NBC has always been known for its stellar sitcoms, and in the age of “internet humor,” one particular genre of comedy stands out — the Single-Cam Comedy. Following the tremendous success of The Office and Parks & Recreation, creators Jeff Astrof and Matt Miller set out to create their own mockumentary, this time actually spoofing the very popular courtroom recreation dramas that are wildly popular right now. What Astrof and Miller have created is a brilliant, viable, and (perhaps most importantly) sustainable premise for a comedy while bringing to it a level of care and passion that comes through really well on screen.
That passion is also due, in part, to the show’s excellent cast. It’s made up mostly of newbies (the main character’s next biggest role was in Final Destination 5 and a brief stint on Masters of Sex), but you wouldn’t guess it from their performances. Throw John Lithgow into the mix and you’ve got the solid base on which the rest of the show hinges. The characters are dynamic, funny, and lovable, which means they keep viewers coming back for more.
So what exactly is Trial & Error? Let’s break it down:
Clever, handsome, ambitious (and completely adorable) New Yorker/rookie lawyer Josh Segal takes on a murder case in the small town of East Peck, South Carolina, where he defends suspected murderer Larry Henderson (played by John Lithgow), who has all the evidence stacked against him. Josh must act as the voice of reason in this absurd and backwards town; Hilarity ensues. What’s also really clever about Trial and Error is that the show will constantly feel fresh and new because each season is set to be a different case.
East Peck is a town full of colorful people, from the murder suspect Larry Henderson (who is so oddly disconnected with the real world that it seems he actually could have done it and not even realized he did), to Josh’s ruthless Southern Belle rival lawyer Carrol Anne. The main cast is made up of Josh and his ragtag defense team that includes himself, a secretary named Anne who is hilariously ailed with many rare and ridiculous diseases (like one that makes her react to sad or gruesome events by laughing uncontrollably), and (my personal favorite) a dim but charismatic ex-cop Dwayne Reed.
If you liked NBC’s previous single-cam comedies, you should definetely check this one out. It’s a lot of fun and has a lot charm, and it’s really smart. Trial & Error has a lot of potential and I’m really excited to see where it goes.
Have you seen Trial & Error? How do you think it stacks up against NBC’s past mockumentary hits?