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October 7, 2015

Pilot Watch: 'Running Wilde'

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 15th 2010 1:07PM
Keri Russell and Will Arnett in 'Running Wilde' on FOXFrom now into August, we're going to be taking a quick look at the fall and mid-season pilots that the networks sent to critics after their upfront presentations.

Keep in mind that in each case, our opinions are based on a pilot that could be completely recast and reworked between now and the fall.

Show: 'Running Wilde'
Network: Fox
Timeslot: Tuesdays, 9:30PM ET

The lowdown: Steve Wilde (Will Arnett) is the spoiled son of an oil tycoon, and he's never done anything in his life that he would consider a good deed. His only friends are his nanny/head of security Gertie (Jayne Houdyshell) and his driver Migo (Joe Nunez). When Emily Kadubic (Keri Russel), an environmental activist who also used be a high school flame of Steve's, re-enters his life, Steve thinks he can use this opportunity to become a better person as well as rekindle a romance with "the one that got away." Meanwhile, Emily thinks that helping Steve might be the best way of fighting his dad's evil oil company. Facilitating this reunion is Emily's daughter Puddle (Stefania Owen), who's tired of living in rainforests and just wants to settle somewhere for awhile.

What we're saying:
This is a collaboration between Arnett and his fellow 'Arrested Development' alum, Mitch Hurwitz, and the pilot has a lot of the same elements that made 'AD' a critical success. The biggest element, of course, is Arnett himself, who has the smarmy but earnest immature adult character down cold. And Owen, who viewers last saw in 'The Lovely Bones,' is very funny as Puddle, who narrates the story and is the link between these erstwhile childhood sweethearts.

Russell is a possible weak point; in movies like 'Waitress,' she proved she had comedic range, but the environment in 'Running Wilde' has a good shot of becoming silly and a bit surreal, something that isn't in Russell's wheelhouse. If she continues to be positioned as a Jason Bateman-style straight man to the antics going on around her, she will definitely fit in to the ensemble.

However, this does feel like a pilot that almost hits the mark but doesn't quite get there. The chemistry between Russell and Arnett is there, so that may have to carry the show until it can find its comedic legs. There's already a whiff that some changes are afoot; in the pilot, Steve has a neighbor who constantly tries to one-up him. That character isn't in any of the cast photos for the show, though. Either he'll appear only periodically or he'll disappear after the pilot.

Here's a preview:

Tell us what you think. If you're an 'AD' fan, will you give this show a shot?

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Will Arnett alone is enough to give it a shot. The preview looks pretty good.

July 15 2010 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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