10/22/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT
ABC (Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)
The WB (Fridays, 9:30 p.m. ET)
These new entries are the latest in a long line of sitcoms about extremely fallible fathers. Though neither is blessed with much wit, one at least has some energy.
Raising Dad finds Bob Saget (Full House) trudging back to single parenthood as Matt, widowed father of two girls. Sarah (Kat Dennings) has the bad luck to attend the high school where Dad teaches creative writing as if it were Introduction to Standup Comedy. His apparent function in life is to embarrass her unthinkingly, but he does so with zero flair. Elementary schooler Emily (Brie Larson) has more fun with easygoing Grandpa (Jerry Adler, who plays Hesh on The Sopranos).
According to Jim is basically a playpen for Jim Belushi as an unrefined Chicagoan with three kids. To get an idea of his character, recall the beer buddies of Saturday Night Live's old "Da Bears" skit. Courtney Thorne-Smith (late of Ally McBeal) is too glamorous to be portraying the wife of a guy who'll scratch his backside in front of his sister-in-law (Kimberly Williams). Still, Belushi's gusto is all this show has going for it. Bottom Line: Jimbo by a nose