The one real downside of having a huge commercial hit is that it's inevitable that the reaction to your next project will be "but it's not as good as X." Whether you're a former Beatle working on a solo album or a former "Lost" producer introducing your new show, you have to accept that there are going to be a lot of unfair comparisons. Finding your creative groove takes time and that's especially the case in television, which has such a long lead time for production. Few shows are introduced to the world in the form that you'll find them by the end of season one. So part of what TV critics get paid for is developing an ability to hopefully discern the eventual genius from the one-hit wonder.
Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh created "Phineas And Ferb," a globally successful series that is arguably one of the best animated shows to ever be on television. So I don't envy the pressure I'm sure they felt to create a new show that fans might find as entertaining. And that's really what the standard is for their new series "Milo Murphy's Law." Don't try and create lightening in a bottle. But can you create a group of characters with the ability to grow into something special - even if it doesn't turn out to be another P&F?
It's impossible to answer that question based on one episode, but "Milo Murphy's Law" is show with a lot of potential and some big laughs. And really, that's the best case scenario for both Povenmire & Marsh as well as the viewers.
The series centers around the adventures of Milo, the fictional great-great-great-great grandson of the Murphy’s Law namesake. Voiced by "Weird Al" Yankovic, Milo is a magnet for mishaps and disasters, although he always manages to somehow stay safe and even thrive in the midst of chaos. Each episode follows Milo as he dodges disaster after disaster, like some school-age bad luck charm.
It's a fascinating premise and its success hinges on the show's ability to find new and amusing ways to endanger Milo & his friends while still leaving room in the story for the viewers to connect with the characters. There's also the challenge of structuring episodes in a way that there is more to the story than a flurry of somewhat related disasters, capped off by Milo's survival.
Part of that problem has been solved by giving Milo two friends to accompany him on his "adventures." Melissa Chase (Sabrina Carpenter) and Zack Underwood (MeKai Curtis) are his companions and serve as likeable surrogates for the audience. Zack's introduction in story one of the pilot slows things down a bit, but story two of the episode provides what I suspect will be a blueprint for the rest of the series. The three friends dodge some potential disasters, meet a few new people and get some help from Milo's dog Diogee (Dee Bradley Baker).
I enjoyed the first episode of "Milo Murphy's Law" and it's definitely a show I would recommend. Based on the sparse info I received from the network, it appears there are a lot more characters to introduce in upcoming episodes and that's part of the fleshing out the series that faces most new shows. In episode one, the show focuses more on its potential teen audience and less on any adults who might be watching. But it's witty humor, slambang energy and overall optimism is likely to make the show a new family favorite.
"Milo Murphy's Law" premieres Monday, October 3rd, 2016 on Disney XD.