Viva Laughlin: CBS

"You would think the problem with a TV drama in which characters burst into song when they aren’t even in the shower would be its karaoke weirdness. But the problem with tonight’s debut of “Viva Laughlin” is not that it is strange. The problem with this singalong casino drama is that it isn’t nearly strange enough." (San Diego Union-Tribune) "I don’t predict a long future for this experiment, which will move to its regular Sunday time slot after tonight’s special preview. It’s just not an attention grabber, despite its musical gimmick. Ultimately, it doesn’t provide enough satisfaction." (Boston Globe) "Probably because of a lack of money or time, the series’ dance sequences are claustrophobic, amounting to nothing more than the co-stars standing on poker or roulette tables while they sing. That’s going to get old fast." (Salt Lake Tribune) "That might help explain How This Thing Got On The Air, the kind of question that always arises when you run into a real ringer. Who knows, though? Many viewers may find "Viva Laughlin" campy and crazy enough to be fun — not the kind of series to which one can become sentimentally attached, but something that keeps you guessing as it clunks along, asking the musical question: "What will they try next?" (Washington Post) "What’s missing is any unifying style, not to mention flair. Where Blackpoolaccepted the normal musical conceit, that singing and dancing is as natural as walking and talking, Laughlin rejects it without coming up with a workable, consistent substitute. Sometimes the musical numbers are fantasies, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes people notice the numbers going on around them, sometimes they don’t. The show tries to be half in and half out, and ends up nowhere." (USA Today) "Odd, yes. Effective? Sort of, kind of, not really, maybe. It’s not as heinous as it sounds. I’m confused about where I stand on this." (Chicago Sun-Times) "Do you think that’s what the programmers wanted way back when they first eyed "Viva Blackpool"? Do you think they said, "Wouldn’t it be great if we could suck all the originality and spirit and joy out of this thing and make it a procedural?" (San Francisco Chronicle) "Only one episode was sent for review, however, and based on that, this looks like a misfire. The synopsis for the second episode shows that one of the songs will be Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, but if Viva Laughlin is still standing after a half-dozen episodes, that will be a surprise." (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) "Hollywood used to bill its musicals as all singing and all dancing. For truth in advertising, CBS should promote Viva Laughlin as unnecessary singing and half-hearted dancing." (Orlando Sentinel) "Let’s just call "Viva Laughlin" a long shot." (NY Daily News)

To see a clip of Viva Laughlin, check out B&C’s fall preview section.