If you’ve ever had to pay to pick where you sit on an airplane, you’ve been on Jackpot Airlines.
It’s the kind of low-rent business that doesn’t care if its pilot is drunk, its flight attendant is late or its passengers are dying to get off. It is what it is.
And so, too, is “LA to Vegas,” a new Fox comedy that attempts to show us what’s going on up there. Naturally, there’s the divorced dad (Ed Weeks) who makes regular trips; the stripper (Olivia Macklin) who knows how to maximize her exposure; and the shady traveler (Peter Stormare) who could be in deeper than anyone knew.
Before we get to the third episode, the series manages to cover dead passengers, unattended children and extra-marital activity. (Bingo – an aspect of one of these cheap flights I was on – has yet to be introduced.)
Dylan McDermott plays the slightly tipsy pilot who’s among a magazine’s “Top 10 Pilots to Watch.” He doesn’t want to hurt his chances, but a welcome that includes “it’s time to get high and fly this old bird” doesn’t help.
He’s constantly moving in on Ronnie (Kim Matula), the flight attendant who’d just love to get a better gig. She’s stuck, however, with fellow stew Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham), a talker who isn’t afraid to distribute disses with drinks.
The regulars factor into their weekend run and help stretch the storyline beyond “fasten your seatbelts” and “return your tray tables to their full, upright and locked position.”
Three episodes in, though, and it seems unlikely to take off at maximum speed.
This is stuff we saw in the 1960s when flight attendants had glamorous jobs. Other series have tried to peek behind the first class curtain (remember “Pan Am”?) but pulled up short, too.
While writer Lon Zimmet plays with an “Airplane” sensibility, he never quite embraces it. McDermott is a caricature; others are not.
In the third episode, producers suggest a not-so-subtle rivalry between McDermott and another actor (who shall not be named, if you happen to get that far). It’s intriguing, but not worth continuing.
Much of the series is like that – meh. It needs a flight attendant who toys with passengers and a pilot who offers more than an Uber driver.
If you fly often enough, this might hold your interest – but only if you’re strapped in a seat and unable to pay for a movie because you forgot to bring a credit card.
“LA to Vegas” premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Fox.