TV Review: The Comedians succeeds with a familiar formula

Billy Crystal returns to weekly television in FX’s The Comedians, starring alongside Josh Gad, from Book Of Mormon, Frozen, and (as The Comedians is quick to point out), 1600 Penn. Crystal and Gad play themselves in the series, which follows the duo after they agree to star in a late-night sketch show for FX. Neither is interested in being part of a comedy team, but when the pairing proves to be a deal breaker for the network, they acquiesce.

The series is based on the Swedish comedy Ulveson & Herngren, but it also shares DNA with behind-the-scenes comedies like The Larry Sanders Show and 30 Rock. There’s the finicky stars, the put-upon staff, and the less-than-helpful assistant; clips of the show-within-the-show give a glimpse of what’s produced in all of this chaos. The Comedians starts out well enough, but it lacks the creativity and unique tone of …

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