Ted: Season 1

STREAMING REVIEW:

Peacock;
Comedy;
Not rated;
Stars Seth MacFarlane, Max Burkholder, Alanna Ubach, Scott Grimes, Giorgia Whigham, Penny Johnson Jerald, Ian McKellen.

Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 film Ted introduced the world to the foul-mouthed teddy bear of the title, a CGI character voiced by MacFarlane himself.

The premise involved a child named John Bennett who is so desperate for a best friend he wishes the toy would come to life, but the film’s story centered mostly on John and Ted’s relationship as adults 30 years later. Their raunchy exploits would continue in a 2015 sequel, but its lackluster box office performance didn’t yield much hope for further adventures.

The seven-episode “Ted” series serves as a prequel to the films, taking place after the 10-minute prologue of the first film that shows Ted coming to life and achieving a bit of instant fame due to being a magical living teddy bear.

Set in 1993, the show features MacFarlane reprising his role as the voice of Ted, with Max Burkholder as 16-year-old John, the character played as an adult by Mark Wahlberg in the films. The series depicts Ted’s life with the Bennett family following his celebrity days, as he’s forced to join John in attending high school.

The show has some fun depicting the origins of some hallmarks of the John/Ted friendship from the movies, such as their introduction to smoking weed. Ted is as foul-mouthed as ever, with the show’s setting providing plenty of fodder for 1990s pop culture references.

However, the presence of Ted is a bit of a red herring for what seems to be MacFarlane’s true intention for the series, which is to make an “All in the Family”-style family sitcom in which John’s conservative parents (who have been reinvented a bit for the show compared to their brief portrayal in the movies), constantly butt heads with John’s politically correct cousin Blaire (Giorgia Whigham). While this formula has served MacFarlane well on “Family Guy” as an equal opportunity offender, the shtick starts to wear thin on “Ted” when the jokes mostly involve John’s blowhard caricature of a father (Scott Grimes) earning sincerely indignant responses from Blaire at every turn, as if in MacFarlane’s world the progressive college student must be correct by default despite the lack of life experience. At least on “Family Guy” all sides would get their comeuppance once in a while.

The other big drawback to the show is that the episodes are unusually long for a comedy series. Rather than the typical 20-30 minute sitcom episode length, most episodes of “Ted” are about twice that, and more is not often merrier. The cinematic pacing doesn’t make for a very tight comedic experience, and some gags take so long to pay off it’s easy to forget you’re still watching the same episode in which they were set up earlier.

Still, the show is quite effective when it manages to focus on the strengths of its premise — Ted’s hilarious conversations with John about random observations and pop culture appreciation — and should satisfy anyone who enjoys MacFarlane’s brand of humor. Some of the best moments involve the real-world and religious implications of Ted being alive to begin with, leading to the show’s best moment conceptually when John’s dad decides to make a little wish of his own.

Peacock Sets Jan. 11 Premiere Date for ‘Ted’ Prequel Series

The Peacock streaming service Nov. 16 announced that all seven episodes of Seth MacFarlane’s “Ted” event series will premiere Jan. 11, 2024.

The series serves as a prequel to MacFarlane’s raunchy 2012 comedy Ted and its 2015 sequel, which centered on a living teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) 30 years after being wished to life by his childhood best friend John Bennett. The show, set in 1993, depicts Ted’s early life with the Bennetts in Massachusetts.

Max Burkholder plays the teenage John, who was portrayed in the films as an adult by Mark Wahlberg. The cast also includes Alanna Ubach and Scott Grimes as John’s mother and father, and Giorgia Whigham as Blaire.

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MacFarlane, who reprises his role as Ted, also co-wrote and directed the series.

“Get psyched to subscribe to yet another streaming service,” MacFarlane posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Peacock also released a trailer for the show, in which young Ted writes a letter to his future self.

Peacock Orders Original Series Based on ‘Ted’ ‘R’-Rated Comedies

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service June 10 announced a straight-to-series order for “Ted,” from Universal Content Productions (UCP), a division of Universal Studio Group, and MRC Television.

The series is based on the Universal Pictures/MRC movie Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg and the highest-grossing original ‘R’-rated comedy of all time. Collectively Ted and Ted 2 grossed more than $765 million worldwide.

Creator Seth MacFarlane is in negotiations to reprise the voice of the lovable foul-mouthed teddy bear Ted. The live-action series will be executive produced by MacFarlane and Erica Huggins for Fuzzy Door.

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This is the second series order since MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door signed an overall development deal with UCP in 2020. Earlier this year, Peacock announced a series order of “The End is Nye,” hosted by Bill Nye. The series is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio and UCP, divisions of Universal Studio Group, and Fuzzy Door.

UCP is responsible for series such as Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Mr. Robot,” “The Act,” “Monk,” “Homecoming,” “The Sinner,” “Suits,” “Dirty John” and “Psych.”  Upcoming titles include “Dr. Death,” starring Joshua Jackson, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater; and “Gaslit” starring Julia Roberts and Sean Penn.

MRC’s series have been nominated for 94 Emmy Awards and 18 Golden Globe Awards. The current slate includes “Ozark,” from Chris Mundy and starring Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner, on Netflix; “The Great,” from Tony McNamara, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, on Hulu; “The Shrink Next Door,” starring Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd and from director Michael Showalter and writer Georgia Pritchett for Apple TV+; “The Terminal List,” for which Chris Pratt stars and executive produces alongside director Antoine Fuqua and writer David DiGilio, with Amazon Studios; “Shining Girls,” starring Elisabeth Moss and produced with Appian Way and Love & Squalor Pictures  for Apple TV+; the Rian Johnson series “Poker Face,” with T-Street and starring Natasha Lyonne for Peacock; and “Hello Tomorrrow!” starring Billy Crudup, from creators Amit Bhalla and Lucas Jansen and director Jonathan Entwistle for Apple TV+.

MRC’s previous series included Netflix’s “House of Cards” and “Counterpart,” among others.