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Hercules Says NBC’s New Anne Heche Sitcom SAVE ME Is Nothing You Want To Save On Your DVR!!

I am – Hercules!!

I am cuckoo for Anne Heche; I think she is one of the sexiest things on the planet. I am predisposed to check out whatever she’s in, no matter how mediocre.

The unpleasant “Save Me” goes so far below mediocre you’ll wonder why NBC bothered to greenlight it to series over a year ago.

NBC may have had buyer’s remorse anyway. The network had loads of low-rated, poorly reviewed sitcom this season – everything from “Animal Practice” and “Guys With Kids” to “1600 Penn” and “The New Normal.” NBC could have trotted out “Save Me” to pinch hit for any one of them, but apparently had so little confidence it still decided to wait till the rerun-drenched post-season, which begins today.

Its characters do not behave like recognizable human beings. The pilot’s runs at comedy all land with thuds. Even Heche, it pains me to say, is awful here, and she made “Six Days Seven Nights” watchable for me.

The worst element is the “Save Me” score, which pushes so so hard in its attempt to convince viewers the pathetic gags are funny stuff.

This is not to say the premise lacks promise. Better series have been made that follow characters who connect with The Almighty and His Miracles. But the folks behind this sitcom seem to have learned about comedy at the feet of network development executives.

NBC describes:

The half-hour comedy stars Emmy nominee Anne Heche (“Hung”) as Beth Harper, a not-so-ordinary Midwest wife and mother. After choking on a hero sandwich in her kitchen and suffering a dramatic near-death experience, Beth is revived and claims she can now talk to God. Her teenage daughter, Emily (Madison Davenport, “Shameless”), is horrified and her husband, Tom (Michael Landes, “Final Destination 2”), is skeptical.

To make matters worse, Tom’s ex-mistress, Carly McKenna (Alexandra Breckenridge, “American Horror Story”), shows up to confront Beth about the affair and encounters a shocking surprise.

As Beth warms up to her new life, she strives to make amends to the people she has alienated over her years of drinking, including friends and neighbors Jenna Dennings (Heather Burns, “Bored to Death”) and Maggie Tompkins (Joy Osmanski, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). Despite everyone’s initial hesitancy, Beth begins to win people over with her new positive attitude, cheerful optimism and unbridled love.

Novelist John Scott Shepherd (“Henry’s List of Wrongs,” “The Days”) created the show and serves as executive producer, along with director Scott Winant (“Breaking Bad,” “True Blood”). Additional executive producers include Neal H. Moritz (“The Big C,” “Prison Break”), Vivian Cannon (“The Big C”), Alexa Junge (“United States of Tara”) and Darlene Hunt (“The Big C”), who also serves as showrunner.

Hitfix says:

... If it wasn't for Heche, it would be entirely unwatchable. …

The New York Times says:

... doesn’t make full use of Ms. Heche’s acting and comedic talents, and the bland family around her (Michael Landes is her straying husband, Madison Davenport her bratty teenager) doesn’t give her much to work with. All of these problems could ease with time, but time is something not many series are given these days. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... It really is that awful.

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... There are definite comic possibilities in a character who has God on internal speed-dial, but the premiere episode is too overstuffed to give us a sense of whether the writers are going to be able to make the setup work beyond the few funny but obvious lines in the first show.…

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... more quirky than outright funny. It almost feels like a weird, little indie film if indie films were somewhat flat and predictable. …

The Boston Globe says:

... There’s nothing funny or fresh about “Save Me” …

TV Guide says:

... The only advice I have after enduring the pilot episode of NBC's woeful comedy Save Me is: Save yourself. This shrill parable of redemption, being burned off in back-to-back episodes, is like a spiritual Enlightened for the tone deaf. …

USA Today says:

... head-slappingly awful …

8 p.m. Thursday. NBC.

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