Free Agents is a new show that is – surprise, surprise – based on a British show of the same title. We were excited to see this show after seeing the promos, because we love Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn, but can't American TV network execs come up with anything original? This American version has two great comic actors as the lead characters; Azaria's been around forever – The Birdcage, The Simpsons – and Hahn's been popping up in comedies such as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Stepbrothers in funny supporting character roles.
The pilot episode opens with Azaria and Hahn in bed together; they're two work colleagues who've fallen into bed together for the first time. They're both in emotionally vulnerable positions – Azaria's just been through a divorce, and Hahn's fiancé died a year earlier, yet she keeps pictures of him all over her apartment. Azaria pursues a relationship with Hahn, who pushes him away, and is insistent that it was a one-time thing and it will never happen again. Our Spidey sense tells us she'll give in sooner or later.
It's good to see Azaria as a lead in a mainstream comedy, because he has the talent and he deserves the attention. While Hahn is talented as well, she, unfortunately, doesn't have the chops to pull off a leading role. Seeing her strut through the office feels so false; Hahn seems so aware that she's acting. She is a little hard to handle in large doses. Also, Azaria and Hahn don't have much chemistry either – which is crucial for a successful show based almost entirely around the two primary characters.
The supporting cast is great. There's the kooky security guard, Walter, played by Joe Lo Truglio, Mo Mandel as Dan – the guy who thinks he's God's gift to women and Anthony Head as Stephen – the sex-crazed boss – who's actually reprising his role from the British series. Gregg, the office guy who's always trying to hang with the guys, played by Al Madrigal, can really deliver a one-liner and Emma, played by Natasha Legerro – the deadpan, feisty assistant – are two of the best parts of the show. The writing is funny and clever, but if the series didn't have the zany supporting cast, we wouldn't still be watching.
Update: NBC has oficially swung the axe. This one is gone.