Debuting on Netflix on April 1 with a full 10 episodes, The Ranch is really two different shows put together. On one hand, the Ashton Kutcher-starring multi-cam sitcom from Two And A Half Men showrunner Don Reo and producer Jim Patterson is a fairly standard, broad-humored Big 4-type show that really has nothing new in it. That show, with Kutcher as an out-to-pasture semi-pro footballer now back on the family ranch after 15 years away, is worth taking a pass on.
However, as I say in my video review above, the other show is a surprisingly more acute accomplishment about family relationships and failure than you would expected from the pedigree of this streaming service offering – and that’s something making the effort for, especially thanks to the performances of Debra Winger and Sam Elliot. As the long-estranged parents of Kutcher’s Colt Bennett, they bring a natural timing and dramatic chops that pull The Ranch up to a whole new level. Consequently, the show, which isn’t very funny, has a lot of heart. It’s a good ride watching Elliot and Winger circle each other as the still-in-love but lost couple who just can’t seem to quit each other or bridge the gap between them.
The Ranch also has Elisha Cuthbert as Colt’s long-over-it jilted high school love and Kelli Goss as the 23-year-old waitress who is his new love interest. Northern Exposure alum Barry Corbin, Colony’s Kathy Baker, Rules Of Engagement’s Megyn Price and My Name Is Earl’s Ethan Suplee all show up in the series too.
Look, some will watch The Ranch to see the That ’70s Show reunion of sorts between Kutcher and Danny Masterson, who plays Colt’s brother Rooster. Some will watch because they do like that Big 4 sitcom format, even if it is now on Netflix. But I say, watch for Elliot and Winger – they’re the pros.
So, click on my video review above and take a look at The Ranch.