TV Review: ABC’s ‘Fresh Off the Boat’

Based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir and developed for TV by Nahnatchka Khan (American Dad!), Fresh Off the Boat is a family comedy set in 1995, when 12-year-old Eddie (Hudson Yang) moves from D.C. to Orlando with his parents (Constance Wu and Randall Park) and two brothers. The series, the first Asian-American-centric comedy in 20 years, debuts on Wednesday with episodes at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. before settling into its 8 p.m. Tuesday timeslot next week. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

Fresh Off The Boat is significant for the vacuum it fills in a TV landscape that is belatedly being forced to realize that if you fill a vacuum you can make money. But maybe you should just watch Fresh Off The Boat because it's funny.”
Daniel Fienberg, HitFix

“Another thing I know: Fresh Off the Boat (premieres Feb. 4) is damn funny–but not only funny and not cheaply funny. Three episodes in, it’s the best broadcast comedy of the new season, a daring but good-hearted sitcom about the complexities of identity–about not only being different but being different from the different.”
James Poniewozik, Time

“Like Black-ish before it, the series scores not just for being diverse or effectively studied in talking about and spoofing race, but by being genuinely funny despite how people might initially pigeonhole it. It's funny because it's funny.”
Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

Fresh Off The Boat may not be the take-no-prisoners depiction of Asian-American life that Huang originally envisioned, but it still provides a perspective long overdue on television in a way that’s at once smart, sweet, and funny—a far cry from ‘Panda Express.’”
Caroline Framke, A.V. Club

“Loosely based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir (he also provides the voiceover narration), the series straddles the line between warm and funny, and, despite some clunky moments in later episodes, feels like the kind of family comedy that should be compatible with ABC’s existing anchors.”
Brian Lowry, Variety

“Among broadcast networks, ABC has made itself a voice of diversity, and Fresh Off the Boat sits companionably among its other newfangled old-fashioned family comedies. (For that matter, ABC has been a voice for family comedy.) Like black-ish and Cristela, it concerns, and in a self-critical way celebrates, being non-white in a white world.”
Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times