Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-The AT&T Audience Network, available through DirectTV, is rolling out a couple of new dramedies back to back Tuesday – one surprisingly affecting, the other simply baffling.

 

“Loudermilk” stars “Office Space’s” Ron Livingston as a onetime hotshot rock critic in Seattle back in the 1990s who had written a couple of books. Now he’s a recovering alcoholic. He heads a recovery group and makes money by polishing floors in banks.

 

Sam Loudermilk is a grouch, of course, but he’s a smart guy, a bit dark, not a fan of millennials but he has a heart. His drinking led to a tragedy in his life, but now he strives for balance even amid the absurd situations he often finds himself in.



Having at least come to grips with his demons, Sam genuinely tries to help others in the group, though some, like a young addict (Anja Savcic), don’t always want it.

 

“You don’t know anything,” she chides him in a drunken state. “Well, I know how to puke without getting it on my shoes,” he responds.

 

Meanwhile, he doesn’t realize his own sponsor and roommate (Will Sasso) has resumed his drinking problem.



The series from Peter Farrelly (“Dumb and Dumber,” “There’s Something About Mary”) and Bobby Mort (“The Colbert Report”) has an appealing likeability to it. Mostly, that is thanks to Livingston who always keeps the character real.

 

Preceding “Loudermilk,” is “Hit the Road,” starring Jason Alexander. He plays Ken Shallow, the patriarch of a crazy dysfunctional clan. They are on tour supposedly promoting family values as a Partridge Family-style band called the Swallows.

 

Everything about them is a lie. Ken and his wife, Meg (Amy Pietz), had once been a musical duo in the 1980s, and now they are exploiting their kids for fame. Their oldest, 18-year-old Ria (Natalie Sharp) may have real talent, but she is desperate to get out, which leads to some, well, problems with the tour headliner.

 

The others in the band are Jermaine (Tim Johnson Jr.) their recently adopted 15-year-old son. His older brother, Alex, keeps a huge drug stash, and the youngest in the family, Casey (Maddie Dixon-Poirier), is a talent on her own but seems to have inherited her parents’ madness for fame.

 

“Hit the Road” is like “The Partridge Family” in the upside down. While Alexander is still masterful at getting laughs, there is a cynical quality to the series that takes the fun out.



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