Sean Hayes in ‘Sean Saves the World’ review

September 13, 2013

Sean Saves the World

Thursday, Oct. 3, 9 p.m., NBC

“Will & Grace’s” Sean Hayes waltzes back onto NBC’s Thursday-night schedule fairly effortlessly in this new sitcom, in which he plays a gay single dad to a sullen teenage daughter (Sami Isler), with occasional meddling from his outspoken mother (Linda Lavin).

Hayes plays it all so dutifully that even his pratfalls have an on-point, pro-athlete precision to them, giving his show a very rote approach; it’s Lavin who seems more delighted to have the chance to nibble on the scenery a bit. “Reno 911’s” Thomas Lennon plays the new owner of the design firm where Sean works — one of those exposed-brick workplaces that approximates the feel and mood of what TV writers think office work must be like. They’ve even given him a standard-issue Black Best Friend at work (Echo Kellum). And, plucked from the ruins of “Smash,” Broadway actress Megan Hilty has been added to the cast since the initial pilot was screened by critics this summer.

Nothing about “Sean Saves the World” is off-putting, but not much about it is welcoming either. But when Hayes is going full blast, it’s nice to reconnect with some hints of the hilarity and snarky mania he made his own back in the late ’90s. Grade: C

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Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Hank Stuever has been The Post's TV critic since 2009. He joined the paper in 1999 as a writer for the Style section, where he has covered an array of popular (and unpopular) culture across the nation.
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