5 Things to Know About Hank Azaria’s ‘Free Agents’

Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn of 'Free Agents' (Photo: NBC)

Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn of 'Free Agents' (Photo: NBC)

In terms of playing the field, being a “Free Agent” is generally a good thing. Except when it isn’t, like in the new workplace comedy debuting tonight on NBC about two singletons trying to get a grip.

Free Agents” stars Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn as coworkers at an agency, where each is going through a difficult transition – he’s recently divorced, she’s coping with the death of her fiance – and they end up in the worst place for coworkers to be: in bed together.

And so begins “the journey of two lost and emotionally damaged souls in search of happiness,” according to NBC’s web site.

Remember, it’s a sitcom.

Here are 5 other things to know about “Free Agents”:

1. Brit-Wit Origins: The show is based on the U.K. series of the same name and comes from creator John Enbom (“Party Down”) and director Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”). Costar Anthony Head is the only cast member tied to both versions of the show – he plays Stephen, the naughty boss in the U.K. and U.S. adaptations.

2. Sensitive Souls: The show fits into one of the big theme’s on TV this fall: Emasculated men.

“I think it might be reflecting society,” says Azaria. “Men are more and more being allowed to, in a real way, show their vulnerability and admit that they have no idea what they’re doing. Our generation was raised being allowed to have our feelings.”

“And you know, my guy on this, he just got divorced,” he adds. “He’s just a wreck. Temporarily, when I was divorced, I was doing worse than my character.”

Get a Sneak Peek of “Free Agents”:

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3. What Critics Are Saying: So far the sentiment is … good cast, the writing needs some work. Two takes below:

The Good: “Free Agents is not The Office, but the lead characters are appealing, and the show is funny in its own, quite grown-up way,” writes Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times.

The Bad: “Sometimes, somehow, bad shows happen to good people,” writes USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco.

4. Who’s That Girl?: We all know and love Hank Azaria in everything from “The Simpsons” to “The Birdcage” (okay, maybe even this summer’s “The Smurfs”) but what about his leading lady? She looks a bit like “SNL’s” Ana Gasteyer (who appears this fall on ABC’s “Suburgatory”) with a bit of Fox’s “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” star Katie Finneran thrown in, but viewers might know actress Kathryn Hahn from her stints on HBO’s “Hung” or from her six-year run on NBC’s “Crossing Jordan.”

5. Time-slot Shuffle: “Free Agents” debuts tonight, September 14, at 10:30/9:30c on NBC … BUT moves to its regular time slot the following week, on September 21, where it will air regularly at 8:30/7:30c on Wednesday nights. NBC is giving its new Wednesday night sitcoms – “Free Agents” and “Up All Night” – a high-profile lead-in for their series premieres tonight, airing after the season finale of “America’s Got Talent.”

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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