Will Thursday nights and Robin Williams end up being the winning formula Package Deal needs to break through to a bigger audience? Here’s hoping so.
Over the past few weeks, my Twitter feed has been filled with Canadian television writers and critics lamenting that networks aren’t doing all they can to promote homegrown series. They contend that networks are — wrongly, they say — throwing support behind safer, expensive primetime imports from the U.S. And while I understand their beef — if a homegrown show succeeds, it means renewal and a continuing job for a Canadian cast and crew, including those writers — I contend that the secret to success lies in a project that is well-written, well-acted and, dare I say it, entertaining.
Package Deal is entertaining. “Danny Escapes to Prison” was the sitcom’s newest episode and featured siblings Danny, Ryan and Sheldon and their immature hijinks. Once again, protective brothers Sheldon and Ryan didn’t want to share Danny with his new girlfriend, Kim. Danny, not wanting to draw the ire of his siblings, nor jeopardize any pillow time with Kim, went to incredible lengths to make everyone happy. That meant hiking with Kim followed by basketball with Sheldon, or drinks with the boys chased down by nachos with Kim.
Things got so desperate that Danny took Kim up on her suggestion that they grab dinner at a trendy restaurant where everyone ate in the dark. Danny donned night vision goggles and flitted back and forth between gal pal and brothers until he was busted by accidentally hitting the light switch. The gaffe also shed light — literally — on the patrons, who had spilled food all over themselves, a hilarious bit.
All of this not only took its toll on Danny’s sleep cycle, but his ability to defend accused wife killer McKenzie (Eugene Levy). A final confrontation between Kim, Danny, Sheldon and Ryan took place while in a meeting with McKenzie, during which the prisoner escaped while everyone’s back was turned.
Meanwhile, Jill Morrison’s snarky, sexy Nikki was able to spread her wings — and at one point, her thighs — during a boundary-pushing photo shoot of Sheldon’s promoting a line of caskets. His idea, to mesh the vampire trend with burying a loved one, was well-meaning enough, but degenerated into an over-the-top spectacle of jiggling breasts and borderline bestiality. It was a knee-slapper though, and I’m hoping Morrison is given more to do in the coming weeks.
Overall, “Danny Escapes to Prison” was an entertaining half-hour that paired well with Robin Williams’ lead-in The Crazy Ones, and fingers crossed that it gets a bigger sampling from the hometown crowd.
Not because it’s Canadian, but because it’s entertaining.
Package Deal airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on City. (The series previously aired on Mondays, but will remain on Thursdays going forward.)