Not for Review piece on "Arrested Development" mastermind Mitch Hurwitz's Fox series "Running Wilde," in which I stated that the show was promising, if not as good as "Arrested." Well, the show premieres tonight at 9:30. Many roles have been recast since the version I saw, and some of the rough edges of the early version have been smoothed out. With all these changes...my opinion is pretty much the same as it was when I saw the original pilot.
That's OK, though. Few sitcoms are as hilarious out of the gate as "Arrested." And, though "Wilde" lacks some of "Arrested's" edge, it does have a bit more mainstream appeal, and might have a better shot at success. It stars Will Arnett (so indelible as G.O.B. on "Arrested") as spoiled billionaire Steve Wilde. He has everything he wants -- except for Emmy (Keri Russell), the poor, earnest woman he's loved since his teens. When Emmy comes back into his life, Steve attempts to change into a better man in hopes of winning her back. But can Steve really change? Who cares! Half the fun is in watching him try.
Few actors play spoiled dingbats as well as Arnett, and he's in prime form here (a bit involving Steve and a player piano -- which I didn't remember from the original version of the pilot -- made me laugh out loud). He's also fairly convincing as a romantic lead, and has a nice chemistry with sly, quick-witted Russell. They're a believable TV couple, and I could enjoy watching them dance around each other for a while.
Though I didn't have a major problem with the original supporting cast, most of those roles have been recast -- most notably the role of Emmy's boyfriend, originally played by Andrew Daly. "Arrested" vet David Cross now plays the role and, though he has few scenes in the pilot, he's already a better fit.
Few shows can match the brainy goofiness of "Arrested Development," and "Wilde" doesn't try. However, it's funny and charming in its own right.