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TV review: 'The Goodwin Games' all gimmick

Don't get used to "The Goodwin Games," Fox's new comedy about three damaged siblings competing for their dad's $23 million estate. I don't think it will be around very long.

It seems fairly obvious Fox isn't committed to the sitcom (7:30 p.m. CT May 20, Fox; 1.5 stars out of 3). The network pushed it from the fall 2012 schedule, then reportedly cut its 13-episode order to seven. Now it's burning off the episodes on Monday nights with repeats of "Raising Hope," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project."

You're likely to understand Fox's hesitation with "The Goodwin Games" after seeing the premiere, which introduces the characters and the premise, but with only a few laughs.

Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas of "How I Met Your Mother" fame as well as Chris Harris, it stars Beau Bridges as the siblings’ father, who royally screwed them up when he was alive by constantly pitting them against each other in contests. Before his death, he recorded his posthumous wishes on VHS tapes and, in an effort to bring his children back together, he’s putting them through a new series of competitions.

Scott Foley plays uptight older brother Henry, an overachieving doctor who drinks too much and avoids his emotions. Becki Newton plays sister Chloe, an aspiring but underachieving actress. T.J. Miller stars as Jimmy, their dim-bulb younger brother who finishes his latest stint in prison when we meet him.

Miller’s madcap sensibilities and flashback scenes to when the children were young goose things a bit, but overall the show feels flat. The premiere, in which they play an elaborate game of Trivial Pursuit featuring customized questions and answers about their lives, seems to set up what I fear will be a repetitive format: Each week dad gives kids a new assignment that brings out their worst, but through the competition they learn to forgive and love each other.

Blech. That’s not a game worth playing repeatedly.

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Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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