Andy Barker, P.I. premieres tonight. But thanks to the major networks’ stumbling, some would say desperate, embrace of the web, six episodes are available to watch on NBC’s website. One of them won’t even see TV as it’s a web exclusive. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to try and hook people before a show airs, but I hope this new kind of strategy doesn’t hurt Andy Barker, which is very funny and, from the two episodes I watched, deserves a long life.
It’s a lot like Conan O’Brien’s lost pilot Lookwell, as referenced in the Times article about the show. In both an unlikely man plays private eye. And the mysteries are actually mysteries, allbeit compress to work in a half-hour format. But this show is without the irony of a TV private eye playing real life dick. Instead, it has more of a heart to it, but not in a way that you feel manipulated afterwards.
Andy Barker is a nice guy, who even if there was no network censors, would probably say “Cheese and Crackers!” as an expletive. I’m almost regret that the show is on NBC and not on a pay cable outlet like HBO so that the contrast between Andy’s world and that of the hardcore gumshoe could be more apparent. (You see this a little in the web-only episode which has Amy Sedaris playing an aging femme fatale with a wooden leg. She channels Jerri Blank a bit when she describes herself as “dewy” for private dicks.)
It’s been hard to find a great venue for Andy Richter. Here’s hoping that it can stick around for a while (and not at the expense of 30 Rock, which has come into its own and deserves a second season).
Has anyone else enjoyed NBC’s generous offering of episodes yet? Whadyathink?