Conan’s back—but how’d he do? Most critics were happy with his TBS debut:
- “The first lines of this new chapter were promising, if not quite the fulfillment of his last wild nights at NBC, when caution was thrown to the wind,” writes Robert Lloyd in the Los Angeles Times. “The shift from broadcast to basic cable … neither inhibited nor liberated him,” his new smaller set suits him, and he still has Andy Richter—“the person who brings out the best in O'Brien.”
- “Looking for all the world like a free man just sprung from maximum security, he actually seemed joyful to be creating his own show,” writes Lloyd Grove on the Daily Beast. “He didn’t lean on desperate gimmicks or overwrought pyrotechnics.” He “just was funny—or ‘Very Funny,’ as the TBS slogan would have it.”
- The debut was only successful “if the goal was merely to relocate it brick for brick, format for format, piece by predictable piece. Without a trace of innovation or deviation from the original recipe,” writes Hank Stuever in the Washington Post, calling it odd that “after all that buildup, Team Coco came forth with so much dull comedy.”
- James Hibberd appreciated “how relaxed O'Brien is,” he writes in the Hollywood Reporter. Even so, he agrees with Stuever that “Conan is very much a late-night talk show,” complete with a retro set, retro theme music, and the standard script: “Conan couldn't hold onto Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, so he designed what is, for him, the next best thing.” Unlike Stuever, Hibberd doesn't seem bothered by that fact.
to watch clips from last night’s show.