I have to admit, I didn’t at all know what to expect when I saw that FOX was doing an animation/live-action mash up. I stumbled on it when I was doing my piece on the new shows in the Fall line-up. I’ve never been a fan of that style, but FOX’s Son of Zorn had a laugh or two that kept me watching until the end of the pilot episode, (it’s only a half hour).
I also have to admit that I only caught it because I was watching the Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts on FOX and it came on after.
The premise for Son of Zorn isn’t really new. A self-absorbed, deadbeat dad tries to make amends with his teenage son. What is new, is that the deadbeat dad is a 7 foot tall, animated warrior from the land of Zephyria, somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean. Even the character of Zorn is nothing new. He looks just like a cartoon version of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian; long hair, big pecs, broadsword strapped to his back and all.
Remember Thundaar the Barbarian?
For all of its cliche, I actually found a bit of charm in the show. The fish out of water plot, also not new, centers on Zorn coming to Orange County, California to celebrate the 17th birthday of his Alan, played by Johnny Pemberton. When he talks with his ex-wife Edie, played by Cheryl Hines, she mentions that he should stick around and be apart of Alan’s life. So, Zorn gets himself a shirt and tie job and an apartment and begins his fish out of watering. The show also features Tim Meadows, of SNL, fame playing Edie’s new fiance, and the absolute antithesis of Zorn. Definitely some room for some comedy there.
True to the form that is FOX animated shows, Son of Zorn has it’s share of off-color humor, but I couldn’t help but laugh when Zorn reminisces with his ex-wife about their fivesome, and she responds, “that was the old me – sex with the mountain trolls”. That certainly isn’t the only chuckle in the pilot, and I even found an outright laugh or two.
What really made the show was Zorn. The animation, which I fully expected to dislike enough to change the channel immediately was really quite good. Zorn is an active, and funny, part of each and every scene. He smirks, he rolls his eyes, he reacts non-verbally. On top of that, he is voiced to perfection by Jason Sudeikis, who has the perfect He-man voice.
Jason Sudeikis’ Many Films – The dude’s funny
As I sat and wondered how the show managed to hold my attention as long as it did, the one thing that crossed my mind was the sustainability of the show. The schtick was all fun, but seriously, how long could it last? The initial order is for 13 shows, but I have to tell you, I would be surprised if it is able to hold an audience for the duration of that. I might be able to get behind a short run in the mid-season break, but I don’t think I’ll stick around for 13. It’s a manly, manly, man show, but it is up against NCIS:LA and Sunday Night Football.
The question of sustainability is added to by the exit of the showrunners/co-creators before it even got out of the gate. The show was co-created by Eli Jorne and Reed Agnew, both formerly of Wilfred, and who both exited the show in April, leaving the show in the hands of Executive Producers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, both of which are super busy working on Last Man on Earth, the Han Solo Anthology film, The Flash film, three different Lego movies, an animated Spiderman, amongst other things. This little 22 minutes of comedy is pretty low priority on their list. How do you even manage to work on all that stuff?
At the end of the episode, I had some laughs. I appreciated the talent, both in the acting and the animation. it enough to bring me back? Probably not.
Final Score 6.5/10
+ Animation of Zorn is excellent. He is an engaged character
+ Jason Sudiekis voice work is great
+ Some funny bits – fivesome with mountain trolls. Hilarious
+ Cheryl Hines reminds me of Julie Bowen in “Modern Family”
– Not sustainable
– C’mon, animation..live action..pick one.
Son of Zorn airs on Sunday nights at 8:30 on FOX
Did you catch Son of Zorn? What did you think? It’s possible I am wrong…unlikely, but possible. Leave me a comment below.
Pete Herr is the author of “10 Things We Should Teach You In High School and Usually Don’t”. He is the oldest geek in the Geekiverse by a factor of two. Follow Pete Herr on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram . If you don’t he gets Grumpy. You don’t want to see him Grumpy.