In order to drum up excitement for the new sitcom The Unicorn, CBS released the first episode online for free, almost a week before the series premieres. The half-hour show stars Sons of Anarchy actor Walton Goggins as a single father with two daughters and a quartet of friends trying to help him get back in the dating pool. CBS made the pilot available without any ads at CBS.com/shows/the-unicorn.
The Unicorn is also available on the CBS mobile app, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Roku and Apple TV channels.
Goggins stars as Wade, whose wife died a year ago. His friends - played by Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Omar Benson Miller and Maya Lynn Robinson - convince him to sign up for a dating app. They soon discover that he is a "unicorn," thanks to his status as a widower with two daughters. His daughters Grace and Natalie are played by Ruby Jay and Makenzie Moss, respectively.
Unlike many CBS sitcoms, The Unicorn is single-camera, meaning there is no laughter from an audience. Viewers at home will have to fill in the laughter themselves, which is easy thanks to the set-up from creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, and Goggins' performance.
Wade is the latest comedy role for Goggins, who is better known for his roles in serious projects like Sons of Anarchy and Justified. The actor has been moving into comedy lately with roles in Danny McBride's HBO shows Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones.
During the Television Critics Association Press Tour in August, Goggins, whose first wife died in 2004, said the character "is close to me than anything I've ever played... Once I got past that fear of it, I said, this is what I’ve always wanted to play... I have this similar relationship with my son and group of friends."
Goggins further explained, "When this came along, I fell deeply in love with him and his struggles and fell in love with his friends and his community... I’m in a place at 48 years old where kindness, and sincerity and being earnest are very important to me, and this show spoke to all of that. It touched me in a way that’s deep and meaningful."
Schiff and Martin said the story was inspired by producer Grady Cooper, whose wife died in 2015 after a battle with brain cancer, reports the News & Observer. Cooper asked his friends if his story could actually make for a comedy.
"They said, 'We really kinda hoped you would say this, but we didn’t want to suggest it' - because, you know, they are such polite and nice guys," Cooper said. "So we started collaborating on the idea."
“This show more than any other show we’ve worked on, we want it to feel real,” Martin explained to the News & Observer. “We want the people to feel real. And there’s nothing like putting characters in a generic TV universe to remind you that you’re just watching a show. And the fact that you have a guy, Walton, who is so clearly a product of the South, that we want to be as specific with the place as he is with the character. And every time we can place it in a real world that has the texture and feel and smell of a real place, I think it just helps the show feel more legit."0comments
The Unicorn debuts on CBS Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS