The CW, long home to soapy dramas, began its embrace of comedy with last year’s return of “Whose Line is It Anyway,” and that continues with the originally-for-online series “Backpackers” (8:30 p.m. Monday) and Canadian import “Seed” (9:30 p.m. Monday).
“Backpackers” benefits from filming on location in Europe, but that can’t make up for the lowest common denominator escapades, which play like an unfunny, made-for-TV “Road Trip.”
Best friends Ryan (Noah Reid) and Brandon (Dillon Casey, “Nikita”) are backpacking across Europe after Ryan and his fiancee make a deal to experiment with an open relationship before their wedding. Then Ryan freaks out and changes his mind, so he and Brandon try to track down Ryan’s fiancee without the benefit of her itinerary.
The first episode opens with the pair playing soccer with their pants around their ankles in an empty Paris fountain with the Eiffel Tower in the background. This gives some idea about the level of humor. It also proves that no matter how beautiful the location – episode two is set in Italy – the background can never make up for idiocy in the foreground.
Scripted Canadian comedy “Seed” benefits from a more novel premise, and its premiere episode has some genuinely funny moments – including one gag concerning mistaken identity and a lack of gender-specific names.
Womanizing loser Harry (Adam Korson) was a sperm donor years ago, and it comes back to haunt him when some of his offspring begin showing up at his door after one of the kids hacks the sperm bank computer to learn his identity.
Soon Harry has to forgo dates to help his biological offspring out of assorted jams, including a teen daughter he fears may be attending a sex party.
Written by executive producer Joseph Raso, “Seed” is mildly dirty in a smirking way, but it doesn’t go too far over the top. Nor does it get overly saccharine when Harry starts offering counsel to his offspring and their families. “Seed” isn’t great TV, but it’s a funny enough diversion in the context of generally disappointing summer comedy.
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