I’m a big Walton Goggins fan, which is why I’m keeping an eye on “The Unicorn,” his new CBS sitcom (Thursdays, 8:30 p.m.). The guy may be most famous for playing heavies on “The Shield” and “Justified,” but here he is at the center of a comedy — and not a twisted comedy like HBO’s “Vice Principals,” in which he costarred, but a network comedy about a widower and his two adorable daughters.
I’m happy to say that Goggins makes the shift into conventionality and rectitude effortlessly. I like him on the show, and I like all the other actors, too, including Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Omar Benson Miller, and Maya Lynne Robinson. All together, they form a warm ensemble, and with each new episode they become more specific and intertwined. I’ve seen three episodes (only one has aired so far) and the dynamic ensemble chemistry is the reason to watch. ABC’s “Single Parents” aims for the same kind of ensemble groove, but with less success.
Goggins plays Wade, whose wife died from cancer a year ago. He’s still pulling himself together, but his close couple friends push him to get back in the dating game. Because he’s not divorced or a cheating husband, he is considered a rare creature for women out there looking for a guy; he is a unicorn. Dates ensue, with his friend coaching him in good and bad ways.
Some of the dating tropes are musty, and so are the sad moments when Wade and his kids realize they’re still grieving. Thankfully, this is a single-camera sitcom and there is no laugh track, so there are no “awwws” when the show turns sincere. But the cast makes it all work pretty well, and I’m going to keep checking it out.