LA to Vegas ’Pilot’ Review

***Spoilers Ahead***

Photo: FOX
Normally, the setting of a sitcom is an essential factor that determines whether the series will be able to break the glass ceiling or simply meander into cliché territory. If the show takes place in an office or a house in the suburbs, one generally knows what they're in for. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it takes away a good chunk of originality unless the writers create their own twist. That being said, LA to Vegas does not have that issue. In fact, the series has one of the most interesting backdrops for a sitcom in recent memory. Aside from where it takes place, the pilot episode of LA to Vegas introduces us to a hilarious cast of characters and closes its inaugural episode off with a twist that many will not see coming.

The episode centers on Ronnie (Kim Matula) not receiving the job she wanted and simultaneously quitting. While this plot is fairly run-of-the-mill, it serves as a catalyst to a more interesting storyline with her eloping with a passenger. I enjoyed the dynamic between Ronnie and Colin (Ed Weeks) because the writers handled everything in a very eccentric manner. It only took a couple of minutes before they almost had sex in the airplane bathroom. In comparison, most sitcoms take 2-3 seasons of will-they-won't-they drama before anything actually happens. 

In the second plot, 'Pilot' focuses on a young couple, Ryan and Katie, who are going to get married in Vegas. At first, the two seemed stable and genuinely in love. But, after hanging around the zany passengers on the plane, their relationship falls apart. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending where Ryan threatens to take down everyone on the plane and the way Captain Dave used muay thai to stop him. This cements the fact that LA to Vegas has the ability to create hilarious twists and subvert stereotypical storylines. Additionally, it shows how the writers actually utilize minor details about the characters and don't pepper them in just for laughs. One would expect Dave's constant mention of doing muay thai to be a random gag or his way of trying to look tough. The fact that he actually knew how to do it was a pleasant surprise in its own right. 

Moreover, the series has an exceptional ensemble that they generally use well in the pilot. Bernard (Nathan Lee Grahm) acts as a great foil to Ronnie. Artem (Peter Stormare) and Nichole (Olivia Macklin) play the gambling addict and the stripper respectively. Both characters take on the caricature role and are put in the comic relief category. While I hope and expect the writers to flesh them out in future episodes, I definitely enjoyed their shticks in this episode. The same could be said about Captain Dave (Dylan McDermott). His careless, fun-loving attitude and madcap behavior played out well and he's arguably the funniest character on the show.

In all, the pilot episode of LA to Vegas was thoroughly enjoyable. There were several moments where I laughed out loud and the series proved that it will not be a cookie-cutter sitcom. The cast is very strong and the characters compliment each other. In a word, this is one of the strongest comedy pilots of 2017.

Stray Thoughts
  • Best Line of the episode: "Consider yourself grounded"
  • "You leave Madonna/Wesley Snipes out of this"
  • I hope Alan gets more screentime in future episodes.
  • "Don't cockpit block me"
  • So, Captain Dave was drinking club soda, right?

What did you think of 'Pilot'?


Grade: A

Leave your thoughts on the episode in the comments below. You can watch the pilot on or Hulu. The series makes its official television debut on January 2, 2018 at 9/8c on FOX.

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