.m. CST

    If watching it was a Sisyphean task...

    by cookylamoo

    Wouldn't you have to TIVO it and run it back and forth?

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    I was a gonna say "BBC's Manchild"

    by oisin5199

    if there was some American remake, didn't see it, but really liked the BBC version with Tony Head. Can't stand Ray Romano, so I'm not sure I can stomach this.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Better than A-Team 2010 ?

    by I am the most horrible

    I mean Leverage?<p> Tim Hutton = Peppard,<p> Blonde = crazy baseball cap dude <p> Chick from coupling = Starbuck <p> Scrappy white dude = BA <p> (The black guy is the van)

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Why would you even compare this to Everybody Loves Raymond?

    by Shermdawg

    You shouldn't. And if you did, still, there's NO WAY anything in one episode is gonna outshine the comedic perfection that Boyle, Roberts, and Garrett brought to the table in what?...Nine seasons?...of the last great authentic sitcom. THEY carried that show, not Romano and Heaton.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 10:12 a.m. CST

    And yeah, I'm kinda looking forward to it.

    by Shermdawg

    Especially for Braugher. It's a shame FX didn't pick up Thief as a ongoing series. Shit was great.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Crap, this airs opposite Pawn Stars.

    by Shermdawg

    Gonna have to tape the replay.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Did Ray Romano get blow up in The Monatch's car?

    by fiester

    Oh wait. That was Henchman 21.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    Fuck you Herc. Everybody Loves Raymond was good

    by Tacom

    Elitist snob.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Does no one remember Mike Binder's

    by skimn

    Mind Of A Married Man for HBO, which this looks exactly like?

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Guess Everybody Doesn't Love Raymond huh?

    by WickedJester

    The show always seems to make me laugh. Guess I'm a (insert flame here).

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Romano's cameo in Funny People was great too btw.

    by WickedJester

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:07 p.m. CST

    "Diner"

    by Tar Heel

    "Diner" is one of favorite movies but what made it work beyond the improvisational/conversational scenes were the well-drawn characters and their individual arcs. Dialog is great but we need to care about the characters. Let's see if "Men" can do this.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:08 p.m. CST

    This looks okay

    by dukeroberts

    Everybody Loves Raymond sucked mightily, but I enjoyed Bakula on Quantum Leap and Braugher was fantastic on Homicide.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Archer is my favorite captain

    by punto

    I don't care what you smelly fat nerds say, he rocks.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Love Bakula

    by Riff_Randell

    Like Braugher, HATE Ray Romano with the fire of a thousand suns. And yeah, this looks like a poorly-conceived Manchild. Would've watched, but not with Ray Romano in it. Fail TNT, huge fail.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 2:43 p.m. CST

    @oisin5199 : Yeah, the BBC had the whole series

    by V'Shael

    Showtime tried a pilot, which wasn't picked up. That's not to say that the BBC style show couldn't work on the US television. Clearly TNT thinks it can. <p> You can find the Showtime pilot online, and one of the 4 guys is played by Kevin "Clerks" Smith.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Ray Romano compared to John Cassavetes? HI-larious!

    by Snake Foreskin

    That's worth the price of admission!

  • ...rather than for art's sake.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Everybody has mixed opinions about Raymond

    by liesandpicturesofalsolies

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 3:27 p.m. CST

    WEKNOWDRAMAALLYOURMOVIETHEATERSAREBELONGTOUS

    by supercowbell5THECOWBELLHASSPOKEN

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 3:27 p.m. CST

    WEKNOWDRAMAALLYOURNBAGAMESAREBELONGTOUS

    by supercowbell5THECOWBELLHASSPOKEN

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 3:56 p.m. CST

    I don't know if the show will be any good, but....

    by Rob0729

    It's got be me weighing myself before and after every piss. Haven't lost 2lbs yet.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Crusade was TNT's best...

    by jgsugden

    Just sayin...

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 5:52 p.m. CST

    If I wanted to watch old men weep about their former glory than.

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    I would watch my dad!

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Finally, a Cable series I might actually watch.

    by lockesbrokenleg

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I think it looks like I should...

    by Jaka

    ..check it out. But that's, admittedly, mostly because of Bakula. I never watched Everybody Loved Raymond - not one single time. The characters annoyed me enough in the promos that I knew it was something I wouldn't like.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Look, one guy will have cancer

    by YackBacker

    Maybe not in the beginning, but at some point one of these three dudes is going to have a prostate go tits-up. This is a show about prostate cancer. Enjoy.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 7:07 p.m. CST

    Everybody Loves Raymond was funny dammit

    by drewlicious

    There were just some seriously great comedic performances in that show and it's kind of a shame Peter Boyle was the only one who walked away with an Emmy. Also too bad that Brad Garrett moved into one of the worst sitcoms I have seen in ages. Saw ten minutes of "Til Death" and that was ten minutes too much.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 7:18 p.m. CST

    drew...

    by Jaka

    ...it may have been. I don't really get down on sitcoms. Didn't catch Friends until the second to last season. Still think Sienfeld was a waste of TV. Sitcoms for me were, like, Cheers and Family Ties. Even some of the Cosby Show seasons. Taxi or MASH in syndication. Newerish (yeah, that's right, newerish) sitcoms have never really done it for me.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 8:38 p.m. CST

    people here liked everyone loves raymond??

    by celebritydave

    wtf??? maybe its a cultural thing (im in NZ) but everyone i know HATES that show with a passion. just pure garbage. Ray's cameo in funny people was good though. but yeah, his sitcom sucked balls.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 9:45 p.m. CST

    This show better show some young chicks

    by kabong

    if it's about middle-aged guys. <P> Otherwise, what's the point?

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Everybody Loves Raymond was hilarious

    by KingNineReturns

    What are you people talking about? The family dynamic was brutally honest for a sitcom.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 9:50 p.m. CST

    "Everybody..." was very funny at times

    by BizarroJerry

    When it was only about dumb husband being bitched at, it got lame, but Ray and his brother and his dad were damned hilarious at times.<p>Braugher guested on House recently and he did put on a lot of weight. Especially compared to his early "Homicide" days.<p>I do like the three leads on this show, but I think I'm ten or fifteen years away from being able to relate. But middle aged men whining about their problems is still more palatable then a teenage angst show.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 11:20 p.m. CST

    "Sideways" kinda covered this same territory

    by Redmond

    Just sayin'.

  • Dec. 7, 2009, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Has TNT EVER had an orignal series?

    by lockesbrokenleg

    How the fuck do they air anything other than King Kong and Saving Private Ryan?

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 1:40 a.m. CST

    I won't even give it a chance

    by animas

    I want characters I can identify with. And that means intelligent people, which do not exist on tv. And fuck Ray Romano.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Saw it last night

    by rogueleader66

    Has potential, a few rough spots, but I can see it settling in and being a really good show. Will be watching this.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Oh and Romano was fine

    by rogueleader66

    I understand people don't like him but he is a lot more subtle here than in his sitcom. Still has limited range, but is definitely not the annoying Ray from the sitcom, and a post I saw on here was correct, Garrett, Roberts and Boyle carried Everybody Loves Raymond, if not for them, the show would have never lasted.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Caught the last half

    by Sonny_Williams

    I'll set it on my DVR and give it a chance. I'm actually a few years past these guy but well remember those times. Those who didn't like Ray in his sitcom will be pleasantly suprised at his work here; in fact all 3 leads are doing some fine work. And I hope "fantasy girl" is a recurring character, she makes my man-parts happy!

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Sonny, Re:fantasy girl

    by rogueleader66

    She was a little hottie wasn't she, she sure put a smile on my face.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Rogueleader66, I'd like

    by Sonny_Williams

    her vertical smile on my face. After I made happy with her bodacious ta-tas....

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Sonny

    by rogueleader66

    I echo those sentiments my friend, she can just sit on my face and I will give her a good ride.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:33 a.m. CST

    for those of you that don't know who sonny and I are talking abo

    by rogueleader66

    Here she is in all her smokin hot glory.....<P>http://images.askmen.com/photos/patricia-de-leon/84778.jpg

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Sorry fucked up on that link

    by rogueleader66

    This one should work....<P>http://images.askmen.com/photos/patricia-de-leon/84778.jpg

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:38 a.m. CST

    OMFG

    by rogueleader66

    WTF I paste a link and it puts spaces in the address...fuck <P>http://images.askmen.com/photos/patricia-de-leon/ 84778.jpg <P>If that dont work just google Patricia DeLeon.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Want to see the episode where Romano

    by skimn

    wakes up in his hotel bed, next to the bloodied body of a bludgeoned hooker. "Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God..Oh shit Oh shit..Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God"...dials phone..."Hello Robert?"<p>Did really enjoy the first episode. Looking forward for things to darken up a little bit. I think Romano was a bit influenced by Mad Men, because of the small details and the little victories and trageides that make up real life. Glad to see a TNT series not involving cops, laywers or the medical profession.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST

    lockes...you gonna try that joke on every cable network?

    by skimn

    ?

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Fuck it I give up

    by rogueleader66

    Either I am an idiot (most likely) or something just keeps fucking up every time I post that link. Just google Patricia DeLeon, she's hot.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Everybody Loves Raymond was crap

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    They have three kids, two of which are twins, but you never see them taking care of them. Talk about fantasy. This series looks good, but I can't watch it. I don't get TNT. I'll have to wait until they're online.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 10:51 a.m. CST

    rogueleader66, lol

    by Jaka

    First of all, when people copy your links they can just back out the space. However, I think it's AICN that alerted most of us to the beauty of www.tinyurl.com It will shrink your links and make them post as one line - no spaces.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Jaka

    by rogueleader66

    Ok thanks, that's a help, I really thought I was an idiot...well in a different way than I normally am that is.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST

    At least it didn't end on a depressing tone

    by estacado1

    I'm not in the mood to be depressed right now, so I kinda liked how it ended. The first episode felt like a short indie movie. It was complete, and it didn't need to have another episode. But if it did have one, the second episode is going to be the one where I decide whether to follow this series or not.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Wait, wait, wait - someone DVRs Pawn Stars?

    by gruntybear

    Are you fucking kidding me? It's Antiques Roadshow for mouthbreathing gimps. And it's on ALL. THE. FUCKING. TIME. Day or night. Flip through the channels and those chuckleheads are busy hustling some poor gambling addict from his family heirlooms. LCD much?

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 8:50 p.m. CST

    If this is any good this will be the last talkback

    by AngrySnowMonkey

    devoted to this show. Lazy Hercules seems content to devote space to reality trash, Amazon ads and ratings blurbs that provide no commentary. Seriously, Herc--have you become so lazy and uninterested that you think people like this?

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 9:04 p.m. CST

    Watching this right now on TBS

    by MandrakeRoot

    I see previews for this all the time on TBS and apparently there doing a special presentation of it, even though it's on TNT. I was curious to see what AICN had to say about this and was shocked to read the headline, so I'm pretty excited to see it. <p> I noticed it was created by Ray Romano and he is a comedic genius, so how bad can it be? Everybody Loves Raymond is still one of the funniest family sitcoms of all time. I hope his new show becomes just as successful and acclaimed, or at least one of the two...preferably acclaimed.

  • Dec. 8, 2009, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Whats with the Raymond hate?

    by MandrakeRoot

    It's easily one of the best sitcoms of the last two decades, up there with Seinfeld, King of Queens, Arrested Development, The Office, etc. <p> And yes, Roberts, Boyle, and Garret were fantastic, but Raymond was easily just as funny as them. He's got a fantastic sense of humor, and he is undoubtedly king of the one-liner. And Heaton was also quite good in her role, but her character did get annoying sometimes. And trust me, it was a good thing the kids presence in the show was very limited...that's what made the show as good as it was. It's like Raymond said in the episodes intro/opening credits..."Don't worry, it's not about the kids." Thank god for that.

  • Dec. 9, 2009, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Pawn Stars is awesome, and no, I didn't DVR it.

    by Shermdawg

    I DVR'd this. Need to watch it this weekend.

  • Dec. 9, 2009, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Best thing on TNT...

    by Direwraithe

    is Leverage without a doubt, one of the best things on television period. Looking forward to seeing this new show however, looks like it has promise.

  • Dec. 9, 2009, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Just watched it.

    by Shermdawg

    Fantastic show.

  • Dec. 10, 2009, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Fuck you whiners.

    by VirgilHilts

    Have a kid. Get divorced. Have our metabolism shut down. Get laid off. Hell..get laid. Live somewhere besides your first apartment or your parent's basement. Then you can understand this show. The CW awaits the rest of you. This show isn't fully realized, but it's got great potential. I want to see where this goes. And that's about the most you can want for good tv these days.

  • Dec. 11, 2009, 5 a.m. CST

    Andre Braugher stop eating you fool!

    by TheManWhoCan

    The other night on TV I caught the Ed Norton, Richard Gear movie gahhhhh always, always forget the name of movie. but anyway Andre Braugher was in it and holy shit he looked 30 years younger than he does now! he gotta lay of the fried chicken!

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