An above-average premise mostly fails to elevate an otherwise average sitcom.
New on Netflix today, No Good Nick (which is apparently the first of two parts) is a run-of-the-mill sitcom with an admittedly intriguing premise. The Nick of the title is a teenage con artist played by Siena Agudong who ingratiates herself into the well-off Thompson family with the intention of rinsing them all once she’s gained their trust.
There’s some moderate star power to lure in viewers. The family’s parents, Liz and Ed, are played by Melissa Joan Hart (the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and therefore kids’ TV royalty) and The Goonies’ and The Lord of the Rings’ Sean Astin. Their kids are plucked straight from the new generation of family-friendly television; Kalama Epstein plays the serious and suspicious Jeremy, and Lauren Lindsey Donzis his woke activist sister Molly. The talent and their well-trodden archetypes are all present and correct, then, as is the general trajectory of the ten-episode first season, which is what makes No Good Nick instantly familiar despite its fresh-feeling setup.
Naturally, then, you can predict most of the major beats. The Thompson family are initially skeptical of Nick — who poses as a distant relative fresh out of foster care — but warm to her general enthusiasm and interest in their mundane hobbies or careers. At the same time, Nick warms to the Thompsons, beginning to realize that what she’s doing just might be wrong and that the immoral puppeteers pulling her strings are not worth her loyalty. There are plenty of ways that No Good Nick could have made more of its premise, but it never really stumbles on a compelling one.
All that’s left, really, is the usual teen-focused sitcom fare, with a particular focus on liberal hot-topics. The gags range from surprisingly funny to horribly cringe-inducing, with no real consistency either way. There’s an effort made to have the characters break out from their archetypal molds, but it never really amounts to much. Despite potential here for a second part that makes good on the promise of its hook, as things stand No Good Nick is, fittingly, not much good.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.