A classic marketing strategy over at Showtime is to stream premiere episodes a week or two before the airdate. The network has done it for new seasons of Dexter and Weeds, as well as new series Shameless and Homeland. It must be working, because Showtime has just posted the pilot for the upcoming comedy House of Lies for all to see. I really like the cast: Don Cheadle, Kristin Bell, Ben Schwartz, and Josh Lawson star as a management consulting team. Hit the jump to watch Episode 1, “Gods of Dangerous Financial,” before House of Lies premieres on January 8.
I like Cheadle in full-on comedic mode, but I am not convinced after one episode this is the vehicle that should have lured him to TV. And I am really not sure what Bell is doing here. I hope they develop her character in future episodes.
It feels excessively edgy, since the jokes don’t yet land often enough to justify the boundary-pushing. Comedies need time to find the right tone, and there’s enough here that I’d like to check out future episodes. But based on the cast, I was hoping House of Lies would come out of the gate stronger.
The first shot is Cheadle naked in bed with Dawn Oliveri. They block the nudity, and cut out the more offensive swear words, but for most of you, this is likely still NSFW.
HOUSE OF LIES is a half-hour comedy created, written and executive produced by Matthew Carnahan from the hit tell-all book House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn. The new comedy is a scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant from a top-tier firm. Cheadle stars as Marty, a highly-successful and cutthroat consultant who is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his way with and for his clients. Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) will play Jeannie Van Der Hooven, a razor-sharp, Ivy-League graduate who works at Marty’s firm. Co-stars include noted comedian Ben Schwartz (Undercovers) and Josh Lawson (Romantically Challenged) as Marty’s corporate team members; Dawn Oliveri (Heroes) as Marty’s acerbic ex-wife; the legendary Glynn Turman (In Treatment) as his psychoanalyst father; and Donis Leonard Jr. (The Fresh Beat Band) as Marty’s young son. Jessika Borsiczky (Flash Forward) will serve as executive producer, and Emmy winner Stephen Hopkins (Californication, 24) directs and executive produces.