“The Neighbors” is an unusual fish out of water story.
Usually one character or a small group will be out of their element. In “The Neighbors” all of the characters are out of their water. The aliens don’t fit in or really understand earth culture, and the humans have been immersed in an alien culture with strange creatures for neighbors.
The series pilot begins with a group of extremely strange people purchasing an entire housing development.
Flash forward ten years. The alien’s communicator has lost its charge and the charger was left on their home planet. The alien leader, known as Larry Bird, refuses to charge it manually. This angers one family enough they return home. Their former house goes up for sale.
Marty Weaver decides to act on his wife’s wish that he would take initiative. He buys the house in the gated community known as Hidden Hills, without telling his wife, Debbie. She was not happy. Meeting their new neighbors didn’t help. The most normal thing about them was their names. All of them shared names with famous athletes.
It wasn’t long before the alien spouses were sharing relationship advice with their human counterparts and the children were showing each other tricks. The alien child’s trick was to reveal his true form.
Of course the earth parents didn’t believe it until the alien adults revealed their true form. There was the expected panic, but the earthlings recovered in record time. Around that time was also when their purpose for coming to earth was revealed in passing. They came to see if earth was a suitable new home if their native planets temperature continued to rise. If the series succeeds and lasts long enough, that’s probably the seed for a multi-episode storyline in the future.
The episode ends with a confrontation between the spouses. The alien wife rebels against her husband’s domination, almost causing them to lose their son. The human husband briefly rebels against his wife’s domination, only to crumble when she gets upset. In the end both couples make up and realize they need to be partners, more than follower and leader. But the human husband prefers his wife to take charge.
The Neighbors is an amusing show. It has the potential to be another “3rd Rock From the Sun” if it can find an audience. The acting is solid and the writing is good. The beginning of chemistry is visible between the four parent characters.
Whether it will develop or not depends on how much time it has. The youngest children (alien and human) show potential, but the two older children barely appeared on screen.
Hopefully this show will be given time to gain an audience. Given time and a light touch on the issues, it seems itching to tackle global warming, illegal aliens, tolerance and relationships. It could join the short list of successful science fiction sitcoms.
The Neighbors airs Wednesdays at 8:30pm on ABC. The premiere episode can be seen online on ABC.com.
After watching the premiere, come back here and leave your thoughts about The Neighbors below!