TV Review: Fox’s ‘Surviving Jack’

Fox premieres Surviving Jackon Thursday March 27, 9:30 p.m. ET. The series stars Christopher Meloni and is based on the book I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“The last thing TV needs is another nostalgic sitcom narrated by a young boy (indeed, it’s almost time for a moratorium), but Surviving Jack conjures a few amusing moments, courtesy of its 1991 time frame and Chris Meloni’s quirky turn as the dad of every kid’s nightmares.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

Surviving Jack does well, too, to tap into ’90s nostalgia. It’s not rendered as exquisitely as it could be—television shows like The Americans and Mad Men have set a high bar for period pieces—but the music, cars, and even established values seem ported over directly from Full House and Family Matters, even if the set pieces thankfully aren’t. The result is a family sitcom that is nostalgic, but not dated.”
—Sonia Saraiya,A.V. Club

“Because despite all odds, Surviving Jack is terrific. Funny and smart, poignant and believable, it is undoubtedly the best new comedy of the season. It would be easy and not inaccurate to designate Christopher Meloni as the main reason for this. As this version of Halpern's father, Meloni is such a master of deadpan wit and wisdom that it's hard not to wonder why he was wasting his talent on Law & Order: SVU for all those years.”
—Mary McNamara,Los Angeles Times

“Jack is predictably incapable of almost everything having to do with raising two teenagers, son Frankie (Connor Buckley) and daughter Rachel (Claudia Lee). Most of the failed jokes have to do with Jack applying lessons learned in the military to child-rearing. Hilarity doesn't ensue - it rushes headlong toward the exit doors.”
—David Wiegand,San Francisco Chronicle

“What's wrong here are some of the same elements that have made the 2013-14 network comedy crop one of the weakest in memory -- not enough laughs, not enough of a show that feels like it has something interesting to say (and wants to say it). Meanwhile, buying Meloni in a comic role that requires you to expunge any memory of his famous dramatic ones (Elliot Stabler, Law & Order: SVU, or Chris Keller of Oz) is a difficult sell."
—Verne Gay,Newsday