Mission Hill

Jim 1990s

Aired: 1999-2000 (The WB)Mission Hill

“DAD”: Andy French (voice of Wallace Langham)/Older Brother

“DAD’S” JOB: waterbed sales, then advertising schlub

KIDS: Kevin French (voice of Kevin Menville)(17)

WHERE’S MOM?: Moved to Wyoming with Dad

STAND-IN “MOM”: Posey Tyler (voice of Vicki Lewis)/roommate

Formerly called “The Downtowners,” Mission Hill sounds like an animated version of 1996’s Kirk show, where the older brother is left in charge of a troublesome teen. Actually, it’s got a bit of Sanford & Son, too, as the child seems more capable than his guardian.

Here’s the promising part of this show: it’s by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein – the guys who made The Simpsons, or, more importantly, made them funny. This show has the possibility of being a hoot.

Here’s the photo caption from The WB: “Mission Hill,” an outrageous new primetime animated comedy series created and executive produced by the Emmy Award-winning writing duo of Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein (“The Simpsons”) chronicles the lives of four oddball roommates living in a New York City loft. The Castle Rock Television production is slated to debut on the WB during the fall 1999 season. Pictured: (left – right) Stogie [formerly Stoly] (the dog), Jim Kubeck, Andy French, Kevin French, Posey Taylor.

I’ve watched the first episode of this show and I see the weakest point: it’s trying to be edgy by focusing on Southpark-style language. Not that I’m a prude, but relying on the shock-value of dialogue to maintain viewer interest could be THE big mistake in this series. There’s a lot of potential in the show, but the writing has to be able to stand on its own without trusting in rude one-liners to hang onto the audience. Oh, and more Stogie would help too. Stogie’s as dumb as a box of hair, and that WORKS.

Update: Check out my interviews with Wallace Langham and producers/creators Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein in the Interviews section.

Update October 19, 1999: First casualty of the 1999 TV Single Dad crop – The WB has dropped Mission Hill into the lingering-death spiral of “hiatus.” Reason? My website has more viewers than this show did. The network says the show may return in mid-season. I’d say the next chance of seeing the show will be on Comedy Central next fall. Maybe.

Update June 13, 2000: The Show That Wouldn’t Die! Just got a call from the production offices, and Mission Hill is apparently going to rise from the ashes of hiatus-land June 25th, 2000. Look for it Sundays at 9:30/8:30pm ET/CT on The WB.

Update July 19, 2000: The Show That Wouldn’t Die just died. A message from Bill and Josh announced the re-demise of the series. Apparently the WB needed another blood sacrifice for its advertisers. Details in the second interview with Bill Oakley in the INTERVIEWS section.

Update October 18, 2001: The Show That Died comes back to life! At least for those in the True North Strong and Free – – Canada’s Teletoon network is showing ALL 13 episodes every weekend at 10:30pm. Check it out, eh? Even more good news: Cartoon Network began airing the entire series on Adult Swim in 2002.