CBS (Sat, Aug. 27, 8 p.m. ET)
We are supposed to be grateful in this miserable, stay-inside-or-fry-’til-you-die, strike-prolonged summertime of TV that at least this network sitcom is new. Fine. Thank you, Hollywood. But it’s too hot to be polite. Let’s just give this show what it deserves: a shrug and a snore. First Impressions is supposed to be a nice little show about some nice people with some nice little laughs, and at that it sort of succeeds (put that in the Hall of Fame of Faint Praise). Impressions really is a vehicle for Brad Garrett, a tall comic who may be best known as a 1984 Grand Champion on Star Search. His specialty: impressions, which is not the lowest form of comedy-mime, ventriloquism and flying cream pies are far lower—but neither is it the freshest. He and a partner own a small ad agency (think of this as thirtysomething lite), which allows Garrett to do his impression of a plane in a commercial for Buster’s Crop Dusters. He goes out to a restaurant and does his Rodney Dangerfield, while his date does her Joan Rivers. But thank goodness, not everybody does impressions. At work, James Noble (the guv on Benson) provides comic relief—you wouldn’t think a sitcom should need any—playing a compulsive gambler. At home, Brandy Gold (sister of Growing Pains’ Tracy and Benson’s Missy) provides the heart warmth as Garrett’s daughter. His wife and her mother just left them to “find herself.” Can’t much blame the woman. Everyone around her was just too nice and too cute and too dull. But at least they’re new.